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In the high velocity economy, talent, not money, will be the new corporate battlefront. Your ability to deploy the right skills at the right time for the right purpose will define your future success! -- Jim Carroll

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Recent Posts in the Human Capital


For years, I’ve explained to my global client base that access to skills and talent will been to the key element for success going forward. Two good examples? Fast trends in the world of self-driving cars, and the acceleration of trends in retail.

I was thinking about this today as two articles floated through my news clipping service: an article in Fortune that outlined how “Walmart Is Launching a Tech Incubator in Silicon Valley.” The second involved quite a few articles that spoke about the new partnerships occurring in the world of self-driving car technology, such as one in Sci-Tech: “Intel’s Not the Only Big Company To Find a Self-Driving Partner.

There are two big issues that are in play here that can be summarized quite nicely, which I’ve explained for quite some time:

  •  every industry is becoming a tech industry, and every company is becoming a software company – with the result that companies such as Walmart have to set up in the heart of the tech world in order to get ahead
  • companies are quickly discovering that they don’t have the skills to do what needs to be done – hence, they need to partner up to get things done — which is the key trend occurring in the world of autonomous vehicles right now

This is echoed by some research I presented in several recent meetings with major private equity investors, based on a study by GE, which found that among senior executives:

  • 85% are concerned about the velocity introduced by digitization and are open to idea collaboration
  • 75% indicated they are open to share the revenue stream of an innovation collaboration
  • 85% indicated such initiatives were growing over the last year

Key trend? The race for tech skills is going to accelerate; new forms of partnership will be established faster; lots of money will be made by those who have the requisite skills; and this will be a defining issue for success going forward!

Need a bigger example? This headline: “Ford is putting $1 billion into an AI startup, Detroit’s biggest investment yet in self-driving car tech.” Think about that — essentially, it’s a billion dollar investment to get the right skills, at the right time, for the right purpose.

 

So … last week I was in Miami, and did a talk on business disruption, transformation and innovation for about 30 CEO’s of companies in the healthcare, tech and IT sectors, on behalf of a private equity firm. The meeting also included a wide ranging discussion with a panel of ‘mentor’ CEO’s.

This is one of several events of this type I’ve done; through the years, an increasing number of private wealth, family offices and private equity firms have brought me in for talks, including a keynote in Greece where there was about $1 trillion of value in the room. At the conclusion, I managed to query all of these CEO’s on the biggest perceived challenges they face going forward.

Check out their response! Talent and skills! Speed of change!

The issues in the poll were the ones that they raised as major concerns, during the discussion part of the meeting, and had to do with these issues:

  • how does a CEO establish an appropriate balance between the necessity for leadership and the criticality of strategy time?
  • how to best manage the speed of change
  • how to align their team to emerging trends, challenge and opportunities
  • getting the right talent at the right time for the right purpose
  • establishing an overall organizational culture of speed
  • how to manage the disconnect between needing to change and historical legacy (as well as legacy IT)
  • managing more complex consumer expectations
  • when to jump onto a major trend

This is just so interesting from several perspectives, but first and foremost is this: I’ve long explained to my clients that a key issue for any organization going forward is this: “getting the right skills at the right time for the right purpose.” 

Put this in the context of several recent headlines I’ve used in events : GE hiring more tech talent and purchasing startups than Silicon Valley companies; Ford hiring 27,000 computer tech staff to help it in the race for self-driving cars; and other similar issues.

Clearly talent is a major issue going forward, and workforce and skills innovation is rising to the top!

 

I was interviewed the other day by the National Association of Colleges and Employers; this group is heavily involved in supporting career opportunities for college graduates. The focus of the interview was on generational diferences, and what happens in the workforce in the future.

Read the PDF! “Don’t mess with my powder, dude.” Such was the rather flippant response by an engineering graduate to a job offer from a leading architectural/engineering company. The CEO of the organization was explaining this story to me while we discussed the global trends that I should address during my upcoming presentation to staff of the organization. “What’s with these kids?” he asked.

Certainly there has been a lot of focus on how different the Millennial generation when it comes to the future of careers; I’ve been speaking about this issue for more than 20 years!

The article is below…… but read my article, ‘Don’t Mess with my Powder, Dude” for more insight on the work/life thoughts of the next generation. 

Also have a look at this video from an education conference, in which I speak about how video is the knowledge ingestion tool for the next generation.

Video: The Acceleration of Knowledge


Technology the Catalyst for Generational Differences
Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals
January 11, 2017

When we talk about generational differences, we no longer can just identify differences between generations, but we can identify differences within generations as well, according to Jim Carroll.

