One of the aspects of my professional career I am most passionate about, is applying technology to make the world a better place.
Another little fact about me is that my second child is the same age as the original iPad! It launched whilst I was on maternity leave, which I subsequently purchased and complained about the lack of quality applications available to distract my two-year old during baby nap times. To which my husband promptly responded with: “So stop complaining and go write some apps for kids“. Challenge accepted.
I taught myself the world of xCode and built the world’s first iPad YouTube application for kids – presenting only approved videos and blocking the unwanted and often inappropriate “recommended videos” so kids couldn’t find themselves watching videos of Thomas the Tank Engine being blown up by an artistic teenager with a webcam.
Not long after it launched, institutions from around the world working with children with disabilities started contacting me asking to sponsor their iPad programs. The iPad was having a dramatic impact on the way children were able to learn and communicate with teachers and carers, and I was super excited to be able to help!
I was equally excited when I saw the announcement from my colleagues that we are working with Bancroft, a major provider of specialized services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the US, to put mobile applications securely in the hands of classroom teachers, clinical staff and school administrators to better engage with students and improve the learning experience.
“Once upon a time, there was a very large organisation who wanted to rule the kingdom. Each week, their Executives would meet in a room to discuss the performance of their troops, and carry with them a 200 page PDF document printed on paper from the Enchanted Forest. They would sit around their Oak-carved table, and argue through the key performance indicators on the first few pages, only occasionally turning to one of the other 190 pages to find specific detail about why one troop was performing so poorly.
This process continued for years and years, until one day, a Knight in shining blue armour appeared on her beautiful blue horse saying “But wait! There’s a better way to view these results, ensuring you not only rule the kingdom, but preserve the Enchanted Forest. This will bring peace and prosperity to the Kingdom in which you live!”
So the Executives embarked on their greatest journey ever, armed with iPads and an IBM Cognos Active Report to deliver only the information they needed most, with the ability to drill to more detail as needed. The Executives went on to make more informed decisions and rule the Kingdom, spending less time flipping through piles of paper and more time playing croquet.”
Whilst this might sound like a bed time story I tell to my children, the first part is in fact a reality that exists in many organisations today. Important meetings spend more time focused on arguing over who’s version of performance is right, and less time debating the actions that can be taken to deliver better results.