Monday, September 26, 2016

Step Away From The Table

A theme that runs throughout this blog, one which has been there since the very beginning, is my questioning of proposed and enacted changes in the Colorado system of funding and delivering services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).

I return to this theme frequently because we always seem to have some movement for change coming from somewhere. I love change. Let me repeat that – I love change. Particularly when possible improvements are so obvious. Take automobile brakes and the evolution from the Fred Flintstone model to hand brakes, disk brakes, anti-lock brakes, and regenerative braking of today. Impressive changes that we have to love and enjoy. This does take vision. If we asked Fred Flintstone what he would want to improve automobile brakes, he would have said, “Invent me some shoes.”

We are presented with an opportunity to overcome some very similar issues in the design of Colorado’s service delivery system for folks with I/DD. Given that opportunity over the next handful of years, let’s not squander our thinking focused on yesterday’s problems, today’s problems, or even tomorrow’s problems.

Instead, let’s get people in the room who are visionaries. People who are toying with solutions to problems we will encounter 8 - 10 years from now. After all, one would think a system design should have a life of about 10 to 20 years before evolution or technology shakes it up again. At our current pace, and with our current practice, the next system design will be archaic the day it is introduced.

Why? Because we are focused on yesterday’s problems. We are making inaccurate assumptions. We are not considering technology leapfrogging a known problem. We are looking at an analog television set with a snowy picture, forgetting that analog signals ended June 12, 2009. “Oh wait – let’s get a bigger antennae!” or “Better yet … we can replay shows with a VCR.”

Aaarrrrgggh! Please stop. If your suggestions for the future of services in Colorado sound like this, please push back from the table and quietly leave the room now. We can do better.

Then again, what do I know?

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