A few days ago a friend asked me if I could explain the purpose of the chat function in Zoom. While it is a perfectly normal question, it also is a very telling one.
Tools are there to serve, that’s their purpose.
As automation progresses, there is a growing shift of perception towards the idea that tools do the work for us. As “marketing” progresses, the invitation to see tools as solution providers also generates a shift of perception.
Tools are there to support the work we do, make that work easier and sometimes even possible. The tool’s purpose within that work is thus established by the work we do. It is intention we’ll use to generate desired results.
Taking, for example, the chat function in Zoom, it basically allows exchanging text with other participants present in the same call. We’ll use it depending on our intention. If the meeting is facilitated, the facilitators could use it to coordinate their work. If the meeting is a live training session, the chat could be used to collect questions or answers.
The tools function limits purpose to a certain extent. Creativity expands the purpose of a tool beyond the visible limits of function.