This morning I noticed this headline New York starts turning payphones into free Wi-fi hotspots. I thought it was cool so I tweeted it at 2:51 am EDT. Very quickly more than twenty people retweeted and added their comments. It seems the idea of turning the old pay phone infrastructure into a modern use interested many people.
Looking to the future
The idea of reusing old infrastructure got me thinking. In my town, there is a bike and jogging path called Minuteman Bikeway. The old train line from the Western suburbs to the center of Boston was converted to a new rails-to-trails use. Like the old pay phones converted to wi-fi hotspots, old railway rights of way are now re-used to become wonderful exercise spots.
Clinging to the past
But think about how many organizations cling to outdated technology and business models.
Also near where I live is the old Polaroid facility in Waltham, MA. A few days ago I shot this photo of the site, a sad visual reminder of what happens to once great companies that cling to old technology.
Polaroid was the leader in instant photography but missed the digital instant photography revolution and on October 11, 2001, Polaroid Corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The Polaroid brand name - purchased as part of the reorganization - lives on, but the once great company does not. It didn't have to be that way had management looked over the horizon.
What about your business?
Are you looking to what’s new? Or living upon past successes?