August 9, 2018, by Kathryn McAuley
It’s not all Pina Coladas! by Shaq Gibson, Witty Scholar
“Without perspective, the pace of innovation can sometimes be taken for granted. I can say with no inhibitions that my perspective has been thoroughly revisited and updated.”
It’s a hard life
A summer break in Jamaica may strike one as more of a vacation than a career-building experience. The non-stop beach weather won’t do much to change that impression and, to be fair, there was a lot to enjoy during my internship! However, I also ensured this was never at the expense of career development and learning.
My internship has been undertaken with the Planning Institute of Jamaica, a government-funded research and planning agency. They are engaged with contributing to national economic, demographic and social policy, and led by the Director General, Dr Wayne Henry, a motivated and sociable man. During the summer, the PIOJ hires a small platoon of interns to help keep the agencies files in good order. This is necessary because the Institute creates a huge amount of paperwork, and I quickly came to realise, it actually was paperwork in the traditional sense.
Paper, paper and more paper
Record management and storage is an everyday necessity, particularly in a large organisation such as this, but I quickly came to realise it was a challenging task with endless intricacies. Files are bulky, dusty and heavy. There were huge resources being put into this because of a lack of technological support. I began to think about the production line of Ford’s Model T and how these files and records needed to be technologically automated.
Going paperless clearly means less paper, less demand for paper-making wood and less deforestation. Also, a paperless system provides a convenient means of record management bypassing the human effort needed and effectively eliminating human mistakes. There are savings from paper and labour hours, leading to a more cost-effective system. An environmentally clean, convenient and cost-effective advancement.
Technological diffusion occurs at varying rates
This is something which the developed West has taken in it’s stride in the last couple of decades, and the speed of technological development probably makes this basic advancement seem like ancient history. But for many developing countries, the basics are not in place yet. There seems to be a market for companies that can reduce costs (economic and environmental) to organisations in countries where technological diffusion occurs at a slower rate.
Without perspective, the pace of innovation can sometimes be taken for granted. This internship was a month-long exercise in perspective. I can say with no inhibitions that my perspective has been thoroughly revisited and updated.
Shaq Gibson is one of our first Witty Scholars; the Witty Scholarship is open to promising undergraduate student entrepreneurs from lower-income backgrounds for up to three years of study. For more information, please visit our Witty Scholar page.
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