Five Principles for Thinking Like a Futurist — from er.educause.edu by Marina Gorbis

Excerpt:

In 2018 we celebrated the fifty-year anniversary of the founding of the Institute for the Future (IFTF). No other futures organization has survived for this long; we’ve actually survived our own forecasts! In these five decades we learned a lot, and we still believe—even more strongly than before—that systematic thinking about the future is absolutely essential for helping people make better choices today, whether you are an individual or a member of an educational institution or government organization. We view short-termism as the greatest threat not only to organizations but to society as a whole.

In my twenty years at the Institute, I’ve developed five core principles for futures thinking:

  • Forget about predictions.
  • Focus on signals.*
  • Look back to see forward.
  • Uncover patterns.*
  • Create a community.

 

* From DSC:
I have a follow up thought regarding those bullet points about signals and patterns. With today’s exponential pace of technological change, I have asserted for several years now that our students — and all of us really — need to be skilled in pulse-checking the relevant landscapes around us. That’s why I’m a big fan of regularly tapping into — and contributing towards — streams of content. Subscribing to RSS feeds, following organizations and/or individuals on Twitter, connecting with people on LinkedIn, etc. Doing so will help us identify trends, patterns, and the signals that Marina talks about in her article.

It reminds me of the following graphic from January 2017:

 

 

The Future of Leadership Development — from hbr.org by Mihnea Moldoveanu and Das Narayandas

Excerpt:

The need for leadership development has never been more urgent. Companies of all sorts realize that to survive in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous environment, they need leadership skills and organizational capabilities different from those that helped them succeed in the past. There is also a growing recognition that leadership development should not be restricted to the few who are in or close to the C-suite. With the proliferation of collaborative problem-solving platforms and digital “adhocracies” that emphasize individual initiative, employees across the board are increasingly expected to make consequential decisions that align with corporate strategy and culture. It’s important, therefore, that they be equipped with the relevant technical, relational, and communication skills.

The good news is that the growing assortment of online courses, social and interactive platforms, and learning tools from both traditional institutions and upstarts—which make up what we call the “personal learning cloud” (PLC)—offers a solution. Organizations can select components from the PLC and tailor them to the needs and behaviors of individuals and teams. The PLC is flexible and immediately accessible, and it enables employees to pick up skills in the context in which they must be used. In effect, it’s a 21st-century form of on-the-job learning.

In this article we describe the evolution of leadership development, the dynamics behind the changes, and ways to manage the emerging PLC for the good of both the firm and the individual.

 

From DSC:
What they describe as a “personal learning cloud (PLC),” I call pieces of a Learning Ecosystem:

  • “…the growing assortment of online courses
  • social and interactive platforms
  • learning tools from both traditional institutions and upstarts”

 

 

 

The information below is from Deb Molfetta, Outreach Coordinator at EdDPrograms.org


EdDPrograms.org helps educators and administrators research doctoral education opportunities. Their organization’s work in education began in 2008 with projects ranging from a new teacher survival guide to their own teacher education scholarship program. More recently they realized that there weren’t any websites dedicated to professional development through Doctor of Education (EdD) programs, which is why they created their own – EdDPrograms.org. It covers a lot of ground, but here are a few sections they think administrators will appreciate:

EdDPrograms.org is owned and operated by a group that has been creating post-secondary education resources since 2008. According to Deb, they have a history of providing students with objective, fact-based resources.

 

 

 

Accenture Technology Vision 2019: The post-digital era is upon us — from accenture.com

In brief

  • Digital transformation grants companies exceptional capabilities. But it also creates enormous expectations.
  • Amid these rising expectations, every business is investing in digital technologies, raising the question of how leaders will set themselves apart.
  • Companies looking to differentiate themselves must be aware of five distinct trends that will characterize the “post-digital” future.

 

 

Here is the link for the report.

 

 

AI bias: 9 questions leaders should ask — from enterprisersproject.com by Kevin Casey
Artificial intelligence bias can create problems ranging from bad business decisions to injustice. Use these questions to fight off potential biases in your AI systems.

Excerpt:

People questions to ask about AI bias
1. Who is building the algorithms?
2. Do your AI & ML teams take responsibility for how their work will be used?
3. Who should lead an organization’s effort to identify bias in its AI systems?
4. How is my training data constructed?

Data questions to ask about AI bias
5. Is the data set comprehensive?
6. Do you have multiple sources of data?

Management questions to ask about AI bias
7. What proportion of resources is appropriate for an organization to devote to assessing potential bias?
8. Have you thought deeply about what metrics you use to evaluate your work?
9. How can we test for bias in training data?

