Too many tools?

For some years part of my work has been to help people in organisations adopt new digital collaboration tools. There's a lot to learn and the newness can be uncomfortable. The objection that there are too many tools or work is becoming too fragmented often comes up.

How many gadgets do we have in our kitchens? Looking around now I can count nine electrical ones - from microwave to mixer, kettle to coffee maker. There are all sorts of other tools: on a wall rack there are almost a dozen knives for bread, meat, tomatoes...; on the top of a cabinet there are seven different pans; in the drawers there are hundreds of other gadgets for doing every imaginable job (including, my favourite, the gadget for getting stones neatly out of squidgy mangos).

Using these to make a meal involves dozens, sometimes hundreds, of very different operations requiring careful sequencing, coordinating and timing; but I can't remember anyone saying they have too many tools in their kitchen or that cooking is too fragmented. The reason is that we are familiar with the tools and over time we have become experts in cooking. We don't need to think about the tools or the processes very much.

Even with the diverse range of new and demonstrably effective work software, the staple of many working lives still involves producing documents with Word and emails with Outlook. And I can't help thinking... ok we only need a saucepan and a spoon for it but there's more to modern life than porridge.