If you can remember, you are not a digital native, but a digital immigrant. And that might have serious consequences for your business. I have just finished reading two books on the impact of the digital revolution on our lives and our businesses. “Future Minds” and “The new normal.” I always assumed that digital is good for kids. A recent book, “The kids are alright” explains that gaming and entrepreneurship go hand in hand. It is part of this new “lean” start-up wave of thinking. Fail often and fail fast. Like in gaming, you try and try until you get to the next level. That is why I allow my kids to play Xbox.
Good news for the old folks
Wrong! Apparently, teenagers (screenagers) spend too much time behind computers and on the internet (on average 11 hours per day), and it is altering the way their brains work. And not in a good way. Apparently too much in front of screens leads to part of the brain that is about “deep thought” is not being developed and thus we will have a generation of scatterbrains on our hand. Try to manage that in a company (imagine everyone suffering from constant attention deficit). That is good news for us old folks. They will need us for a long time to think deep, long and slow about solving problems.
Teach generation Y in your company to meditate (and your kids too). While you are meditating; consider how this impact not only on family life but also on business. When digital is normal, where will your business be?
How much of your company can be digitised? How much can be outsourced? What cannot be outsourced (that is likely to be the “soul” of your companies)? Because “fast” and “agile” are also part of the New Normal, how fast and agile is your business?
Which brings us to innovation, my favourite hobbyhorse. A recent book (“business exposed”) suggests that innovative companies do not perform better. Another study from the same author says that businesses will ignore that fact. I passionately believe in innovation as a key driver of success. To innovate successfully, you need to create open innovation networks and create serendipity (A warning for management system freaks; ISO and TQM kill serendipity). I am happy to report that all the books we have read all agree that in a world of information overload, constant flux and commoditization you need to connect with as many people as you can and look for the odd, strange things and run with it.