Mimetic Desire at Work
The boomlet of people setting up hybrid offices post pandemic is a classic example of mimetic desire at work.
Luke Burgis’ book ‘Wanting‘ outlines the influence that mimetic desire has over our lives. The basic premise is that we get most of our ideas of what we want from models. We see something modeled and we decide that we want it. The media and the vendors feed into it.
The idea that new technology is needed for the new hybrid workplace is funny. There is a rational argument to make these changes in order for everyone to feel included..
However, it is wrapped in all kinds of assumptions. The biggest assumption is that meetings are generally productive. Meetings are kind of a communication theater.
Just about the last thing I would spend any money on is technology to improve meetings.
Hybrid meetings will bring the worst of both virtual and in person meetings together in one interminable mess of awkwardness.
It would be a much better use of money to improve every day communication. Get people talking to each other and opening up.
Find the things that are working, find the things that are not working…Test ideas… See what works and test again.
Big meetings are big batches with big queues of ideas stacking up… Best case outcome is that you have a big batch of ideas that need further explanation…Or you come in with a big batch of ideas and use a meeting to arbitrarily pare down the ideas to a manageable few.
But a lot of business activity is mimetic behavior. Doing what other businesses are doing just because you hear about them doing it. While there is no need to reinvent the wheel for everything, it is always a good to keep asking why do want to use that wheel.