If you follow the headlines about technology and the future of work, you’re probably starting to get a little nervous. At best, you’re worried that you’ll have to find a new job in a higher-skilled field and maybe have to go back to school or retrain. At worst, you’re imagining a dystopian future where automation and artificial intelligence have left us all unemployed and under the rule of robotic overlords.
When we think of innovation we often picture a group of twenty-somethings in jeans and flip-flops working in a small startup in Silicon Valley. We don’t immediately picture a large, global corporation or a government agency, but they may be even better suited than startups to innovate. Even the largest and most bureaucratic organizations came into existence with some innovation at some point and can learn to recapture that youthful spark with a few simple steps.
It’s the tool we all hate but can’t seem to live without. We check our personal and work inboxes incessantly throughout the day and dream of reaching that impossible nirvana of “inbox zero.” Email has become an integral part of our lives, but some are beginning to question its merits. A few companies have even attempted to ban it completely for internal correspondence. Email has become such an essential tool that we have to wonder if it is even possible to replace it. What would even take its place? It may not be viable with a single solution, but with the maturation of social and collaboration tools in the enterprise and rethinking customer touchpoints it could be possible to at least minimize email tyranny and possibly even end it entirely.
Digital transformation is all the rage these days. Those two words are on the tongues of CEOs, CIOs, academics, and even bloggers who know nothing about the topic. Organizations seem to understand they should do it, and some may even have a vague understanding of the benefits of doing so. However, many don’t know where or how to start, or – even worse – focus solely on implementing technology. A true digital transformation is about people and processes, not just fancy new tech. Applying basic change management principles and taking a holistic organizational viewpoint will help ease the digital transformation journey.
The 7th Global Drucker Forum explored the theme of “Claiming Our Humanity – Managing in the Digital Age.” The issue of leading and engaging a workforce in our highly technological digital society is one I ponder and deal with regularly, so it was only natural that I make the journey to pasty- and coffee-fueled Vienna to hear the leading thinkers from business, academia, and many other disciplines tackle this subject. The issue of technology in our homes, workplaces, and communities is largely ignored by the general public, but it affects all of us more than we think.
The world has changed and IT departments are struggling to remain relevant. Survival is a choice IT leaders can make if they are willing to change.
With fifteen years of professional experience and a lifetime of interest in technology, I am excited to explore our relationship with the silicon that surrounds us. How do we maintain our humanity as IT continues to embed itself in our lives? What is the human performance element that can never be replaced as computers and robots take on more and more of our daily tasks? Does social media and interconnectedness over the Internet actually make us or more less connected to each other? These questions matter and need to be addressed.