Are we overloading with so much information and multi-tasking that we’re losing our ability to focus, to consider, to think deeply? Gordon Crovitz ponders the launch of the Information Overload Research Group by companies such as Google, Microsoft, IBM, and Intel. He notes the giants themselves are struggling with the monster they’ve created.
Intel has ”zero-email Fridays,” IBM limits email and interruptions on “Think Fridays,” and Wired magazine’s founder has banned week-end email for his Federated Media team with “Take 48.” Board chairmen collect Blackberries and phones before meetings. Even the University of Chicago Law School blocks classroom internet access because of the contagious nature of distracting internet surfing.
Crovitz also talks about Maggie Jackson’s new book, “Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age,” where she warns that the cumulative effect of new technologies may be a waning ability to maintain the focus and awareness need for executive attention. Jackson argues that we are robbing ourselves of the opportunity to think about the big picture and about achieving our goals.
Read this short and thoughtful piece, nicely dovetailing with our June 7 post below on HBR’s question about why now, in business, there is so little deep thinking.
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