Summing Up

seek-sense-share-critical-thinking-440x382

“Give me a place to stand and a lever long enough, and I will move the world” (Shirky, 2008). I truly love this quote. Originally scripted by Archimedes, but today applicable to the technological advances of a generation well connected. From the onset of this journey of study, we have looked at the effect that technology has on our lives. The first challenge faced was whether the scourge of available technologies was enough to allow every person on the planet to take advantage of the benefits of this powerful lever. I feel that technology has a far-reaching effect, but certainly, there are many who do not have the opportunity to harness its benefits. It is here at the beginning that we as leaders find our first opportunity to make a difference.

Flattening the Spikes

It is easy as a leader, with a cell phone, laptop, desktop, iPad and other devices that keep me connected, to look at the world as a flat place with great opportunity to excel. Having made it to the final week of this course, I realize many people who through poverty or poor leadership have not been given the ability to be heard. As leaders now is the time to help cultures that are disadvantaged to take stock in their own technological development (Grimshaw, 2011). Allowing developing countries to take stock in development may be a way to make a difference. Sustainable development and democracy are influenced by the role of science and technology in a society (Grimshaw, 2011). It makes sense that lending should be done to help developing countries focus on advancing their technology. In the past 25 years, as of 2007, only 3.9% of the total lending by the World Bank has went toward the development of science and technology in countries where it is most needed. A flatter world means a more productive world. Technology is not just about being connected to friends, but it allows impoverished countries to better utilize their assets.

Exploring Web 2.0

Jumping back to those that have technology readily available, week 2 helped me explore tools that gave businesses personality. Before digital tools like YouTube, WordPress, Twitter, Facebook and a host of other innovative technologies, the world of business was without form and void and darkness was on the face of the deep. Yes, that was a little melodramatic, but it is safe to say that businesses were faceless, and some even had a reputation for being dark and unfriendly. Web 2.0 has let us view businesses as old friends, with new faces. We can see how companies are helping people make the best of their lives. We see Tweets from companies that make us feel like they are more of our friend than an entity looking to capitalize on our needs. Today’s leaders can follow in the footsteps of business owners like Jerry Greenfield and Ben Cohen, who have used their Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream success to drive social directives “to improve the quality of life locally, nationally and internationally” (Brands in action, 2012). We know about these directives, because Web 2.0 keeps us connected with the companies that keep us informed on what they are doing.

Managing Knowledge Effectively

With the advent of the Internet and the technological advances of ever more mobile devices, companies have made publishers out of nearly everyone with a cell phone, iPad, or laptop. Sure, I could name a plethora of other devices that make it easy for the well connected to say just what is on their mind, but the picture is clear, we are all producers with something to say. As leaders, it is a top priority to maintain order from the chaos of so many voices. Clay Shirky says, “The only group that can catalog everything is everybody” (Juskalian, 2008). The question then becomes, “How?” One way is to heuristically manage information before accepting it as fact. When evaluating information on the Internet one of the first ways to test the information is to find out who the author is, if there is no authors listed beware (Rheingold, 2009). A second way is to find out who owns the site where information is coming from. A good place to do this is at easywhois.com. As leaders, it is our responsibility to help others help themselves in the area of heuristic understanding.

The Times They Are A Changing and So Is The Work

In the sixties Bob Dylan insightfully sang “The Times They Are A Changing.” The last 7 weeks did not really teach me that work was changing with them, I already knew that, but it did shed light on how rapid work is changing for everyone everywhere. Our society is shifting from labor to automation, from repetitive practice to creative application (Coming to an office near you, 2014). As a leader, I often find myself helping those around me learn new skills and ways of doing things. We have been using fingerprint technology to have jewelry made from the prints we take. Many families love this unique tribute, and I have been training staff members to use the technology to further their ability to help families in this area. This is only one minuet example of how new technology changes the things we must do to improve customer experience.

Networks, Ethics and Emerging Technologies

Weeks 5, 6 and 7 have really helped me see the challenges that networked workers and emerging technologies presented in the area of ethics. As the networks that bind us have join our society together, we must be wary of how we use these technologies. New technologies promise to make life easier, but they also promise to hold the potential to invade our private lives. Cell phones and other mobile technologies allow us to work smarter, but they also force us to work longer. Our down time is slowly being eroded. As a leader, I am aware of the importance of setting boundaries for my employees. Not only boundaries that protect the company, but also boundaries that protect the personal time of those with whom I work. New technologies bring a need for ethical evaluation to determine the most appropriate way to use them.

Wrapping Up

I have enjoyed looking at all of the ways technology has impacted my life. One of the most valuable things that I have taken away from this class is the realization of so many new technologies that I had never heard of. When I started this journey, I barely knew what Prezi was, and did not know how to use it at all. I had never heard of many of the tools that people were using on the Internet. I did not think about the importance of ethics as new technologies developed. I look forward to the future to see what technologies will be developed next, and if they will match any of the information that I have learned here, or if they will far exceed my expectations.

