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The Age of Transformation: From Personal to Digital

Sogeti Labs
June 09, 2017

In my last blog “Fail to Fail”, I talked about the increasing need for businesses to quantify everything, to know everything by fact through figures, models and digital metrics. In an insecure period, which a transformation often is, the need to know everything increases. Quantifiable facts with little room for interpretation is what most companies seek, this gives them a sense of control in times of unceryainty.

What if something happens that is not quantifiable? What if a situation occurs that cannot be loaded into our precious models and metrics. Does such a situation even exist, continue reading I’d say, you might be surprised!

This need for facts as mentioned earlier, the need to factual know got me thinking about the “Google generation”. More and more people, like for instance teenagers lack creativity nowadays, because hey, Google knows everything right!

Let me look at this from my own perspective; I grew up in a small village in the eastern part of the Netherlands. Traffic jams, skyscrapers and cable television were unknown until I grew up. I lived with my family of five on a small farm with some horses, chickens a cat and a dog. And while I helped my dad with the work that never finished on our property we sometimes heard sirens from a cop car, ambulance or firefighters. Together, we speculated about the reason for the presence of the emergency services. On a warm sunny day, we reckoned that the firefighters were called to put out a fire in one of the nearby forests. On hot days, an ambulance would mean that an elderly probably got in trouble because of the heat. Together we always came up with solutions and the why, by letting our creativity run free, and that was that.

Nowadays if we hear an ambulance we get a push message from flitsmeister which is one of the features of the app besides getting a notification where the police are checking your speed.

We know instantly that an ambulance is nearby. We check Twitter (where I live, which is still in the eastern part of the Netherlands, though a little less farmish (farm-like) 😉 we use #112twente and we know by fact what is happening. No creativity anymore, just facts and figures. This trend is going on for years, a transformation that shifted contact from personal to digital. Study shows (for example JACK MILLNER FOR MAILONLINE about how the smartphone makes us stupid) that more and more young adults find it increasingly more difficult to actually talk to someone in real life. While other studies show that our current concentration span is less than that of a goldfish (Kevin McSpadden wrote.)
A good friend of mine is a geography teacher at a high school, we talked about this trend amongst teenagers and from his experience he told me that the “happy stuff” is discussed/told face to face and the “hard stuff” like telling your friends that your parents are getting divorced is done by WhatsApp. Does this have anything to do with the fact that a lot of us don’t like to give and receive feedback? The more things change the more they stay the same right (read my previous blog here)

Our natural curiosity is rapidly disappearing or suppressed by continuous distraction and increasing symptoms of a smartphone addiction. The need to know syndrome I call it.

Worried yet?
Check your symptoms here:

So, what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? This question cannot be put into models, no tools will answer this question for you. This question can probably only be answered using and trusting your own curiosity and creativity.
Did I figure it out, “yes or no”? I have no “real” answer to this question, what I do know is:
Creation begins in the collision of elements. So if the premise is that the two objects do indeed collide, let your creativity create the outcome you see fit.

Have a real life discussion about it, come to an agreement with your friends or partner, see what this does nonverbally, pick up the thousands of signs while you are in a conversation (roughly 54% of your communication is nonverbal, so more than half of your message is said with your mouth shut). Give feedback (or in some cases learn how to give and receive feedback first) and in the end find your phone that you haven’t used for hours to get an uber home!

About the author

SogetiLabs gathers distinguished technology leaders from around the Sogeti world. It is an initiative explaining not how IT works, but what IT means for business.


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