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Hello everyone! My name is Ryan Lanclos, and I am the new Public Works Industry Manager here at Esri. My background is in State and Local government, and I look forward to meeting many of you at future events and online as we build our Public Works community together here at Esri. Never hesitate to reach out if you have questions or ideas for us here at Esri - we are here to help you be successful! With that in mind, I have something that I'd like to ask each of you to consider. I've been thinking about the future of public works and our mission here at Esri, but I really want to hear from you!

 

Our ever evolving "normal" routine

I love visiting new places. The new sights and sounds; the people and culture; learning the way a place functions. These things combined help immerse me in this new place. I remember all the fun and exciting things when I get home and look back on my visit! However, a funny thing happens when I visit a place the second time. I start to notice all the little things. Little things that are not always good. The little things that I missed the first time around while I explored a new place.

 

I think this happens to many of us - we are so busy making new memories and learning a new place that we miss things that would normally bother us back home. The vacant lot that always needs to be mowed. The turn signal that is NEVER timed with others. The bad time of day to take a certain route because the traffic will be horrible. The potholes and bumps that rattle the car. That section of road where my cell phone calls always get dropped!

 

After I stay in a place long enough something interesting begins to happen. Something very similar to what happens when I first visit a new place – I start to overlook those little things that bothered me. I find ways to avoid that stop light, and I know when to take routes that are going to be less crowded. My routine evolves to fit the surroundings and becomes a new normal routine for me. The little things I noticed before start to blend in, and I do not notice them as much. Yes, they are still there, but I've accepted them as part of my normal life. I have found a way to work around the things that bother me!

 

Is it time to pause and look around us?

I wonder if this same kind of evolution in routine happens when people progress through their career at an organization. New employees come on-board and are so busy learning their role and processes that they often do not see the deficiencies or gaps where they can have the most impact. Or, they recognize the gaps, but quickly adapt to the current normal routine of the organization. Employees that have been part of the organization longer might know about these gaps, but they often overlook them as well because they have become a part of their normal routine. They work around the gaps in technology; they rely on older and outdated methods that have always been in place.

 

When this happens, we are missing out on an opportunity. An opportunity to evolve our normal routine in a positive way for the organization! If we take a moment to think about the routine tasks that we have to do each day and how we do those tasks, we might find a way to solve a long-standing challenge that everyone accepted couldn't be solved!

 

What should we do next?

At the Esri User Conference last week Jack challenged the nearly 18,000 people in attendance to envision what is possible with GIS and help make a difference in their organization. The slide below is a great road map for what I'd like to see this GeoNet community do together - learn, adopt, explore, share, collaborate, encourage each other, and communicate.

 

What should we do next?

 

So, I want to ask each of you to pause and take a fresh look at your organization. Think about the workarounds or inefficient processes that part of the normal routine. Now, how can you help make a difference? How can you help create a new normal routine using GIS?

 

Start by introducing yourself to the public works community and sharing your ideas below in the comments section. Invite your colleagues to join us here and engage as well - I can't wait to learn from each of you!
Ryan