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Innovation and CyberOverload

Conquer CyberOverload by Dr. Joanne Cantor

Are you giving 100% at your job? 110%? If you said yes, you’re depriving yourself, your business, or your employer of your creative potential.

Manufacturing facilities are not intended to run at 100% capacity all the time; plant managers understand the risk of trying to run at full capacity, and face it, you are human, not a machine.

For knowledge workers, running at 100% capacity or more creates a different type of risk – an innovation and creativity deficit.

So what can we do to fix that?

Late last year I had the opportunity to read Dr. Joanne Cantor’s new book, Conquer CyberOverload: Get More Done, Boost Your Creativity and Reduce Stress (CyberOutlook Press; $12.95), which looks into our collective addiction to technology, our brain’s inability to multi-task, and its impact on our creativity, and provides some guidance in dealing with this ongoing information overload.

Dr. Cantor provides a number of valuable tips to address these issues, though not everyone may have the flexibility to heed her advice. Those that work for micro-managers will find that they are unable to simply turn off their digital devices to focus on the task at hand or avoid multi-tasking. A simple job search shows that thousands of employers seek out “multi-taskers”.

Dr. Cantor points out that this loss of productivity resulting from digital overload is such a serious problem for companies that IBM, Intel, Microsoft, and other companies formed the Information Overload Research Group (www.iorgforum.org). Ironically, if you perform a job search adding the name of each company you’ll see no shortage of requests for employees that can “multi-task”.

That’s not the fault of well-meaning hiring managers at these companies or the companies themselves that are under the very same pressures to produce more with less. In organizations with a large number of employees it’s not uncommon for one side of the company to be unaware of the research conducted by others in the same company. Studies show that multi-tasking is inefficient and yet we still do it. Dr. Cantor’s also tells us why we do it anyway.

I’m not opposed to automation, or new technologies. On the contrary, I see automation and technologies like cloud computing (if done right) potentially simplifying some of the current technological complexity in our lives. Though by and large technological complexity is here to stay. So why not learn how to best deal with it?

If you are in the market for tactics to increase your focus, creativity, and productivity, and reduce the stresses of our current information overload, you should read this book.

Perhaps business managers will begin to realize that having employees give 80 or 90 percent in their jobs can provide for a higher productivity yield. Having 10-20 percent of the time dedicated to thinking or brainstorming ideas on increasing efficiency, decreasing costs, coming up with new product, marketing, or service ideas has the potential to create greater opportunities for the business.

If you’re not thinking, innovating, and adding business value in the process, are you really giving 100%? Think about it.

-Tune The Future-

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of the book in order to review it, but was not otherwise compensated)

More Stories By Ray DePena

Ray DePena worked at IBM for over 12 years in various senior global roles in managed hosting sales, services sales, global marketing programs (business innovation), marketing management, partner management, and global business development.
His background includes software development, computer networking, systems engineering, and IT project management. He holds an MBA in Information Systems, Marketing, and International Business from New York University’s Stern School of Business, and a BBA in Computer Systems from the City University of New York at Baruch College.

Named one of the World's 30 Most Influential Cloud Computing Bloggers in 2009, Top 50 Bloggers on Cloud Computing in 2010, and Top 100 Bloggers on Cloud Computing in 2011, he is the Founder and Editor of Amazon.com Journal,Competitive Business Innovation Journal,and Salesforce.com Journal.

He currently serves as an Industry Advisor for the Higher Education Sector on a National Science Foundation Initiative on Computational Thinking. Born and raised in New York City, Mr. DePena now lives in northern California. He can be followed on:

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