Like a frog in a well…



(Photo: The Baltic Sea from Love Boat, June 2015. Asko Mononen)

There’s an old Chinese story saying “A frog in a well doesn’t know the sea…”
I have been discussing with hundreds of people about eLearning, blended learning, mobile learning, new way of learning and working since last century…

I remember few frustrating, tragicomic discussions very vividly. In early 2000, one public officer in managerial position complained “we have 1500+ discussion forums on our intranet, how am I supposed to be on top what is going on in each of them? I don’t have so much time…” My answer was: well you’re not supposed to, an BTW it’s also impossible…stating some facts about doubling amount of information in internet every 5 years….yes, so slowly – but that was almost 15 years ago…

Another memory from Fortune500 company where the global program manager complained “I constantly receive sms&email at 4am from the other side of the globe, why do my managers expect me to work 24/7???” My answer was something like: “well, they don’t, neither does anyone else… Have you noticed that you can mute your phone whenever you want? 🙂

As a consultant or employee of large (and small) companies, I have met a lot of people who are lost like the frogs in a well in a digital era. Many of our paradigms, mental models and tools are inevidently outdated. The millenials/Z-generation are inherently better with coping with vast amount of information, overwhelming sensual stimulus and continuous distractions – because that’s the only reality they have ever lived in.

I have been talking since last century about “projectification” of the work, learning and life. This means transformation off the fixed term jobs, working places and lifelong things (including relationships -check the divorce statistics) to more temporary setups, e.g. freelancing, virtual work, etc.

I just listened Harvard Business Review podcast by Evernote CEO and learned a new word: “snackification“. (Check yourself). I learned that I need to update my pitch and learn more about millenials world. Short example is that on PC/laptop the sessions on average last about 1 hour. On smartphone, the average session is 5 minutes but it happens tens of times per day. Next thing on our doorsteps is wearables, where e.g. the gaming session is just 5-15 seconds but repeated 100-200 times a day. Just think about it for a second: how does it changes behavior, content, requirements for usability etc. MTV has taught us 3 second attention span (ct. to coldfish which has 7 second attention span…).

I believe that we all are frogs in a well in some areas, inevitably. Equally true is that we all have the capability inside us to be sailors as well. That requires us being humble and brave to look around us, accept the obvious. Then we just need to check where the wind is blowing and adjust our sails accordingly.

On the air somewhere above Baltic Sea, 
September 23, 2015
Asko Mononen