There is a lot of concern about Digital Disruption from many camps- managers, investors, employees and everyday people. In an age where change appears to be the only constant, I want to look at what seems like an odd coupling- disruption and teachers.
There are two growing trends, now converging:
- Digital Disruption- AI, digital, web and other technologies changing the face of work and business models around the world.
- Social Isolation and associated psychological issues, linked to the Internet of Things and caused by fast changing social and economic factors.
If these trends converge too quickly and without planning, we may see many people without sustainable or meaningful work, and face significant hardship. This gives me great cause for concern. It also has spawned my personal and business mission- to teach, coach and help people develop a creative mindset for long term success.
With AI, increased automation and other elements of Digital Disruption, it will be clear people orientated work will become more important. People helping people- face to face or closely via video or audio technologies will be needed to help deal with increasing social problems. Teachers, coaches, mentors, or simply a trusted friend to ‘sound things out’ will become crucial for decision making and success.
The need for people orientated work is not new. We have just forgotten it in recent decades in our rush for all things technological. Artisans used this centuries ago. The Master-Apprentice model, the Articles model, the close guidance of both a friend and an expert in a certain field, these are all likely to become more important as a digital / human divide continues to evolve.
“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” – Henry Adams.
Adams’ message stopped me in my tracks when I first read it. To do something as meaningful as helping to change one person’s life for the better for eternity, for me is worthy of a lifelong commitment. However, there is a geometric effect. That person can take one teaching, one insight, and then multiply it in their life, and in the lives of others they touch.
In this way we all become teachers.
Teachers also give us perspective and objectivity. Teacher gives us years of experience, insight and shortcuts to ‘what works’. Teachers can give us a tilly lamp that makes our path a little clearer. Teachers often act as a bridge between the past and the future. Teachers help us find truth. Teachers help us find ourselves.
There was a phrase around a few years ago- ‘High Tech- High Touch’. This may become a better paradigm for business, and also in our personal lives. Use technology to help us know, do and be more. However, ensure this is balanced with a close, continuing engagement with people. When one of us rises, we all rise. Technology ought to be a tool enabling our growth, not inhibit it.
At the end of the day, we are more similar than different. At the end of the day, we all want and need essentially the same things in life and work. Balance is a key and a friend. Through balance, digital technologies do not have to disrupt us or cause harm. If managed and planned, technology can usher in change that is better for all of us. Such change needs to be hand in glove with what makes us human, happy and fulfilled. These things haven’t changed for centuries, and explain why a marriage of disruption and teachers may well strike the balance needed to empower and transform lives.
“Those who disrupt their industries change consumer behaviour, alter economics, and transform lives.”- Heather Simmons.
Lee Spano, Creatness International, www.creatness.com
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