Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for June 3rd, 2019

… Your Kids Need To Learn For The Future

If the best you produce in your written communication are (annoying) one-liners, this is for you too.

Here’s what far-looking prolific Greg Satell has to say, something one will do well to sit up and take note, something I subscribe to whole heartedly.

<<extract from his article dated 29/05/19 appearing here>>

Let the ink flow, keys be struck…

Many say that coding is the new literacy

Kids are encouraged to learn programming in school and take coding courses online. In that famous scene in The Graduate Dustin Hoffman’s character was encouraged by a family friend to go into plastics. If it were shot today, it would have probably been computer code.

This isn’t actually that new. I remember first being taught how to code in middle school in the early 80s in BASIC (a mostly defunct language now). Yet even today, coding is far from an essential skill. In fact, with the rise of no-code platforms, there is a strong argument to be made that code is becoming less important.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of coding to be done on the back end and programming is certainly a perfectly reasonable thing to learn. However, there’s no reason people need to learn it to have a successful, productive career. On the other hand writing, as well as other communication skills, will only become more important in the decades to come.

Collaboration Is The New Competitive Advantage

When my generation was in school, we were preparing for a future that seemed pretty clear cut. We assumed we would become doctors, lawyers, executives and engineers and spend our entire lives working in our chosen fields. It didn’t turn out that way. These days a business model is unlikely to last a decade, much less a lifetime.

Kids today need to prepare to become lifelong learners because the pace of change will not slow down. In fact, it is likely to accelerate beyond anything we can imagine today. The one thing we can predict about the future is that collaboration will be critical for success. People like geneticists and quantum scientists will need to work closely with chemists, designers sociologists and specialists in fields that haven’t even been invented yet.

These are, in fact, longstanding trends. The journal Nature recently noted that the average scientific paper today has four times as many authors as one did in 1950 and the work they are doing is far more interdisciplinary and done at greater distances than in the past. We can only expect these trends to become more prominent in the future.

In order to collaborate effectively, you need to communicate effectively and that’s where writing comes in. Being able to express thoughts and ideas clearly and cogently is absolutely essential to collaboration and innovation.

Writing Well Is Thinking Well

Probably the most overlooked aspect of writing is that it does more than communicate thoughts, but helps form them. As Fareed Zakaria has put it, “Thinking and writing are inextricably intertwined. When I begin to write, I realize that my ‘thoughts’ are usually a jumble of half-baked, incoherent impulses strung together with gaping logical holes between them.”

“Whether you’re a novelist, a businessman, a marketing consultant or a historian,” he continues, “writing forces you to make choices and it brings clarity and order to your ideas.” Zakaria also points to Jeff Bezos’ emphasis on memo writing as an example of how clarity of expression leads to innovation.

In fact, Amazon considers writing so essential to its ability to innovate that it has become a key part of its culture. It’s hard to make much of a career at Amazon if you cannot write well, because to create products and services that are technically sound, easy to use and efficiently executed, a diverse group of highly skilled people need to tightly coordinate their efforts.

Today, as the digital revolution comes to an end and we enter a new era of innovation. it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the rapid advancement of breakthrough technologies. However, the key to success in our uncertain future will be humans collaborating with other humans to design work for machines. That starts with writing effectively.
 
<<end extract>>

I can hear some of you saying in technical communication, one uses formal models using standard icons and labels. So where’s the need to write effectively?

Well, get an application architecture diagram to explain itself!

End

Image: Pixabay

Read Full Post »