Technology Transfer Case Study – Pathfinders for Independent Living, Inc.

Pathfinders for Independent Living, Inc., a nonprofit organization, was founded after the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA.) Pathfinders provides information and assistance to elderly and disabled individuals and their caregivers on how to live as independently as possible. Its core value is to Promote Self-Reliance. The culture within Pathfinders is one of friendly support. Pathfinders’ IT leadership proposed a project to design and build a network infrastructure that would provide security for sensitive data, data storage, Internet access, email access, updated applications and hardware, and user training. Changing the environment would affect the organizational structure and culture of Pathfinders. This paper discusses the organizational changes that occurred due a change in technology.

Technology Transfer

Technology transfer describes activities that have the aim of establishing measurable process improvement through the adoption of new practices. Assistive technology reduces the gap experienced by disabled and elderly individuals in accomplishing daily activities. Some of these technologies are text telephones, Braille computer monitors, infrared pointing devices, artificial limbs, and assistive software. Introducing and encouraging the use of these technologies and many others to Pathfinders’ consumers, is a responsibility of the independent living specialists.

The independent living specialists assist the consumers in identifying the assistive technologies needed, applying for funding to purchase the technologies, and educating the public on the various technologies available. However to provide its services to its consumers, Pathfinders had to adapt to current information technologies.

A Strategy for Technology Transfer

Recognizing the relationship between technology transfer and process improvement is fundamental to Pathfinders’ approach to change. Technology cannot be changed without some impact on the process or personnel that use the technology, be it an increase in productivity, a reduction in cost, or a fundamental change in method. A number of key issues had to be addressed for the technology to be successfully transferred. These are divided into several categories; technology issues, process changes, and changes in culture.

Technology Issues

Pathfinders would join the Information Age by installing, new computers, file servers, network printers, a local area network (LAN), and Internet access. The installation process required preparing the PCs before delivering them to Pathfinders, then a visit to the office site to build the network and deploy the equipment. The PCs were standardized on Microsoft applications. Following the installation of the network, etc., training on the use of the software was provided. With the installation of the infrastructure complete, each independent living specialist and the executive director had a personal computer, email, and Internet access.

Designing and building a training center provided the opportunity for anyone to come in and learn more about computers and office application software. Pathfinders provided some basic training courses. Additionally, computer books were available for use with the computers to learn how to use the programs. Access to the Internet was provided. Funding was allocated through federal funds to support the changes in technology.

Process Changes

Before the technology changes, there were only two stand-alone PCs available for use by the staff, these PCs were very old, running DOS applications. Employees were forced to share the PCs or use typewriters to complete correspondence. Data was maintained on floppy disks and hardcopy. Access to the Internet for research was accomplished by going to the local library, which consumed valuable resources of time and personnel. Deploying the new infrastructure significantly changed the way the employees worked. The changes in infrastructure gave real-time access to the Internet, consumer data, and improved data security.

Changes in Culture

Prior to the deployment of technology, the employees were equal in their knowledge of using the available tools at Pathfinders. With the delivery of their network, a fundamental change occurred within the employee dynamics. An atmosphere of resentment developed due to an imbalance of knowledge and workload. Some of the employees went out of their way to grasp the advancement in technology thereby, improving themselves and their work processes. They pursued the educational opportunities offered to them by Pathfinders and enhanced their knowledge of computer applications. Productivity for these individuals increased, causing an increase in satisfaction by Pathfinders’ consumers.

Conversely, there was a minority of employees, who took a stance in not excepting these changes. These individuals spent much of their time complaining that they could not do the work using the tools provided, or repeatedly requested help from the employees that understood the technology. Defense mechanisms were employed to justify their reactions to the new technology. These employees viewed the technology change as a threat and wanted nothing to do with improving their computing skills or their work environment. However, as training and practice in using the improvements to the technology progressed, acceptance began to increase and resistance began to decrease. Change is difficult in all organizations but to stay in business Pathfinders was forced to change with the times.

Pathfinders operations depend heavily on federal grant money. Each year Pathfinders must forecast how that money will be spent and report that the goals of the previous year have been met. The Federal reporting system began as a hardcopy report that evolved to an online reporting system. Without the changes in technology, Pathfinders would find it difficult to apply for Federal grant money or report its disbursement.

Conclusion

Careful consideration was employed to determine if a change in IT infrastructure was warranted within the Pathfinders organization. Potential obstacles were identified and anticipated. One of those obstacles was the affect that a change in technology would have on the organizational culture of Pathfinders verses the improvement in customer service. Pathfinders identified that resistance to change and fear played a role in the effectiveness of the change. Additionally, Pathfinders identified that as the staff moved along the learning curve, acceptance of the technology increased and fear of the technology decreased.

Stacy A. Marple is an IT management professional with 27 years of varied industry experience. She is a doctoral candidate with the University of Phoenix and maintains certifications in project management and IT best practices. Ms. Marple teaches project management professional (PMP) and MS Project courses for MircoTrain Technologies.

Wedding Day Accessories Shopping Timeline

For women who haven’t sat down to think about this yet, there is definitely a timeline for wedding accessories shopping. Although most of you know what the dress timeline is, you may not be aware of the accessories timeline. Yes, the dress should be done at least 6 months before the wedding, if not more or you will pay a rush fee to get it tailored and delivered. But, what about the accessories? What about the wedding hair accessories and everything else? What is the timeline and when do you have to make sure you have them by? Well, here is a guide to when you need to purchase your items by:

Wedding Hair Accessories: The clips and combs for your hair will need to be purchase 2 months before the wedding. This is mostly because you will want to take those things with you to your hair trial appointment so that you can figure out the best way to wear them. Also, since you will need to have some idea of what you want to do with your hair before purchasing them, you can opt for 2 hair trials, so you can buy the accessory in between, but this is sometimes pretty stressful. Therefore, I recommend buying it beforehand and then seeing how it can work with your hair. Or, buy more than 1 and sell the one you don’t use on eBay.