 

 

Futures thinking enters the mainstream — from thefuturesschool.com

Excerpts:

Organizations and society are beginning to acknowledge the incredible benefits of foresight. Even if these leaders and their organizations aren’t well-versed in all of the tools and lingo of futures thinking, more people are demanding that “we do things differently.” The momentum is building, and we believe 2019 could be another pivotal year for foresight!

Brands are Looking to Futurists to Foresee Trends and Anticipate Disruption”– Companies are realizing that traditional short-term strategic planning process will not uphold in the 21st century landscape. Instead, they are turning to futurists or Strategic Foresight methods to ensure their brands don’t become “obsolete.”

 

From DSC:
This reminds me of a slide that I created back in January 2017 where I mentioned that surveying the relevant landscapes is increasingly becoming a skill that our students should have:

 

 

I have it that all of us need to be pulse-checking the environments around us in order to spot emerging trends and potential future scenarios. We need to develop plans to address those potential scenarios ahead of time…so we can reduce the chances of getting broadsided.

 

 

The world is changing. Here’s how companies must adapt. — from weforum.org by Joe Kaeser, President and Chief Executive Officer, Siemens AG

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Although we have only seen the beginning, one thing is already clear: the Fourth Industrial Revolution is the greatest transformation human civilization has ever known. As far-reaching as the previous industrial revolutions were, they never set free such enormous transformative power.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is transforming practically every human activity...its scope, speed and reach are unprecedented.

Enormous power (Insert from DSC: What I was trying to get at here) entails enormous risk. Yes, the stakes are high. 

 

“And make no mistake about it: we are now writing the code that will shape our collective future.” CEO of Siemens AG

 

 

Contrary to Milton Friedman’s maxim, the business of business should not just be business. Shareholder value alone should not be the yardstick. Instead, we should make stakeholder value, or better yet, social value, the benchmark for a company’s performance.

Today, stakeholders…rightfully expect companies to assume greater social responsibility, for example, by protecting the climate, fighting for social justice, aiding refugees, and training and educating workers. The business of business should be to create value for society.

This seamless integration of the virtual and the physical worlds in so-called cyber-physical systems – that is the giant leap we see today. It eclipses everything that has happened in industry so far. As in previous industrial revolutions but on a much larger scale, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will eliminate millions of jobs and create millions of new jobs.

 

“…because the Fourth Industrial Revolution runs on knowledge, we need a concurrent revolution in training and education.

If the workforce doesn’t keep up with advances in knowledge throughout their lives, how will the millions of new jobs be filled?” 

Joe Kaeser, President and Chief Executive Officer, Siemens AG

 

 


From DSC:
At least three critically important things jump out at me here:

  1. We are quickly approaching a time when people will need to be able to reinvent themselves quickly and cost-effectively, especially those with families and who are working in their (still existing) jobs. (Or have we already entered this period of time…?)
  2. There is a need to help people identify which jobs are safe to reinvent themselves to — at least for the next 5-10 years.
  3. Citizens across the globe — and their relevant legislatures, governments, and law schools — need to help close the gap between emerging technologies and whether those technologies should even be rolled out, and if so, how and with which features.

 


 

What freedoms and rights should individuals have in the digital age?

Joe Kaeser, President and Chief Executive Officer, Siemens AG

 

 

5 questions we should be asking about automation and jobs — from hbr.org by Jed Kolko

Excerpts:

  1. Will workers whose jobs are automated be able to transition to new jobs?*
  2. Who will bear the burden of automation?
  3. How will automation affect the supply of labor?
  4. How will automation affect wages, and how will wages affect automation?
  5. How will automation change job searching?

 

From DSC:
For those Economics profs and students out there, I’m posted this with you in mind; also highly applicable and relevant to MBA programs.

* I would add a few follow-up questions to question #1 above:

  • To which jobs should they transition to?
  • Who can help identify the jobs that might be safe for 5-10 years?
  • If you have a family to feed, how are you going to be able to reinvent yourself quickly and as efficiently/flexibly as possible? (Yes…constant, online-based learning comes to my mind as well, as campus-based education is great, but very time-consuming.)

 

Also see:

We Still Don’t Know Much About the Jobs the AI Economy Will Make — or Take — from medium.com by Rachel Metz with MIT Technology Review
Experts think companies need to invest in workers the way they do for other core aspects of their business they’re looking to future-proof

One big problem that could have lasting effects, she thinks, is a mismatch between the skills companies need in new employees and those that employees have or know that they can readily acquire. To fix this, she said, companies need to start investing in their workers the way they do their supply chains.

 

Per LinkedIn:

Putting robots to work is becoming more and more popularparticularly in Europe. According to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Slovakian workers face a 62% median probability that their job will be automated “in the near future.” Workers in Eastern Europe face the biggest likelihood of having their jobs overtaken by machines, with the textile, agriculture and manufacturing industries seen as the most vulnerable. • Here’s what people are saying.

