I love Steven Johnson. The headline above is from an article he’s published in Time Magazine, which you can find here. It says everything I wanted to say about learning from our children, only better. I particularly like the following: (all emphases mine)
“Any time a new technology comes along, an implicit cost-benefit analysis gets made. The trouble with the current debate about Generation M is that we have a phalanx of experts lined up to measure the costs but only a vague, intuitive sense of the benefits.”
“this dramatic spike in digital participation is, for the most part, sharpening the minds of Generation M, not dumbing them down. But it’s hard to see that improvement without the right yardstick. The skills they’re developing are not trivial. ”
“They’re learning to analyze complex systems with many interacting variables, to master new interfaces, to find and validate information in vast databases, to build and maintain extensive social networks crossing both virtual and real-world environments, to adapt existing technology to new uses. And they’re learning all this in their spare time–for fun!”
Read it. Read all of it. Because tomorrow’s staff, customers, competitors and CEOs are all Generation M. Well, maybe just the odd CIO as well.
And if we want to attract them, retain them, develop and release their potential, then we need to design systems that will help them do that.
Right now, we are still looking at how better to design bridles and bits while the metamorphosis of the car is complete.
I guess I could say “legacy costs”. Or “The Innovator’s Dilemma”. Or “Henry Ford’s faster horses”.