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Did you know your career is a permanent beta?

By March 5, 2023No Comments

6 Steps you can take today to use technology to accelerate your personal beta evolution

Have you seen Ken Robinson’s Ted Talk on how schools are killing creativity? Robinson laments an antiquated ethos lingering in our education system which enforces learning by rote. His point is that this yields little value later ‘out in the big wide world’ for our children who will enter adult life in the most unpredictable and volatile time in history.

Today has been coined many things – the age of information, the age of acceleration, the technical revolution, the second industrial revolution, et al. It all boils down to a pace of change that’s unprecedented. The world is pulsing with newness at ludicrously fast speeds.

Moore’s Law identified in the 60s that the number of a transistors on a chip doubled each year, whilst simultaneously costs of production halved.  Enter more processing power cheaper. So here we are a short time hop later with Elon Musk’s Neuralink monkey playing Pong with thought only, Ai-da, the world’s first AI robot artist and the ever-increasing inhabitants of the metaverse.  No wonder we’re all a buzz.

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So where do we see this technological explosion most manifest? Well, in the marketing landscape I, and perhaps you, inhabit, obviously data and digital are omnipresent making campaign evaluation tighter and more optimisable than ever.  We’re engaging with a new breed of consumer who is impatient, discerning, vocal and suffering mass media bombardment, so the necessity of creating meaningful moments is top of every growth agenda.  And then there’s globalisation.  We’re more connected, always on and geographical boundaries have been obliterated for bountiful trade and commerce.  Scale has become the everyday ambition, indeed actuality.

Thomas Friedman, New York Times technology columnist and best-selling author of ‘Thank You For Being late’, asks us not to fear today. To not be afraid of the ever-undulating business-scapes we’re navigating.  Conversely, he invites us to step headlong into the mayhem, seizing the opportunity that comes with all this freshness. He states “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

What does this mean for businesses then? It means accepting innovation and adaptability as core cultural imperatives. It means being comfortable with failure. It means intra-preneurialism. Dr Astro Teller, Google X laboratory’s most renowned scientist emphasises how innovation is necessary for businesses to survive and thrive, stating “Innovation is a cycle of experimenting, learning, applying knowledge and then assessing success or failure.  And when the outcome is failure, that’s just a reason to start the cycle again.” He implores us to start working differently today.

It’s not just about working differently however. It’s about thinking differently. It’s about adopting a mindset of curiosity, exploration and continual invention. With knowledge sharing made possible through cloud technologies connecting brains at the blink of 2 blue ticks, the ability to spark new ideas is constant. And these new ideas create new value. And it’s this new value which creates growth.

I see deep fusion between growth in our companies being tightly correlated with growth in each of us individually. When we personally invite collaboration to transcend ‘what is’ with ‘what could be’ we become more powerful and collectively more impactful out in the market. Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella illuminated this brilliantly with his Github acquisition stating “Developers will be at the centre of solving the world’s most pressing challenges. However, the real power comes when every developer can create together, collaborate, share code, and build on each other’s work.” It’s his personal strategy for pre-eminence in the global digital economy.

What about pre-eminence in our own personal economy? Our own personal value? How do we increase our individual impact on the world, our workplaces, our communities? Reid Hoffman, co-founder and chairman of LinkedIn, tells us “Your life and professional career is in permanent beta. We are all works in progress.”

In his book, The Start Up of You, he teaches us that to succeed professionally in today’s world you need to think and act like you’re running a start-up by adopting the strategies of successful entrepreneurs. “You are now operating in a quickly changing and uncertain environment with constraints on resources, information and time…” just like a start up.

So, if we do embrace the network intelligence we have at our fingertips, through the prolific social networks available (often super niche to suit), we have the potential of soaring our impact upwards exponentially. We can access new information when we want it, collaborate immediately to evolve it, then when we combine this with a personal characteristic of bravery we have a formula for extremely valuable contribution. Essentially, we have the potential to harness technology to drive growth across both personal and business realms simultaneously. Now, that is end-to-end innovation.

The Merriam Webster definition of Beta is ‘a stage of development in which a product is nearly complete but not yet ready for release’.  Apply this to yourself right now as a beta. What phase of development are you or your idea in as you progress to release?

6 Steps you can take today to use technology to accelerate your beta evolution:-

  1. Choose your social platforms carefully for maximum personal relevance – what do you want to learn and what are you interested in growing?
  2. Become aware of your consumption mode (learning) and engaging mode (co-creating) – which technology works best for what eg Slack, Rumble, Horizonworld, etc
  3. When you do engage always do so constructively through the lens of stimulating new value – what does your comment add, how does it build?
  4. When you have an idea share it and invite collaboration – be brave
  5. Invite diverse contributors to stimulate fresh thinking – move out of your familiar communities and dabble in new conversations
  6. Behave with immediacy – what is hot today won’t be tomorrow so jump with gusto when the moment hits

Back to how I opened this article, referencing Robinson (my favourite author on Passion by the way), I wholeheartedly concur with his fears. I am nervous that we’re educating children out of their creative capacities. Innovation unequivocally requires creativity, that and a dash of courageous trial and error. In his words, “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”

Whilst schools might be hampering efforts educationally, let’s individually step into failing fast and seize the magnitude of tech-enabled possibilities at our disposal. Let’s bring tomorrow into today and get our betas into release pronto.

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