A brief visit to the emergency room last month reminded me of what an organization that’s pre-digital is like. Six people doing bureaucratic tasks and screening that are artifacts of a paper universe, all in the service of one doctor (and the need to get paid and not get sued). A 90-minute experience so we could see a doctor for ninety seconds.
School is pre-digital. Elections. Most of what you do in your job. Even shopping. The vestiges of a reliance on geography, lack of information, poor interpersonal connections and group connection (all hallmarks of the pre-digital age) are everywhere.
Perhaps the most critical thing you can say of a typical institution: “That place is pre-digital.”
This is so true. I have been trying to digitize my work for such a long time. Mails in one place, documents to access, my online stuff, things that I work at home, articles I find on the bus reading on the iPhone, the various books and the ideas that I want to share. And don’t even get me started on meetings at work.
The online services for docs (dropbox, sugarsync, icloud), Kindle books and sharing options, Pinboard for bookmarks but more importantly time shifting software for articles link Read It Later and Instapaper are making a great difference to this. All of this still needs to fit into a workflow and we did not figure out the meetings part of it. And the various bits of paper we use everyday.
Into this world entered the iPad for me. In less than a week it has become my go to computer for most of the things. Always on, 10 hour battery, fast, but connected to everything. Most importantly with software like Note Taker HD (written by Dan Bricklin, the creator of VisiCalc, the original spreadsheet software) is just amazing. I do not take any notebooks now. A stylus, iPad and Notetaker HD. With this complete, I actually feel like I have entered the digital world. Lots more to do but I can experience the digital world now.
More importantly we need to figure out a way for our businesses to go digital. Not just in the use of softwares (like we use Paycycle for Payroll and moving to Xero for Accounting at TACSI) but to be able to build a workflow around it.