Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Shift Happens in 4:55

Crisis or Opportunity?

You decide.

In less than five minutes.

And join a select group of just over 4 million other viewers who are "up to speed" on what emerged from a Colorado "Fischbowl".

In the fall of 2006, Colorado high school teacher Karl Fisch was asked by his administration to speak at a beginning of the year faculty meeting. To kick start the conversation, he created a powerpoint presentation he later posted August 15, 2006 on his blog known as "The Fischbowl". Karl thought it would be easier that way for other staff members to download it and who knows, maybe one or two other teachers outside the building might find it interesting.

By the end of the month, Karl's presentation is spreading, starting with education bloggers; many showing it in staff meetings or to other influential folks. Gradually, it begins to spill into places like area Chambers of Commerces, and some non-education specific bloggers also link to it.

By 2007, over 100,000 people have seen what Karl started.

On January 19, 2007, Dr. Scott McLeod of Iowa State University posts a remixed version adds a MySpace slide, and improves the look before it gets uploaded to YouTube.Since then, Did You Know? went over-the-top viral and is now spreading faster than ever.

However, Karl worries part of the message may be taken out of context or used in ways that may not be helpful. He writes, "For example, most of those two million folks that have seen it haven’t read the original blog post, so they don’t know what its intended purpose and audience was (high school teachers thinking about the world our students are entering and wondering how best to help them prepare). Yes, I know I should’ve thought of that before I posted it, but I really, really, really had no idea it would spread like this. Now I know - pun intended".

Karl beleives that only with context and conversation can anyone move past the “shock and awe” stage and into the, “Okay, this is also kind of exciting and invigorating. What are we going to do about this?!” stage. One of the problems with Did You Know? is that it doesn’t specifically ask the viewer to do anything at the end. For my intended audience – my staff – the last slide “Now you know . . . ” was an implied challenge.

The Seamless Brand applauds Karl and his on-line colleagues for summarizing in less time than it takes to navigate a drive-thru, complex issues of globalization first raised in Thomas Friedman's book, The World is Flat. Hopefully, Did You Know? helps with the digestion of what best-selling author and futurist Alvin Toffler hinted at with Future Shock; the shattering stress and disorientation induced by subjecting people to too much change in too little time.

Shift does happen and as a result do you find yourself wondering:

1. How much longer our world’s economy will be managed by elected political leaders and appointed experts?

2. Whether our education systems can re-tool fast enough from what is required for academic success ( largely solitary study - few distractions - single subject concentration - loads of written work) to what is essential for business success (working in teams - constant distractions -multi-disciplined - speaking skills)?

3. Will I be able to keep up?

4. Will my organization be able to keep up?

Our planet is hurtling its way to an even more unpredictable, yet exciting future. But, can you already forsee, with speed at which the world is changing and knowledge increasing, the growing need for even more decentralized systems and "seamless" organizations? In this "Age of Speed" as characterized by Vince Poscente, the course for success will be determined by individuals and companies that find ways to harness both speed and passion. For centuries, faster armies with more spirit, have always defeated slower moving, low morale troops. Why would that be any different today?

How is this shift impacting your world and your brand?

Do you see crisis or opportunity ahead?

"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn" ALVIN TOFFLER

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