Digital advances are never-ending. Here’s how to keep up.

This is what you need to do to keep up with today's digital progress.

TONY SALDANHA: We all know it's almost impossible to keep up with the incredible amount of change that's happening in the digital world. I want to share a quick illustration. About four years ago when I started down this journey of trying to digitally transform P&G's multibillion-dollar global business services operation I went out and talked to a hundred different organization startups. And in that context I talked to a group of guys that were actually working on blockchain—this was about four years ago—and I asked them a question: How would you apply blockchain to Procter & Gamble? And they said 'Well, we're not quite sure. We think this is something that's more applicable to bitcoin at this point in time.' And so I kind of filed that away in my memory as interesting but not ready.

I went back three months ago and they had dozens of examples, all the way from how you use blockchain for coupons to advertising to accounting and all within the space of three months. So here's the issue: If I as a technology person find it difficult to stay abreast of this incredible change that's happening how does the average person who is a professional in accounting or finance or marketing, how do they keep up with the changes in technology? And that's where we came up with this discipline idea for staying current. Staying current isn't about becoming a technology programmer. Staying current is about the disciplined pursued of understanding how technology could change whatever it is that you are doing today. So, for instance, if you're a teacher, understanding where digital technology could change the dissemination of information, the organization of classrooms, the ability to coordinate across different geographies—that's how technology, digital technology, can change training. And that's really all you need to know. You don't have to become an artificial intelligence programmer.

This is one of those reasons why I love the recent tendancy of companies to recognize that digital literacy and retraining of their workforce is such an important thing. We read a month ago that Amazon's going to set aside $700 million to retrain 100,000 employees. When I read that I almost fell off my chair because arguably Amazon is one company that has the most digital skills and they were thinking of retraining their employees. That is why this is such an important thing. It doesn't matter if you are the most tech-savvy company in the world today. The question is: How do you keep up? And so you have leading companies including Amazon -- AT&T did the same thing a few years ago where they set aside a billion dollars to retrain their workforce. Loblaws, the Canadian retailer, has set aside a quarter of a million dollars to train their workforce. It's absolutely important to follow a very disciplined approach to retraining your employees.

  • Amazon has set aside $700 million to retrain 100,000 of its employees. That's an incredible thing—a company that is already at the forefront of tech is helping its employees catch up. What does that mean for the rest of us?
  • Developing digital literacy in your organization's workforce is of utmost importance. How will companies stay ahead of the competition if they don't understand how emerging technologies, like blockchain, can be implemented?
  • "Stay current" should become an organizational motto; it's about the disciplined pursued of understanding how technology can change the work you're doing today.

Under what conditions are we most creative?

While we might not love the idea of deadlines, they can be cause for some of our greatest creative work.

Videos
  • Creative individuals produce better work when there's a deadline involved, says media mogul Tina Brown.
  • To extract great work, you shouldn't have the option to escape it. Deadlines add a level of pressure that makes for better results.
  • In Brown's opinion, some of the best journalistic work was done in the period after 9/11. The combination of subject matter, content, and passion rallied creatives to put forth incredible coverage.
Keep reading Show less

Hints of the 4th dimension have been detected by physicists

What would it be like to experience the 4th dimension?

Two different experiments show hints of a 4th spatial dimension. Credit: Zilberberg Group / ETH Zürich
Technology & Innovation

Physicists have understood at least theoretically, that there may be higher dimensions, besides our normal three. The first clue came in 1905 when Einstein developed his theory of special relativity. Of course, by dimensions we’re talking about length, width, and height. Generally speaking, when we talk about a fourth dimension, it’s considered space-time. But here, physicists mean a spatial dimension beyond the normal three, not a parallel universe, as such dimensions are mistaken for in popular sci-fi shows.

Keep reading Show less

Energy-harvesting design aims to turn Wi-Fi signals into usable power

Device for harnessing terahertz radiation might enable self-powering implants, cellphones, other portable electronics.

YAMIL LAGE/AFP via Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
Any device that sends out a Wi-Fi signal also emits terahertz waves — electromagnetic waves with a frequency somewhere between microwaves and infrared light.
Keep reading Show less