My grandfather (born in 1890) witnessed the automotive revolution, when cars went from engineering curiosity to almost ubiquitous forms of transportation, displacing the horse and wagon. He was an expert woodworker and could repair almost any wagon.
But, he decided automobiles were a passing fad and didn’t think he needed to learn how to drive. He was happy to continue riding his bicycle around Kingston, New York, well into the 1970’s. Meanwhile cars took over streets and left him behind. He had to depend on us and other family and friends for anything longer than a 10 or 15 mile journey.
Bob Gough, a noted economist and consultant at MDL Partners recently did a presentation titled “The Smart Divide”. He started by pointing out that history is marked by major technological transformations and that they are coming at us faster and faster. Specifically the first transformation was from hunting/gathering to agriculture, 5000-10,000 years ago. The second was the industrial revolution in the 1600’s – 1800’s, the third computers and automation in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and the fourth to augmented computing, intelligent augmentation using engineered natural intelligence beginning in about 2007.
He detailed how we now face this fourth revolution even before fully digesting the third. This fourth revolution includes adaptive computing and technology using IOT, cognitive systems, nanotech, and shortly, quantum computing. Block chain, genomics and drones will help spread these advances to a wide array of commercial applications faster than anyone anticipated. This transformation will include real time, dynamic, proactive, predictive systems as ubiquitous tools for corporate management. Bob’s company, Chatham Hill provides analytics to make it as easy to drive your company as it is to drive your car.
We will face even greater VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity), but will have new technology tools at our disposal. We will be able to rehearse the future and prepare for a range of possibilities. We will go from descriptive and predictive now to wide spread use of prescriptive optimization in the very near future.
Some companies (and people) have already crossed this smart divide between basic digital devices and tools to augmented computing and adaptive computing. Intel, Google, Amazon and a few others have developed clear competitive advantage using these techniques and are now the most highly valued companies in the stock market.
Are you still on your bicycle? It would be smart to jump to this new transformation before it is too late, and it will be soon. If all you are doing is playing yesterday’s game better, you are going to lose.
A main takeaway was your new model should include learning, unlearning, and relearning. Unlearning, because the old ways of doing things in many cases are a detriment to performance in this new world.
You need to quickly get over the divide. You should be spending 10% of your time in career learning. Don’t expect your company to do it for you; it’s your career. Fortunately, you can use augmented and adaptive technologies to help you learn by utilizing the increasing number of learning models and resources on the web.
At the same time, rethink your career. Get over the divide of thinking about a career ladder model to thinking about a career matrix model using adaptive thinking and ongoing option evaluation.