At the worlds biggest IT fair, CeBIT in Hanover, ending on Sunday they tried something new. With “Webciety” there has been a new format to close the gap between hardware selling companies on the one hand and increasingly important web companies on the other. We hear this for so long and it is from year to year it is more true: We are on the way to web society / “webciety”. At the panel there have been issues like Enterprise 2.0, Social Computing and Identity Management – but the most interesting subject for me has been the upcoming and invasion of the “digital natives”. The consequences for enterprises, media industry and marketing are still in the debate. At webciety there has been a book presentation concerning the topic. You can access and download the book at scribd as a PDF (German):
DNAdigital – Wenn Kapuzenpullis auf Anzugtraeger treffen
Digital Natives – different mindset, communication habits and consumption patterns
Marc Prensky coined the term “digital natives” in the context of education some years ago (“Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants” 2001). Since Gartner and other analyst firms took it seriously since 2007 today companies start to analyze more thoroughly the rather heterogeneous group of digital natives. The core definition is trivial:
A digital native is a person who has grown up with digital technology such as computers, the Internet, mobile phones and MP3. (Wikipedia)
Prensky realized the disparity in the realm of learning and teaching – teachers are just ill-equipped to educate digital natives, whose sophisticated use of digital technologies is incompatible with practice in schools and universities. No question the disparity today is virulent in the enterprise context (actually I am preparing some stuff concerning the issue and the consequences for business. I want to deliver a presentation soon, promised).
Time to transform your company into an academy!
Today my message is rather short and vocal: It is time to transform!
I have been thinking about the Webciety discussions and suddenly realized that the “business pattern” had to be changed in the core to be successful tommorrow. The digital natives are just one pressure factor, others are innovation speed, real time pressure in processes, shorter loops to react to changes in the market environment. Well, the big companies all have their corporate academy or university … and of course there has been the rhetorics of knowledge society and the learning organisation for some decades.
But today, in 2009, the ingedients are quite different. Technology and human ressources are different, markets and information streams are different. It is just not enough to put the label “Enterprise 2.0″ onto theses changes and implemement an enterprise wiki. What we need is a new paradigmatic guiding principle, a “leitbild”.
Crisis + digital natives -> chance to change the game
The crisis is a good environment to make real changes. And the group of the digital natives will make you feel the pain soon if you do not change some structures – because they know more than the “experienced staff” (in some domains)! If you do not change the settings your talents not only will be unhappy – but you do not take the chance to make them “teachers”, use their knowledge and their “fast track methods” to communicate, connect and conquer.
New management paradigm: The company as a school
- Deconstruct and rebuild your enterprise really as a learning structure – at every level and detail!
- Discover the hidden teacher–student dyades in the relations and strenghten them!
- Find ways to sustainably encourage the flow of knowledge – not as an event, but as a 24/7 practice!