Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Workforce of the 21st Century

Although I've been a technology fan all my life, it has been interesting to watch my kids go through different waves of technology adoption. Of my three children, the oldest (graduated HS in 98) got their first email address as a Freshman in college. The second (graduated in 2000) was routinely using email in high school and was addicted to instant messaging during college. The third (graduated 2002) was IM-ing during high school years (it seemed to take the place of 'hanging out with your buds after school'). All, of course, took to cell phones like fish to water.

But I vividly recall an incident in early 2001 that stood out. My middle child had a close group of friends who had gone through school together but went off to different colleges in different states. They maintained close ties through IM and email, and one evening were chatting online when one complained about a troublesome assignment (compiling & testing a short computer program) that was giving them fits. One of the group suggested another friend; they checked and found them online; that person suggested yet another friend; they IM'd the problem to that person, who suggested something to try. The original person made the suggested changes, uploaded, compiled and ran the program successfully! In fifteen minutes, five people in as many states helped solve one problem - and it took place between 11:00 and 11:15 pm!

That's the definition of the workforce of the 21st Century. Networked problem-solving; virtual teams. Its all there... and the kids are ready for it. Its the existing company structures and management that are not quite ready. (To say nothing of the teachers and education system.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

And here's an org that wants to make money doing pretty much just that.


10:47 AM  

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