Are our Organizations Computerized or Virtualized?
A number of months ago I approached the Minnesota American Institute of Architects to see if they would be interested in a discussion about how strategic telework would change the work environment and perhaps the cityscape itself. It was positioned as a presentation of the tools and strategies that would help their clients prepare for the Information Age. To my surprise, an architect said: ‘we all have computers so we are already in the Information Age’. This contrasts significantly with my view and caused me to reflect:
1. In the 1980’s AT&T ran numerous ads celebrating the potential of being able to “Access anything, from anywhere, at any time”. With broadband and the Internet we may be getting close, but are we really there? Do we have the applications that would allow us to live anywhere and still be able to perform our jobs through telework, to access health care through home-based telemedicine, and to stay current with on-line training, and so much more? Collectively we call these apps the Suite of Telecommuting Applications®. Until the applications are comprehensively deployed, I submit that we are not yet in the Information Age. What do you think?
2. Also in the 80’s computers were centralized, today they are not. Enabled by technology, will society also decentralize to pursue their specific quality of life? Will society embrace the freedom of residential location that is enabled by a comprehensive approach to the deployment of the entire Suite of Telecommuting Applications? For fifty years Gallup Polls have indicated that many would rather live in a location other than where they currently live. What happens if they do? Will our public, private and community policies allow this concept to become a core element in economic competitiveness, community development and environmental preservation?
The Dallas MPO’s transportation newsletter is called Mobility Matters; and mobility does matter; but today, in addition to physical mobility, we need to adopt virtual mobility. E-banking and e-commerce have shown what can be done. Can we apply the attributes of technology to finally reap the benefits of the Information Age? I think it begins with the strategic deployment of telework, what about you?
So, welcome to my first blog post, I look forward to great discussions!
John Sanger is founder and President of Tele-Commuter Resources, a MN non-profit, applied research, organization. It’s mission is best described by the Distributed City Model which was developed by asking communities “What must we do to thrive in the Information Age?” Ubiquitous telework is the key; an adoption of a Telecommuting Mindset is fundamental. TCR’s TeleWork Deployment Program and its Regional Telecommuting Action Plan are strategic tools for employers and regions. Adopting the Telecommuting Mindset® seeks parity of physical and electronic access whenever applicable. It is the policy vision.