Over Christmas with my parents, cousins etc.
- My uncle talking about whether to buy a new computer now or to wait until Vista comes out (ok, to be fair, he called it “Some new program from Microsoft”, but even so)
- My dad talking about using eBay (hell, I hadn’t even used eBay until two days ago and I’m the one working in the online auction industry)
- My mum talking about her recent installation of broadband and Skype
- Debating with my aunt the merits or not of printing out your digital photos
Unthinkable even 2 years ago.
At the same time that technological evolution (not just Web 2.0 but even such prosaic things as Windows and USB cables) makes technology easier to use, more people use it and therefore their level of ability with it increases. A virtuous or vicious circle, depending on your standpoint.
The same goes in the workplace. Ten years ago people outside the IT department didn’t really want to know what the geeks did. Nowadays it’s often the people outside the IT department are the ones with the coolest ideas of how to use new technology to do business better. I have a theory that as much, if not more, technical innovation comes via the CEO’s kids than out of the IT department.
It’s a real challenge for Technology Leaders if they are to avoid irrelevance over the next few years. And I haven’t heard anyone with the answer yet. Though, again, I have a theory that the following will help:
- The IT department must always be aware that what was right last year probably won’t be right this year
- It’s pointless trying to stem the tide of future innovation just because it is inelegant or a potential security breach or because you didn’t think of it