Adapting to a networked world

Simon Bostock referred me to this speech that Ben Hammersly gave to the UK’s Information Assurance Advisory Council. The main theme is how the ruling generation (Baby Boomers) are failing to understand how the Internet has changed EVERYTHING.

You’re all the same age, and upbringing, as the people that the digital generations are so upset with. Don’t take it personally, but your peers are the sorts of baby-boomers that have been entrusted with the future, while they are obviously so deeply confused by the present.

For example:

[Moores Law] This is all obvious for us, yes, but Truth Number One, is that anything that is dismissed on the grounds of the technology-not-being-good-enough-yet is going to happen. We have to tell people this.

Fundamental Truth Number two is that the internet is the dominant platform for life in the 21st century.

Indeed, a small part of the trigger for the London riots can be understood as the gap between the respect given to peoples’s opinions by the internet, and the complete disrespect given by the government and the ruling elites.

The government, and the security industry, in this country and elsewhere, have spent the past ten years really blowing it. Time and time again there has been a demonstration of security theatre, or overreaction, or overstatement of the risks in hand. From liquids in airports to invading Iraq, no one believes this stuff any more.

Hammersly likens his role as “translator” between the ruling generation and the younger generations, and given his record, he seems to be doing this with a vengeance. I’m sure it will still take some time to get the message through.

Earlier this year I spoke to HR Executives and Chief Privacy Officers about social media, the most visible part of the world connected by the Internet. After one presentation it was clear that the group (all over 40) knew that things were changing but few understood what they could do within the context of their own organization. Or perhaps they had no real incentive to do so.

While people like Hammersly are needed as translators, we also need pathfinders to show concrete measures that can be taken by the pioneers. Using the  tipping point metaphor, Mavens deeply understand the situation, Connectors are needed to get the word out and Salespeople have to convince those in control to take action. That means there’s work for many while we get to the critical mass where a networked way of working (e.g. wirearchy) living (e.g. Shareable) and learning (e.g. MOOC)  become natural.

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