Bring Everyone to the Table

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!

Reference:

Burke, W. (2011). Organization change theory and practice (3rd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

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3 thoughts on “Bring Everyone to the Table

  1. Dining with Digital Media,

    While that technology your university is working on may not necessarily cure obesity in American, I certainly extent kudos for the creativity of the technology as well as the work, time, and energy that goes into launching such a tool. As we have seen with all technology, there must be a starting point – maybe this is the starting point to eventually developing a tool that may assist with this edible epidemic.

    I appreciate the idea you noted about assembling a team that will help in maintaining updated information on emerging and current technologies. This would be a GREAT practice for someone like me. Technology is not what I consider my strongest suit, so developing a team that can supplement my technological challenges is just what I need. The team you noted seem to have all of the components necessary to develop and informed decision that provides comfort within an organization. Thank you for that idea.

  2. Great team approach! Building upon talents to create a comprehensive group is valuable. I was also surprised to discover the limited focus on wellness. If it helps any, I recently learned about technology to monitor cyber-bullying. The concept addresses mental health wellness in youth. According to a local news report, the technology was initially designed to review social trends for marketing, but the app can track inappropriate use of social media through monitoring key words and other identifiers (www.pearlsoftware.com/solutions/cyberbullying-in-schools.html).

    Also, thank you for sharing details regarding the research in progress for the phone app to record calories from pictures. That is very innovative. I find wellness app very helpful. Specifically, I use several calorie app on my smartphone. Weight Watchers has an app for a fee, but MyFitPal has the same features for no cost. I love using the app to track my food intake. As a new mother, I am trying to return to my pre-baby weight and want to maintain a healthy lifestyle. One of the most unique aspects of the MyFitPal app is the ability to build a network with others that are struggling to manage their weight. The process forced me to be accountable to myself and to the network of followers.

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