Lately I have found myself reflecting on the state of Information Technology in the public and private sector, have we as the current IT leaders done enough to move “automation” forward or are we still killing too many trees and creating toxic waste with our old computers and toner cartridges in our landfill sites every year. Twenty years ago many of us were talking about the paperless office, well why are we still talking about it, why have we not taken serious steps to change how we operate?
Have we done enough, have we had an impact for our generation or have we just created impacts for those generations following after us.
I have two sons, one who is 20 “soon” and the younger one who is “almost” 18, or close enough to feel that he is now an adult. I am sure some of you know exactly what I mean. They are smart, polite, determined and independent. They know what they want and they go after it. I look at them, especially my “youngest” who goes to university in the fall and I think about their plans to impact this world for their generation.
I realize that they have grown up with technology, they do not remember a time before the web, they can’t imagine living life without a cell phone, especially text messaging. They have all the tools, and they use them 7×24. I believe they and their friends maintain a very tight circle of communication with each other. This can be good or bad, based on what you know, or maybe shouldn’t know at the time. I wonder if the next generation will have less issues with miss-communication …… one can only imagine.
So will these 18 to 20 something be different, will they find new ways to use technology, will they be more demanding in their universities, and eventually their workplaces putting action to the dreams of generations before them, and dreaming their own LARGER dreams. My youngest son is currently finalizing his decision on which university he will attend next year. His decision is not based on the technology that is in use at that school. He just assumes that the resources will be available, high speed this and wireless that, it is just the way they think, those that have only grown up knowing technology just assume it is always everywhere and always ON.
Are our universities and colleges ready for the demands of a tech savvy community, well many would say, they are ready as they have been that way for years, but I would suggest that this group entering university in the fall of 2008, and those following after them will be different. Will they be given the ability to experiment with technology, not just those in engineering programs, but I mean all students in all programs, will they have the resources to apply to their field of study. This will be an area to watch over the next 5 – 10 years.
I am not suggesting that professors will be replaced with technology, I am simply talking about the freedom and encouragement that the next generation needs to move us forward as a society. In 5-8 years as these tech savvy adults enter the work force, will our companies be ready. Will the “old guard” have retired leaving a void for our young adults to implement new, advanced technologies. Will we ever achieve the paperless office, will we use technology to remove barriers in organizations as we streamline business operations.
We need to wait and see. In the meantime we all need to encourage this next generation, to dream big, live beyond the boundaries and barriers set by previous generations. Lets look to the future when we can celebrate their accomplishments as they achieve in half of their career what we may have taken our whole career to achieve.
Here is to the next Generation, lets watch them do amazing things !