The world is changing... or is it really?
I was recently reminded that we seem to be surrounded by this common conception that things are changing more and more rapidly, and yet I find myself resisting this conception as an unbiased truth. That has been the background for writing this article. The trigger was this quote:
«It's a new world out there and quality and risk managers need to keep up with the rapid change with digitalization, varying user demands, increased risk and by that increased importance of learning».
Last year I wrote an article asking if digitalization was just yet another hype word or a real challenge that we are facing now more than ever, and I think this article needs to start with a quote from myself: «Sometimes I can be a bit daft, but this morning it hit me; digitalization isn't something new. When I was in high school I used my fathers computer to write my social science thesis, I chose to include topics such as computer science and typing (Touch method) to my curiculum and one of the first subjects I had in college was ICT (among other things we learned to search the internet and make graphs in Excel). [...] Then recently I learned that Sintef (a Norwegian research centre) produced one of theire first reports on digitalization in 1983. The name was something like: Could the job of a secretary be automized?»
Then a few days ago, my partner in Risk Culture Builders made me aware of this quote about banking which was written in 1863 - yes, 1863, and again I was made aware that there are signs that tell us that the world isn't changing just as rapidly as we seem to think: «Pursue a straightforward, upright, legitimate banking business. Never be tempted by the prospect of large returns to do anything but what may be properly done under the National Currency Act. ‘Splendid financiering’ is not legitimate banking, and ‘splendid financiers’ in banking are generally rascals or humbugs.»
Many of you may also recognize this quote from Socrates (469-399 B.C.): «The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room.»
I think that talking about everything changing rapidly is in fact biased and that instead of focusing on rapid change in itself we should be more concrete. The valuable questions are; WHICH are the changes that we actually are seeing and HOW DO THEY IMPACT how we organize our businesses and execute our day to day tasks. Digitalization in it self is not interesting. What is interesting is HOW IT IMPACTS our workday and the NEW POSIBILITIES AND THREATS digitalization brings us. Also the impact any change should have on TRAINING and how the USER EXPERIENCE IS CHANGING with the current development should be explored. Are user experiences fundamentally changing or are digitalization and other changes just projections of the old ways of working, put into computers and more fancy looking flowcharts? Does all the changes that we see around us constitute NEW WAYS OF THINKING and do they require us to AQUIRE NEW SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE or is the knowledge we have today sufficient to function with the new possibilities and threats that change leads to.
Personally, I think that how we perceive that speed of change around us is relative. How speed is perceived depends on where we are in life and in our mindset. If you're sitting still by the side of a road, traffic passing in 50 km/h will seem like speeding. If you want to drive in 60 km/h, but end up behind a person driving in 50 km/h, he will seem like a slow driver. Then again, if your children are playing in the mentioned street, you will perceive that speed as outright threatening, while if your purpose is to ensure you're not late for a meeting, driving fast will seem like an opportunity to succeed at reaching your goal.