Assimilation or Integration?
For those of you familiar with Star Trek you will immediately recognize the Borg phrase Resistance is futile. The full version is “We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.”[.
Is that how it feels for you as we undergo a period of change and is Integration a bit like the equation below?
Well what can the Borg add to this?
I decided to research this a bit more and see if the Borg approach to other species was just as simple as taking them over and those species who were assimilated losing identity and just becoming part of a big machine.
The Borg operates toward the fulfilment of one goal “achieving perfection”, they exhibit a rapid adaptability to any situation or threat, and they have an ability to continue functioning after what may seem a devastating or even fatal blow.
So what is the goal of Integration, I think most of us would agree that it is designed primarily to improve the delivery of high quality compassionate care by enabling all involved in delivering that care to function more collectively.
Resistance to the changes that integration brings may develop unless people think that they will make a powerful positive difference to patient care. We will also I think need to feel that changes will enable us to do our jobs better and maintain, strengthen and develop the key working relationships that high quality compassionate care is based on. To be able to operate compassionately is a key relational aspect to our character as human beings.
The strength of the Borg collective is a pervasive collective consciousness that enables all the drones to feel what the other drones are experiencing, in the collective each individual is given constant supervision and guidance, being part of the collective consciousness offers advantages to the individual drones. Does being part of something bigger benefit you in delivering compassionate care and what are those key relationships that help you achieve that goal?
The Borg are more interested in assimilating technology than people and they don’t assimilate any old species only those who might add to their overall goal of progress towards a more efficient way and achieving perfection. At times the outcomes and progress we are chasing seem more about productivity, efficiency and cost effectiveness, and perhaps less explicitly so about high quality compassionate care.
Pursuing high quality compassionate care should deliver productivity and efficiency so perhaps assimilating those aspects of how we all do our work into a collective approach that delivers high quality compassionate care will be helpful.
So assimilation or integration or is it a bit of both
Looking up definitions of these we find it most commonly is applied to questions of immigration, culture and identity
Questions about culture and identity are fundamental as we go through this process, how we react to that will to some extent define whether we experience assimilation or feel that we have become integrated into a bigger whole that displays parts of our unique culture and contribution in fulfilling our goal.
The Borg operates on a basis of collaboration and this is built on mutual altruism, mutual concern and mutual support which are focused on achieving their goal. Can we do the same?
Euan McLeod is a Senior Project Officer for the National Bed Planning Toolkit