Archive: technology

November 15th, 2013 | By Glen Hiemstra | Posted in Art & Society, Business & Economy | Comments Off

The future of work and people of the screen

[This blog that I wrote originally appeared at Cornerstone OnDemand, in their blog section on the Future of Work. Re-posted here by permission.]

Work today can be plagued by two competing problems. One is information and technology overload. Many employees feel that they are drowning in information and serving their technology more than productivity. The second problem is not enough information and too little technology. What is odd is that the same people and the same workplaces can have both problems, at the same time. Let me explain this seeming contradiction.

When you look around a typical office setting in the U.S., you will see dozens of people typing on keyboards, looking at screens, and occasionally talking on devices or to each other face-to-face. This is what you see. But you also know, because it is true for you, that many of those people have another screen – or two or three – in their pockets, briefcases, or purses. Some are work devices. Some are personal devices. All are connected, really, to the same Internet, the same general cloud infrastructure, though not the same cloud, and all the gadgets can do, more or less, the same things. But both the people you see, and you, are constantly juggling these machines, like the juggling clown on the street corner.

On the “not enough information and technology” side of the coin, consider the typical experience of a digital native who walks into your office as a new employee, on their first day. I will wager that in most workplaces, when a digital native walks in the door they think, “Man is this place backward. Where is all the great technology? What I see is not as advanced as what I have at home or in my pocket.”

The Challenge of the Future Workplace
These issues were clarified recently in The State of Workplace Productivity Report study conducted by Cornerstone OnDemand. As a whole, U.S. employees often feel overloaded, with 50 percent saying they experience work overload, 34 percent information overload, and 25 percent technology overload. Interestingly, Millennials, our tech-savvy digital natives who make up the entry-level workforce, were more prone to feeling overload. Information overload was cited by 41 percent of them versus just 31 percent among older generations, while technology overload was cited by 38 percent of Millennials versus 20 percent of older generations.

Info tech overload

As for the number of gadgets used at work, venerable desktop computers were used by 76 percent of all workplace device users, laptops by 43 percent, smartphones by 36 percent, and tablets by 15 percent. Millennials are about twice as likely to use personal devices, smartphones, or tablets at work. In other words, they are jugglers, and this may help explain why they are more prone to feeling overloaded.

device usage

Here is the challenge when we look at the future. The number of available devices is likely to increase, not decrease. The amount of information is obviously continuing to explode. By one estimate, the amount of new data added to the Internet every two days exceeds all the information in the world prior to 2003. This does not include all the information in private clouds and company servers. What we need are better ways to find information, focus clearly on what is most important, and to collaborate with others. It is not an easy thing to do. Employees make their best efforts, according to the study, even spending their own money to obtain apps for work purposes, hoping for apps that improve ease of use, convenient access to information, productivity, collaboration or access on multiple devices.

As providers step up to the challenge of an improved environment for information, technology and collaboration, interestingly the solutions that can reduce overload will be the same solutions that solve the problem of not enough information and inadequate technology.

To read more about Cornerstone’s The State of Workplace Productivity Report, click here.

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October 1st, 2013 | By Glen Hiemstra | Posted in Business & Economy | Comments Off

Future of the Workplace

The State of the Workplace from Cornerstone OnDemand
Today Cornerstone OnDemand, the experts in human resource applications and support, released a new study that they conducted of American workers late this summer. The fascinating results reveal a paradox between technology and information overload and the use of tech to get control or our busy lives. Most interestingly workers are quite willing to use their own technology and desire more and better technology to enhance collaboration. But, at the same time all employees, including Millennials, desire more face-to-face interaction at work. Check out the infographic below, but first a few key discoveries from their press release…

With the rise of mobile, the cloud and multiple device use, today’s workers are more connected than ever before, giving them access to high-volume streams of information on a 24-7 basis. But is this helping or hurting their productivity? New research from Cornerstone OnDemand (NASDAQ: CSOD), conducted in collaboration with Kelton, reveals that U.S. employees are feeling overloaded, whether by work (50 percent), information (34 percent) or technology (25 percent).

