Try Asking the Person at the Next Desk

Carey Business Magazine


Myers, C.G. (2016, November). Try asking the person at the next desk. Carey Business, Fall 2016, 6–7.

Revised and Reprinted

Myers, C.G. (2018, October). Learning from others in the digital age. Chief Learning Officer, Industry Insights. Download Here


People today have access to more information than at any point in human history. A 2014 report estimated the size of the internet at 1 billion unique websites, and by the end of 2016, global internet traffic is expected to reach 1.1 zettabytes. That is 1.1 trillion gigabytes of information moving around online – enough, by my rough estimate, to fill 8.59 billion iPhones (the 128GB maxed-out iPhone 6S, to be specific). It’s no surprise, then, that one of the most common ways we seek out and learn new things is online, embodying the 21st-century learning mantra “I don’t know. … I’ll Google it.”

However, because of this volume of readily available information and knowledge, we risk forgetting one of the most important ways people learn, particularly at work – namely, by learning from the experiences of others, or what’s known as vicarious learning.