Undergarments: Although you may not think this is important, what you wear underneath will help you feel good about yourself all day. Just think – if you are wearing granny panties, will you feel sexy? Or, if you are wearing a turquoise blue lacy underwear set, how will you feel then? The underwear is fun because it is for you. The bra on the otherhand is most important to match with the dress. Ideal timing for finishing purchasing these is 3 months before during dress alterations for your bra and 1 month before for your underwear. This gives you enough time to find the right items.

Wedding shoes: If you are shopping for your wedding high heels then give yourself at least 2 months. Also, you will need the shoes for the alterations which means you will need them at least 3 months before. Finally, consider buying wedding flip flops to switch into and make sure you have those at least 2 weeks before.

2009 Wedding Updos – Choosing Your Hairstyle

The 2009 wedding season is here full of fresh ideas for wedding locations, dresses, cakes and hairstyles. Most brides look to create a wedding that follows a cohesive theme. That means the dress, the hair and the accessories all work together to create the most memorable of elements for the wedding – you!

Below is some advice for choosing the best wedding hairstyle this year.

STYLIST
There are many options for wedding hairstyles. The first step in creating a beautiful look is finding a hairstylist that you trust to do wonderful work. If you have a stylist in mind, talk to them about wedding hairstyles you have seen and liked. Your hairstylist will be able to explain what may or may not work best for you as well as let you in on some of the best 2009 wedding updos.

Make sure to work practice hairstyle sessions in as you lead up to your wedding day. This way you will have a chance to see a couple of updo and other options. You will also be able to test the hairstyle with your veil and be able to wear it for a day to make sure it will last through the ceremony and reception.

2009 STYLE OPTIONS
The best 2009 wedding updos are easy to find this time of year. Flip through a few of the latest hairstyle and bridal magazines. The latest runway and fashion show photographs will also give a little insight on what’s hot for 2009. The hairstyle you choose doesn’t have to be a traditional wedding updo if that is not what you are going for. It should reflect your taste and the style of the wedding.

UPDOS
Right now, 2009 wedding updos are utilizing beautiful hair accessories to add dimension and artistry to the hairstyle. 2009 trends are marked with intricate yet delicate hair accessories which combine metalwork, embroidery, and crystals shaped into flowers, hearts, as well as more modern designs. Take a look at Karl Lagerfeld’s last runway show to see how these are being used with fabulous results.

For those brides with long hair, updos can be twisted around the head, with a slight messiness much like typical Grecian hairstyles. This is both sexy and romantic. Most 2009 wedding hair trends are foregoing the tighter, put together styles for more feminine and whimsical designs Think ‘soft’,’pretty’,’romantic’,’tousled’,and ‘feminine’ as you look for a wedding hairstyle this year.

SHORT HAIR
If you have short hair, don’t worry about paying for extensions for your wedding. Maintain a real look and go for adding a hair accessory, tiara or a beautiful veil to make your hair look different for your wedding without being over the top.

DOWN DOS
Have long hair, but don’t want to wear it in an updo? The hottest 2009 wedding hairstyles for the long-tressed are big volume, large barrel curls that have a very natural look. This can be done by a stylist with heated rollers or a large barrel curling iron. A good stylist will know what to put on the hair to ensure it maintains the curls and volume throughout the day.

The hair is a big part of the bride on their wedding day. Take some time to think about the style you want, that will look best on you and will make you feel like the beautiful woman you are.

Environmental Technology

During this century, technology has its top place since people always try to seek for better technology support for their lives. Technology has been used to make the life of people become simpler and easier. Time, money and efforts have been devoted to invent new and higher level of technology. This technology enables people to do lots of outstanding achievement such as flying to the moon and discovering new star on the sky. However, there are two different opinions about technology. One side says that technology is the best tool to create simpler and easier lives while another side says that technology is harmful for the environment. In fact, those two different opinions are just to be true. Technology can be helpful but harmful at the other side.

As an answer of these two different opinions, there is a huge need of green technology or environmental technology. Green technology here means technology which is able to conserve natural environment and resources. Green technology makes people’s lives simpler and easier without providing harmful effect to the people and their surrounding environment. Green technology helps to reduce the effect of prior technology that has made the environment damaged or destructed. This technology repairs the damaged part of nature. Green technology also helps people to maintain and preserve the environment such as purifying water needed in rural areas. Moreover, green technology is also meaningful to absorb the chemical toxic in the air which results in better air for people.

Knowing the facts that green technology is very helpful for people’s life, individuals and companies have sought many ways to use this technology wisely. The problem about energy which is limited has always become the problem of every person in every year. Therefore, people now think that green technology [http://www.letmegreen.com/category/green-office] will help people reducing the consumption of energy itself so that they can be economical on energy consumption. Most companies seek for this kind of technology in order to minimize the budget spent for technology and also to provide better working environment for the workers. This will help the company a lot to be sustainable in this global financial crisis. That is why the companies and individuals try to find best application that can reduce the energy consumption. The use of green technology is believed as the best and only way to overcome energy crisis lately. It is also provides simpler application. Now, it is your own choice whether you want to take the complex and difficult technology or green technology which is proven to be less energy consumption.