There were a number of technologies that enabled the industrial revolution. While the cotton gin and steam engine were technologies in the sense that we usually think about them: as tangible machines – there were other technologies that played significant roles in the industrial revolution. Rather than being things we could touch and hold they were ideas that were used as windows for improving specific aspects of work performance.
Two examples of these intangible technologies are Fordism and Taylorism. Grossly simplified, Fordism is the standardization of product and the arrangement of work along assembly lines. Taylorism is the breaking down of jobs into individual parts, analysing and optimising these and, importantly, timing outputs (literally through the use of a stopwatch).
For working in a knowledge economy, for dealing with the intangibles of knowledge work, we need a new technology of this second kind. An idea and a window; a frame for seeing and, ultimately, acting.
Key: The Technology of Talk is a frame with which to see the world, to read the patterns of work well and make with our minds collectively.