So there we all were: the dawn of the information age. (Cue up Also Sprach Zarathustra, the opening soundtrack from 2001: A Space Odyssey.) Hunched over a keyboard, staring at a humongous screen, a Medusa-like tangle of wires everywhere, we hesitantly reached for the mouse, nervously hit click, and the rest is history. Well, not exactly. Life should be so easy.
There's that gosh darn learning curve to climb. But of course, we had our small children, who seemed to arrive home straight from their hospital bassinets intuitively wired for the digital age, as tech support. And there was always one of those guys or gals at work who "got it." So now, years later, we get it, more or less. (Or maybe the technology and the ease of navigation finally topped our threshold of incompetency. I can identify with that.)
What I'm not sure that we "get" is how the information age, Internet-connected age, social media era, or whatever changed our professional lives. In fact, we generally don't even think about it.
We wake up in the morning and in seconds the BlackBerry beckons; the laptop glows; we are connected. We've arrived at the "new normal."
Are we amazed that all this is possible? Are we stunned by the speed at which information flows? Do we remember what life was like before the all-enveloping Internet embraced us? No, no, and not really.
What we do like to do—and I certainly include myself in this company—is complain. We're too connected with too much information, coming too quickly. "It's like drinking out of a fire hose!" (This one is amusing because a common executive descriptor of working life before this was spending the day "putting out fires." The fire department is here. Oh no!)
But far and away the single mantra of today's executive life in the great world of connectivity is, "I don't have time." And we don't, but we do.
We're generally unaware of it but the Internet changed our professional lives in how we learn. I think of it as "stray" learning, as in stray cats and dogs. Information we just bump into on our way to somewhere else. Those who write articles for big slick business mags and journals refer to this as "informal learning," which I have also seen referred to as the "new normal." (Huh, so many of 'em. Doesn't seem, well, normal.) But the primary way we learn on a daily basis is probably what we run into on the Internet.
Starting on Feb. 15—shameless self-promotion ahead—we hope to be part of that opportunity. Our popular H&HN Weekly e-newsletter is evolving into H&HN Daily. All of your favorite columnists—Ian, Emily, Dan Beckham, and more—will be there, plus short multimedia reports on real-world examples of delivery system transformation. If you already receive H&HN Weekly, you'll receive H&HN Daily. If not, visit www.hhnmag.com/HHNDaily and sign up.
So don't miss out. Who knows? It might be yet one more "new normal."
Cue up Beethoven's Fifth!