Today’s Fast Change falls into the, “this is totally practical” category.
So you have a hybrid or, better, a fully electric, car and you neglected to plug it in last night. In the future (as in now, of course the Google execs are already using their own version), not to worry, the MANHOLES will charge your car! So basically every time you sit at a stoplight or park your car in just the right place, you get some extra juice.
This is funny because a few months back I put my WII remote on the conductive charging pad and thought, “how cool would it be to do this with an electric car”. Footfall for electricity was my other thought that ended up happening.
I know where you are going with this manhole cover for power thing. That would be way too expensive. Just another thing to add to the price of my next car. Who is going to pay for the electricity? I can just imagine the jerk who won’t move on a green light.
All change starts with an idea. Defining the idea begins the change process. When one or two people beside the idea originator say, “that’s cool” or “that just might be possible” actual change has begun. Fast Change Around Us- Wireless Manhole Covers.
It had to happen.
Pizza cutting absolutely HAS to be accurate.
When I create a pizza from scratch (even the dough- impressed?) I want my slices to come to the guests in front of the TV Laser Perfect.
(Actually not, but I think I need this tool).
Finally we have the tool for that.
Sometimes change just does not come Fast Enough.
Behold the laser pizza cutter!!
I wonder if we could use this or at least something with laser on it for change?
- Cut through the pile of solutions to get to root causes.
- Aim the dot at that one stakeholder that is bound to hold this thing up and then cut a path to participation.
- Cut out all of the things that are historical and extraneous to the future (in perfect disposable slices).
- Cut off a big slice of executive pay- this disparity really has gotten extremely ridiculous.
- Cut out a slice of down time for everyone in perfectly spaced increments.
- Cut out all the overlapping technology.
- Cut out the middle people (I guess I should be careful with that- theoretically I am a form of a middle person).
- Cut out the whining, into little teeny slices that we could just fling into the wind.
The Laser Pizza Cutter! We SO needed this. Fast Change Around Us has come through again.
On my return from a speaking engagement recently my kids made a bee line to my brand new conference bag. (You know the one that goes straight to the goodwill pile). Kids KNOW there will be tchotchkes in there! My oldest found the conference pen that, “OMG has a stylus, that is SO cool!”.
She spent a day or two running around with that stylus pen texting all her friends.
It turns out the stylus has some history:
- Egyptians used reeds from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers for styli. In some ways clay tablets are not so different from screens.
- Up to the late Middle Ages you could use a stylus on a wax tablet.
- Styli are used for pottery, tracing designs on carbon paper and embossing.
- Remember those styli that gave us music?
And, of course, the kind we think of, computer styli.
First the stylus was an actual writing implement, then drawing got added as a use, computers came along and it became a tapping device, then drawing got added, now you can tap and draw (and letter if you want) on the same device.
The fast change for the stylus used for a phone is kind of comical:
I remember my first Treo had an oh-so-cool slot on the side of the phone to store the stylus!
Then styli disappeared (when was the last time you saw someone use one?).
Phones had to have styli because they were so small, then screens got bigger so they were not needed. But the keys stayed about the same size (why is it that women seem to be texting more than men? Gender or finger size?). It takes forever to hunt and peck (an antiquated term for typing) with a stylus, but is much more accurate than the three-key-with-one-finger method.
First those styli were cool. Then they were not. Now they are, but only if you are 12. (and not likely for very long at that).
Fast Change Around Us- the stylus that appears, disappears and reappears.
As an intermediate school kid I wrote a science fiction story about a world where humans were able to generate electricity through walking on special floors and exercise on machines that stored the power (treadmills, rowing machines etc.). A totally whimsical made up idea. Today I thought, “could this be possible”? Expecting some long physics explanations about how this is not possible (which I found) I got a gem, for different reasons than you may think.
The power of footfalls.
First, good for Elizabeth for taking a scientific shot at this. Second, (go to the link) why are people so cranky? Read the comments. Either a lot of snooty scientists or people who like to shoot down ideas. Scientists out there give us some examples of things that overturned the physics of their time…
I made the mistake of looking at the dates of the comments. 2008. So the idea died (right after that 7th grader wrote it down?).
Aha! Good for Google (and shame on you nasty comment people from the past). It actually happened. Fast Change Around Us footwork!
This could have been a Wednesday Wonderfully Disillusioned post heavy on the wonderful.
The second half of my mini 7th grade book was a world where people were hired to create energy for others. They were the modern Greek athletes toned and leaned to perfection. The more efficient their bodies were the more money they made and the more famous they got. Hey I was a 7th grade boy it was a fun end state!
Fast Change Around Us naysayers beware. You might just be proven wrong and petty in your stubbornness. Foot power is a good example.
Guess what lots of people around you now never use?
I know, right?
Surprised me too, the first time someone brought this up.
Then I started looking around. No watches.
(OK to be fair, no watches on anyone less than 40).
I keep looking and almost feel sorry for those people I find that do have watches. That is like being fully clothed at a nudist colony. Or finding yourself in a crowd unclothed.
What happened? What caused this Fast Change Around Us?
