One of the workplace trends being talked about is BYO (aka Bring Your Own). I can see where it can make a lot of sense…when it comes to certain things. For example, given the popularity of smart phones, it could be a win-win to ask employees to bring their own. The company saves money by not buying a bunch of phones. They could give employees an allowance to cover a portion of the cost. Employees don’t have to carry two phones. And they use a phone they’re already familiar with.
I’ve also read a few articles about the changing face of education. The first was from Mashable “How Tech Will Transform the Traditional Classroom”. It’s a forward-looking piece about using tablets in school and how it will change teaching and even activities like homework.
The second was on The Huffington Post – “Technology in Schools: In Some Cash-Strapped Districts, Kids Bring Their Own Devices”. The article is exactly what you’d expect. Budget constrained school districts don’t have money to buy computers, so kids bring their own. On one hand, this is creative. On another, it’s setting a dangerous expectation that kids live in households that can afford tablet computers. I could understand if we were talking a $20 Texas Instruments calculator. But tablets aren’t cheap.
Now, there’s talk about Bring Your Own Learning (BYOL). Jane Hart penned a piece about developing a BYOL strategy since “smart, social, autonomous workers are already doing their own thing and solving their own learning and performance problems much more quickly and more easily by using their own tools and devices.” I found Jane’s post to be really thought-provoking and it brought back what I had been reading about BYO from others.
As a training consultant, I have to bring my own devices to my client engagements. And I have to figure out my own professional development needs along with making learning opportunities happen. So I get it conceptually. But it seems like the only way BYO initiatives will really have impact is if they are scalable. One school doing BYO is good – but entire school systems doing BYO is great. Scale offers the opportunity to create strategy.
Which raises bigger questions: Are individuals ready to accept responsibility for bringing their own? Has the education system taught people the principles so they can be successful bringing their own? And are corporations supplying the resources – both financially and otherwise – so employees have the means?
Talk about business BYO needs to be more than a “trend of the day” conversation. And it should center around more than just “technology is our future”. In order for it to be successful, there are serious questions to be resolved.
Image courtesy of HR Bartender