When life gives you lemons . . .

Lemon, a custom graphic

Graphic by Sharon Conley

. . . make lemonade.  We’ve all heard this expression but what does it mean?  Are the lemons our problems and the, making of, lemonade our solutions?

This sounds right or we could say that this is a proverb that uses a common fruit to metaphorically remind us how bad situations can become something good.

When I hear this expression I think about using technology to solve problems.  That’s what I do.  My job requires me to learn as much as I can about the work my colleagues do and the needs of our association’s members so that I can suggest technology solutions that might make work more efficient and/or add value to the products and services we develop and deliver.

Before deciding on a new technology, it must be thoroughly evaluated.  It is vital to know how it will affect the budget, how it will interface with other technologies already in place, what benefits it has to offer, what it requires the user to know, what it takes to sustain it, who will have ownership of it, and how we will know if it delivered what it promised.

Think back to our decision to make lemonade out of lemons.  Was this the right solution to our problem?  Did we check to see if we had water, sugar and glasses before we started?  Did we have the right kind of knife on hand to prepare our lemons?  Do we even like the taste of lemonade?  How will we know how many lemons we need?  What do we do with the leftover peelings and seeds?  Who will be in charge of making sure we can make lemonade when we need it?

Lemons for Breakfast logoI realize this sounds a little over the top if you’re just making lemonade but we often assume technology will erase our challenges if we just stir a little more into the mix.  Once we realize there are no technology fixes and that technology solutions and innovations are made by imperfect humans, we can be more contemplative about our technology decisions.