By Steve Robins
As I mentioned in Part I, Secretaries, Typewriters and Solutions, secretaries and typewriters are part of a solution. Following are a few lessons:
#1: Problems change slowly; solutions evolve quickly
As I already mentioned, business problems (creating final communications) remain relatively constant while solutions – the way of solving the problem – change at a faster pace.
#2: Never confuse problems with solutions
I.e., the business problem was not “I need a secretary to create a document” or even “I need a printed document” but rather “I need a final (professional-looking) piece of communication.” This clarity will help you to see what shouldn’t change (communication) vs. what can – and will – change as new innovations and technologies become available.
#3: When one part of the solution changes, the others need to adapt as well
The availability of computers for office workers meant that fewer workers needed secretaries to perform “secretarial” tasks such as typing. To continue to be relevant, the role of the secretary has evolved into the admin professional role, which is more focused on running the office than typing documents. At the same time, we don’t need as many secretaries as we used to require.
#4: Change creates opportunity
Think of all the opportunities to offer new solutions as the computer replaced the typewriter: computer/word-processor training for office workers, secretarial outplacement, and more. The elimination of all those secretarial jobs (the bad news), saved companies a lot of money (the good news). Think of what that could mean to a business.
#5: Predict trends and then create the future
Look at your solutions today. How will today’s market, economy and technology trends affect your solutions overall and their components? What needs to happen to keep your solutions relevant in the market? What components need to change? Do you need to replace your solutions with new solutions?