Organizations fail on use of technology tools, ELC keynote says

Scott Klososky shows how technology tools are used poorly

The problem with the explosion of technology tools of the present age is, almost nobody uses them well, said Scott Klososky, author, entrepreneur and advisory board member for Critical Technologies.

Klososky, who delivered the opening keynote address at American Council for Technology-Industry Advisory Council's Executive Leadership Conference in Williamsburg, Va., said recent years have provided a host of new tools, most of them free, which are largely being squandered by unimaginative or frivolous uses.

The range of technologies Klososky was speaking of include sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and also the devices people use to connect to them – increasingly, that’s less likely to be a desktop or laptop computer and more likely to be a smart phone or tablet such as the iPad, he said.

“It’s not just the device,” he emphasized. “It’s the connections people get by using the device.”

In one of his books, called “The Velocity Manifesto,” Klososky delineated three qualities of tomorrow’s best leaders. They will have the ability to:

  • Make better decisions about technology;
  • Accurately predict future trends;
  • Recognize cultural change.

“There’s leadership and there’s management,” he said. “Managers enact a strategy. Leaders need to know where they are going.”

It’s no longer enough for a leader to shrug off decisions about technology to a CIO, he said. What Klososky termed “low-beam leadership" are people who work about 12 months into the future, generally making safe, short-term decisions. High-beam leaders are looking ahead five to 10 years, trying to assess the technologies of today and forecast the changes they will cause in coming years.

What’s changing the world is what Klososky terms “frictionless communications.” Until recently, reaching people outside of one’s own small corner of the world required high-friction communications, such as the postal service – slow and limited in numbers – or long-distance telephone calls, expensive and also not able to reach masses.

Now there are means, usually free of charge, to reach any one person or large numbers of people with online tools, and they’ve begun to play roles in real, historic social changes such as the revolutionary movements in the Middle East, he said.

But too few organizations, including agencies, are making good use of the tools, he said. Blogs, for example, are very often filled with dull, public affairs-approved corporate-speak that no one wants to read. Klososky recalled a consultation he did with a business in which he asked the woman who wrote the company’s blog to describe it in single words. She came up with words such as “authoritative.” Then he asked her what kind of blogs she liked to read after work at night, and she offered words such as “edgy” – everything she liked to read was exactly what the blog she wrote for her company was not.

She then saw the disconnect immediately, but most people still don’t, he said.

We have these tools, he said, but “we are way too slow to use them, and we don’t have anywhere near enough creativity and innovation” to use them well.

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