Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Warm Up Activity - Barry Cumbie

In “The Myth of Monotasking,”author Cathy Davidson discusses attention spans in the new digital era. She seems to be very complimentary of the new age and ready to do away with the old way of doing things (focusing on one task until it is completed and then moving on to the next one). In fact, Davidson even says that we are more productive when we take social networking breaks and so on. I find it hard to believe that anyone takes “social networking breaks.” What may start off as a break probably becomes an all out social networking binge (which may or may not be interrupted by study breaks). I think there may have been some valid points in her argument, but she seemed a bit too yielding to a generation that, in many ways, can be very lazy and entitled. I agree that laziness can breed inventions and innovations, but I think old-school discipline (and attention) is the best way to develop leadership.

In “Social Media’s Untapped Power” a strictly-for-laughs comment by the moderator became the subject of what I think is the most promising and striking content within the entire podcast, “gamification” and the productivity of games and entertainment. Both Piskorski and Bradley point to the possibility of having great collaboration occur through games. Later, they discuss finding a way to give people what they want in a way that raises your company’s bottom line – a rather old concept, as the moderator points out. It seems that the only thing that has actually changed in business over the past several years is what customers want and the different models and methods by which this could raise a company’s bottom line.

Despite my argumentative tone on the first paragraph, I think the two ideas presented in these podcasts go quite well together. People work better when there are distractions or multiple things happening at once, refreshing the brain and inspiring creativity. Using the info from the second paragraph, it seems that one could inspire a great deal of productivity from making work into a game or distraction itself. The next big break in business may indeed be finding a way to embed learning or working into fun instead of separating the two. As much as people enjoy and find ways to entertain themselves (or at least procrastinate) these days, turning such practice on its ear and giving it an actual purpose would undoubtedly revolutionize business as we know it.