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The Bright Shiny New Toy Syndrome

The Bright Shiny New Toy Syndrome

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

In my world, I see lots of application of technology, some good, some not so good. Everyone is striving to use technology better, I get that. But there's a lot doing it without any type of structure, and so what happens is that we see people spend money on technology for reason we can't explain.

We call this “The Bright Shiny New Toy Syndrome

I’m sure you have all seen it… this line, is a tell tale sign… If you find yourself hearing, That’s what xxxxx school down the road has just purchased”.
You've probably already got one!
If you have only one, (1) then there is a chance you already have one. And, if it's in the corner collecting dust…. Guess what? You have definitely got one.

Now I'm not opposed to by technology… I have been known to do a few purchases of my own. But we have a process for evaluation and then if that product ticks all the boxes then we purchase for the purpose of demonstration.

So why is purchasing a bright shiny new toy such a trap?

  1. Rarely does a Bright Shiny new toy have too much depth of strategy.
  2. Typically it has been purchased by someone outside of the normal purchasing channels
  3. Most of the time it's a purchase allowed, so that it can keep someone happy, so its teacher specific.
  4. Almost never, does it integrate into systems that the school has already.
  5. It sets a precedent for the particular technology. I’ve seen this so many times and deal with it on a regular basis. A great technology partner will recommend a solution, specifically one that is best suited to the room as far as they know, but because the school might already have one, and it is sitting in the corner gathering dust, they won't entertain the idea. Side note - you will see there that I mentioned a “Great” Technology partner as opposed to a “good” technology Partner… why you may ask, well because a Great one will recommend a solution and a good one will just recommend a product that they know!

This is why it’s the bright shiny new toy!

So, what are the steps to take to make sure you are not just purchasing a Bright Shiny New Toy?

  1. Ensure all key people are involved in the conversation. This means, business manager, and potentially the principal, your IT manager, and it could and most likely will also be a head of Department. Make sure you know what you want to achieve by purchasing it.
  2. Stay within the normal purchasing channel parameters of the school, this means you have a better chance of managing the asset should the key user leave.
  3. Grow some balls! I know - I get it, sometimes it easier to just purchase it to keep people quiet. But depending on who you are reading this book, often its best to remove them from the school because they are already infectious. I also know… easier said than done!
  4. Definitely make sure there is training delivered and also ensure there is more than 1 person involved in it.

Following these basic rules won't guarantee you will fall victim of the “The Bright Shiny New Toy Syndrome”, but it will go a long way to making sure that your school doesn't end up with yet another piece of tech, pushed into the corner gathering dust and goes a long way to building credibility with key people when next time you actually want to make a purchase.

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