On the face of it, a deluge of business information might not seem much of a threat to our sanity. But the reality is quite different. As so often noted in this space, the surging tide of bits and bytes streamed to us (or at us) every day has overwhelmed our ability to process and absorb the information. And it will only get worse. As technology advances and the means by which we invite and accept information expand, so too will the inrushing digital tide.
From websites to magazines to mobile apps to social media, the content streams are many and, it seems, multiplying. That's all well and good if you have a strategy in place to filter that content for the stuff you really like, and want, and need. But even then, there still will be something missing. Something all of our technology and all of our devices simply cannot, and will not, replace.
This came to mind while I was reflecting on a phenomenal four days in San Antonio at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals' (CSCMP) Annual Global Conference. The pre-eminent association for supply chain thought leadership did it again: CSCMP provided attendees with a bounty of educational offerings, with some of the best logistics and supply chain content available. It also provided learning opportunities that went far beyond the formal sessions.
A comment from a bright young supply chain professional, though, made me wonder how many folks understood that, and more to the point, took full advantage of that (and by "that," I don't mean content). This young professional noted that while the conference was good, she was still looking for that "something extra"—insights or intelligence that could only be obtained at the event and not, say, via a quick Internet search.
Reflecting on that comment, I realized that in today's hyperconnected world, many folks aren't even aware they're missing something. Something important. It's not because they aren't smart. It's not because they don't want to succeed. And it's certainly not because they don't want it. They just don't "get it."
They don't get it because they've lost sight of the value of looking someone in the eye rather than at his or her LinkedIn profile. They don't get it because even while attending an event that draws some of most distinguished supply chain executives, thought leaders, and subject matter experts around, they spend the majority of their waking hours nose down, eyes fixed on their phones, tablets, and other mobile devices. They don't "get it," and they are missing something important. In fact, they may be missing what in modern times might be the greatest value provided by a gathering like CSCMP's Annual Global Conference and Supply Chain Exchange exhibition: the opportunity for live, real-time, actual human-to-human interaction.
This point has been raised before. In fact, when I broached the topic with some other conference attendees, one actually brought up one of my previous Outbound columns, in which I asked, "Are you connecting or just connected?"
Another attendee, Mike Regan of TranzAct Technologies, a former DC Velocity Logistics Rainmaker and recipient of this year's CSCMP Distinguished Service Award, also mentioned a YouTube video that makes the point particularly well. It's called "Look Up," and it offers what may be the single best piece of advice you'll receive this year. Watch it here and let me know if you agree.