Carroll, a futurist and trends expert, says technology is the catalyst for the rapidity with which generations now evolve.

“It’s not politics or sociology, because they don’t move fast enough,” Carroll says. “The speed with which technology has come into their lives has made the differences within Generation Z that are amplified when compared to the Millennials.”

For example, Carroll says that there are definitely differences between a 30-year-old Millennial and a 25-year-old Millennial.

“There was a lot of technology coming at them as they grew up, but it wasn’t a huge amount,” he says. “But if you take an 18-year-old and a 23-year-old today—both members of Generation Z—it’s almost like they grew up in entirely different periods of time because they would have been exposed to different sets of technology.”

This carries over into the workplace. Carroll says Generation Z shares common traits with Millennials.

“They have very short attention spans,” he says. “They need multiple different things to do. These are all traits that were common with Millennials, but they are much more pronounced with the generation entering the work force.”

He says that a realization many organizations have not come to grips with yet is that this is the video generation.

“These young employees consume video like it’s oxygen,” Carroll says. “When it comes to training or any type of education or professional development, the use of video is paramount. These employees have never known a world without YouTube, so if you’re doing anything to engage them, it has to be video based. They are not going to sit and read policy and procedure manuals. Nor are they going to spend their time dealing with complex reports.”

They also have little time for what they consider unnecessary or unwieldy tasks or formats.

“They don’t subscribe to the idea of performance reviews or long, laborious processes in stages to move up the ladder,” Carroll says. “They don’t have a lot of patience for complexity and rules and structure. They get frustrated with antiquated practices. It has been a command and control workplace. Instead, they want to get in and get their work done without a lot of talking about it.”

Carroll explains that, with members of Generation Z, organizations also have a powerful source of collaborative powers that they need to harness.

“By growing up with mobile devices and social networks, the skills they bring into the workplace for collaborative capabilities is profound compared to what we saw with Millennials just 10 years prior,” he says. “Employers have to support that and take advantage of these collaborative capabilities.”

While technology allows employees of all generations to work remotely, Carroll believes Generation Z still will value connecting in person.

“The common prediction is that the new generation of employees is going to unplug, work remotely, and not congregate in offices,” Carroll notes. “I might be proven dead wrong on this, but I think that’s going to flip around so we’ll see a trend back to the workplace and increased human interaction.

“The employees entering the work force have untapped tools and skills for the workplace. We have to give them more credit than we do. They have surprised us in the past and I’m certain that they will continue to surprise us in the future.”

So … there’s lots of talk about the future of jobs, careers, automation, the disappearance of jobs, and the emergence of new jobs. It seems to be one of the issues for 2016, and no doubt, will continue into the future.

I’ve been all over the topic for over 20 years, and am often engaged by small groups of senior executives at Fortune 500 companies to help interpret the trends.

One of my more fascinating events in 2016 was a small, high-level human resource/talent conference in Chicago organized by Whirlpool and Aon Hewitt. I had a lot of heavy hitters human resource executives in the room for my talk around future talent and HR issues. Senior VP’s of Human Resources for such companies as Owens Corning, Eli Lilly, Capital One, Proctor & Gamble, Goodyear Tire, Arcelor/Mittal, AT&T, Colgate Palmolive, Hewlett Packard, Intel, John Deere, Raytheon, Shell International, Sunoco, Boeing, Stryker, Target, Yum! Brands and more. Whew! A small, intimate group of people responsible for managing the talent and human capital requirements for companies worth, perhaps, several trillion dollars in market capital.

(This is typical of many of the low key senior leadership meetings that I do. For example, I had a session on the impact of business model disruption as technology comes to define the future of every industry. In the room, I had the Chief Information Officer’s for such companies as Johnson & Johnson, American Airlines, Siemens, Elsever, Owens Corning, Nationwide Mutual, Marriott International, MetLife, Cardinal Health, Chubb, Merck & Co, and Progressive Insurance!)

Many global organizations have had me in for a keynote at leadership meetings of their entire HR team, including Deloitte, Lockheed Martin, Johnson & Johnson (after they saw me in this session above), Honeywell, and others. I’ve also headlined many major human capital conferences over the years.

It’s these types of events that give me a front row seat to the high velocity change that is occurring as disruption comes to take hold of every industry and eery organization. And with that pace of change, I’m a big believer that the success of organizations in the future will come from human skills agility. I caught this years ago in one key comment: “In the high velocity economy, talent, not money, will be the new corporate battlefront. Your ability to deploy the right skills at the right time for the right purpose will define your future opportunity.”

