On Saturday the newspaper had a great interview about the gap between the internetgeneration (screenagers) and the rest (40+): I didn't want to blog it because it's in Dutch and only for subscribers, but I'm still thinking about so here we go after all: Does 40+ hamper innovation?
It's a double interview with two workers, 44 and 24 years old, Ruud and Liza, working together in an advisory job. It's amazing to read how different their working approaches are: Liza does a lot of multi-tasking, phoning and searching the net for instance, whereas Ruud can only do one thing at the time. Otherwise he feels stressed. He can also be disturbed seeing how other people do many things at the same time, wondering if they are paying sufficient attention. In the client organisation, Liza ran arround fast. After a few weeks, Ruud asked her if she had seen a key contact in the organisation- she hadn't but she had built a good trust relationship by e-mail with him. Ruud was amazed and assumed you have to see each other in the eyes to build a trust relationship. He is often amazed by her speed of thinking and the amount of information she can process. Liza feels her talents are not sufficiently exploited because the older managers don't understand the different way of working of younger people. She has the impression they often see her way of working as a threat. At the same time, she did see value in Ruud's approach because it yielded a lot of quality information -even though she feels it's time inefficient to invest so much time in travel and talk.
I'm currently experiencing linking by internet as a whole new way of building relationships, though I'm sure I'm not as fast as Liza. Last november, I met a group of new people, and with one of them, Dorine, I hardly talking during the day, but we found each other's blogs- mailed- and exchanged intensively on overlapping interests via the web- in a fluid and easy way. I easily know what she's working on and can find linkages and synergy between our work without much time investment.
So it's an additional layer of building relationships- which I've even experienced with people online in Ghana. Therefore, in my opinion the 'digital divide' is much more about people with and without online skills than a north-south divide. Netsquared is collecting cases of NGOs who are early adopters of web2.0 tools and have more cases in Africa than in Europe; see their map with NGO cases....