Monday Morning Pep Talk
Innovation is a good thing, right? Companies win awards for their innovations and it is the buzzword of the moment in business. It drives profits, market share growth and top line revenue. Innovation solves problems we didn’t realize we had with products and services we didn’t know we wanted that now we can’t live without. It is the reason my home is filled with gadgets that start with lowercase, “i”.
Everyone at their company wants to be known as an innovator. It is an honor. The lucky sap that is viewed as an innovator can show up anywhere in an organization, but generally innovators reside in R&D, marketing or I/T. The innovator’s reward is a big salary, a title on his/her business card as Senior Director of Something No One Understands and Teflon status during corporate reorganizations. Innovators appear relaxed and smiling in a sea of nervous chaotic types when senior management enters a room.
Innovation leads to disruption. Disruption leads to....job loss. The innovation of ATMs made bank tellers nearly irrelevant and the ones that remain work as slowly as possible to remind us of their fate. Other innovations led to the demise of the switchboard operator, the ice man, newspaper print setters and manual street sweepers. Because of innovation, there are fewer jobs for radio announcers, executive administrators, general manufacturing, parking lot attendants and a broad spectrum of other positions. It is all automated.
Since innovation is not slowing down and it leads to disruption and ultimately job loss; what is a 40+ worker to do? First, we have to acknowledge that with innovation and the disruption is produces there is going to be change. Jobs will be lost and other jobs will be created. For every milliner, bookbinder or pinsetter that isn’t needed today; there is a job for a Director of Digital, a Patient Advocate, Social Media Strategist or Interior Design Stager. A couple of years ago, there was an uproar about the Karl Fisch video clip reminder, “The jobs in highest demand in 2010 did not exist in 2004.” Today we accept that premise. As experienced workers have to think ahead about problems that don’t exist yet—we have to anticipate, stay flexible and embrace continuous learning. There is no guarantee the job you do today is going to be done the same way with as many people--there is no guarantee your company will exist the same way it does today. Technology will somehow impact every job we are doing in 2012.
Innovation is a good thing, and we have to start by innovating ourselves. Create your own disruption—learn a new language and become bilingual. Take a vocation vacation. (Check out: http://vocationvacations.com) to learn more. Brush up on your technology skills or take a class to learn about social media. You have 168 hours—make it a great week!