Monday, January 17, 2011

Have Laptop.
Will Travel.

" will you manage productivity or necessary face time or even morale when your staff is spread out over five continents? Technology is the answer— or rather, those who can handle the technology and people at the same time are. Perhaps those who were raised on this technology would be the managers best able to understand its potential? Or its reach?

Back in 2007, to get a greater grasp of Gen Y, I decided to do some research that was off the beaten path. I took a flight from LaGuardia Airport, New York, to Madison, Wisconsin, to attend the third annual Games + Learning + Society conference, or GLS 3.0, a three-day get together of the best innovations and discussions between academia and game designers. The key discussion was about how to create teaching games that could be used in the classroom—from kindergarten to college.

This may sound like silly nonsense until you begin to realize that every computer’s graphical user interface is based on the intuitive design learned from the use of gaming technology. From your ATM to your MacBook or PC, from your iPhone to your cable television remote and onscreen interface— all have been designed and influenced by the video game interface. It is information architecture at its best.

Now here’s an idea of how gaming technology will be applied to the future of teaching. Imagine taking a city-planning and economics course in college using a Sim City– style simulator to track taxation, capital improvements, bureaucracy overhead, and labor factors within the model.

This type of simulation along with task-and-reward model is already being utilized in more progressive schools and is the central ideology of the GLS conference. How can games be used to teach or to implement dangerous tasks, or, in general, be integrated into our everyday life?

Self-running simulations and simulators all come under the heading of Serious Games, and it is changing the way we work. Remote robotic units can be sent into extremely dangerous situations and locales: a battlefield, a bomb disarming, and a scientific analysis of volcanoes, or the surface of Mars. If you think this is some future you will never see in your lifetime, think again; remote surgery is already being performed using this type of technology right now."

- Excerpted from Liquid Leadership, page 73

This type of work is no longer in the realm of science fiction. It is fact. so when you decide to head back to college to upgrade those Boomer skills ask yourself "will what I am pursuing be obsolete...replaced by a machine, an interface or an open source website?"

We are in an age when everything will be shaken up...

"Riding the Wave of Radical Disruption
During the Industrial Revolution, profession after profession shifted completely or, in many cases, was completely wiped out due to new ways of working and the technological influences of new inventions.

Case in point: With the invention of photography, an artist’s responsibility shifted. Before photography, an artist’s “job” was part historian, part archivist— an illustrator of our day-to-day existence, sketching history in stunning, realistic portrayals as it was happening. But as the camera took over their jobs, artists began to paint in a new way, and thus Impressionism was born. The change didn’t kill portrait painting or archival quality sketches. It only opened up what being an artist meant. Seurat, Gauguin, Matisse, Caisson, Van Gogh, Modigliani, and Toulouse Lautrec opened the doors for the likes of Picasso, Dali, and Pollack. 

I am sure the transition was scary, but it was necessary.

It wasn’t just artists and craftsmen who felt the impact of the technological explosions of the Industrial Revolution. Horse-and-buggy companies such as Studebaker transitioned nicely into automobile manufacturers, while those that resisted watched their market shrink, eventually driving them out of business. The new era was forcing changes regardless of who was on board.

A similar shakeup is happening today as we transition from the Industrial Age to the Information Age. Just as electricity in the home and office changed not only how we worked, but also when and where we worked— marking the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and the introduction of high-rise buildings and elevators into our working lives—the technology of the Information Revolution will do the same. Digital pictures of people working in cubicles will be soooo twentieth century."

Liquid Leadership, page 250

We are becoming a constantly on the go longer defined by a physical location, but by our laptops and WiFi connection. Scary but exciting at the same time.

Thanks for reading,

Brad Szollose