These days I'd say if you aren't feeling overwhelmed by technology and the rate of culture change, you're either living under a rock or a farmer. But have you ever asked a 10 year old how they are handling today's information overload?
Chances are high that the 10 year old would look at you with a confused look. They might even follow that confused stare with "Why is it overwhelming? This is how its always been." Kids have zero problem with the world's hyper connectedness. They are Digital Natives. The first generation of the 21st century. They were born into the digital age...to them it's reality.
Kids these days can operate a smartphone before they can tie their shoes. Some studies show that today's younger generations have greater synaptic activity in their brains at any age than any prior generation. Their brains are literally being re-wired with today's technology. Welcome to the Re-wired Generation.
This re-wired-ness places new accountability on leaders and organizations. We won't be able to get away with pushing Digital Natives through the same square work peg that every other generation has been pushed through. Existing leadership, communication, marketing and recruiting tactics will fall short.
Many people are fearful of the change and want to demand that the Millennials and Digital Natives conform to "the way it's always been done" or to "wait their turn" or to "put in their time." This strategy and legacy thinking will be fatal to many leaders and organizations. The emerging generations aren't just changing…they ARE the change.
How will having answers at our fingertips 24/7 elevate the next generations' thinking and problem solving ability? It's interesting to think how the 3 year olds in 2013 who have experienced the world thru connected touchscreens will show up as 20 year olds in 2030?
I recently read about examples of Digital Natives doing extraordinary tasks:
- 4 year old who can count to 20, knows addition and is learning multiplication with an iPad.
- 7 year old who taught himself PowerPoint on his Father's iPad and asked if he could take it to school to deliver his homework that way.
- 18 month old who can successfully search YouTube to find his favorite animated characters.
- 3 year old who opened Skype and called his grandmother while his parents were out because he wanted to ask his grandma a question.
- 3 10 year olds who used Google Docs to collaborate on a 4th grade class project.
Do these examples frighten or excite you?
Technology and the Internet have rewired the emerging generations and are giving them more flexibility to work and think at higher levels than ever before. Choose to re-wire your own thinking in order to find creative ways to leverage the re-wired generation.
Question: How is technology re-wiring your thinking?