While rushing through breakfast yesterday, my coffee cup paused in midair as my 15 month old pointed to his nose and said “naso.”
My son had spent some time with his Grandfather (Nono) who was teaching him the Italian words for eyes, ears, nose and mouth. Naso is nose in Italian.
As I stared at him trying desperately to remember the words I was taught at his age, he sighed and went on to play with his sippy cup. Opportunity for praise missed by mommy and life went on for the day.
Looking back at this I am wondering when English had become a second language at my kitchen table. Did all kids learn this quickly? Is this how our parents felt when we talked about burning CDs, ripping music and whatever we did with Tamagotchi? Did they feel like foreigners in a new place where no one spoke their language?
More importantly, how does a company avoid feeling like this? Like a foreigner or, even worse, a dinosaur, when it comes to young workers?
This question continued to plague me while we were out shopping over the weekend and there is my kid happily playing with his Cubetto, an ingenious toy that helps kids learn to code early. Watching him easily tap out basic code with increasing speed, I realized Italian wasn’t the only language that little man was going to be learning.
For business and industry, the real question is, will your company be able to speak our children’s language?
Learning languages and tapping out code are hardly isolated events. The up and coming generation of kids are already adept at using smart phones which include burgeoning artificial intelligence technology. They’re creating their own websites and YouTube channels and designing apps just for fun. Ten years from now, when these kids are entering the workforce, how will your company look to them?
If your next big rollout is Windows 10 and you’re reading this in 2017 or beyond, there’s a good chance your company isn’t going to be the kind of place our kids will want to work. In fact, your reputation is likely already being cemented with many of the children that could potentially work for you a decade from now.
Their young minds are absorbing information on a daily basis about who makes the best RPG games, which company offers the apps they like most and a thousand other things they hear through media or from their friends. With the rapid rate that they’re learning, you’re not just competing for them to work for you, you’re competing for their ease with technology and their potential for innovative thinking.
You’re also working to keep your business relevant now and into the future where your own children can have the chance to take it over and grow it further. Any business that wants to survive this long needs to grow with the world around it and shape itself to meet the needs of what the best minds will want.
Considering putting off technology upgrades until the “next really big thing” hits? Aside from losing cool credit with today’s tech savvy minds, delaying investment in technology now will hurt your company for years to come. Making massive upgrades later will leave your old employees in the dust and have you stuck with a workforce that doesn’t have the background skills to adapt. Instead of being able to get away with light, ongoing education for your employees, you may find yourself spending much more on experts to come in and do the work or provide extensive training.
Furthermore, if you don’t have the kind of enterprise that can add timely upgrades, it will be exponentially harder to create employment opportunities because the process of updating technology will be so arduous. If companies aren’t growing their I.T., then their workforce remains stagnant, making it even more difficult for new workers to find quality employment. This affects you, your company, the economy and, ultimately, your children’s future.
To avoid the stagnation of companies and job creation, we all have to start thinking “code.” Coding is a universal language of business. It’s what builds our websites, helps create better user experiences and brings a once fantastical future into the present.
By increasing our investment in technology infrastructure, we’re creating companies that will be positioned to work seamlessly with the incoming generation. Our kids are doing their part by adapting to technology like virtual fish in a digital river. And now, is the time for us to create the ocean they’ll want to swim to and make their own.