An encounter with dialogue and technology

I have thought about dialogue for a long time. This began during a stint working for an Internet Company, “Collaborative Structures”. This company was all about collaboration for teams of designers and builders. The teams consisted of contractors, engineers, architects, property owners, and other subcontractors as needed and depending on the job.

We offered a software that would enable teams to share information and discussion online. This in theory would help them expedite projects at lower cost. Meetings face to face in theory were minimized, mistakes minimized, etc.

What I learned by this experience is that the communication tool, which can be as sophisticated as an online application or a face to face meeting is as good as the players and their commitment to listening and sharing clearly so the other person understands.

As they say in software, tools are only as good as the users. And when it comes to dialogue –  or the opportunity to walk away with learning or share something of significance, the perspective and thought about how best to have this exchange is more important than the tool itself. For thinking about the tool is part of that preparation.

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