Article by Jeffrey Vargas, a Generational Evangelist and Futurist who lives in Virginia.
Ok, just face it, you are outdated.
Your kids will continue to think differently, act differently and live differently than you, thanks in large measure to the unleashing of innovation and the expanding connection between man and machine. If you believe you have earned a technogeek badge because you text message your son in college and Skype with your kids when you travel, think again. You are still in the technology dark ages.
Last month I was fortunate enough to attend the 2020 Workplace Network member meeting with other chief learning officers, hosted by Future Workplace and Microsoft. I spent two days with nationally known learning leaders really thinking about and experiencing what work will look like in the future. And the picture is both magical and unsettling.
Just around the corner, we should expect to see a rapid deployment and adoption of tools and technologies that will no doubt disrupt conventional wisdom of how we work together and communicate with one another. If you thought the last decade stretched your ability to embrace technological advances with the advent of break-neck computer speeds and increased usage of smartphones, understand that what’s ahead will make those advances look like baby steps as a disruptive storm of change begins to roll in.
No matter your field of expertise or background, one thing is clear — the more you understand what the changing landscape looks like, the better prepared you will be to deal with it.
So what’s exactly heading your way?
Conference rooms will be turned into buzzing centers of exchange and collaboration. An interactive whiteboard will soon don former static “meeting rooms” and will unleash how teams work together. From your smartphone, you will be able to “throw” your presentation, documents, videos, financial spreadsheets, and more onto an interactive whiteboard where a team of peers can take the presentations apart and put them back together, making them seem, and sound, as one. This way of working together will establish a new baseline of speed and collaboration. It will make SharePoint teaming look slow and outdated. Not enough? You can also add animation on the board and teach from it, like you would in a classroom, bringing to life almost any subject. When you are finished, the collaborative masterpiece can go to the cloud, back to your phone, or out on the web.
Gaming Tools Enhance the Work Experience:
If you are like me, gaming is a part of your life. So seeing how Kinect (a motion-capturing camera) can create for you, in real time, a gaming experience by tracking your every move on a camera and then placing your movements in a game wasn’t a big deal. What I learned is that Kinect is heading to the workplace,too. Lift your hand, or call to the connection, and the business application you require will appear. Kinect will help you access and nativate your software for word processing, presentations and data without ever forcing you to touch a keyboard. Essentially, Kinect will unhook you from sitting in front of a desktop or laptop and allow you to manipulate, integrate and share information with others all while standing in front of a computer or television screen.
The “All-Screen” Desktop:
The toughest jobs of the future might be a chief technology officer (CTO), particularly for those good souls who provide technology support for a large staff that is geographically dispersed. Generally, what to get, when to get it and how to integrate new tools with a current infrastructure, is a core competency of a CTO. When technological changes are incremental, most CTOs can handle integration seamlessly.
The Super Device:
If Batman were alive today his utility belt would have on it at least one smartphone and his wallet. The bad guys wouldn’t stand a chance because he would find a way to get his job done relying on sophisticated gadgets and cool technology, just like he did in the old days. Tomorrow, his utility belt — and yours and mine — will morph into just one small, credit-card size device that will do it all. It will hold/house all your personal information (medical information, credit card/financial information, driver’s license), serve as a personal assistant (help you navigate a new city, store your boarding pass, identify a gift for your spouse) and be your central communication hub blending the work of your phone and computer. This one device, which will fit in a shirt pocket, will be more powerful and faster than any device we have seen before, it will be a staple for everyone in the family.
Think back just 20 years. We were just getting excited about CDs and playing music “digitally.” Most offices had desktop computers with monitors the size of Colorado. When we did talk on the phone, we used a brick device that was so large it required its own bag. Beepers were the rage and we were asked to “turn them off” in a movie theater. Life has changed a lot since those days.
Incremental change over time is not what sits on the shoreline of tomorrow. You better brace yourself for a holistic change with respect to how people and computer interact. The future will be about “touch.” Your keyboard will now be a virtual hologram. Your computer screen will serve as a “touch point.” Everything you access will be done by touch. Collaboration will be the central driver to reform the current static-worker and CPU-workstation experience. With the stroke of your hand, your entire workstation presence will change and then you can access, simultaneously, all of the tools that relate to a specific project. No more digging through SharePoint, or emails, or a rogue jump drive to find that one “file” that will make your work complete. Tomorrow, every tool you need to drive collaboration will be available in a highly interactive dynamic environment.
So how can you marry innovation, technology and change?
- Volunteer to serve as an innovation and technology researcher for your organization. Review new technologies before they are introduced. Your IT department has very competent people, but it’s fair to assume that at this point, they don’t know much more about what’s coming than you do. Be proactive and provide an employee’s voice to the question of “how will this technology solve problems and increase collaboration?”
- Serve as an early adopter and an ambassador of change. Be available to not only test the technology but also contribute to the creation of an effective strategy to embrace change. Be ready to live the change and share your experience with others. Do whatever it takes – set up a blog and videocast channel, write articles for the employee newsletter, and do what you can to ensure that change is experienced in real-time.
As Gandhi said, “we must become the change we want to see” and there is no better time to begin your journey into a new technology wonderland than today. No technology will ever eliminate human interaction/touch. Therefore, office politics will still be around and not everything will change overnight.
Who knows, if you do keep working at integrating technology and change, your kids might give you the ultimate honor — a hologram technogeek badge. Then you can finally say to the gatekeepers of technology nirvana, “I’ve arrived and yes, I’m all in.”
Jeffrey Vargas is a Generational Evangelist and Futurist who lives in Virginia. You can contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.