Lessons Learned

ImageReflecting on the lessons learned throughout this course, there are several common themes that are apparent:

First, is the fact that we are all connected – and that the technology that connects us allows us to communicate, collaborate and compete at a global level that was previously unimaginable (Friedman, 2007);

Second, as our technology – and our understanding and use of it – has expanded, knowledge management has evolved from a basic database repository to a structure that allows us to easily access and leverage collective knowledge (Dixon, 2009);

Third, This technology is revolutionizing the way we work and our workplaces are being transformed into a wirearchy as “rapid flows of information erode the pillars of rigid traditional hierarchies” (Husband, 2013);

Finally, this wirearchy allows connected individuals to accomplish what once only large organizations could (Jarche, 2013).  Networked employees can now work independently and effectively from almost anywhere thanks to a wide array of technological assets they can access (Madden, 2008).

While these last several weeks have been filled with valuable learning moments, it is also quite clear that my education in technology will not end with the conclusion of this course.  Given the speed at which technology advances and the incredible impact it has on our lives, our work and our world, this will be an ongoing learning process for me. 

Equally important is the recognition that we learn not simply by being connected – but by being engaged.  As this course has shown, it is not simply the sharing of information but the rich and engaging conversations among classmates that often produce the most valuable learning moments.  In today’s wirearchy, therefore, it is important to be connected to active, engaged, like-minded lifelong learners who share a commitment to expanding knowledge.

Additionally, now more than ever we recognize that the rapid advancement of technology in the flattened and connected world in which we live provides opportunities for both unparalleled collaboration and competition (Friedman, 2007).  To limit and avoid unnecessary competition, therefore, my outreach efforts to potential global partners will most certainly increase in the years to come.

Finally, my comfort level and flexibility with new technology must increase.  As Carly Fiorina stated, “the last twenty-five years in technology have been the warm-up act. Now we are going into the main event – an era in which technology will literally transform every aspect of business, every aspect of life and every aspect of society” (Friedman, 2007, p. 231).  Husband (2013) reinforced this sentiment stating that while the last thirty years have been about “the building of the technical infrastructure that provides an interconnected world,” the next fifty years will be focused on our ability to adapt to the interconnected world and workplace. 

In other words, the only thing we know for certain about our current technology – is that it will change.  As leaders, we must not only adapt to such change – but embrace it – and provide the necessary support for technology so that it can not only grow and expand our economies but improve our world in the process.


Friedman, T.L. (2007). The World Is Flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century
New York: Picador/Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Dixon, N. (2009, May 2). Three Eras of Knowledge Management. Retrieved from NancyDixon.com:http://www.nancydixonblog.com/2009/05/where-knowledge-management-has-been-and-where-it-is-going-part-one.html

Jarche, H. (2013, November 5). Networks are the new companies. Retrieved November 21, 2013, from http://www.jarche.com/2013/11/networks-are-the-new-companies

Madden, M., Jones, S. (28 September 2008). Networked Workers. Pew Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2008/Networked-Workers.aspx






4 thoughts on “Lessons Learned

  1. Jim, I loved your comment that “we learn not simply by being connected – but by being engaged.” It is the guiding premise behind this course design…and I too loved the weekly engagement by you and others.

    I think Carly Fiorina is right about the “warm up act” … but that is both exciting and frankly terrifying! I do think it helps keep my 63-year-old brain more youthful … but there are times I look like the dog with his head cocked sizeways – confused and perplexed!

    Thanks for your commentary (and engagement) this term. Best of luck to you in the future!

    • jvap2013 says:

      Thanks so much, Dr. Watwood.

      I have truly enjoyed this course – and the many engaging conversations with you and my classmates.

      I am quite confident that I, too, will sport more than a few confused and perplexed expressions as technology advances. But it does keep us young and, equally important, it will help me to remain engaged with my younger students who seem more than adept at embracing the latest technology.

      Thank you for a great semester, Dr. Watwood, and I hope you enjoy a wonderful holiday season.

  2. gbarnes05 says:

    Friedman, T. L. (2007). The world is flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century. New York, NY: Picador

  3. gbarnes05 says:

    Thank you for sharing your post. I think you make an important statement when you noted the importance for leaders to embrace change. Until taking this course, I did not realize the magnitude of the changes that will continue to occur from technological advancements. I think the lessons learned in this course really demonstrated how technology will continue to shape our future. Friedman (2007) explained:

    Those countries that produce the most important new products and services can capture a premium in world markets that will enable them to pay high wages to their citizens… But that kind of leadership does not depend on technology alone. It depends on a deep vein of creativity that is constantly renewing itself, and on a myriad of people who can imagine how people can use things that have never been available before, create ingenious marketing and sales campaigns, write books, build furniture, make movies, imagine new kinds of software that will capture people’s imagination and become indispensable to millions (p. 319).

    Therefore, as leaders, we must take the time to invest in learning how to become increasingly flexible and embrace technology to help develop the creativity and innovation necessary to help improve our organizations.

    Verizon’s Credo (2013) stated, “We see crisis and change as opportunities, not threats. We run to a crisis, not away. Change energizes us” (www.responisbility.verizon.com). Until taking this course, I did not realize the magnitude of the changes that will continue to occur from technological advancements. I think the lessons learned in this course really demonstrated how technology will continue to be a part and impact our personal and professional lifestyles. As a result, we must take advantage of the multitudes of opportunities technology allows to continue to grow, learn and become better leaders during times of rapid and unpredictable change.


    Friedman, T. L. (2007). The world is flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century. New York, NY: Picador
    Verizon. (2013). Credo. Retrieved from http://www.responsibility.verizon.com

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