Mind your Language!

The BBC started yesterday by asking what really annoys you in the office.  Being too noisy, quiet, untidy, inconsiderate, polite all featured but the one that struck a chord with me was the use of jargon and management language, for me you can add the use of acronyms, unnecessary metaphors and drawing speech marks in the air to that particular list.

Model T Ford
State Library of Queensland

In a recent IISaM working group meeting the phrase ‘lets not reinvent the wheel’ was used eight times in the space of 2 hours.  Not only lazy but also untrue, if the automotive industry had not spent over 100 years redefining and reinventing the combustion engine we would all still be driving around in Model-T Fords with wooden wheels. 

So what is the answer?

Pick your reinventions carefully.  Leicestershire County council had a perfectly serviceable ‘wheel’ in their overarching information sharing protocol.  At 70ish pages it covered every eventuality but on careful inspection didn’t actually ask anyone to do or take responsibility for anything.  The result of the reinvention is that they are now moving towards a four page protocol that sets out what partners are asked to do as part of the protocol and charges the signatory with making sure it happens.  A successful reinvention I think.

What about training?  There is so much training around and we have reinvented the way we deliver it to give so much on line training in information management and security that no-one need ever stand up and give that training ever again……or do they?  At a recent IISaM event, practitioners bemoaned the loss of face to face training where you could ask questions and explore nuances with a well prepared and knowledgeable trainer. Has the time come to reinvent this particular wheel again? 

People at an IISaM event
People at the North West IISaM event

Surely on line annual training will keep regulators happy and put a ‘tick in the box’ (did you see what I did there!!) with follow up face to face training every couple of years to make sure that people have the opportunity to ask questions and engage properly with the subject.

As we all prepare for the European Union Data Protection Directive to reinvent the wheel that is the Data Protection Act lets hope that someone also helps to sow the seeds of change in our information sharing culture by calling this new improved wheel The Data Sharing Act or renaming the Caldicott Guardians as Caldicott Providers.

Well I think I’ll ‘box this off’ for now and hope this discussion has allowed you to ‘push the envelope’ or ‘think outside the box’.  If you want to talk about this further maybe we should ‘take this off line’ and ‘touch base’ some time soon.