 

Robot Ready: Human+ Skills for the Future of Work — from economicmodeling.com

Key Findings

In Robot-Ready, we examine several striking insights:

1. Human skills—like leadership, communication, and problem solving—are among the most in-demand skills in the labor market.

2. Human skills are applied differently across career fields. To be effective, liberal arts grads must adapt their skills to the job at hand.

3. Liberal art grads should add technical skills. There is considerable demand for workers who complement their human skills with basic technical skills like data analysis and digital fluency.

4. Human+ skills are at work in a variety of fields. Human skills help liberal arts grads thrive in many career areas, including marketing, public relations, technology, and sales.

 

 

 

The top learning trends for 2019: Towards a digital-human workforce — from hrdive.com; a sponsored posting by Shelley Osborne, Head of L&D at Udemy

Excerpt:

New digital technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and automation tools are rapidly changing the way we work, develop products, and interact with our customers. Intelligent automation tools augment what people do at work and will redefine what’s possible.

As organizations navigate this complex digital transformation, learning & development (L&D) leaders are tasked with keeping employees up to speed with the ever-evolving skills ecosystem.

To uncover emerging trends and predict what’s required for 2019, we surveyed 400 L&D leaders to find out what they’re doing to prepare their workforce for this digital transformation.

 

With the rise of automation, the world of work is experiencing the largest job transition since the shift from agriculture to manufacturing jobs during the Industrial Revolution. By 2030, as many as 375 million workers—or roughly 14 percent of the global workforce—may need to switch occupational categories as digitization, automation, and advances in artificial intelligence disrupt the world of work,” according to McKinsey Global Institute.

 

Digital transformation reality check: 10 trends — from enterprisersproject.com by Stephanie Overby
2019 is the year when CIOs scrutinize investments, work even more closely with the CEO, and look to AI to shape strategy. What other trends will prove key?

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

6. Technology convergence expands
Lines have already begun to blur between software development and IT operations thanks to the widespread adoption of DevOps. Meanwhile, IT and operational technology are also coming together in data-centric industries like manufacturing and logistics.

“A third convergence – that many are feeling but not yet articulating will have a profound impact on how CIOs structure and staff their organizations, design their architectures, build their budgets, and govern their operations – is the convergence of applications and infrastructure,” says Edwards. “In the digital age, it is nearly impossible to build a strategy for infrastructure that doesn’t include a substantial number of considerations for applications and vice versa.”

Most IT organizations still have heads of infrastructure and applications managing their own teams, but that may begin to change.

While most IT organizations still have heads of infrastructure and applications managing their own teams, that may begin to change as trends like software-defined infrastructure grow. “In 2019, CIOs will need to begin to grapple with the challenges to their operating models when the lines within the traditional IT tower blur and sometimes fade,” Edwards says.

 

 

The global companies that failed to adapt to change. — from trainingmag.com by Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D.

Excerpt:

Eastman Kodak, a leader for many years, filed for bankruptcy in 2012. Blockbuster Video became defunct in 2013. Similarly, Borders — one of the largest book retailers in the U.S. — went out of business in 2011. Why did these companies, which once had great brands, ultimately fail? It is because they failed to adapt to change. Additionally, they failed to unlearn and relearn.

Former GE CEO Jack Welch once remarked, “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.” Thus, accept change before the change is thrust on you.

Leaders must adopt tools and techniques to adapt to change. Here is a blueprint to embrace change effectively:

  • Keep the vision right and straight, and articulate it effectively.
  • Create organizational culture conducive to bring about change.
  • Communicate clearly about the need to change.
  • Enlighten people about the implications of the status quo.
  • Show them benefits once the change is implemented.
  • Coordinate all stakeholders effectively.
  • Remove the roadblocks by allaying their apprehensions.
  • Show them small gains to ensure that entire change takes place smoothly without any resistance.

 

From DSC:
Though I’m not on board with all of the perspectives in that article, institutions of traditional higher education likely have something to learn from the failures of these companies….while there’s still time to change and to innovate. 

 

 

Robots won’t replace instructors, 2 Penn State educators argue. Instead, they’ll help them be ‘more human.’ — from edsurge.com by Tina Nazerian

Excerpt:

Specifically, it will help them prepare for and teach their courses through several phases—ideation, design, assessment, facilitation, reflection and research. The two described a few prototypes they’ve built to show what that might look like.

 

Also see:

The future of education: Online, free, and with AI teachers? — from fool.com by Simon Erickson
Duolingo is using artificial intelligence to teach 300 million people a foreign language for free. Will this be the future of education?

Excerpts:

While it might not get a lot of investor attention, education is actually one of America’s largest markets.

