The End of the Beginning

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, including ISYS6621. However, fortunately for those of us graduating this year. This end marks a new beginning: a time where it is our turn to help lead the digital revolution that we have spent the past semester analyzing.

The Digital Revolution 

It’s happening. Everywhere we look, every business we interact with, is part of the digital revolution. What is the digital revolution? Well, simply put it’s the general trend of continual integration of technology with both businesses and individuals. However, our graduation happens to be at a unique time where there will be a significant shift in thought leadership. That is, thought leadership in the digital revolution will begin shifting its weight from the creators, the people who made the technology as they needed, to the analysts and innovators, those who adapt the existing technology and processes to achieve higher efficiency and ROI. ISYS6621 has prepared us all to be these analysts and innovators by teaching us to be leaders of the digitally revolution by being skeptical, thinking critically, and embracing failures.

Be Skeptical

 Throughout ISYS6621, we studied many cases where technology failed, like the rollout of Tapu Tapu in Universal’s Volcano Bay, and where technology got out of control, like Mark Zuckerberg’s recent cry for help with Facebook. These cases have taught us that although technology is great, it isn’t perfect. Skepticism is the key to keeping all of those ambitious uses of technology in check. What do I mean by this? Well, for many people unfamiliar with technology, it is a black box capable of making their every wish come true and relieving their every pain point. In the current ecosystem, these same people are often the decision makers with unchecked dreams of technology that can lead to serious unintended consequences. This is why skepticism is key. As future members, and potential leaders of the digital revolution, we must realize that technology may not always be the answer, or at least, the limitations of technology. By being skeptical leaders, we can catch potential tech failures, or runaways, before it’s too late, saving money and embarrassment while encouraging the continued experimentation of the ongoing digital revolution.

Think Critically

Every week, we spent a considerable amount of time analyzing both the successful and unsuccessful uses of technology, like Airbnb’s trust mechanism or Fyre Festival debacle. These discussions encouraged us to dive deep and examine why said technology/business resulted in the outcome it did. As many of us go on into the digital sphere, keeping this critical mindset is the key to continued innovation. Not all opportunities require total innovation or creation, in fact many simply require adaptation of a preexisting one. The first step towards innovation is identification of a problem and analysis of its outcome and ISYS6621 has taught us all to do just that whether it be through weekly readings or Twitter discussions. I encourage us all to continue thinking critically, keep up with both past and present technologies and digital businesses, successful or not, and keep diving deep with attention to detail. Doing so will enable us all to be innovators and thought leaders in our own spheres. 

Embrace Failure

Innovate until you fail, and when you do keep failing until you succeed. As a computer science minor and business technology analyst, I’ve learned one major thing: failure is part of the process. If you don’t fail at least once when it comes to technology or digital business, you’re not trying hard enough. However, the tricky thing with failure is that you must embrace it and not abandon it. If every business made one singular attempt to use technology and abandoned it when it failed, we would not have the Apple, Facebook, or Google. All of these businesses rely on iterative design methods starting simple and getting increasingly complex with each iteration, learning from their missteps along the way. However, the mindset for embracing failure in discouraged in today’s world where shareholder value is prioritized above all else. It is our job as future innovators of the digital revolution to fail, learn, and keep trying by proliferating the understanding the failure is the cost of long-term increases in shareholder value.

Conclusion

 Last week, as we listened to Professor Kane present his book, The Technology Fallacy, about how people are the key to the digital revolution, I realized we are the people he was talking about. WE are the future thought leaders and innovators of the digital revolution. WE have the technological competency and leadership skills required to disrupt industries. However, this is all dependent on our ability to recognize our own potential. This past semester, Professor Kane has presented us with the platform and thought exercises needed to recognize this potential. I believe that Professor Kane has instilled in us the basic skills needed to be successful leaders of the digital revolution and it is now up to us to continue to nurture those skills. 

With that, I bid adieu to you, my classmates of ISYS6621 Spring 2019. Thank you for your curiosity, passion, and debate.

5 comments

  1. csaitta4 · ·

    Great post! I especially liked your section on being skeptical because this was a huge part of what I got out of the class too. I like how we weren’t just learning to accept technology as it is today, but to question whether this is what we want and what we need as a society. Like you said, tech isn’t always the answer, sometimes it can be the problem

    1. cgriffith418 · ·

      @csaitta I totally agree. I love that this class has helped us become part of the Digital Revolution, but we won’t just be following the wave. We’ll be the critical minds that will hopefully be able to imagine the far-reaching consequences of innovations. Like Conor mentioned, the original innovators may be on their way out, but we have the benefit of hindsight. Mark Zuckerberg had no idea what Facebook would turn into, and his lack of preparation for the tidal wave he created has arguably caused many problems. With a some solid years of trial and error regarding social media and tech behind us as a society, we can move forward into the Digital Revolution by learning from the mistakes of the past. Hopefully we can apply that wisdom to the innovations of the future, and make them more socially conscious.

  2. Preach it, brother! Nice, inspirational summary. My job here is done.

  3. jlrose03 · ·

    Thank you for bringing up the Frye Documentary and the AirBnB discussions. Those opened the gates to a lot of our creative thinking on how to approach this digital world. I appreciated the critical thinking piece of these events and how they pertain to our actions moving forward. Lastly, your mention that it is up to us to change and lead this digital revolution. It is the EXACT truth. If we continue to be open to new experiences, ideas, opinions, failure will only lead us to the next chapter. Thanks Connor!

  4. jimhanrahan7 · ·

    Skepticism may as well be one of my most passionate hobbies. Ironically enough, this class has had the opposite effect on me, personally. I now see how there are certain technologies that can have immense positive impacts on the financial health of corporations and municipalities. Without you all – and this class – I may have missed this. So, thank you.

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