Screens. Screens all over the place have time on them. Phones certainly do. All of our fancy computers do. TV’s flash the time for certain things. We still have clocks everywhere (they will likely have some staying power).
Really, honestly, there is very little reason to have a watch anymore.
Except as a statement. Which brings us right to change and change management.
A watch will always be able to satisfy the function of time keeping- anywhere (even under water or in space). A watch will always be a fashion (whether it is fashionable or not is debatable). So, someone will ALWAYS wear a watch. And some people will ALWAYS wear watches.
Think about watches and then think about some things that become change initiatives. Is that new technology a quality functional replacement? Will the new function destroy previous form (is someone going to always want to wear a watch)? Does the new change have a form of its own? Can that become fashionable? Are you forcing everyone to “take off their watches” knowing that they will now have to carry a phone around (that is about 5 times bigger)? Can you justify adding things against that which is different?
If I don’t use all the stuff on my phone does it just make sense to have a watch?
Which, of course, is the drumroll for the Dick Tracy watch-that-is-a-phone. Cue Apple (of course).
Are you wearing a watch right now? If not you are part of the watch-less fast change around us movement.
Personally I have never been a mouse user.
But I bet if you eliminated mice forever there would be a loud scream heard worldwide.
Every meeting has the one person with the wireless or prehistoric-corded version whose hand flies around while the rest of their body looks like a mannequin from a wax museum.
To be fair there are a few people like me that have wireless keyboards with touchscreens built in to turn desktops into laptop-ish things.
The broader point here though is that some Fast Change Around Us has to do with things showing up and then leaving just at the point where we are used to them (or clutching them as the case may be).
Sometimes those replacements are sort of the same thing while serving the same function. Now OUR BODIES are mice in front of the TV. Gesture up for volume down for silence.
Touchscreens turn the computer, or phone, into one big giant mouse.
Keyboards also have a little history of their own. Remember when you could hear someone working a mile away on those things called “typewriters”, our first keyboards? Now think about how the sound was gradually taken away until all we hear is the barely audible whoosh of finger across screen. Take that up a notch and you have the keyboards that project an image on any surface so you can type to your hearts content. This must be a godsend for habitual finger tappers. Hey you might as well get something done with that nervous habit!
Really though half the time I don’t need a keyboard I can just say things and the big or medium or little box in front of me converts into something I can share with others. I am not about to type an address and then another and maybe two or three more if I have a lot of stops. I just tell my phone to get me there!
Change is about adding. Change is about taking away. Sometimes change is about replacing with something a little better in some way. How do you type? How do you move your cursor?
With all the talk about the difficulty of change isn’t it amazing how some things just get different, apparently over night?
NPR gives us Touchscreen history on a timeline. While things were being developed in the ‘80’s- computer screens at an Illinois university, a Casio watch with a touchscreen and the first touch screen phone (one of those huge military-ish “cell” phones- remember those?) – we didn’t get the kind of interaction with a touchscreen that we now enjoy, until 2007. And Yes it was the iPhone.
I am amazed at the speed, dexterity and effectiveness of my kids flying fingers on a touchscreen. Even my own phone (which I will never get enough time to actually figure out) they fly around on, answering all my questions and rearranging (I should teach them to arrange shouldn’t I?) my life and data. As a side note: they think it is comical that I can type SO FAST!
My oldest daughter pointed out a man on a bench at the mall also flying away on his phone. “Even grandpa’s have their own phones now” she told me. (Two things: one she didn’t say “old person” point score there AND she was cahootsing with me as if I wasn’t somewhere close to that man’s age). She actually said phone too.
They are not “PDA’s” anymore. PDA was meant to differentiate a phone that did fancy data stuff with the ones that just called people. Yes we used to have phones that only made regular old phone calls. Another side note: “home phones” that can Bluetooth link to your cell phone- is that a “transition” stage for change on the way to cell phones only? (I only know one person who actually has a land line- grandpa [my kids]. He still has one of those rotary dial phones too [the kids think is it comical that we actually used those phones as children]).
Fast Change that catches my eye are the things that seem obvious now, change the way we interact and make life “easier” (in quotes because someone can always question the necessity of something in the first place). Phone touchscreens (and the fancy phone itself) are at the top of that list. Back to the kids- they make quick calls to friends and family to set things up or answer questions (and usually it is a video call, which gives us face-to-face connection with distance). Yesterday it was a seeing stars answer from our Ophthalmologist cousin, today- you guessed it- “when did we start using touchscreens” (good thing we had the touchscreen to answer the question).
We used to print out Google instructions for family trips. I did find time to figure out (it took seconds) my Android GPS. Now it is almost fun to just get lost and then speak a new destination!
Take a picture of something and get a web link to information, pricing etc. I didn’t believe this would work until my kids (would I be lost without them and their ability to just change and learn on the spot?) took a picture of a local restaurant sign, The Crown, and got the menu, hours and special events. We had our order ready before we even sat down (explain that to my grandparents who did not even have regular phones as kids).
The list is long, of things we can do because of touchscreens, especially on phones. This might be the best example of Fast Change Around Us that has changed the way we live.