THE Executive Order signed by the US President in January impacted that country’s image, by initiating a travel ban which targeted seven Muslim countries. There was an unsurprising backlash against the sudden change in policy. It beggars belief that affected travellers, although previously screened and cleared to enter the USA, found themselves unwelcome with suddenly-invalidated visas and travel permits. You might have assumed that their family ties, highly-specialized skills, and postgraduate training in STEM subjects would have granted a pass to any such person. Unfortunately not, judging by the stories of stranded relatives, students, and grounded technology-workers.
Among the criticism that arose to counteract those changes was a coalition of industry giants and competitors who were united in their opposition to the new policy, including Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Depending on who you believe or do your fact-checking with, between 60,000 and 100,000 people were affected by the change after the President signed the Order.
An interesting aspect of the travel ban was the increased visibility of the contribution of minorities in the technology sector. The presence of those skilled people from developing countries, some riddled with unrest, should provide some confidence to talented individuals seeking opportunities abroad.
There are some other lessons to be learned from this fiasco, including:
* The eventual suspension of the Order is evidence of inadequate consultation;
* Poor policy decisions backed by technology may have a dramatic impact;
* The reality after the rhetoric may not be so rosy after all!
Big decisions which affect an organization or country may not always go according to plan. The lack of adequate consultation, coordination, or implementation are then worsened as a result. Technology may not protect you from failure unless plans are carefully considered in the first place.
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About the Author
Dr.Lyndell St. Ville is an ICT Consultant based in Saint Lucia. His expertise includes systems analysis, design, and capacity building.