One bright morning in 2016, I walked into a large dim hall. The walls were plastered with large TV screens, all the way to the ceiling. They displayed a set of live maps and bright charts. I could see how cities were performing. I could drill down from an overview to the specifics. I could observe if people and processes were functioning as planned.
It was a flashback moment that reminded me of a bright morning in 2006 when I escorted a client to a Network Operations Centre. Similar walls, screens, maps and charts. I could show how the nodes of a global computer network were performing. I could explain if the machines and connections were functioning as planned. One was a network of people and processes, the other a network of machines and protocols.
What were the differences? Did the network of people have more agency than the network of machines? Was the people network better at leveraging the ingenuity of diverse minds? Was the people network focussed on nurturing dignity? Did the processes offer more and better choices to people to apply judgement and act?
Dashboards help me monitor and report change. However, because I have the tools to report the change, I should not assume that I am the one making the change. I must focus on enabling the people who are making the change. Can I design the maps and charts to understand if the agency of people making the change is improving?