The other morning, I rather crankily tweeted, “I’m trying to write about barriers to adoption, thinking about technology + new business practices. Not that pleasant of a way to start day.”

A day or two later, someone tweeted back, “I would be interested to hear from you on what you learn about technology adoption.”

Image courtesy of San Diego Historical Society

This is interesting to me in a couple of ways. First, I like (a lot) that it’s possible to have conversations across the network, even with people I haven’t met, about substantial topics. I can sometimes learn surprising things or make useful connections.

The other aspect I like is that the comment, coming a while after my quip, made me rethink what I’d said. It caused me to consider that, indeed, I might be on a path toward learning some new things, and not just facing a bunch of barriers.

This thinking about barriers has been in the context of working on a Next Generation Technical Services (NGTS) task force. I wrote about NGTS back in June when the Round Two groups were just getting started. These teams have been tasked with proposing transformational change, and they have just submitted their final reports.  For each of the recommendations, they were asked to consider and discuss benefits including cost savings and avoidances, barriers to adoption and or implementation, how current processes will change and how those changes will impact our users. As these discussions progressed, it became abundantly clear that not all the recommended changes would be technological. Many would be alterations to current workflows and/or business practices.

The teams doing these analyses understood their reports might encounter pushback. Indeed, as noted, they were expressly asked to identify barriers to adoption. In my view, the step of quantifying the cost savings and cost avoidances–actually putting a pricetag onto the recommended change is a very powerful tool in facing resistance.  With this information, everyone knows how much the pushback costs, what the cost is of not overcoming the barriers.

So, if we don’t learn about technology–or new business practice–adoption, as my tweeting partner is hoping I will do, but instead we learn about change resistance, we will know exactly what that is costing us. We will have our eyes wide open.