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The Importance Of Preserving Institutional Memory


In 1916, Henry Ford famously declared, “History is more or less bunk.” Yet the company that bears his name has frequently dipped into its 106-year history for design inspiration and nostalgia marketing.

Ford is not alone in looking to leverage its history for commercial advantage. Many organisations value having a continuous thread of institutional memory stretching from yesterday to tomorrow, to put past successes, company continuity, and future potential into context. This where VHS to DVD Adelaide comes into its own in rescuing lost institutional memory.


An Institutional Memory Test

If your organisation was given a memory test, chances are it could fail spectacularly. When it comes to preserving our corporate memory of past projects and processes and discoveries, many institutions fail to capitalise on their own histories in a format to make it easily searchable or even easy to locate.

But, is it something you should consider improving? Absolutely.


Making Your Past Accessible To Your Present

One company I worked with turned over $7 billion in revenue and working on some colossal construction projects. Yet their Earthworks section, which represented 10 per cent of their revenue or $700 million dollars actually managed to lose money. Why? We found they were exporting worst practices across every new project.

Sure they had reams of video from past projects neatly archived away. It just wasn’t accessible to the teams standing up new projects in the field. Moreover, this archival footage from early in the organisation’s history came from a time when Earthworks was profitable.


Forgotten, Then Rediscovered

Those old VHS tapes had effectively been consigned to the dustbin of history, replaced by a mad dash to get the new project up and running before dashing on to the project after than on a mad carousel of frenetic activity at the expense of sound management and fiscal prudence.

Organizations can save significant money when they know which excavation and earthmoving equipment needed to be routed to what worksite, in what order and in what volumes.

Back in the boom time of construction in Dubai, the city held 25 per cent of the world’s cranes. Sadly, it only had 15 per cent of the world’s crane drivers! History like that is not one that should be repeated.

In reviewing many of those old VHS tapes, we found it was immensely useful to have access to information on past projects. Many processes and that were implemented in the business in the past only to be discarded in the dash for growth are still good ideas for returning the present day to profitability.

Thanks to VHS to Digital Adelaide we converted those old tapes to digital format and put them on the Cloud. There any of our teams in the field could tap into them. Result? Earthworks’ margins and profitability went up.

More importantly, why had these operating procedures and proven processes been allowed to wither away?

It is extremely common for organizations to buy new generations of software or hardware and abandon past technologies without considering what can be lost in the process. Smart organisations put plans in place to migrate their old VHS to DVD or Digital formats.

Inevitability the learning opportunities of the past are squandered for that sake of a few dollars and those VHS tapes languish in some drawer somewhere. A few too many thousands of dollars gone to waste. Not to mention, the next generation of leaders and operators could have benefited from that past experience.

Institutional memory always resonates with staff and employees. How much of our collective memory are we comfortable losing? And how much of this information residing on VHS tapes will survive once the current management group retires? What can organisations do to ensure their history and institutional memory isn’t lost, dooming the organization to repeat their mistakes?


Final Observation

Today, VHS to DVD and VHS to Digital Adelaide services are inexpensive, robust and can survive the migration to the cloud or other digital storage options. Having on the fly access to a systematically organized archive of previous projects, processes and people can provide current management with a wealth of information.

 



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