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Minutiae, Rants

New is not necessarily better

I know you know that. But it’s still worth mentioning. Articles that are dated ‘2007′ get skipped over ever so quickly. We dismiss them as being ‘out of date’ and we move on to graze on fresher pastures.

We’ve had accidents in the past – we’ve read something, taken note and then passed it on to a friend or colleague, only to be told that ‘things have moved on since then‘. That piece you read on PlayStation shortages? That was last Christmas. That tip you passed on to your spouse about winter sports insurance? No longer relevant – out dated. That company announcement on your intranet that says you’re all getting new laptops and there’s a new Director of IT? Three – Years – Old.

We’ve all been burnt; we’ve all spent time and effort reading something, learning something and then finding that it’s out of date and completely useless to us. The risk of this happening is so great we eschew blog articles that are a few weeks old; we know the blogger is ‘churning out the good stuff’ on a daily basis, so we read the current articles and avoid the older ones.

Fair enough; financial information, contact details, software articles, hardware articles – these areas have a constant turn over of ‘new and improved’ material. But surely there’s no reason to fear, or even consider, the age of much of what we read?

There’s no way to ‘keep up’ with the Internet. You cannot view (never mind digest) every blog, news service and website out there. There’s no way to ‘keep up’ with the book publishing world either. Why is that when I’m reading a book from a famous author, people only care if it’s their ‘latest’ best seller? It’s as if they’re saying ‘why didn’t you read that 2005 book in 2005?‘. “Because I was reading a million other things!

An old book doesn’t become worse with age (although it can become inaccurate and the language can become outmoded of course), not when we’re just talking about a few years any way. What’s so bright and shiny about that author’s new book? Wasn’t their last book bright and shiny? I read books based on the genre and subject matter – I love imaginative writing of course, but I also like a good story too.

How many times has your company brought in a ‘new way of working‘ to increase efficiency and effectiveness? Each ‘new’ tool just moves the boxes around on the process map. Total Quality; Six Sigma; Lean; they’re all totally brilliant (because following a process ‘that works‘ is always better than ‘just doing what you feel like‘) but none of them are revolutionary, and none of them are appropriate for every company. The ‘new’ tool has to fit the aims of the company or it won’t work.

The ‘old’ ways of working might have been crap, but it’s not the ‘newness’ of the new ways that saves the day, it’s the thoughtfulness and bespoke design that fits the changing company today that creates change and efficiencies.

Don’t be seduced by the new; take a look at the bigger picture, the longer term, and dig down into the archives of your favourite blogs. Go, now.

[Wedge]

P.S. I’m moving home and so life is crazy right now; if you’ve contacted me about being a Guest Writer here at kilobox communiqué then I will be in touch, thanks ever so.

P.P.S. Don’t feel like being a Guest Writer? Would you do something else for me then – I need links! Please link to any of my decent articles – that’d make my day that would :)

About Wedge

I’m Wedge, and this is my website! I’ve worked within internal communications since 2004, managing intranets and digital comms. Now I’m a freelance comms and intranet specialist - I help organisations plan and improve their intranets. I work with other agencies, and write a lot of blog and magazine articles. I founded the Intranet Now conference. You can catch up with me on Twitter - I’m @Wedge.

One thought on “New is not necessarily better

  • Ha! A timely post Wedge, as I try to re-write last year’s surviving xmas article. It was fantastic the first time of course(!)so I’m doing my best to make it ‘new’ and ‘better’ while keeping much of the same old (and good) information.

    One thing that irritates me is when companies mess with their products to create something ‘new and improved’ – it’s just a marketing tool, and in reality there’s not a lot you can do to improve a baked bean or make it any ‘newer’.

    “If it ‘aint broken, don’t try to fix it.”

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