What did my keynote at the Chicago event focus on? It’s best captured in a great graphic, done in real time, of my key themes. Click the image for a high-resolution image — its’ worth a visit!

 

Need more insight into human capital and skills issues? Visit the Human Capital section of my Web site for more!

I spend a lot of time in conversation with CEO’s, leading researchers, scientists and others as I prepare for my keynotes and leadership meetings. I undertake a lot of detailed research, often reading sets of hundreds of articles on a very specific subject as I prepare for a talk. My mind is a sponge, absorbing and ingestion insight and information at a furious pace.

But I’ve also learned that you can often learn from the most unexpected sources. Such as a grade 5 teacher, that by virtue of serendipity, becomes a member of your home golf course, and ends up becoming a regular buddy on the links.

grade5education

“Instead of individual subjects, students will study events and phenomena in an interdisciplinary format. For example, the Second World War will be examined from the perspective of history, geography, and math”

I don’t know how many times he has started a conversation with the phrase, “Let me tell you about Finland...” but that caught my attention today as the article above floated into my Facebook feed this morning.

It’s one of the trends that has been telling me about by virtue of his experience in the classroom. You can learn a lot about an industry — say, the future of education, where I do a lot of keynotes — but listening to folks in the trenches. Such as a grade 5 teacher. Here are some of his observations:

  • kids learn differently today than they did even just 5 years ago, and it will be even more different just 5 years from now. He caught my attention with that observation – what is happening in the classroom in terms of the ingestion of knowledge is happening faster than we think. It’s all based on interactivity, video, and tablets. Todays’s 10 year old has grown up in the technology tsunami, and simply acquires knowledge differently. Tomorrow’s grade 5 will be fundamentally different from the grade 5 kid of today. Change is relentless.
  • the ingestion of knowledge is all about video. Youtube and other sources are more relevant today than any sort of textbook. This echoes my own experience with my sons, now 21 and 23. I spoke about this during a keynote for the Institute for Credentialing Excellence in Phoenix a few years ago. Check the video in my post The Future of Education: Rethinking Opportunity in the Era of Knowledge Velocity. The son referred to in that video has a golf handicap of 1. He’s scratch. He changed his golf grip, not by working with a golf pro, but by watching YouTube videos.
  • it’s about short, sharp shocks of knowledge. The education system today talks about curriculum and pedagogy and phrases and methodology that were cool in the 1960’s. The methodology is barely relevant today, at all. Everyone knows that. No one really knows how to fix it, so those in the classroom figure out how to fix it on their own. Disruption is occurring, one grade 5 teacher at a time.
  • structure is irrelevant to them. Their minds are so busy, flitting from one concept to another, and the education system in North America hasn’t changed to deal with that reality. Finland has. Change needs to come, and it needs to come fast!
  • they are more world aware than we think. We might often think that the mind of a 10 year old isn’t very connected. This generation is global, aware, in a way that no other generation in the history of mankind has ever been. He indicated that one of his most painful days as a teacher was yesterday as some of the kids asked and talked about the rise of Donald Trump — with all of his moral failings on public display. How do you deal with that? We’re in uncharted territory here…
  • even their parents are different and expect so much more. The parents of todays 10 year old is the world’s first post MSDOS generation. When they began using computers, Mac’s and Windows were already the interface of choice. The Internet was a part of their lives for as long as they’ve had busy, inquiring minds. They are technology-immersed too, and carry none of the technology hangups of their baby-boomer predecessors too. They too expect change, technology, and interactivity to drive the education system. They are not getting it at an official level.

But wait, there’s more! Lots to learn! Lots more golf yet to come!

We all know that the education system is massively stuck in an innovation rut, unable to deal with the reality of change that swirls around it. And so many questions are raised by the reality on the ground. Such as: what the heck is the world of human resources going to do as today’s 10 year old becomes a part of the workforce in just 10 years?

What can you learn from this? Certainly this: seek to learn from unconventional sources. Just as today’s grade 5 student learns in different ways that are not part of the education system.

I certainly intend to, and as golfing season draws to a close, think I need to commit to going into his classroom and doing another presentation for his class, as I did last year. Not to present my views — but really, to try to listen to theirs!

Here’s a video I filmed with his kids in his class last year. Invigorating stuff! Here’s a promo clip I filmed for my opening keynote for EdNet 2016 in Dallas a few months ago. When we think about the future of education, we need to think about the careers that the kids of today will be working in. Many of those careers don’t exist. Here’s what the kids think about that!

