Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Just over the next hill ... is a new hill

We live in an age of reorganisation, makeovers, re-engineering and reinvention. Just over the next hill, after this reorganisation, when we've implemented the new quality assurance system ... we will find the promised land where everything works and everyone knows exactly their role. From a personal to a societal level we are constantly chasing our own tails in the hope that we can finally make it to Nirvana. There's a constant stream of books, courses, models and systems that can help us change and a thriving industry in inspirational lectures and conferences. We all naturally want to succeed but maybe we need to realise that we will never reach that ultimate perfection. Basically life is work in progress and we never really get beyond a beta version (though it may be an exceptionally good version), at least this time round.

This is nicely illustrated in a post by David Truss, Perpetual beta, on the subject of teaching where examples of best practice are held up as ideals. He finds this concept rather misleading because it suggests that there is an answer rather than best practice being the best available right now for a particular group in a particular situation. Your best practice may not work for me and vice versa. Again it's work in progress and practice is constantly being refined and tweaked. Truss sums this up as best practice is still just practice.

" ... we shouldn’t necessarily be talking about best practice. More practice can always help us improve on the best way(s) that we currently know of. So, in effect, the current ‘best’ usually isn’t the future best practice. This leads us to being in perpetual beta, experimenting and doing things differently."

Of course we learn from others and we can gain inspiration from good examples but maybe the adjective best is the illusion. Best can always be better.


  1. "...maybe the adjective best is the illusion. Best can always be better."

    In one-and-a-half sentences, you have eloquently added to, and clarified, what I was trying to say... always beta! :)