Whereas technology is a physical embodiment of information, technique is a direct application of information (in the form of a service).
For example: a pre-processed food product is a technology, so to speak, while the ability to prepare a meal, ‘just-in-time’ (J.I.T) is a technique.
With the processed food, a frozen prepared dinner, the ‘information’ content is embodied … and takes place in the factory – actually, the ‘high-tech’ technology is behind the scenes.
By comparison, the ‘J.I.T’ preparation of food … the culinary technique is equally ‘high-tech’ in a different way: the knowledge/skills required to prepare and cook a meal is quite sophisticated.
Technique is a form of ‘information technology, and can be very ‘high-tech’.
Unfortunately, as a society, we’ve come to value technology but have difficulty acknowledging the value of technique. As a result, there seems to be a bias that favours the physical embodiment of technological products.
Take note of the government support for ‘Green Technologies’, or the various categories for government economic stimulus initiatives … where do services ‘fit in’? Do they? Similarly, investors and venture capitalists focussing on ‘green tech’.
This is a vitally important issue, since we need more services in order to provide employment to a growing population and serve their needs.
We need an equal appreciation of the ‘high-tech’ of technique. We need a widespread acknowledgement of the technique involved in services, and their true value to society.
As a society, we need to ‘de-couple’ the economy from physical matter/energy resources.
We need an ‘information intense’ economy … we need to emphasize the ‘direct application’ of information of services.
By doing so, we can generate value for people, directly, with minimal extraction, throughput and disposal of physical matter resources. This is prime example of optimization: making the best possible use of our knowledge/skills … information … to Maximize socio-economic value, while minimizing energy/matter resources and waste.
[The best way to minimize waste is to minimize the use of physical matter/energy in the first place. This is a primary means of Maximizing profit, and ought to be commonplace in management practice.]
Services, in this sense, are very much ‘non-consumptive’ of physical resources, and thus are very ‘low-impact’. The focus on services is essential to move towards sustainability and a resilient society.
The key is to design services which provide high-value to paying customers to generate the financial flow to support high-paying employment for the greatest possible overall socio-economic value … through the economic ‘multiplier’ effect.
We need to acknowledge and appreciate the ‘high-tech’ of technique.