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An exhaustive study of 702 US occupations and new techniques in automation conducted by Oxford University predicts that job automation will see 47% of jobs disappear in the next decade or so. Diametrically, we will likely see an increase in the demand for soft competencies like creativity, interpersonal communication skills, and change readiness etc., which humans will fortunately, always have the advantage of adaptability over.(For all you sci-fi aficionados out there, Hollywood tells me that we have always outlasted the androids J)

 

The pressure to ensure that businesses stay ahead of technology disruption is mounting. Patrick Forth of BCG made a parallel assertion at TED@BCG, “The definition of competitive advantage will be the relative speed and ability of companies to change.” Learning & Development (L&D) can engender this change as an advocate for social engagement: amplifying the network of knowledge inside and outside the organization for competitive advantage, and developing a global learning architecture that is fluid with the challenges affecting business today - digital trends, multi-generational workforce etc.

Similarly, Nigel Paine, former chief learning officer at the BBC, also summed up the role of L&D as a social amplifier in his book The Learning Challenge - “Unfortunately, the truth is that if you want to be unbelievably successful in your organization you can’t control learning any longer. You’ve got to give it away. It’s got to happen everywhere. It’s got to bubble up all over the place. You’ve got to look at the buzz you can create that will resonate massively around the organization. The more it resonates, the bigger the impact and the more successful you will be.” 

 

This calls for reimagining of the learning landscape, as the impact of digital transformation and artificial intelligence – ubiquitous connectivity, mobility, social and analytics – transform how we work, learn, interact and lead our lives at multiple levels:                                                                                                                                                    

 

Powering learning

As careers become longer and more diverse, the half-life of skills also becomes shorter and shorter, placing a premium on continuous learning and development. While Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have become a popular go-to resource for students and professionals alike, and organizations have also as a result been enthusiastic to integrate that into their learning platform, a download system of documented explicit knowledge should not be the answer to a compelling learning strategy. According to cognitive neuroscientist Dr Christian Jarrett, effective learning requires L&D teams to encourage learners to integrate what they know and come at learning from different angles, and that incidental learning is very powerful. People learn by watching others through imitation, through teaching, and this happens when there is recursive collaboration. With a video collaboration-based training program, Alain Afflelou is able to foster continuous innovation by empowering its employees and partners to share what they learn on the job and also enable a learning culture on the go, easily assimilated into everyday life.  

 

Engaging through performance support

Enterprise social networks like Yammer, have all been incredible in breaking down silos and making information and resources more readily accessible across globally dispersed teams, including changing the face – and pace of – business. We have moved from content and course creation being the purview of L&D and sanctioned by management goals to user-generated content, curated courseware and collaboration platforms with peer feedback and conversations taking the front seat. L&D can proactively crowdsource for ideas or even conduct needs analysis in these conversations to curate more relevant and meaningful materials for learning development, and moderate the most effective behaviors and uses of these communities to improve collaboration.

 

Firing networked intelligence

The definition of the workplace has changed.  In the workplace of the future, there will be no ‘workplace’ or ‘employers’. Instead, teams today need to quickly assemble and collaborate, and then just as quickly disband and move on the next initiative – all while individual members are juggling multiple projects. The nature of employees is also undergoing a deep change – from permanent employees to freelancers, contractors, vendors, consultants, and everything in-between. While the fundamental need for induction and quick skilling based on defined learning needs and skill gaps will continue to exist, L&D can further impact business growth in distributed organizations by integrating video collaboration into instructional design. Making a case for how video content management solutions empower peer-to-peer interactions to improve business performance is Linklaters. The interactive element of the platform allows Linklaters to easily create and edit rich media communications, as well as manage the finished assets and understand how employees were viewing and interacting with the growing content library, including proactively extending the benefits of the materials to new audiences like customers and employees at home or on the road.

 

Enabling a thriving learning organization

No industry today – Retail, Healthcare, Manufacturing or Education, can escape the onslaught of digital transformation. While continual experimentation with more engaging designs in the form of gamification, 3-D animation and augmented reality innovates and drives everyday learning, the bottom line is each of us needs to own the onus of our learning, including a changed mindset that workplace learning is a top-driven endeavor. Clearly this also necessitates a transformation in education: undoing the habits of merely accumulating knowledge. Find out how Polycom’s technology is an enabler and amplifier in the learning journey –from consumption to collaboration and creation.

 

This blog is part of a series of 25 blogs that take a look at how Polycom has transformed industries and business functions.

These blogs are a variety of retrospective, current and visionary perspectives with the common thread of unleashing the power of human collaboration. Follow the hashtag #Polycom25 on Twitter for tweets about this significant anniversary in our history.

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