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A Juice Cleanse for Your Brain: 5 Steps to Relevance in Today’s Workforce

Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 05:00 AM

We used to classify ourselves as either artsy or analytical. Not only has the myth of left or right-brain dominance been debunked, limiting yourself to one or the other won't further a career these days.

As technology infiltrates every part of our work, we need to be able to find the human side of all things digital and express creative ideas with code. The New Tech City team and I try to do this every week by putting heart and the human experience into tech coverage on our podcast.

Earlier this month, I moderated a panel of unusual educators at the CreateTech event. The consensus was, you'll only find work and success in the 21st century by exploring where your creativity and technology intersect.

I asked each panelist to give the audience something quick they can do to get their juices flowing, to get creatives to think analytically and techies to find their artsy side.

THE FIRST 4 STEPS

Here are their excellent ideas:

1. Go to events and meetings you weren't invited to, says Mark Avnet, Dean, 36iU. Mark runs a school within an advertising agency. He doesn't mean you should crash meetings, just that you should go to events that other people didn't think would interest or pertain to you. You'll learn more that way.

2. Write a daily list of questions, ANY questions, says Zach Lieberman, Artist and Founder, School for Poetic Computation. If you haven't heard of this new school, check it out. Zach is all about finding beauty in the technical. More from Zach at the bottom of this post.

3. Talk to someone about something out of your comfort zone, says Georgia Krantz, Senior Education Manager, Guggenheim Museum and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Communications, NYU ITP. Georgia says she doesn't write code and yet she teaches at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program. A beautiful thing.

4. Find someone really young and MAKE something says Limor Fried, Engineer and Founder, Adafruit Industries. Kids find joy in discovering the smallest thing. So should we, Fried says.

Basically, to survive in today's economy, we need to mash-up our brains.

THE 5TH STEP

So I'd like to add a 5th thing you can do RIGHT NOW. Get your ticket to WNYC's Creativity, Technology and Education event on November 19 at The Greene Space. We are calling it "Tech + Today's Worker: Upgrading Your Skills in Every Phase of Life."

I'll be hosting an evening of insight, advice and networking (and wine!) to help you figure the next stage of your working life and understand how continuing education can fit in.

Questions we'll answer include:

  • What can recent graduates do to make themselves more attractive to employers in this tough job market?
  • How can mid-career professionals stay relevant and advance their careers in a quickly changing digital marketplace?
  • As we live longer lives, what role do these subjects play for seniors, whether they are retired or looking for work?

We'll have experts with deep experience helping people of all ages find their calling and pay the bills:

Carmen Scheidel, Vice President of Learning + Development at Time, Inc.

Tom Kamber, founding executive director of Older Adults Technology Services (OATS), the largest municipal technology program for senior citizens in the country.

Larry Harris, Chief Marketing Officer of PubMatic, a startup ad tech company in Manhattan.

Plus we'll have a whimsical and thought-provoking demonstration from the founder of that new School for Poetic Computation, Zach Lieberman, who will help you find where YOUR creative and technical sides intersect.

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