Jargon of the Day: Holistic

Jargon: Holistic
Translation: I think holistic may not actually be jargon, since it’s used to mean what it actually means – whole or all-encompassing. People like to talk about a holistic approach to problem solving, which generally just means trying address multiple issues at the same time. Holistic always sounds like a junk word to me, though, like people just throw it in to sound important.

Jargon of the Day: Operationalize

Jargon: Operationalize

Translation: This piece of jargon bugs me because it used to have a meaning and it doesn’t any more. The original meaning was pleasingly specific and complex. It meant finding a way to measure a nebulous concept. For example, you might want to measure a nation’s level of happiness. You could operationalize that – find something to measure – by using the number of cheerful songs played on national radio, or the number of depression diagnoses.

That useful definition, however, is now long gone. Instead, operationalize means whatever people want it to mean. Usually they use it to mean something like implement, operate, or do.

Jargon of the Day: Silo/siloing

Jargon: Silo or siloing

Translation: Means exactly the same as stovepipe/stovepiping. Which I suppose is logical because both are long skinny things. I find myself enraged, though, that we went to the effort of developing and using two different jargony terms for the same pretty straightforward concept. It seems like a deliberate attempt to make discussions as difficult as possible for outsiders.