Why the world doesn’t work

I was a member of the Information Technologies Association of PEI for a year. I stopped being a member after I attended my first annual meeting: I showed up at the Elfin-Pekeha Room to what could have passed for a meeting of the board of IBM in 1952 — everyone was dressed in the same grey double-breasted suit and they all looked Very Serious. I stayed for 15 minutes.
It was much the same experience that caused me to abort my jog down the path towards becoming a kindergarden teacher: I liked the work, but I could never picture myself hanging out in the staff room for 40 years with my fellow students — people whose primary rationale for going into teaching was a fondness for their own school days.
All of whch makes it slightly more ironic that I was contracted last year to consult with ITAP on matters which included the design of their website, which was generally recognized by the members as needing some updating. The problem ITAP was having was that they couldn’t figure out an equitable way of choosing which of their members would get the contract to redesign the site (who does the Chefs Association get to cater their meetings?).
My suggestion? Take all of ITAP’s members and put them up at Dalvay for 3 days with all the gear and facilitators they need to cooperatively design their website together. Why? You solve the problem of who to choose by choosing nobody. You build fraternity, with the suits set aside, among members. And, more than anything else, in one experience you create something which showcases the Island IT industry’s primary calling card: the ability to marshall the collective powers of a bunch of micro-companies into a nimble, enviable powerhouse.
I’m sorry to report that they didn’t take my advice, and the website remains much the same as it ever was. I wonder why?


Sandy Peardon's picture
Sandy Peardon on December 6, 2003 - 17:52 Permalink

I would have to agree that ITAP needs to find a balance at their AGM between the “due diligence” reporting of the year’s business and making it more participant friendly.

But a boring AGM does not a bad association make. If you had given the meeting a chance (can you truly say that 15 minutes is giving a meeting a chance?) you would have appreciated more of what ITAP is doing for its members. You also would have heard our Guest Speaker, Ed Bernacki, an ideas consultant, talk about the need for creativity, especially how to implement that creativity. So you see, we are trying to evolve the “grey suit” mentality from within rather than walking out and saying that our association is a lost cause.

Also, ITAP approached some of the leading web developers in its membership and talked about a co-operative meaningful approach to developing a new itap.ca. We were told by those same leaders that it wouldn’t work. ITAP was told that we were being too idealistic. At the end of the day, ITAP can lead horses to water, but we can’t make them drink.

So, please, before you make proclamations that ITAP doesn’t listen to its membership, check out the facts.