Technology is changing faster than anyone can keep up with it. Changing technology affects people, families, organizations, and communities.
As a registered dietitian, it was interesting to note that very few of the emerging technologies listed on the Wikipedia site address the topic of health and wellness. I was also struck at how the video about A Day with Google Glasses and the Corning’s A Day Made of Glass video both involved eating (fixing breakfast and going to a coffee shop) yet the emerging technologies had no relationship to the eating behaviors. Are their technologies that can help improve our diet quality?
A team of researches at the university that I work for is working on a technology that would allow people to take a picture of their food with their phone camera and then get information on total calories and nutrients in the food. This technology would measure volume of food and type of food and then search and extensive database of foods to calculate actual calories and nutrients. When eating is complete, they could take a picture of any remaining food on the plate and the technology would subtract the calories and nutrients from the uneaten portion to come up with a precise calculation of energy intake. Is it likely that this emerging technology will improve the diet quality of individuals and improve overall health? My guess is no – but it could help people manage chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
Managing and leading in times of change requires adaptive leadership. According to Burke (2011), leadership matters in organizational change. Thus, leaders must plan and anticipate changing technology. Flexible and adaptable are key to success, because regardless of how much planning occurs, rarely does anything turn out as planned (Burke, 2011). What is important is keeping focused on the mission.
Using a team approach is my method for keeping up with technology and focus on the mission. The first step in this approach is to develop and build a uniquely diverse team and to build trust within that team. Each member of my team has unique talents and skills that contribute to our success. In regards to technology, members contribute in various ways including: being a first adaptor whom always has the newest digital device, being a communicator whom talks with others about how and why they use new tools, being an analyzer whom researches new technologies, and being a late adopter whom questions the use of any new technology. The diverse team members bring unique perspectives and knowledge to our ongoing conversation about how we embrace change, technology, innovation and collaboration while maintaining focus on our mission.
I plan to bring everyone to the table to consider how we stay current and adapt to technology changes. Please join me for dinner!
Burke, W. (2011). Organization change theory and practice (3rd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.