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In my line of work, It’s obvious that sometimes systems, software, products or processes are designed with ‘users’ in mind, and not human beings.  We get carried away with this vague notion of building something without thinking about how our nature (collective) and psychology will impact the thing we’re designing, or what the results of that interaction will be.

We’ve all seen very good examples of this:  Software (usually Microsoft, SAP or Oracle of old) who seem to have a very clever ‘ERP’ system which makes it as hard as possible for humans to use.  You’ve seen other examples no doubt – the door handle where a push is required (your instinct will be to pull).

In Change Management, I think we can be guilty of this too bizarrely. Yeah, yeah, we’re ALL ABOUT the humans. I do get that, but we, like any industry, risk developing an established set of methods, norms and protocols which may have once suited the people they were designed for. Once. Maybe. There’s no guarantee now of course.

Do I complete a Change Impact Assessment because it is what I’ve always done, or because it is right on this occasion? Do we design training in such a way because the humans in question will learn best like that?  In most circumstances, I’d say other factors get in the way of putting humans first.  We’re thinking about ‘users’ and about a sub-set of our nature, and how that little part will best interact with, learn, develop, evolve to like and use a new system, process or product.

Next time, I’ll think about the whole-view, and how the end goal we want to promote (better system use, new process implementation) affects the humans in question affects those people (not users) who’ll live with it.

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