Embracing The Future…

Alvin TofflerOver the last several years the printing industry has changed quite a bit, just like many other industries. Anymore, we cannot just put ink on paper – rather we need to embrace a variety of cross-media options and share these with our clients. What is interesting though, is that although we recognize this need, often times it takes a while before some of these new options are truly utilized.

For many of us the concept of dealing with the future is a little scary! Not that we don’t realize that change is imminent, it is more like we don’t always fully understand what the new practices might do for us, or we don’t necessarily want to be on the “bleeding edge” of the next new trend.

And yet, it is critical that we push ourselves to investigate what new trends or strategies are being utilized.

If one looks at the vast majority of the workforce today, you could easily segment it into several broad categories. First off are those who just do what they are told to do – no real push or desire to learn, or perhaps they were never even exposed to the concept of growth. The next group would be looking to advance if given the opportunity, and in fact will even take the time to take a class here or there to gain some knowledge. Then there is a group that regularly pushes themselves to learn more – routinely looking to read about new ideas or go to conferences to stay in touch with the leaders within their industry. It is this last group that have advanced their careers and look to stay at the top.

Of course there is even another more select category – those individuals who actually become the source of innovation, that challenge the rest of us by recognizing and articulating the new trends before they are mainstream. We can often see their thoughts in books – authors such as Stephen Covey, Jim Collins, Seth Godin, Thomas Friedman. In fact a popular author that writes about the future – Alvin Toffler, was the inspiration for this blog post. As he suggested in his book Future Shock, written over 40 years ago, “the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

That is a pretty powerful statement that we should all acknowledge. Perhaps what is most “scary” about that is that in todays’ world the rate of this process is becoming shorter and shorter – which means all of us need to embrace the concept even more! I would suggest we should also encourage all those we interact and work with to likewise embrace the new ideas and strategies – after all, there is strength in numbers and businesses need to be cohesive in their business plan.

So what group do you belong to? Do you push yourself and embrace the future? What have you relearned as of late?

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