The next generation's executives will have brains wired for multitasking

By March 14, 2012
Keywords : Digital Working, America
man with several arms multitasking

Today’s children will grow up to benefit and suffer from their hyperconnected lives. This will translate into a new corporate culture that values quick thinking and accurate data synthesis.


The future of the Internet will see ever-increasing collaboration with the human mind and technology, with simultaneously shrinking awareness of the divide between people and their devices. In an effort to predict the effect that this will have on the development of younger generations and the digital environment, the Pew Internet & American Life Projectasked tech stakeholders and critics their views on the matter. The sample group was asked if the effect that the Internet and its ubiquitous presence on the wiring of young brains will be positive or negative - and the response was pretty much split in half. Furthermore, many predictions suggest that expectations and consumption of technology will change, which can only mean that innovators and businesses must adapt their strategies accordingly.

Agile decision makers with focus will be important in future organizations

The next generation will provide executives and engineers accustomed to effortless data, and may be less predisposed to deep analysis of single-source information. One prediction suggested that quick-fix information may lead to less patience and motivation, leading to innovation stagnation. On the other hand, evolving social structures will result in a division between those that can make quick, accurate decisions based on multi-stream information and specialists who rely on focused, deep-thinking. These two forces may compliment each other while leaving behind those who are more easily diverted, distracted, or content with easy entertainment. New leaders will more often be capable of filtering, analyzing and synthesizing information, all while being deft at confirming the credibility of such information.

Using tech as a cognitive crutch can lead to less personal development

In addition to the future critical skill of focus and data management, greater tech integration will affect the future concept of identity. Futurist John Smart suggests that personal development will be an issue, as there will be more incentive to either relax into entertainments or offload decision making to smarter machines. Motivating people to become “more self-actualized, productive and civic than their parents were” will be the challenge in the next decade and beyond. Business and management will have to reckon with their use of behavior monitoring and productivity tools, which will be readily available but must be tempered with a human touch.

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