A business starts when an isolated craftsman makes a unique product with his unique tools for his unique customers. To find out what the customer needs the craftsman and the customer start a dialogue. They are inventing new possibilities. Out of the process of invention new tools and new approaches emerge.
In the next stage craftsmen share their trade and move to the next level, a company. They sell and share experience to and with their clients. In a company specialization takes place. People are selling or taking care of infrastructure. To make specialization work a dialogue is needed. Specialists create their own language and don’t understand that their colleagues and their customers are doing the same. If the mapping of all the language does not take place the company will look like the Tower of Babel. It will end its activity in a conflict caused by mis-understanding.
If the dialogue is successful the company standardizes its services and creates a product. It moves to a new level, the factory. In a factory not only the processes are standardized but also the language. Specialists are replaced by software, machines and cheap labor. The employees are not users of tools but are controlled by tools. The replacement does not happen without conflicts. It causes a battlefield between two opposing powers, the employers and the employees.
By carefully analyzing all the processes, getting rid of all the waste, the employees are finally totally replaced by programmed machines. The factory moves to the level of the Utility. It becomes an invisible repeatable process. The process only shows itself to the human when it is out of order. Humans are totally dependent of utilities and a fatal error simply stops society. This generates an extreme level of collective stress.
In the next stage new craftsman emerge. They use of the new invisible, hidden, infrastructure to create new products. The cycle starts again.
Many companies are now transformed into factories and utilities. Cheap labor is provided by the new economic powers China and India. The standardization of the processes is accomplished by the implementation of packages. When the dialogue in the company is disturbed the implementation of the package results in a financial and social disaster.
The jump to the level of the factory generates a conflict and the shock of the conflict lowers the performance of the company. The transition to a factory is hard to sell to the employees and the middle managers. The reduction of the performance is not appreciated by the customers also. The customers want a predictable and gradual improvement of the performance.
Many companies are not suited to move to the level of the factory. They are providing a service. The specialists, knowledge-workers, are constantly innovating their processes.
The specialists are not helped by a standardized process, a method. Methods are not a mechanism to control. They are an educational instrument. When people learn a method they acquire experience. They make mistakes, learn and adapt the method. A dominating not adaptable toolset stops the innovation in a company.
Innovation cannot be stopped at the human level. Users start to look for an alternative to move on and abandon the dominating central infrastructure. They create work-environments of their own and connect them. The effect is a highly unbalanced infrastructue.
This has happened when the PC was introduced and will happen all the time when a new user-friendly toolset appears. At this moment many new collaborative toolsets appear on the Internet. They support the new craftsman, the knowledge-workers, in the service industry.
Many toolsets are available on the market. They are dominating, highly specialized and disconnected. The toolsets support different types of craftsman, different types of companies, different types of factories and different types of utilities.
They don’t support the dialogue to reach mutual understanding, collaboration and innovation. This causes unnecessary conflicts, stress and finally a total blockage of every activity an employee wants to start. The result is de-motivation and finally apathy. The employee just does what he is told to do. He is transformed into a machine.
We need a toolset that supports the gradual movement from the level of the craftsman to the level of the utility. This will create the harmony so many people are looking for.