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Thread: Resistance to use of technology

  1. #1
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    Resistance to use of technology

    I decided to put this in Career rather than IT because I feel it has more to do with the people than the technology.

    Do you have staff that is resistant to using technology such as Outlook Calendar or folders on your network? If so, how do you motivate/encourage/make them use these tools?

    Portions of our staff are extremely resistant to using things such as Outlook Calendar - which makes if very difficult for those of us (including the new Director) who do. The average age of our staff is probably mid-40s so it isn't as if they have no computer experience.

    Help!!
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    I'll just throw this out there, less than 8 years ago I worked with a woman who refused to learn how to use our new digital camera. Needless to say she had the super. wrapped around her finger and he bought her a Polaroid camera. I can't tell you how annoying it was scanning her photos in for presentations. That to me is the ultimate resistance to technology. The worst part was the Polaroid cost more than the digital camera! I never understood what she didn't get about push power, take picture.

    Anyway, to answer your question, I think it will take a 2 way approach. I think the director needs to explain why it is important that everyone use the program, outlook in this case, but also offer training because I would be fairly comfortable assuming it is a comfort with the technology not just a refusal to do it. It's just change and many people shun change once they get comfortable. Worst case the director has to start writing up people or showing it on their reviews, I remember there used to be a technology/IT part of my last reviews, something like "adopts and learns new technology processes well".

    Good luck, hope your office cooperates.
    @GigCityPlanner

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Is this the same staffer with attendance issues?

    Dandy, I'd contact your HR department and ask for help.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    At my last firm, the owners liked to do alot of hand renderings (markers, pastels, pencil, air brush, etc.). They were either hand-drawn from scratch (trash on top of a photograph) or I would set up the model in sketchup with line weights, plot it, render it by hand, and then possibly scan it again. I will admit that a hand rendering has far different light quality that a printer/plotter can never capture. However, I think they used this technique far too often, chomping away into the budget. What's worse is that the owners, who had some of the highest billable rates in the office, liked to do alot of this work themselves rather than delegate these tasks to entry-level, who have a far smaller billable rate. I think it's one of MANY reasons why this firm has been bankrupt for years!

    As a guy in my late 20s who grew up with the PC, technology is the key to my survival. Let's face it, I wouldn't be working where I am today if I didn't know GIS, CAD, Photoshop, Sketchup, or a bunch of other software programs (and that's on top of my regular duties as a planner). My generation is not only expected to know the software and hardware, but **we are also expected to adapt to real time changes in technology!** The guys 15-20 years older than me just hand off the technical stuff onto us. However, I think when we are in those senior positions, it will expected that EVERYONE is on board. Granted, not everyone in the office needs to know complicated software with programming, but refusing to learn the basics of a digital camera or Microsoft Office is a big fat no. Sorry, just not buying it.
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  5. #5
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    ugh, a new director with new "tech" standards... let people work they way they want, don't force your technology on anyone! I for one still keep a paper calendar and wouldn't want to do it any other way. If it aint broke don't fix it I say.

    ...nothing worse that a "newbie" coming in and trying to "fix" everything! UGH! I am glad I don't work there.

    EDIT: I usually resist new technology because it usually makes my life more difficult, not easier. I don't like headaches. Every once in a while their are exceptions (example: email) which I find my self liking. But just because something is "new," it does not mean it is "better."
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Asking someone to also enter their schedules onto a group calendar on a network is not asking a heck of alot. Same goes for the basics of word processing, spreadsheets, or a digital camera. If they are that complicating, then ask questions and someone should be more than willing to help out. It's not like dandy is asking them to redesign a website, install a network server, learn a new programming machine, find a cure for the flu, toilet train chimps, etc.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  7. #7
    Working in a bureaucratic environment is stressful enough with all the little things you're forced to do that aren't necessary. They could be just putting their foot down and resisting all those little tasks that only distract them from their main objectives, and not necessarily resisting "technology" itself.

