Take a break from brain-shrinking convenience by checking in to the Fall 2015 CLO Symposium at Hyatt Lost Pines in Austin, Texas.
One of the great ironies of the Internet era is that we’ve never been so bothered to do such small things.
Consider email. With a few keystrokes anyone can, assuming a reliable connection, communicate with anyone else in the world instantly. This is amazing stuff, folks.
Communication is so easy that when everyone anywhere can send anyone a message, they quite often do. Ever opened an innocuous seeming message from a colleague or friend and upon seeing several paragraphs of text, simply close it up? We simply can’t be bothered.
Apps and mobile devices take the convenience a step further. Services that once required a small effort can now be ordered with bored nonchalance. Why use your phone to call a cab, when Uber or Lyft bring a car straight to you with the tap of a finger? Why rack your brain to recall the name of that band with that one song you loved so much when a quick search delivers the goods and plays the tune for you to boot?
Apps make information ubiquitous and mental effort superfluous. The heavy lifting that used to be done by learning and memory is taken care of for us. Want to learn yoga? There’s an app for that. Need to know how to unclog your kitchen sink? YouTube’s got you covered.
But don’t go blaming technology for turning us into mental midgets. When faced with a difficult choice or the need to actually think, our brains naturally follow the path of least resistance.
Faced with significant mental effort, we deploy heuristics: shortcuts and tricks that aren’t perfect but are just good enough to solve a problem. Rules of thumb, stereotypes and intuition are all examples. The mobile computing revolution has simply given our problem-solving and decision-making abilities a heuristic supercharge.
But at the same time that things are more convenient, business has become more complicated. Problems rarely have a simple solution. Desperate for competitive advantage, bosses far and wide are demanding more creativity and innovation from their workers.
They’re looking for mental agility and curiosity — thinkers of consequence, not thinkers of convenience. They want intellectually engaged people motivated by hard problems. They’re looking for workers with what psychologists call “need for cognition.” People with that need relish a good debate and are at home in a world of clashing ideas.
Those two trends — convenience and complexity— put chief learning officers at an interesting crossroad. On one hand, they are tasked with making information and knowledge more accessible and convenient. On the other, they need to find and develop people for whom convenience is no motivation.
We’ll be exploring that problem as well as many others at the Fall 2015 Chief Learning Officer Symposium. Taking place from Oct 12-14 at the Hyatt Lost Pines in Austin, Texas, the symposium will explore the powerful, volatile forces that are reshaping the workplace including emerging technology, rapidly proliferating data and new and evolving management models.
Using the theme, “The Next Evolution: Learning in a Time of Disruption,” we’ve brought together a powerful lineup of speakers that includes Geoff Colvin, Fortune magazine senior editor and author of the new book “Humans Are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Smart Machines Never Will,” and Christian Rudder, co-founder of Internet dating site OKCupid and author of “Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Is Looking).” That’s in addition to a dozen main stage sessions and more than 30 breakout workshops that will challenge and inspire you.
The symposium is a singular conference experience— the industry’s premier event designed, developed and delivered exclusively with the needs of learning executives and chief learning officers in mind. You can see the full agenda at CLOsymposium.com/fall.
I hope you’ll consider joining us there. Faced with disruption, learning leaders are retooling their approaches to employee development but they’re also rethinking them. Together, we’ll explore the ideas and influences that make learning and development such exciting and intriguing work.