I was reading a great report the other day by Samsung titled: “Born Disruptive,” and it made me think of my 8-year-old son. Now disruptive for that age group usually means something different – interrupting adults during “important” conversations, speaking loudly during “serious” ceremonies, or making silly faces during dinnertime when one should do nothing but eat.
The Samsung whitepaper is all about the Next Mobile Economy, and how those organizations that take advantage of this digital revolution can attract and retain the best talent. But, what really caused me to think of my son was this statement:
…”technology is built into their roles and lives and informs and enables everything they do.”
My children grew up in a wireless world. I use “wireless” as a broad term here. For my son’s birthday we bought him the throwback Atari (maybe I just wanted to get it so I can finally beat him in a video game). As I was setting it up, he picked up one of the controllers – you know the black stick and big orange button – and looked at it for a moment. I could see his brain working around what to do with the joystick but he then picked up the chord and said to me: “Dad, what’s this for?”
As this Whitepaper discusses, this new generation – and really all workers today – have a whole new set of expectations when it comes to their workplace technology. Organizations need to stop thinking of Mobile technology as a “nice to have,” or just something they must deal with as younger employees join the organization. Mobile technology, from phones to wearables, laptops to tablets, and the office to remote workplace, must be viewed as the New Standard.
Don’t mistaken this as me saying that all companies must provide every employee the opportunity to work wherever and whenever they want, and on whatever devices they want. What I am saying is that the old paradigm of desktop + office line + cubicle will not work for the next generation of worker. Providing slow technology to workers who move fast is a recipe for disaster.
I was having lunch with a coworker from India yesterday and she mentioned how she doesn’t like having cold sandwiches for lunch, whereas me being from NY – I love a good corned beef sandwich. It all comes down to how we both grew up and what we are used to.
My son is not used to wires. Tying him down with them will only slow his progress and level of satisfaction with any activity.
Don’t force your workers to use the old joystick. I’ll dig a bit into how to make this change in my next post.