I just had a “Eureka” moment that touches on two of my favorite themes: things digital and change management. 

For years, I have used a white noise machine as a sleep aid. At home, I actually use – gasp – an old-fashioned motor-driven, adjustable plastic cylinder device that sounds like a fan. When I travel, I use hotel A/C units. But they are not a reliable sound source and friends’ or vacation rental homes often don’t have them.

So I decided to buy a portable, electronic white noise machine – it looks like an old-fashioned transistor radio. After it arrived and I unpacked it, I started thinking how that was one more item to pack. Oh well I thought. Then, an hour later, it suddenly occurred to me that once I dispense with a motor, noise is just code plus a speaker. Well, a smartphone runs code and has a speaker built in.

So I went to the App Store (yes, I do have an iPhone). Moments later my downloaded white noise app was offering me 40 sounds, alarms, a big digital clock, and other handy features.

So the white noise machine goes back to the store. And I sit here humbled that buying an app did not come to mind immediately.

I draw three lessons. First, the longer I own a smart phone, the more uses I discover for it. Second, anything that can become digital will and it will, if not today, eventually be available on a smart phone. Third, even though I consider myself forward thinking, I had locked myself into an old paradigm of dedicated, function-specific devices.

And fourth, I am now pondering if there are any hidden lessons. Does my aha moment suggest anything that would facilitate change management when working with lawyers. I wish I could say that simply answering “what’s in the change for me” question would sway people. It often does not. So I will sit here and ponder some more.