We Are Not Decision Makers

Once up on a time I was having lunch with a colleague of mine. His company was exploring new options in GIS systems. The new software worked fine on linux servers, but they were spending all this time trying to get it to work with their windows 2000 server. The Linux version was more stable, had more support from the development community, and just plain worked. I asked him why they didn’t just try and install it using linux. He answered, “Well, you know we’re not the decision makers here…”

We aren’t decision makers? We can’t even suggest ideas that might benefit the company? If businesses are run by ideas, why are the owners the only people who get to have them? When did we give ourselves a pass to have this kind of thinking?

The only explanation I can think of is that we got soft. Corporate hierarchies work really well when the business model basically prints money and you don’t want anyone to mess with the formula. Now times are different. We live in a post-industrial society. You can’t make your way by digging more ditches or lifting more boxes. Most of that work is going to be automated soon anyway. So many things have been built, wrapped in so many rules and red tape that it seems like people aren’t needed any more.

But people are necessary, now more than ever.

As our power to do things with machines has grown, the abilities of machines have become devalued. What good is one computer or software program when there are over 100 million just like it? What has become more rare and valuable are the things that only humans can do. Like coming up with ideas.