Hours after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was apprehended last Friday night, my GPS had me driving through Watertown on my way to a Saturday workshop. I drove all the way up Mount Auburn Street from Cambridge, where the Tsarnaev brothers lived, and passed by Franklin Street, where 19-year-old Dzhokhar had been captured in a backyard the night before. It was all familiar territory: our two sons were born in Watertown and we had lived there for 12 years before moving to a suburb west of Boston in 2000.
When I arrived at the workshop – given by a retired Episcopalian bishop on, as it happened, the nature of evil – I pulled out my iPhone to check the Internet for Red Sox updates. My girlfriend texted me a reminder to pick up a medication for Miss Winifred, our terminally cute but arthritic Welsh corgi, at the vet’s. All paid for; just go get it. I checked e-mail to see that one of my brothers had responded to a note I’d sent to our far flung family during lockdown the day before that all Kinslow relations in the Boston-Cambridge vicinity were safe and accounted for.
So the world we inhabited last week when the bombs went off at the Boston Marathon finish line was quite different from the world we knew back in 2001, when the 9/11 terrorists flew out of Boston’s Logan Airport as part of an evil plot that marked the first time terrorism had so directly touched the land of the bean and the cod. Back in 2001 we didn’t have built-in GPS, Internet connectivity everywhere and the tendency to text during every spare moment. People didn’t readily pay for their pets’ medications over the Internet. Mount Auburn Street, a main thoroughfare in Watertown, still had pay phones up and down the way. (“Dad, what’s a pay phone?”) Cars still had antennae, to which we attached little American flags that quickly became frayed. The “new millennium” was still new, and “Y2K” was still part of our parlance. You couldn’t quickly download and add a “B Strong” logo to your e-mail signature, as I have.
Change comes quickly and we sometimes forget how quickly we adapt. We absorb the new at an exhilarating pace, and yesterday’s innovations become today’s way of life. No big lesson here. Just a reminder that when we talk about how our product or technology will change the way medicine is practiced or a surgery is performed, we’re talking to people who specialize in change, whether they’re the head of neurosurgery or a unit coordinator. Tell them how your proposed change will leave them in greater control – of a procedure, of a pathway, of an outcome, of a schedule. For to be in greater control means to feel safe, and, in today’s world, greater safety all around may come to be seen as very fashionable indeed. Innovation may be king, but safety shares the throne.
Brand and Beyond is a marketing blog written by KHJ Brand Activation, a Boston-based firm specializing in the medical, health care, financial and real estate industries. KHJ helps people and organizations see and realize what’s possible for themselves and the world around them. To see who we work with and some of our successes—as well as more of our thinking—visit www.KHJ.com.