The kids understand the future! Does the education industry?

Office Products International Magazine contacted me for an article about the future of the workplace, for their 25 anniversary issue.

opi
Obviously this is an industry that has a keen interest in the issue — after all, if your target market is the office, and that office is changing, you need to know! Here’s what I wrote!


What’s the future of the office workplace? People love trying to figure out that question. Futurist Jim Carroll is one of them…

When trying to imagine the workplace of the future, a good start is to look back at the cartoon show The Jetsons, which was first aired in the US in 1962 and purported to show what the world would look like in 2062 – 100 years on.

Watch The Jetsons today and it would seem most of its predictions have actually come true: autonomous, self-driving cars (although their vehicles could fly); video calling apps such as Skype or FaceTime (George Jetson used to communicate with his boss at Spacely Sprockets like this). He also views his news and other information on a flat screen TV – let’s say, using a version of our internet. In addition, Rosie the robot maid scurries about doing all kinds of things for the people that are a part of her ‘life’.

jetsons

Taking note of science fiction, back-to-the-future scenarios, and even cartoons such as The Jetsons can provide glimpses into what the workplace might look like in the coming decades.

But let’s think in more practical terms, by aligning the office of the future to the careers and workforce that will be our reality.

In 1997, I coined the phrase ‘nomadic workers’ while writing Surviving the Information Age, and made the following predictions:

  • The number of full-time jobs will begin to dramatically shrink. Yet, we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg in the change of the relationship between employer and employee as the nomadic worker becomes the dominant form of corporate resource.
  • Companies will hire the best talent, regardless of where that person might be. A new form of career competitiveness will emerge with extreme rivalry for this group of nomadic workers – highly skilled individuals who call the shots.
  • Where people work from won’t matter – a trend that has implications for the future of both rural and urban economies.
  • Lifestyle choice will come to dominate career decisions. Nomadic workers have different attitudes towards life and work, and reject many of the currently accepted ‘norms’ of the corporate environment. Their attitudes will revolutionise the world of work.
  • Office walls won’t determine the shape of tomorrow’s company – the reach of its computerised knowledge network, and its ability to tap into the skills and capabilities of nomadic workers, wherever they might be, will define it.

I was pretty much bang on with those trends – certainly much of it has already become true. More people work from home than ever before (in my case, I’ve had a home office for 25 years; my kids grew up in a world in which their parents have always worked at home).

A global war for the best talent means that there is an entire economy of highly-skilled nomadic workers. And in my own case, I joke that I work really hard to not have to go and get a job – instead, I hire out my future-forecasting skills to organisations worldwide.

Those trends will continue to play out in the future. But what else will happen? In my view, there are three key trends that will define the future of the office and the workplace: the rapid emergence of new careers, the continued rapid evolution of technology, and the impact of the next generation.

1. Future vocations

First, consider what is happening with skills, jobs and careers. Last year, I was the opening keynote speaker for the global WorldSkills challenge in São Paolo, Brazil, and spoke about the fact that we are now witnessing the rapid emergence of all kinds of new careers.

I’m talking about vocations such as robotic pharmaceutical therapy monitors, water footprint analysts, vertical farming infrastructure managers, drone helicopter insurance crop risk managers, and – not forgetting – manure managers!

The key point here is that many of these new careers involve the processing of information which can be done from anywhere. An insurance risk manager that relies on drone technology doesn’t have to be on location, they can simply do their work from wherever they are.

The result of this is an even greater dispersion of highly skilled jobs around the world.

Organisations in the future will continue to hollow out, hiring skills and talent on an as-needed, short-term contract rather than permanent basis. Centralised offices will become smaller, with a core group focused on strategic goals that simply link to needed talent as and when required.

2. Connecting the workplace

The second trend is the Internet of Things (IoT) which will provide some of the most fascinating changes in the workplace and office of the future. What is it really all about? Simply put, every device that is a part of our daily lives is going to become connected and we will be aware of its status and its location.

I often joke on stage that this could get a bit out of hand: I might get on my weighing scales one day, and it will send an email to my fridge, blocking access for the day because I’m not living up to the terms of my wellness contract.

The IoT will lead to some of the The Jetsons-type forecasts of the past. It’s quite likely that self-driving cars will result in mobile offices on wheels – the car does the navigation, so we’ll have more time to get some work done on the way to the office.

Massive hyperconnectivity will keep employees aware of where fellow workers are, when office supplies are running low, or will link them to a specific location on a manufacturing assembly line that requires instant maintenance.

