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I was recently digging through a closet at home and happened upon some boxes with old tech gadgets from years past.  As a Gen Xer who grew up with a Commodore 64 and whose first personal workplace productivity tool was a US Robotics Palm Pilot in 1997, it made me come to two realizations.  First, technology has really changed – and for the better.  And second, I need to start parting with things that no longer work in the current state of the working world.

My generation is described as highly individualistic.  We’re supposed to be technologically adept, flexible and value work/life balance.  And I can assure you I am all of those things.  But when I think about my career and how my generation’s cultural values have translated into the technological culture of the places I’ve worked in years past, it hasn’t always been rosy.  I used to be tethered to a cubicle with a desktop computer and telephone.  Things got slightly better with laptops, but there were no Apple products or personal devices allowed on the network.  One supported choice for a smartphone?  Not so smart, really.  But as new generations are entering the workforce after me, I’m seeing a dramatic shift occurring in thinking and approach.

I’m noticing that both organizations and technology providers alike are recognizing the need for change and designing for a new way of working – giving employees access to technology like never before. Whereas I used to have difficulty getting collaboration tools to do the job, now there is a plethora of them at my disposal.  But be careful what you wish for.

Technology is not inherently good or productive, but it can be if you design with the right requirements in mind – ones that put users needs and their values at the forefront.  And while I only represent Generation X, there are some common themes we may all agree upon as we look to both providers of technology solutions and the organizations that adopt them.

So, I ask all the Baby Boomer, Gen Y, Millennial and Digital Generation folks out there.  Do these requirements apply to your generation as well?

 

Cisco Collaboration will be announcing new innovations October 23, 2013 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. ET.  Register now to watch the live streaming!

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