Many years ago, when I was a newbie in my corporate life, our team was managing an xl sheet. And I was looking at the xl sheet when my boss told me, well, that is basically used an electronic ledger. It is not a real xls. Indeed, another of our colleagues had this adage, “it is not an xls until it has atleast 1 pivot table”.
It took us a few weeks of cleaning the records to harness some part of the analysis powers of xl and then we figured out what we could do with it.
As I read The second machine age, in that it says, how when Steam engines were the prime source of power in factories, the factories were often driven by a huge steam engine and all machines were connected to it via different shafts to derive power from the engine. This meant that the orientation of a factory was largely vertical due to mechanical reasons of machines having to be closer to the steam engine (above and below). When factories switched to electric power, the layouts continued for a while (almost 30 years) until people began to change it to a more horizontal layout because electrical power had no such constraints.
And therefore, the authors argue that productivity gains from new innovations often have long time gaps.
When we think of digital transformation of industries or companies – often this is the case. Transformations do not give results immediately – at some later point, it kicks in and one has to be patient enough to live through it.
I strongly suspect that this is the case of newly learnt skills by humans as well, but for now that is just a thought…