To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else, means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.E.E. Cummings

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.

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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.

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.

Tonight I had the good fortune to attend a lecture and meet world renowned economist and father of economic “shock therapy” Dr. Jeffrey Sachs. Dr. Sachs spoke of the pressing sustainability issues facing our world today. Extreme poverty, hunger, and climate change grow ever more threatening as economic and population growth have increased exponentially since the invention of the steam engine. We’re getting closer to the precipice and world leaders need to act now.