Thursday, April 13, 2017

What's Next?

This week I am returning to my theme of our digital life.   Last Friday I attended a higher education conference as I mentioned in my previous post.  One of the presenters was from GE (what was previously General Electric).  He was talking about how his company almost always hires new employees from students who have internships at GE or sometimes other companies.  To him the critical factor was the real world experience of a meaningful internship.

In the course of the presentation he mentioned that the generation following the Millennials or Generation Y (1980 - 2000) is Generation Z (2001 - present).  This generation, according to this presenter, is referred to as Digital Innate (as opposed to my generation which is considered digital immigrants).  Generation Z is the first generation which has had access to technology from birth.  They are considered very tech savvy yet say that they value personal relationships.  Many want to start businesses so they are very entrepreneurial. They are tied to their technology yet they value privacy.  Within the higher education community where I work we are trying to better understand this generation which will soon fill our college classrooms. 

The other thing the presenter mentioned was wanting their prospective employees to possess digital DNA.  During the question and answer period I asked what that was and he replied that they want employees who can go beyond use of technology to a deeper level including knowledge about software development and digital analytics.

Wow, how much will life, work and business be changing in the near future?   Will our connectivity through technology and social media result in us spending more time online or will there come a point of diminishing returns where people decide they want to disconnect and have closer personal relationships?  What do you think?  Are you excited about what is coming?

Let me finish this week's post with a story: 

My family room has large windows that overlook a busy road behind our house.  One evening I noticed that traffic was backing up so I walked over the the window to look outside thinking there had been an accident.  I saw three young men who had been traveling in an SUV.  It looked like they had purchased a new mattress and they were taking it home tied to the roof of the SUV.  The mattress had blown off the car and was sitting by the side of the road.  The SUV and the young men were on the other side of the road.  Traffic was backing up as people were slowing down to see what had happened.  The three young men were all on their phones, not talking but texting/searching or doing something.   Maybe they were contacting friends or more likely Googling "How to transport a mattress on the top of an SUV"  After much texting, typing and discussion they somehow got the mattress on the top of the SUV, tied it down and went on their way.  I am guessing Google told them how to solve their problem.

An earlier generation might have used the phones to call parents, or possibly friends, for help.  These young men seemed to solve the problem using their phones.  Thank goodness for good old Google(or possibly Siri depending on their phone choice).  

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