The survey indicates that it is the tech-savvy Millennials who are feeling the most overwhelmed from being “always on” versus their older colleagues. Information overload was cited by 41 percent of Millennials, versus just 31 percent among older generations, while technology overload was cited by 38 percent of them compared to 20 percent of older workers.1

From unplugging and digital detoxes to meditation and hiding in metaphorical caves, people are trying everything in order to combat the stress of living in a hyper-connected world. Cornerstone’s The State of Workplace Productivity Report indicates that, despite the attempts to unplug, people are still turning to tech to tame their always-on lives. They are even willing to try out wearable devices to manage everything from monitoring sleep to exercise to spurring self-improvement.

Key survey findings include:

• Face Time for the Facebook Generation. Despite the stereotype that younger generations prefer to hide behind their devices when collaborating with others at work, a surprising 60 percent of Millennials prefer to collaborate in person rather than online (34 percent), or via phone or video conference (6 percent). Overall, seven in ten U.S. employees (72 percent) said they favor in-person collaboration.

• The Rise of Wearable Devices. Wearables have the potential of not only impacting workplace productivity but also how employees think about work-life balance. In fact, 58 percent of survey respondents said they would be willing to use wearable technology if it enabled them to do their job better.

• Multi-Screen Multitasking. While workers across all generations are using multiple devices for work, more Millennials are opting for the “bring your own device” (BYOD) approach (56 percent) versus their older colleagues (39 percent). Over half of Millennials (52 percent) use their smartphones for work compared to just 23 percent among older generations. And one in five Millennials (20 percent) uses a tablet for work, versus 10 percent of older employees.

• The Emergence of Buy Your Own Application. Employees are not just bringing their own devices, they are now relegated to buying their own applications to get their jobs done. Of those currently using software for work, nearly four in ten employees (37 percent) said they are likely to spend their own money to download applications for work purposes in the next 12 months. Even 20 percent of employees not currently using applications for work said they were likely to do this.

Link to Infographic
The State of the Workplace from Cornerstone OnDemand

csod_surveyinfographic_2013_finalsmall

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December 18th, 2012 | By Mallory Smith | Posted in Art & Society, Innovation, Science & Tech | 1 Comment

The Future of the Brain

Several new scientific discoveries in neuroscience have alluded to very interesting upcoming applications for the brain. Skills and knowledge will be directly implanted into your brain. Your brain will connect directly to the cloud, for easy access to all your data. Thoughts will control bionic limbs. There may be robots that think and react like we do, by copying our brain patterns. There is a lot to consider now that our technology is making it easier and easier to interfere with a brain’s natural process. How do we determine what’s ethical? Which areas of life will have to change to accommodate for our technologically enhanced brains? Competitive events? Education?

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October 29th, 2012 | By Mallory Smith | Posted in Art & Society, Innovation | Comments Off

Time to Vote

We shouldn’t place barriers on voting that deter potential voters. We should make voting easily accessible, and incentivized, so we get as many votes as we can for the fairest possible election.

Even if the government disagrees, citizens are fed up and taking these matters into their own hands. Celebrities are trying to make voting seem like the cool thing to do. People on Facebook are developing apps and groups that encourage people to become informed voters. Not only is voting information becoming available in more and more places, but some of your old voting locations are getting new technology to speed up the end-of-night paperwork for voting registrars. In Stafford county, one man, Cameron Sasnett, developed a program called “results-logic” to tabulate results faster and with more accuracy. This also allows voters to get through the lines more quickly, speeding up the process on both ends.

As the presidential election is upon us, it is important now more than ever to look at how Americans’ voices are heard even before we get to vote. New technology is emerging that allows for more effective communication between Congress and its constituents. Former congressional aide Marci Harris left her position to solve one of government’s biggest problems,  ‘The way information is processed is breaking. There has to be a new way,’ said Harris, who founded PopVox, a startup that aims to improve the communication between Congress and its constituents. This technology is focused on getting citizens’ opinions TO Congress, but what technology exists that enables, nay forces, Congress to directly communicate back to its constituents? Is that even a technology solution or is it just a matter of Congress stepping up their level of transparency? I’d be interested to see how these new technologies can benefit each and every American, even those without internet, or those uncomfortable giving out private information online. It should be an attractive thing to vote, but so many people have voting limitations thrust upon them, or they just don’t understand the tremendous value associated with voting. Perhaps if citizens thought their voices would actually be heard, and valued, they’d take the time to vote for an America they actually want.

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