    On another note: believe it or not, there are many types of technologies, and some of the old ones are better than the new ones. Just because you use new stuff doesn't automatically obligate everyone else to jump on the bandwagon. Outlook sucks, IMO, and I would rather use a physical calender and Rolodex.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    The issue seems to be the appropriate adoption of new technology. I, for one, have never been a fan of coding my phone to let people know that I am gone for the week, in a meeting this afternoon, out to lunch, or just stepped away to grab something from the copier. I have voicemail and I return most calls within hours, or a day if I am traveling. There really is no appreciable benefit to the added work of continually changing my phone message, so why would I adopt the technology? This is especially true if I am going to be gone for days and do not want people to know that.

    On the other hand, electronic calendars are a useful tool within an office, to let other workers know each others schedules and make it easy to arrange meetings. I can simply bring up the calendars of the people I need, find a time when everyone is available, and schedule a meeting with a client on the spot. It saves a great deal of time and provides the client with excellent service. In the same way, a digital camera is a time saver, provides better quality images, and records other important information (such as the date the photo was taken) that can be important.

    The biggest issue I have with technology, though, is that often the people using it do not learn the fundementals. I have used the example of GIS before. People are now trained on using GIS, but not on making maps. The result is that I too often see some very poorly composed maps. Excel is another one where I see problems. It is a great program and can eliminate the need for doing time-consuming computations. The problem is that people who do not understand the math cannot look at the results and question whether they are correct.
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  9. #9
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    The advantage of an Outlook calendar (at least on an exchange server or a network) is not primarily for the individual to do their job - it's for the group or department to work better together. It would be impossible for someone to work in my firm and not use their Outlook calendar, because that's how everyone else schedules meetings, lets others know when they're in various meetings, out of the office, on vacation, etc. You don't need to check in with each person or make phone calls to find a good time for a meeting, you simply check to see when everyone is available (and even that is automated) and schedule the meeting. If everyone uses it, it makes everyone's job easier, but just one person opting out negates most of the benefit. I don't think it's out of line at all to force someone to use it.

    Edit - Cardinal said basically everything that I did.
    Last edited by CJC; 11 Jan 2010 at 1:02 PM.
    Two wrongs don't necessarily make a right, but three lefts do.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    I'm with CJC and Cardinal. It's not really a "resistant to technology" issue; it's more about the ability of staff to function as part of a team. They need to understand why tools like Outlook Calendar are important, and if they truly have difficulty, provide them with some training.

  11. #11
    In my office we have a large calender board in the production area where we all put our schedule blocks, contact info, etc. It shows three months at a time. Yeah, believe it or not, things like this still exist. Pretty wild, huh?

  12. #12
    Cyburbian azmodela's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by H View post
    ugh, a new director with new "tech" standards... let people work they way they want, don't force your technology on anyone! I for one still keep a paper calendar and wouldn't want to do it any other way. If it aint broke don't fix it I say.

    ...nothing worse that a "newbie" coming in and trying to "fix" everything! UGH! I am glad I don't work there.

    EDIT: I usually resist new technology because it usually makes my life more difficult, not easier. I don't like headaches. Every once in a while their are exceptions (example: email) which I find my self liking. But just because something is "new," it does not mean it is "better."
    Old school... why not get up with the times! Sounds like the stereotypical bureaucratic planner from the 70's. Put down The Journal of Urban Renewal, and step out from behind that gray steel desk!

  13. #13
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by azmodela View post
    Old school... why not get up with the times! Sounds like the stereotypical bureaucratic planner from the 70's. Put down The Journal of Urban Renewal, and step out from behind that gray steel desk!
    Funny, "Journal of Urban Renewal"! But you actually do not have me pegged correctly at all.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  14. #14
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    In my office we have a large calender board in the production area where we all put our schedule blocks, contact info, etc. It shows three months at a time. Yeah, believe it or not, things like this still exist. Pretty wild, huh?
    And that's fine, but it still makes everyone get up and go to the production area every time that they need to schedule something. Also, this may not apply to some folks here (either because of access issues, or something else), but it's nice to be able to log in from home and check the schedules for the next few days when you're discussing vacation/dentist/whatever plans with family and friends.

