This post is not about drugs nor pharmaceutical industry, the mentioned tablet is the electronic one, you know, the bigger version of a smartphone.
The tablet syndrom is about the tablet as a symbol for being trendy, going digital, sometimes even believing to lead a digital transformation when handing out a load of these devices.
I happen to visit a broadcasting and publishing company and while waiting for my contact to pick me up, was invited to wait in the visitors’ waiting room.
The first thing I got to see was a tiny room next to the waiting room and separated by a glass partition. In full view of every visitor was the mess in this room, obviously collecting parcels coming in or shipped out among other stuff.
Next was a collection of sofas and room dividers in an arrangement looking more like stranded by a kind of tsunami than a practical one to accommodate waiting guests. To reinforce the impression of a past catastrophe were some armchairs upside-down as well as a short table tipped over.
The storm must have swept out the water fountain because nothing alike was to be found in the room nor in the entrance.
It is obviously a cultural trait of the media companies to have messy and cluttered offices. I think most of the worst clutter piled behind office windows are in media companies buildings. They never heard anything about 5S I assume, and if they did, had probably dismissed the idea of tidiness as “vulgar”.
What was available in abundance in this visitors unfriendly place were the latest issues of the magazines this company was publishing, as well as a collection of huge tablets on the wall, displaying their digital versions.
The tablets were functional, meaning reactive to my finger sweeping.
This is a kind of tablet syndrom I thought. Nothing is really fit for purpose in this room, supposed to provide a nice and convenient place to wait, but the tablets were there, plenty of them.
It reminded me some factories, messy and having poor performance, but the management proudly show you the latest tablets with all KPIs displayed in fancy colors.
Hanging plenty of huge tablets on the wall did not much to improve the waiting room, just as displaying lousy KPIs on a shopfloor tablet does nothing to improve performance. At best, it may distract the visitors’ attention from what is really important. The irony is that in most cases it also blinds managers from the reality of the situation…
That’s what I mean by tablet syndrom.