A great little letter was published in a UK newspaper that went something like this – it remains one of my favourites:
“Sir – My internet went down for about five minutes the other day so I headed downstairs and spoke to my family. They seemed like nice people.”
Why does a computer issue or problem with internet connectivity carry such enormity of drama and emotion. Partly, it is down to next gen expectations that everything – including education – is similar to their day to day life.
For them everything is instant: they buy and receive deliveries on the same day; decide to watch a movie or binge on an entire season of a programme and start within a minute of deciding; and when they do log in to Netflix, they watch movies at 1.5x speed. There is no waiting, plus if they don’t like something or find learning engaging, or if they don’t get onto a new project or get promoted, they move on. We have to make the world as interesting as they see it – although to their credit, they typically look for two things: to do things that have a purpose and to make an impact.
Derek Thomson, from his great book Hit Makers, told us that the world’s attention is shifting from content that is infrequent, big and broadcast, to frequent, small and social. In work and learning and for our next generation of talent, and to get the best out of their skills and willingness to make a difference, we need to understand precisely how they like to consume.