    I think the difference we're talking about here is that your entire office is on one system that you're all comfortable with, where Dandy's office is partially on one system, with a few stragglers refusing to join that system.
    Two wrongs don't necessarily make a right, but three lefts do.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally posted by CJC View post
    And that's fine, but it still makes everyone get up and go to the production area every time that they need to schedule something. Also, this may not apply to some folks here (either because of access issues, or something else), but it's nice to be able to log in from home and check the schedules for the next few days when you're discussing vacation/dentist/whatever plans.
    There are advantages and disadvantages for either method. I prefer having at least a few things I DONT have to do on my computer. I don't need to spend more time on this thing, sitting here all day. I already do enough, as exemplified by these posts.

  16. #16
         
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    Man, I'm only 33 (two years out of grad school), but I keep a paper calendar -- always have. Heck, I even write everything (including neighborhood plans) out by hand before typing them. You guys are making me feel like a relic.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally posted by danthonyjr View post
    Man, I'm only 33 (two years out of grad school), but I keep a paper calendar -- always have. Heck, I even write everything (including neighborhood plans) out by hand before typing them. You guys are making me feel like a relic.
    Don't feel bad. Doing things by hand forces you to think more and gets your eyes off the damn screen.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by danthonyjr View post
    Heck, I even write everything (including neighborhood plans) out by hand before typing them.
    That defeats the whole copy/paste thing most consultants do



    oh snap...the secrets out..end communication
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  19. #19
    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    That defeats the whole copy/paste thing most consultants do



    oh snap...the secrets out..end communication
    Giving all our trade secrets out, I see.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    That defeats the whole copy/paste thing most consultants do



    oh snap...the secrets out..end communication
    Hahhahaa.

    I used to work for a township with a common name that appears in zoning code boilerplate. Let's call it Stone.

    Brand new ordinance re-write, and I spent some time reviewing it. The section on soils and masonry just did not make any sense, since the consultant had run a search & replace on the word (initial caps). That plus the amount of gibberish picked up from the various templates utilized...I sure hope the board didn't enact it.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    I am the department director (age 59) and in our staff meeting last week the whippersnappers in my office (including my 54-year old senior planner) were pushing me to use the electronic calendar so they could schedule meetings. I use a "Pocket Pal" (easy, RJ ) calendar and it works just fine ... for me. Later in the meeting we were discussing a meeting we wanted to schedule, and I said, "Well, let's just check our calendars. Oh, wait: you can't. I can. [Looking at my calendar:] That time will work for me."

    That day I surrendered and entered all my stuff on the electronic calendar. It only makes sense so everyone can know what days and times are available. I still will use my pocket calendar, too, since I often am out of the office when I have to set up appointments for myself.

    And no PDA's or any such things for our office. This is at the order of the CM, who is a technophile, but not a buy-expensive-toys-phile.

    Continuing the OT: search and replace is not perfect. Consultants destroyed their credibility when search and replace missed a few times that the name of another town was mentioned in our "custom-tailored" report.

  22. #22
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    If they won't use Outlook then get one of those massive 3 month at a time calendars that someone in here mentioned, assign each person a color and have them hand write their meetings schedules up there - it's the same thing as Outlook but more low-tech

    and you shouldn't be scheduling meetings yourself anyway - delegate that to someone who refuses to use Outlook and see how fast a Doodle dot com shows up in your inbox

  23. #23
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    That defeats the whole copy/paste thing most consultants do



    oh snap...the secrets out..end communication
    Newsflash--we already know.

  24. #24
    Dilbert


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    Image hotlinking (aka image leeching) without express permission is not permitted here. I have to give you a yellow card:



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    Last edited by mendelman; 11 Jan 2010 at 6:36 PM.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    That defeats the whole copy/paste thing most consultants do



    oh snap...the secrets out..end communication
    If only communities would check...

    There is a consultant in this state who constantly recycles language and images in its reports. One I compete with on the national level actually cut and pasted dozens of pages from a BEA web site with ne new analysis provided. I have now read 14 research reports from another consultant where the first 2/3 of the report is identical and the remainder is weak, at best, and also very similar among the reports.

    It is not enough to call references, since most of the time those references are not aware that they received junk. Dig up the consultant's past reports and compare the contents. When you find one that does not plaigerize or use boilerplate, then short-list them.
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