Oct. 6 2021 02:34 PM

Be curious about how technology can improve your work.

It feels like the entire industry is eager to get back to GIE+EXPO in person this year, gearing up to descend on Louisville, Kentucky, like so many cicadas that overtook the outdoors this season. I’m looking forward to seeing many of you again and hearing about how the past year has treated you.

I’m also looking forward as always to seeing the new technology on display. New developments in the green industry come in many forms, such as advancements in crew member safety, alternative power sources or brand-new ways to tackle the landscape. Just about anywhere you’ll look on the conference floor, you’ll see something new to check out.

When faced with something new, we’re usually primed to shrug it off as a novelty or nonsensical. Even worse, we can dismiss it entirely or look at it as a danger to the current way things are done. I’m as guilty of this as anyone, especially when it’s connected to the work I do every day. We’ve historically been bad about this. When printed books became popular in the 1500s, for instance, at least one scholar was concerned that the human brain just could not handle the overwhelming amount of information that could be available and asked that book sales be regulated.

There was even a time when people believed that library books could be a serious vector for the spread of disease. And basically from the moment they were invented, bicycles have been a source of particular ire in many cities from an infrastructure sense and a more dubious moral sense for a time.

You’ll often have to provide the technology something you can’t see when it’s on the show floor: the context it would have when put into daily use. Think about what things might be like if it worked. Even if you’re not ready to take on a new way to do the work, it might give you a different perspective as to what kind of work you really need to focus on. With the right context, modern libraries aren’t exactly seen as a place that can overwhelm the mind, and bicycles are an extremely helpful way to get around, other traffic notwithstanding.

Now, I think it’s important to look at any potential technology with both eyes open. Make sure you’re considering what all could go wrong or the possible pitfalls if you take the step. But maybe this conference is a great time to check in with familiar faces and ask, “What’s new?”