dannykos wrote:I do agree that we make good use of modern technology from an 'outward facing' perspective - but we still seem to be fairly limited in our ability to use technology to actually minister & administer in the kingdom.
I do agree there is more that can be done in this area and I think the "insiders" will be the first to admit this. I think the truth is that the church's IS department is spread so widely across so many important systems and projects and to do it all and do it faster would require a massive expansion.
In order to both be prudent with the resources and also achieve more the church recognised the so far "untapped" resources that exists amongst the many willing members to help out which is why the "Community Projects" has started (can be seen here
It is a brilliant idea of how we can all help to influence and create the future tools to be used by members and leaders. Some can develop, others can test and others can document or help to define the requirements.
dannykos wrote:For example, as a Bishop - it would be great to be able to sit at my desk in bishopric meeting, or PEC etc - and be able to look up pertinent information from a networked laptop, or whatever - rather than having to either open up a folder, and leaf through (hopefully) up-to-date printouts; or - to have to pause the meeting, while someone heads next door - logs on, and finds the info that we need.
Having been in the same situation I do agree there is room for more functionality here. Could a part solution be that the church starts to issue laptops instead of desktop PC's (since they are now cheaper) to units when they need to be replaced?
The local unit software is clearly recognised as being an important step but it is by no means an easy, quick or cheap tool to create and hence why we will not see a short term solution.
dannykos wrote:Or, for the over 50% of the church, with no current access to ward/stake websites - it would be great to have a functioning & exportable calendar. The current solution on lds.org.uk seems to have little or no takeup, as it just isn't fit for purpose.
And that is exactly what the current development with the new local unit system is trying to achieve (see the project page here
I really like the way they have taken onboard the "google calendar thinking" here to allow you to have multiple calendars overlaying each other as it creates the ability for each aux or organisation to create their own calendars and then each person will have their own combined calendar depending on what is important to them. Brilliant addition.
I would encourage you (as well as anybody else) to participate in these projects, to look at what is planned and come with specific suggestions to what should be added of things that will make a difference.
dannykos wrote: I don't mean to moan, but on the one hand - we talk about massive potential growth through increased retention, reactivation and convert bapstims etc. On the other hand though, I'm just not convinced I have the tools at my disposal to help support that.
Dont get me wrong, I use technology all the time (PDA, laptop, countless spreadsheets, various collaboration and sync tools etc) to make me more effective and have all the information ready at hand when I need it but personally (and its only my opinion) I prefer to chair meetings around a table that is not filled with people tapping away on laptops to look up information, typing up notes etc (I fear it could lead to that) as I find there is something more spiritual about coming best prepared with pen and paper and a few relevant printouts related to the meeting agenda published beforehand.
I don't understand what bottleneck we currently have that these extra tools will fix and give us "massive potential growth through increased retention, reactivation and convert baptisms" but I am open for the suggestions to this vision.
However, if the tools are different and if they would instead "prescribe the way" to teach our members how to be better prepared for meeting, visits and follow-up to assignments given or received then I can 100% understand it "might" make a difference (a smart and simple task assignment system, linked to meetings, agendas, minutes) then I am onboard.
I am talking about the software dictating a more structured way for us to work with each other but if the leaders felt this would conflict with D&C 58:26-27 then I can also understand that.
Much of this can already be achieved if you use a good Clerk/Exec Sec to keep track of assignments etc in a Word/Excel documents but software could help make it more visible so people are more alert to the things that needs doing.
I do think it is relevant that you are bringing up these issues because it is clear the rest of the world could also benefit from the use of some of these tools available in the US and hopefully the church will recognise the benefit of being more open with even their internal project plans so we can better understand and appreciate where we are and plan accordingly rather than being a bit in the dark.