CRT: instrument or platform?
As we are now in the midst of developing the foundation of the Centraal Register Techniek (Central Register of the Technology Sector), it is easy to see our initiative as a tool. We are busy connecting source organizations and features, such as our ID service, subscriptions for professionals and a better web application for businesses. All features we think will be of use to users.
That's exactly where it goes wrong. 'What we think ...', that's 'instrument thinking'. That we think we know what users need. And yes, we too have done research in the field into what functionality is desired and created user stories from that. But I am firmly convinced that if we had chosen companies and professionals with a different profile, other wishes would have emerged. If the starting point is our tool and we want to fill it with meaningful functionality, we will certainly do well for one target group and be inadequate for another. But then what? Surely this is already a neat approach to arriving at a desired tool? Is there a better way then? The fact of doing it right for one and not for another is universal, isn't it?
We have been trying for some time to think this fact around. What if we don't take ourselves as a starting point. And if we don't start from functions for users, but from the interactions that users have and in which we only facilitate those interactions. Then you start thinking from a platform point of view instead of only instrumental. This may be a tricky concept to follow for a while. But a user of a platform experiences pleasure when the platform helps them interact with others. AirBNB helps landlords get customers, and customers get a nice temporary home. But the platform also helps local entrepreneurs by bringing them to the attention of renters and travel agents to customers.
The CRT doesn't just want to make qualifying data insightful. We want to use our data and smart services to bring fun and usefulness to all the interactions our target groups have with each other. So professionals with professionals, professionals with clients, trainers with participants, industry associations with professionals and any other relationships you can make with our target groups. We don't make this up behind our desks. We are going to work with them ourselves to map out these platform interactions. We will do this soon with all the organizations in the qualifying field. On March 11 and April 15 in the afternoon we will organize two work sessions to work out with the field what the platform interactions are for these users. The next step is functionality. And then functionality that is really desired by the users.
This is platform work. Quite a job and even then we will have to learn through trial and error how to be of real use to the installation sector. However, I am convinced that it is already better than 'instrument thinking', with the conviction of knowing what the field is waiting for.