We will live and work in a world that is hyper-aware of the status of everything around us and that will lead to some fascinating workplace changes that I don’t think we can even yet comprehend.

3. The virtual workforce

It is perhaps the third trend that will have the most profound impact. Consider this fact: 10-15 years from now, most baby boomers will have retired or will be set to soon retire. This technology-adverse generation grew up with mainframes, COBOL and MS-DOS, and as a result, never really adapted to a workplace of videoconferencing, video whiteboards and other methods of collaboration.

Conversely, my sons, aged 21 and 23, grew up with the Xbox and PlayStation, Skype and text messages. This generation will soon take over the workforce, and most certainly take advantage of every opportunity to continue to virtualise the world of work. They will use Google Glass-type devices to embed live video into their everyday work routine. Virtual reality will become common enabling them to live and work in a world of massive augmented reality. They will be able to teleport their minds to far-flung locations where their virtual avatar will participate, interact and collaborate with others.

They are going to live in a world of technology acceleration unlike anything we have known, and rather than battling it as older generations have so often done, they will embrace it with open arms and open minds.

Does this all mean that the traditional office of today – a meeting place where individuals gather to share efforts on projects, ideas and opportunities – will disappear? I don’t think so. I believe that we are social creatures, and we crave opportunities for interaction. It will just be a very different form of interaction.

Brace yourself. The future will be here faster than you think.

Jim Carroll is one of the world’s leading futurists, trends and innovation experts, with a client list that includes NASA, The Walt Disney Company, Johnson & Johnson and the Swiss Innovation Forum. Follow him on Twitter @jimcarroll or visit www.jimcarroll.com

The Canadian Society of Association Executives had me write a series of articles with some of the unique challenges presented to associations in the context of fast-trends.

Here’s the 2nd one.

The nomadic worker carries different attitudes towards life and work, and rejects many of the currently accepted “norms” of the corporate environment. Their attitudes will revolutionize the world of work.

The nomadic worker carries different attitudes towards life and work, and rejects many of the currently accepted “norms” of the corporate environment. Their attitudes will revolutionize the world of work.

They provide good food for thought! More to come over the next week!

Nomadic Workers

The workforce is transformed as “nomadic workers” dominate the economy.

The number of full time jobs will continue to dramatically shrink – yet, we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg in the change of the relationship between employer and employee.  Companies will hire the best talent, regardless of where that person might be. A

new form of career competitiveness is emerging, with extreme competition for this group of nomadic workers – highly skilled individuals who call the shots.

All this in the context of a global economy in which where people work from won’t matter – a trend that has implications for the future of both rural and urban economies. Lifestyle choice will come to dominate career decisions.

The nomadic worker carries different attitudes towards life and work, and rejects many of the currently accepted “norms” of the corporate environment. Their attitudes will revolutionize the world of work.

The end result? The shape of tomorrow’s company won’t be defined by the walls in its offices – it will be defined by the reach of its computerized knowledge network, and its ability to tap into the skills and capabilities of the nomadic worker, at the right time, in the right place, for the right purpose.

Questions for Association Leaders

  • What are you doing to attract the new, independent contract worker into our association, and how do you remain relevant to their needs?
  • As your profession fragments into many different sub-specialties, how do you retain your relevance?

What do you need to be thinking about now when it comes to skills issues? Read my PDF  here or by clicking on the image.

21stcenturyskills

“Skills are Experiential. Skills are Generational. One of the most important assets that a company can invest in is “experiential capital”—that is, the cumulative knowledge the company has generated through innovation, risk, failure and success. Boost that skills capability and you’ve done something that flows onto the bottom line.”

 

The other day, I did a talk for a small group of senior HR representatives for a variety of Fortune 500 companies — including Owens Corning, Whirlpool, Eli Lilly, Goodyear, Proctor & Gamble, AT&T, Raytheon, Boeing and more.

My focus was on the future trends that are reshaping business — and what this would mean in terms of high performance leadership.

kevin bain graphic recording

My insight was captured by Kevin Bain — who, when he is not facilitating sessions, does a fabulous job in capturing the insight of others. Here’s his summary of my talk — click on it for a super hi-res version of the file.

Thanks Kevin! Check out his work at http://www.kevinbain.com

Here’s a new video from my Sao Paolo Worldskills keynote: I’m taking about the global water challenge, and opportunities that come from wastewater recycling.

In this context comes Nexus e-Water, an innovative and fascinating solution to encourage use of “grey water”.

The focus of my WorldSkills keynote was how skills, trades, knowledge and education would be challenged by accelerating rates of change. This type of technology is a really good example!

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