Blogger: Bill Pray
Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, blogged about his interesting view on calendars as a filter:
“Moreover, I think the family calendar is the organizing principle into which all external information should flow. I want the kids' school schedules for sports and plays and even lunch choices to automatically flow into the home calendar. And when I want to decide what to do on the weekend, I want to click on the date for next Saturday and have all the relevant choices of plays, movies, and events pop up.
Everything you do has a time dimension. If you are looking for a new home, the open houses are on certain dates, and certain houses that fit your needs are open at certain times. If you are shopping for some particular good, you often need to know the store hours. Your calendar needs to know your shopping list and preferences so it can suggest good times to do certain things.
Time is closely related to distance. On a typical night, for a typical family, there is much driving to and fro to deliver people and goods to where they need to be. Sometimes it is more complicated than a Fedex route. It would be nice if the family calendar helped us plan the shortest routes to accomplish all goals. The calendar just needs to know what I need and when, then plan which family member with a car is nearest.”
While his view is focused on consumer market needs, his idea has some real promise for the enterprise. As I blogged about a few weeks ago, time is money for enterprises. The core idea involves changing from treating calendar and scheduling as data created and stored (the wall calendar turned electronic), to data that is relational and utilized in workflows. For example, think about how project management in an enterprise could be taken to the next level using Scott’s ideas of taking the calendar information and using it as a filter to pull internal and external resources into projects at needed points along the timeline. Marketing event planners could maximize their efforts in a similar manner.
Scott’s assertion is:
“I think the biggest software revolution of the future is that the calendar will be the organizing filter for most of the information flowing into your life. You think you are bombarded with too much information every day, but in reality it is just the timing of the information that is wrong. Once the calendar becomes the organizing paradigm and filter, it won't seem as if there is so much.”
While I am not sure that it will be the biggest software revolution, I concur that there is a significant opportunity for innovation for collaboration software vendors and service providers.