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Communications of the ACM

The profession of IT

Navigating with Accelerating Technology Change

finger drawing a red line in space

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We live in a time of accelerating changes. Our traditional methods of careful prediction, planning, and managing our work according to established schedules cannot keep up with the pace. More disruptions and even economic avalanches are on the way. How do we navigate in such conditions?

The idea that navigation is a good skill for this world is quite appealing. Ship's captains of old made their way to distant, unknown shores, moving across open waters beset with storms and unpredictable winds, responding to emergencies, and coping with diseases. They used instruments such as astrolabes and sextants to determine their positions and correct their courses. What skills do we need as navigators to maneuver in our professional world of unforeseen obstacles and unpredictable disruptions? What are our sextants?


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