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Technology Saved My Feet

By Joey Havens

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In last week’s blog, Are We Serving up an Eggcellent Experience, I shared about my trip to Seattle with CeCe and our daughter, Haley. We were very excited about hiking and experiencing the beautiful Seattle area. On the first day, we headed out to hike Tiger Mountain Trailhead. Based on the map and writeup, we could do a circular hike of about six miles and come right back down to the trailhead. About two miles in, we came upon a big power line and fortunately, also met a local hiker. She explained our options and informed us that there was some logging going on and some of the trail was now part of a logging road. She also said the loggers had knocked down some of the trail signs.

As the local hiker scurried down the trail and out of sight, we had a brief reset on where we wanted to go and set out again with our new direction to finish our circular hike. We came to the logging road as she had described and began to follow it. As she instructed, we looked for the trail heading back into the woods. After a mile of the logging road, we began to worry we had gone past the trail leading back to our truck.

Phone service was sketchy, but as we came upon a high ledge, we got service again. We were now over five miles into a planned six-mile hike with no clear idea where we were in relation to the trailhead or our truck. But we knew we were close to Hwy 90, as we could hear the traffic.

With phone service, we pulled up the trail maps to see our way back to the trailhead. It was only four miles away so we used Google maps to navigate back to the logging road.

Haley suggested we hike forward to a trailhead near Hwy 90 to check for Uber service and to our surprise, it appeared we could Uber back to our car from this trailhead a mile away.

So now, we had information and data from several sources to help us decide how we would get back to our truck. My feet were certainly aware that one option might mean another five miles of terrain. We had two choices which both had risk — we could hike back down the logging road and find the trail and hike to our truck or we could hike a mile ahead and hope that we could get a ride around to our truck which would be about eight miles away.

We chose to hike forward and try our chances with Uber. Incredibly, it worked! My feet were overjoyed. The Uber driver lived about 12 miles away, he had been driving for Uber for several years. He said, “I saw this one come in and my curiosity got the best of me. I knew I would drive further to pick you up than I would carry you to your destination, but I had to know who and why because I have never seen a request come in for this location.”

As I reflect on our experience of sifting through information and collaborating on a decision for our direction, I realized how reflective it is of how we will work and be successful in the future. First, the data is there for us — it’s very valuable and provides so many insights. However, it’s the human creativity and collaboration that helps put it in perspective, connect the dots and provide the innovation. The power of our future lies in our ability to embrace technology and use our human interactions and creativity to connect the dots and take everything to the next level.

This is how I see our profession evolving as we use technology and data to have incredible insights and relevant options for our clients. Our ability to anticipate, to create and to connect the dots will be critical to business success and lead to business models for the future.

The other incredible insight for me was the power of the diversity of thinking. It was all of us collaborating and working together that led to the best solution. Haley and I were still torn from our competitive nature to hike back to the truck, worst case was backtrack completely for almost 12 miles total. CeCe was the steady voice that said it’s probably not wise to hike towards the car even though we have data for the trail. We have missed the trail once already and we will be hiking away from our other alternative. Haley’s idea of checking for Uber was critical and never crossed my mind. Of course, I provided the most valuable insight as I pointed out that 6.8 miles sounded better than 10.1.

It was CeCe’s steady voice when integrated with technology and human creativity, that saved my feet. Are we hiking away from innovation or towards it?