References

Brands in action. (2012). Retrieved from Unilever: http://www.unileverusa.com/brands-in-action/detail/Ben—Jerry-s/295851/
Coming to an office near you. (2014, January 18). Retrieved from The Economist: http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21594298-effect-todays-technology-tomorrows-jobs-will-be-immenseand-no-country-ready
Grimshaw, D. D. (2011, April). Technological innovation can work for the poor. Retrieved from Global : http://www.global-briefing.org/2011/04/making-innovation-work-for-the-poor/
Juskalian, R. (2008, December 19). Interview with Clay Shirky, Part I. Retrieved from Columbia Journalism Review: http://www.cjr.org/overload/interview_with_clay_shirky_par.php?page=all
Rheingold, H. (2009, June 30). Crap detection 101. Retrieved from SF Gate: http://blog.sfgate.com/rheingold/2009/06/30/crap-detection-101/
Shirky, C. (2008). Here comes everybody. Penquin Books: New York.

  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • E-Mail
  • Facebook
  • Google Buzz
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Eileen J. King April 23, 2014, 5:52 pm

    Jay,
    Thank you for a very thoughtful & insightful retrospective of our class. As I’m reading the responses of colleagues, I am again, so grateful to be in an interdisciplinary program. Each of us received the same kind of information & access, but our individual process has truly been impacted during & by the discussion process. I have learned so much from all of you.

    I am struck by your description of those without access & recommendations for continued work in this area. It is by remembering those with limited or without access to technology that we can increase impact as leaders. I also appreciate your reminder about the importance of using an ethical lens as we apply our leadership skills & knowledge. Part of being a respectful & worthy leader is to remain ethical & protective of those being led.

    I, too, really appreciated the week spent researching & crowdsourcing new technology. Thank you for the information about easywhois.com. I didn’t know about this site.

    I’m completely intrigued by your fingerprint jewelry concept. We’ll have to chat sometime.

    Thanks again.
    Cheers,
    Eileen

    Reply
    • Jay April 27, 2014, 1:31 am

      Thank you Eileen. This has been a great 8 weeks, and I am sorry that it is coming to an end. I really enjoyed the time spent reading your posts, and the posts of others in this class. I, too, agree that it is highly important to maintain our ethical in all of our leadership endeavors. New technologies not only bring a lot of great possibilities to the table, but they also create a lot of ethical dilemmas.

      Thank you,
      Jay Prewitt

      Reply
  • Diana April 25, 2014, 5:53 pm

    Your comment that pre-Web 2.0 most businesses were faceless was thought provoking. I would also add to that reflection the suggestion that customers were also voiceless. Prior to the social communications of today’s digital economy, consumers were challenged to voice their concerns in an organized, coordinated fashion. Social media has turned the tables of power in the consumer exchange by enabling not only companies to have a face, but also consumers to have a voice. Michael Porter presented a model of industry analysis – Porter’s Five Forces model – that summarizes the forces of power in any given industry at any given time. (http://hbr.org/2008/01/the-five-competitive-forces-that-shape-strategy/ar/1) The forces are competitive rivalry, threat of substitute products, threat of new entrants, supplier power, and buyer power. While the Internet and other technologies have impacted all of the forces, Porter’s Five Forces model identifies interesting insights for technology in regard to the buyer power in most consumer industries or markets. Consumers, or buyers, now via Web 2.0 are enabled to group together, to voice their concern, or to evaluate their purchase decisions more effectively because of the information and communications available online. Technologies have greatly improved the consumer’s position in the market and help make companies more accountable. The good companies have taken advantage of this by remaining upright, communicating well, and holding up their value against the competition.

    Reply
    • Jay April 27, 2014, 1:37 am

      So true, customers were voiceless before Web 2.0. Great observation. I really like the Five Forces Model, and have studied it many times in my educational career. It is timeless even in the world of changing technology. One thing that I find particularly helpful with Web 2.0 is that I can search for reviews on many items seen on television, and find out if they are hoaxes or good products. The most recent product that I have researched is the Nuwave PIC. I found pretty good reviews for the product. I purchased a Canon 6D Camera not long ago, only after looking at countless reviews. Truly consumers have a voice on the web, and it has proven to be pretty reliable for me.

      Thank you,
      Jay Prewitt

      Reply
  • Britt Watwood April 26, 2014, 12:20 pm

    Jay,

    Nice review. I liked your comment that “…we are all producers with something to say…” – as are all those with whom we interact. Diana’s comment about Porter’s Five Forces was a nice insight…and ties into this. With all of these voices, solving our personal filtering problem is step one!

    Enjoyed your perspective during this course. Good luck in the future!

    Reply
    • Jay April 27, 2014, 1:39 am

      Thank you Dr. Watwood. I have thoroughly enjoyed this innovative class. I really hate to see it come to an end. I like the idea of using our personal blogs to look at the technologies of the past and the future. You have been very good at helping and answering my questions.

      Thank you,
      Jay Prewitt

      Reply
  • Paolo Narciso April 27, 2014, 8:16 pm

    What a great summary of our journey in this class! I love your point specifically about the use of technology to flatten the world and to give voice to people who are still not being heard. Your illustration of the amount of money being spent on technology in developing countries is humbling. In addition to government, I believe private enterprise has the opportunity to advance technology and to allow people who haven’t historically been heard to be heard. I like what Facebook and Google are both doing by developing satellite and high-altitude balloon technology to deliver Internet access to everyone.

    I also like that you admonish us to be concerned about the ethics. I’ve been guilty of sometimes accepting technology without understanding the consequences.

    I enjoyed your posts and hope that you will continue it outside this class.

    Reply

Leave a Comment