Author Archives: abeach

Why are you always on your phone?

I spent the weekend in NYC. On Saturday I went to Chelsea Market and then went up towards Times Square and MOMA. There was one thing I could not escape. Everywhere I went I had to navigate around people who were looking down at these small screens texting, double tapping photos, checking their Snapchat. At MOMA, everyone was stopping in front of the art to take photos (I was guilty of this myself). This experience made me stop to think about the intention of smart phones and what they have evolved into.

Phones were meant as a form of communication, as a way to contact someone immediately who was not in the same place as you. As they became more advanced, the evolved beyond simply text and verbal communication. Companies have found ways to monopolize every moment you spend on the phone and as that happens, we become more addicted.

A few features to redesign:

  • Limit time on applications: Deactivate certain applications on the phone after they have been used beyond a certain amount of time.
  • Block applications during certain events: For example, while driving or while walking places. (A consideration with this is that people often use GPS navigation to get around – what would be the alternative?)
  • Reduce financial incentives for company’s to create content: Could there be restrictions on content that was created for phones or how much money company’s make off of them?

So many considerations with this – who should be allowed to dictate how a person spends their time? How enforceable is it? Can you tell when someone is using their phone out of necessity or just to waste time? For some, a phone is a way to conduct business and make a living, or a tool during emergencies, but for others, its a way to compare yourself to your friends or avoid the real world around you.

I missed the design exercise at the end of class yesterday, so I thought I’d comment on something I observed this weekend – an amazing device that has taken over our lives…

 

 

 

 

My Personal Theory of Change

Change is something that is always happening. The question is how to make change that is substantial and/or visible and how to actually measure the impact it has. It seems it is getting harder and harder to drive change in today’s world. For every idea, there are so many things that stand in its way or implications that are not well enough thought out.

My personal theory on change is that it will always happen, but not necessarily in the right way. As individuals, entrepreneurs, leaders, etc. our responsibility is to be diligent in how our solutions will drive change and why that is the best use of finite solutions. Similar to many of our class discussions, we need to consider who is the intended audience and how will they receive the work being done?

Project Implementation

Most of my work experience has been in the corporate world so I will focus my story on a project in that space. This story is about a claims software implementation for a large insurance company. The company was attempting to upgrade the software its claim handlers use while intaking and processing claims.

From my understanding, it is upper management that identified the need for the upgrade based on feedback from customers and employees. Upper management is the group the ultimately decided to fund the project. For upper management, success was more efficient claims handling to reduce cost and improve customer satisfaction. For the claim handlers, their definition of success was something that would make their daily work less taxing and would allow them to provide better customer service.

My firm was the right company to do the work in the sense that they were experts in the specific software and had experience in implementing it elsewhere. The struggle we faced, and the we face elsewhere, is that we do not know the specific business and processes that company runs. We come in and try to understand it through interviews and observation, but that is not the same as doing the work day after day.

The cost of the project is mainly derived from the level of specification required. If the company had taken it out-of-the box, it would have been easy to implement, but ultimately useless as it would not work with any of their systems and the processes would be unfamiliar to the employees. Complications also arise with specification. The more work we did to customize the software, the more bugs appeared and more testing was required.

It is interesting because this is not a unique project. Companies and consulting firms go through this day after day. Often the initial quoted cost and timeline are way off the initial estimates. It is interesting to me that overtime these types of projects seem to only get more complex, time consuming, and expensive. The incentives of the firm are to be there and do the work for as long as possible while also delivering a great product. There could be an opportunity to evaluate how incentives are structured over time to ensure the interest of all stakeholder are addressed.

Avery’s Intro

My name is Avery Beach. I am a second year MBA student at Sloan. Prior to coming to school, I worked at Accenture in their Management Consulting practice. I’m originally from Texas – grew up in Dallas, went to UT-Austin for undergrad, and was living in Houston before moving the Boston.

This summer I worked at Nike in Portland, Oregon (see photo on bicycle). I am extremely interested in Operations, specifically Supply Chain. I hope to work on a project this semester that will allow me to look at supply chain innovation from the angle of social impact.

From a personal perspective, I am obsessed with working out and going on outdoor adventures such as hiking or rock climbing.