‘SMAC’K your lips to the Changing Thanksgiving Menu

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Does the nursery rhyme ‘Mary has a little lamb’ ring a bell when it comes to Thanksgiving? Did you know that the 16th century three-day Thanksgiving feast consisted of goose, lobster, cod, and deer? And that the guinea-fowl came to be substituted with turkey? The month November has become synonymous with Thanksgiving Day. On the calendar, the 4th Thursday is a day marking celebrations of different kinds. When you think of November, you will note that turkey, Thanksgiving, and the long holiday are all spoken of in the same breath!

Thanksgiving DaySurely Sarah Josepha Hale, creator of the world-famous nursery rhyme and introduced the concept of thanksgiving, would never have imagined that the fourth Thursday of the Thanksgiving month would evoke a celebratory spirit to commemorate the harvest festival,all of which is just as deeply observed today as when it first started!

If globalization and evolution, over a period of time, have altered the menu of Thanksgiving, so too has it changed the digital era leading to the transformation of the learning landscape. Ideas are turned into reality at the speed of imagination today. Almost all innovation happens by making connections between fields that most people don’t realize exist.

The field of opportunity is such that it is akin to having various options of food laid out on the table. How pre-wired are organizations when it comes to talent development? “Whatever led to last year’s harvest, we need to farm,” seems to be an apt quote by Jeremy Gutsche perfectly applicable ahead of Thanksgiving! Awaken, hunt, and capture (read as look for new opportunities) has to be the line of thinking put to action. That is what led to a $4 million investment, which when ‘harvested’ properly,turn into the $6 billion mega brand Zara. Complacent, repetitive, and protective attitudes have to be shed like the de-feathered turkey, when the ‘live’ bird is culled and transformed into a roasted Thanksgiving dish yet ‘alive’ to reflect the spirit of the day. This has to be replaced with an insatiable, curious, and ‘willing to deconstruct’ mindset. By George! Somewhat like the out-of-the-box presidential pardon introduced by former US President George H W Bush 200 years after George Washington’s Thanksgiving proclamation. Amancio Ortega Goana, the man behind Zara who had not been photographed till 1999, exemplifies the future of business. The personality with a net worth of over $70 billion built his fashion business on self-improvement techniques and the quest to search for new opportunities.

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Call it a new lane of learning as history and geography will show the path of how Thanksgiving Day has changed mirroring changes in learning. Diverse tastes, times, preferences and a dispersed audience have resulted in blending tradition with modernity. Blackboards have been replaced with iPads; boardroom meetings co-exist with virtual conferencing; chalk to mouse clicks is the mode of switch; touch, flip, watch, surf, anywhere, anytime, and on any device…the paradigm shift in learning is happening at a pace where change is the only constant.

Look at the menus of restaurants in the UK – when it comes to Thanksgiving Day, the spread is as diverse as can be – clam chowder, time-honored turkey, home-made pumpkin pie, turkey Frito pie, fried mozzarella sticks, crispy, buttermilk-dipped chicken sandwiched in maple waffles, chicken skin gravy, barbeque quail with maple syrup, free-range turkey with autumn green and cranberry sauce, celeriac puree, roasted parsnips, turkey kale and braised lentils, honey-glazed and apple-stuffed turkey…the gourmet or a food connoisseur’s pleasure list seems endless.

If reading this tongue-twisting yet mouth-watering food ‘ensemble’ has whetted your appetite, then now is the time to explore the ever-expanding possibilities in the domain of learning. Terms – SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud) and words such as informal, formal, blended, collaborative, gaming, virtual reality, and many more options have made the learning architecture open, leaving scope for continuous updating and upskilling. Learning without boundary is in. Let the quest to fulfil the perennial appetite to learn continue in right earnest, for the best is yet to come with innovation at its best times ahead! Cheers to continuous learning in honor of Thanksgiving Day!

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