Being up to date

James Gardner has a good post on staying up to date. His point is that if you don’t bother to follow the latest developments – which might mean doing so in your own, not work, time – then you’re going to be left behind:

2010 is going to be a performance – not an experience – competition. That’s why I said the other day that I think people who are connected are going to get all the rewards this year. It’s going to be about making things happen, and that means you need an in-between.

‘In-between’ is James’ term for the time spent doing kind-of worky stuff at home. That might be reading work related books, or blogs for example. It could be tinkering with stuff – or it could even be just thinking.

This resonates with me. When I had a proper job in local government, I’d do my job, then get home and spend at least a couple of hours a night reading, scanning the web for new, interesting stuff and blogging about it. I’d play with technology, trying things out – most of which didn’t work, but some things did.

When talking about using the web as a tool to improve government, a response is often that people don’t have time to engage with all the content that is online. I usually make up something conciliatory as a response, that perhaps if something is useful, then you find time – or that you replace less productive activity with the new ways of working.

But the brutal truth is that if you don’t find the time in your schedule, which may or may not be when you are at home, or perhaps on the train, or whenever, then there is a chance you’ll be left behind. Someone will be doing it, and they will know stuff you don’t.

This could well end up being a problem for you.