What Your Association Can Learn from a 2003 Technology Forecast

Best Practices : Article

I’m sitting at 35,000 feet and watching DirectTV typing this while connected to the in-flight email. There’s a number of minor tech miracles embedded in that sentence. But what inspired me to fire up the blog was a story I saw on NBC news—that today is the 5th anniversary of the App store.

I’m kind of amazed that the ubiquity of apps has come to pass in only five years (and how many pigs I’ve killed with birds in that time). It inspired me to look up an article to see what we thought the future held back in 2003. I found a great one on CNN/MoneyWhat’s Hot for 2003 As usual, the tech life is getting better, faster, cheaper–and more confusing.

If you haven’t yet clicked away and you’re still reading, a few items of note. The article predicts things like wireless home networking doubling to nearly 12 million homes by the end of 2003, and notes the challenge with online web and email use being “Do you really want to be composing e-mail with a numeric keypad or surfing the Web on a tiny screen?”

It’s a reminder of how quickly the market can change. And, of course, this isn’t the first time in history when there has been a short period of rapid change—consider the 1870s, with the advent of the transcontinental railroad, telephone and electricity.

So why does any of this matter to associations? It underscores how important it is for associations to constantly look at the environment to see what’s changing out there. It’s very easy for Board meetings to become focused on the challenge of the day, but every Board needs to take some time to look at what’s changing in the broader environment.

And if you don’t believe me, just look around your Board table at how many people are sitting there typing emails on tiny keypads and tiny screens. Bottom line: The world is full of change. Don’t let your association be surprised.

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