Why the Noun Interoperability is Pointing Us in the Wrong Direction

Language is not only a way to communicate but also a glimpse into how we think. Our choice of words reveals the way in which we understand the underlying subject matter. This could not be more true than with the word, interoperability. It is not that interoperability isn’t a noble and worthy goal. The challenge is that it comes with assumptions. For something to be interoperable, it assumes that the “exchange” is occurring between two fixed systems. Our goal is to push things back and forth between these systems. In my mind, the more powerful piece of the definition of the adjective, interoperable, is the second part, “make use of information.”

If our goal is to make use of information, then current approaches to interoperability will simply not get us where we need to go.

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