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.
Everything is about perspetive! I am now about half way through my working career and a lot has changed in the time I have been a working member of society. I am very certain that most employers no longer have to send their employees on courses to learn how to manage a computer. While when I started my carreer, people were regularly sent on courses to learn. Many of these were naturally from the older generations, and they had very different speed of learning. My colleagues who saw the advantage of the new tool (the computer) were normally the quicker learners. Those who preffered the more manual approaches had to attend several courses before they would function well with their computers...
Changes occur, but the perception of utility and challenge will vary with the needs and goals we have. An example of real change would be for instance Aker BP in Norway, who now are sharing the data they collect from offshore operations with the whole industry. This actions is contrary to the traditional assumption that we need to keep what we know from our competitors to keep our competitive advantage, towards a very integrated and holistic improvement mindset.
Gamification both in product development and in courses and training activities are also deep changes from something old and traditional to something new. I even read somewhere that elements from gaming are entering the recruitment processes. As games often requires strategic skills they can reveal a candidates ability to think strategically. While for me even the thought of having to participate in a reqruitment process where gaming is a part of the testing seems like a real nightmare. I am in my forties and gaming is something I leave for my kids to do. But if you give me a good old game of Tetris, I am sure I can excell greatly!
What are your thoughts on change? The world is changing - is it really? Is the world of business changing rapidly or does it just feel like it for those over forty? Let me know by messaging me or by adding a comment!
Let me know what we can do for you! Although we do develop IT-systems we don't consider ourselves explorers or innovators within the world of digitalization. However, we do our best to use technological possibilities to our advantage. We invite you to test out our consultant services that we now can perform very effectively over internet based communication solutions. It allows for a totally different budget and saves a lot of time both for us and our clients. You can test our service for free here.