Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Adopting our workplace for how we work today

On paper (for whoever still uses paper), it might seem unlikely that a Duke University English professor is a driving voice in how to approach and address the "bewildering pace of technological change."

But Cathy Davidson is interested in more than essays and punctuation.  As profiled in last month's Fast Company, Davidson is the "cofounder of HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory), an international network of academics inspired by new technology, which administers the annual Digital Media and Learning competition with the MacArthur Foundation. Davidson believes that true conceptual innovation is needed to reinvent our homes, schools, and workplaces for the demands of the digital age. She calls her approach 'technopragmatism,' or 'technorealism.'"

As Beloit College's annual Mindset List points out, this year's freshman class barely remembers dial-up Internet access. Davidson says, "We're at the perfect moment to begin reimagining our institutions and developing practices to deal with the onslaught of information, the reality of constant connectedness, and the challenges of global collaboration."

The way we collaborate has evolved significantly from the "Mad Men" era. And it continues to evolve quickly. Offices and the nature of the workplace need to evolve to enable people to collaborate effectively wherever they are. Especially, as Davidson points out in her new book, "Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn," distraction is a significant factor in our 9-to-whatever days. Also check out the Fast Company article, Duke's Cathy Davidson Is Fixing The Future Of Distraction.

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