I read a short item on LinkedIn today that was essentially saying that big businesses are afraid of the digital world. I think there is something to think about in this as far as local authorities are concerned.
In the main councils are quite large and complex organisations. They are traditionally organised into service based silos, although in most councils this has changed a lot in the last ten years or so. And they are characterised by risk aversion, certainly in comparison to most private sector organisations, large or small.
Councils are, in principle by their nature, likely to be nervous about change, especially the kind of fundamental change in working practices or service shape and delivery that a move to digital might entail. Except of course councils aren’t autonomous beings. They are inanimate organisations but populated by human beings. So it’s the attitudes and aversions of each and every one of us that will determine whether our council, or at last our bit of if, is fearful of the digital world, or willing to embrace it.
I recall my first encounter with a computer in the 1970s revealed a room full of fridge/freezer sized machines with reels of tape circulating on the front like something from an early James Bond movie. The logo of ICL (remember them) was proudly attached to each one. You communicated with it by means of coding delivered through holes punched in cards. Technology and me…well, we’ve come on a bit since then. And so has the potential of things digital to do good things well.