What if I am 45 to 50, risen up the hierarchy but still have a few notches to go, and didn’t grow up digital? How do I redesign my career and learn this mass collaboration for my organization and for me?
The starting point is an orientation of curiosity. The world is changing. Technology is changing. You can change if you want, but you need to be open and curious.
Secondly, personal use of the technology is a precondition for any kind of comprehension. So be on a social network. Use Twitter. Make sure you are using mobile technologies in a sophisticated way and integrate them into your life.
Thirdly, find yourself a reverse mentor. For the last 20 years I’ve had reverse mentors. At any one time I have four or five, who are in their teens or twenties. Normally these were friends of my kids or my kids. This is the first time in human history where children are in the lead on something really important. It’s humbling, but you can learn so much from kids.
I am on Twitter because one of my mentors, a friend of my daughter, said, “Don, you have to be on Twitter.” I said, “I don’t want to be on Twitter. Twitter is stupid.” She replied, “You’re Don Tapscott, you have to be on Twitter.” I said, “Come on, I can’t say anything in 140 characters.” She wouldn’t listen, and set me up on my mobile device. I’m no Ashton Kutcher, but I do have 30,000 people that follow me, and I wrote my last book with Twitter, reaching out to them and asking for ideas and insights.
Designing your life doesn’t mean designing it just when you are entering university. You need to keep designing, over a lifetime.
This interview has been condensed and edited.