I came across a fascinating article today that describes how a famous economic historian is thaught a lesson about the history of World War II. Niall Ferguson has written some books about “what if” scenarios is history: what if Gorbachov would not have existed etc.
He recently played a bit with a computer game called “Making History” where the games are based on WWII scenarios. What was amazing was that the game showed him that he was wrong in one of his hypthesis that if England would have attacked Germany in 1938 after the invasion of Czechoslovakia WWII would not have happened. He kept playing it over and over but England kept losing because France defected.
The game is based on thorough research on the period. The mindbogling part is that his 13 year old son, an experienced player in strategy games, had no problem in showing him the answer by first investing in a better bond with France and than attacking Germany.
The interesting part here, I think, is that young people grow up with a completely different environment and have a different attitude towards the tools that surround us. Strategic thinking through games and multiple simultaneus communictation through MSN is a normal part of their life. Because of this they arrive at different processes to deal with their environment. Young people of today are the employees of tomorrow. We better be prepared by doing our research into the way we can build on these new tools and people!