Managing change

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Why the old and the new need to share time together

It takes time to appreciate the new. Even if the new is much better than the old. It is easy to forget when you yourself created the exciting new.

At the end of August 2011 Google announced a new Blogger interface. The new interface offered about the same functionality, but had a different look and feel. At first I was reluctant to use it. I just wanted to get my job done. I knew the old interface, so why disturbe me with something else which does just the same?


Old Blogger interface

I was relieved to see that there was a button, which allowed me to switch back to the old interface. So I continued to use the old interface, although occasionally Google would offer me the new interface after login. Eventually I started to play around with the new interface. At times when I was bored and looking for a good excuse to waste my time. After a while I started to like the new interface and used it more often and then I stopped switching back to the old when Google offered me the new on login. It appeared cleaner, more contemporary and organised than the old. Now I have switched completely to the new interface. After a four months transition period!


New Blogger interface

There is something to be learned from this experience

Suppose you write analysis reports for others, e.g. colleagues, clients, friends, students, etc. and you have a new idea, which will make your report so much better. Maybe a better structure, a new R package, a new plot, something really sophisticated. You are excited about this, you implement it and send your report out to your readers.

Then: No feedback.

Appreciating change takes time.

Here is a suggestion: Implement your next great idea to improve your analysis report. Just because it is so much fun and your are really excited about the new. However, continue to produce the old style report and send it out with the new. Hopefully your excitement will sparkle over to the reader. But acknowledge that not all of them will have time to embrace the new immediately. They read the report for a specific purpose, e.g. table X on page Y. Hence give your reader the space to find his own time to review the new report, eventually he will listen and hopefully switch. But do listen to the reader as well and value his feedback. Easier said than done.

There is another aspect to it. Sending out the new with the old allows you to fail. You have a safety net. Some of your ideas might actually be not that great after all. I believe, we can only learn and succeed by making lots of small failures.

PS:

  • Producing the old and the new at the same time is of course only possible, if you have a slick automated reporting system. You find plenty of ideas on R-Bloggers.
  • I wonder, what would have happened if the transition period between the old national coins and notes and the Euro would have been longer than two months in 2002?




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