New technology is really interesting. It changes our needs, mindsets and behaviour. The term for people who have grown up with what we consider relatively new technology are called Digital Natives (as compared to Digital Immigrants). To accomodate these digital natives, and to be able to compete in the future, organisations have to change too.
Recently I bumped into an old friend telling me how they can’t access Facebook in their company. Or, to be honest, they can access it, but they get kind of a prompt notifying them it is an unauthorised page, and the visit is logged. I wonder what the long term consequences of this are going to be for that company if they don’t change.
From Mitch Joels “Six Pixels of Separation“:
“… blocking is used when any new technology comes into the workplace and causes a level of disruption. First off, that’s what great technology does – it disrupts. When phones were first introduced many companies saw no reason why employees should have access to one. The same was true for faxes, computers, email, etc. You would think that we would have learned our lesson by now.”
It is an extremely interesting comparison. As Mitch writes, you’d really think we would have learned the lesson by now. Employees without access to full information are not worth as much and can’t perform as well as employees who have. Would you block Google-searches in your company? Yes, staff can surf around randomly on Google. Yes, it will take time from work. No, companies that block Google won’t be better off.
“Any great business knows that to get the best talent, you need to be a great place to work. Taking away communications and marketing channels is not going attract the best and brightest. Digital natives have an expectation that work is going to be like school where they are constantly connected, collaborating, researching, sharing, having fun (gasp!) and growing beyond the confines of your four physical walls.”
I think having fun at work is key. That is another trait that I believe is pretty common in younger generations – they don’t accept “work” in the traditional sense as much as older generations. They want to learn, develop and enjoy themselves, at all times.
To learn more, Don Tapscott’s book Grown Up Digital, seems interesting. If I didn’t have a pile of unread interesting books right now, I’d order it straight away. If you have read it, please let me know what you think about it! =)