I found myself wondering recently whether I really wanted someone to share their knowledge with me or whether I was glad I had just found out by accident what they hadn’t told me.
I was driving my car which is just over a year old when the radio stopped working. I pressed button after button but nothing happened. I drove to my destination, parked, did what I had to do and went back to the car. Pressed the key fob to open the door and nothing happened. Pressed it again and still nothing happened. Being of the generation where car doors had locks in them I decided to open the door using the mechanical key.
Now it’s not a Ferrari or Porsche but it does give a reassuring engine sound when it starts up. Normally that is but not that day. There was a dull thunk. Car’s don’t normally go, thunk. I can tell you, thunk in a car is an unnatural sound, it’s a sound you just don’t want to hear. I heard it that day. Thunk.
I called the emergency services and they got the car running. A natural engine sound emitted from it but would it start again if it stopped. So here was the challenge, how could it get the car home without stopping. I didn’t want to risk stopping at traffic lights and the engine dying on me so using Mark 1 Tom Young navigation system I headed off planning a route that would minimise the risk of traffic lights. Excellent example of local, tacit knowledge in action.
Took the car to the local dealer. Initially they thought it might be the engine immobiliser that had a fault but a couple of hours later they telephoned to say that the radio had a fault and as a result had drained the battery. They would need to order a replacement but I could collect the car any time.
The radio is an integral part of the dashboard so I wasn’t surprised they would have to order a replacement in, I expected a day, perhaps two at most. I almost fell off the seat when he said it would take 3 months. The story was that the original manufacturer went bust and the new supplier was filling back orders first and it would take 3 months to get to me. I then found out that there were six other cars of the same type in this local dealership waiting on replacement radios.
Could it be that there was a generic fault with this car but as they didn’t have replacement radios they just waited until you parked your car and found that it wouldn’t start again before they told you there was a fault with the radio? Would I have preferred to drive along unaware of this potential fault, just driving and driving until it eventually failed? Perhaps they were hoping that the new supplier would be able to create an inventory and then they would start recalling the cars? In some ways I felt sorry for the guy in the car dealership, telling people they would be without a radio for three months isn’t what they want to hear.
My colleague, Nick Milton, recent wrote in his blog about peer assists. I have always thought of peer assist as a ‘learning before’ tool so it was very interesting to hear from the Statoil delegate at the Collective Intelligence in Energy Conference that they regard it and use it as a learning during tool. You live and learn as they say. It was a good conference with great presentation from the likes of Scottish Power, Anglo American, EDP (power utility head quartered in Portugal but with global span), BP and ENI. The conversation was excellent and i truly enjoyed chairing the conference.