Breaking history

One of the things I find is that it is very hard for us to leave our baggage behind when we are thinking.  Like the old joke ‘I wouldn’t start from here’ it is taxing to imagine a future that is not a projection from where we are now.

I’ve covered this before when describing how ‘Back to the Future’ is a projection of an eighties future and ‘The Jetsons’ is a projection of a fifties future.  Part of this is because those programmes were to entertain an audience at a specific time.  The viewing public had to relate to them and perhaps they were never intended to be a scientific critique of reality.  Part of this though is that memories are retrospective and our thought are constructs of our own experiences.

You may be able to dream of the future but you certainly can’t remember it.

Yet this is exactly the problem that we have been facing over the last couple of days.  We held a joint meeting between the ICT and Technical Services.  I know that sounds confusing but in this context the Technical people look after our roads and associated infrastructure.  We have over 3000 kilometres of roads, everything excluding the A1M and the A66, along with eighty eight thousand street lights.  There are a lot of pathways, gullies and bridges as well.

This was followed by an ICT Services planning session where we tried to address what it was that we needed to manage.  Do we start with what we have got and work out?  Do we start with what the customers expect from us and work back in?  Or do we start with what someone else thinks we should have, such as the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), a set of practices for IT service management that focuses on aligning IT services with the needs of business, and adopt them?

The beauty of the future is that there is no right or wrong.  You can’t go forward and check the answer and so you could argue that any guess is as good as another.  On both days it took a great effort to stop us slipping back and talking about today’s problems.  We ae all trapped by our own history.

They say that the past is a foreign country, so where is the future?  Perhaps we’ll find out when it comes along tomorrow.

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