The U.S. has 20 million undergraduates enrolled in colleges and universities right now and another 3 million enrolled in graduate programs. Those undergrads paid an average of $17,237 for tuition, room, and board at public institutions in the 2016-17 school year and $44,551 for private institutions. Graduate education varies widely by area of focus, but the average amount paid for tuition alone was $24,812 last year.

Add all of those up, and America’s students are paying more than half a trillion dollars each year for their education! And that doesn’t even include the interest amassed for student loans, the college-branded merchandise, or all the money spent on beer and coffee.

Keeping the costs down
Several companies are trying to find ways to make college more affordable and accessible.

 

But after we launched, we have so many users that nowadays if the system wants to figure out whether it should teach plurals before adjectives or adjectives before plurals, it just runs a test with about 50,000 people. So for the next 50,000 people that sign up, which takes about six hours for 50,000 new users to come to Duolingo, to half of them it teaches plurals before adjectives. To the other half it teaches adjectives before plurals. And then it measures which ones learn better. And so once and for all it can figure out, ah it turns out for this particular language to teach plurals before adjectives for example.

So every week the system is improving. It’s making itself better at teaching by learning from our learners. So it’s doing that just based on huge amounts of data. And this is why it’s become so successful I think at teaching and why we have so many users.

 

 

From DSC:
I see AI helping learners, instructors, teachers, and trainers. I see AI being a tool to help do some of the heavy lifting, but people still like to learn with other people…with actual human beings. That said, a next generation learning platform could be far more responsive than what today’s traditional institutions of higher education are delivering.

 

 

Can a culture of change improve innovation? — from washingtonpost.com by Jim Whitehurst, president and chief executive officer, Red Hat

Excerpts:

Plenty of executives lay awake at night wondering how they can keep up with the waves of digital disruption that continue to shake every industry out there. Everyone wants to know how they can get their organization to innovate better and faster.

But this is more than a technology problem. Businesses can’t simply buy a solution off the shelf. Instead, leaders need to encourage people to think and act differently. And to do that, they need to rethink the way they organize to get work done.

But the pace of digital transformation today has made Industrial Era thinking and planning obsolete when it comes to overcoming the challenges an organization faces.

 

Automation requires processes to change; digital transformation requires people to change.

We’re talking about building an organizational culture that embraces innovative thinking and behaviors. But you can’t change culture overnight, because it’s an output, not an input.

 

1. Planning must be replaced by configuring for constant change…

2. Prescription must be replaced by enablement…

3. Execution must be replaced by engagement…

 

Organizations today need to spend less time charting long-term courses and more time fostering teams configured to respond effectively to constant change.

 

From DSC:
That last quote reminds me of the need for more TrimTab Groups within higher education:

 

 

 

 

 

To higher ed: When the race track is going 180mph, you can’t walk or jog onto the track. [Christian]

From DSC:
When the race track is going 180mph, you can’t walk or jog onto the track.  What do I mean by that? 

Consider this quote from an article that Jeanne Meister wrote out at Forbes entitled, “The Future of Work: Three New HR Roles in the Age of Artificial Intelligence:”*

This emphasis on learning new skills in the age of AI is reinforced by the most recent report on the future of work from McKinsey which suggests that as many as 375 million workers around the world may need to switch occupational categories and learn new skills because approximately 60% of jobs will have least one-third of their work activities able to be automated.

Go scan the job openings and you will likely see many that have to do with technology, and increasingly, with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, deep learning, machine learning, virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, big data, cloud-based services, robotics, automation, bots, algorithm development, blockchain, and more. 

 

From Robert Half’s 2019 Technology Salary Guide 

 

 

How many of us have those kinds of skills? Did we get that training in the community colleges, colleges, and universities that we went to? Highly unlikely — even if you graduated from one of those institutions only 5-10 years ago. And many of those institutions are often moving at the pace of a nice leisurely walk, with some moving at a jog, even fewer are sprinting. But all of them are now being asked to enter a race track that’s moving at 180mph. Higher ed — and society at large — are not used to moving at this pace. 

This is why I think that higher education and its regional accrediting organizations are going to either need to up their game hugely — and go through a paradigm shift in the required thinking/programming/curricula/level of responsiveness — or watch while alternatives to institutions of traditional higher education increasingly attract their learners away from them.

This is also, why I think we’ll see an online-based, next generation learning platform take place. It will be much more nimble — able to offer up-to-the minute, in-demand skills and competencies. 

 

 

The below graphic is from:
Jobs lost, jobs gained: What the future of work will mean for jobs, skills, and wages

 

 

 


 

* Three New HR Roles To Create Compelling Employee Experiences
These new HR roles include:

  1. IBM: Vice President, Data, AI & Offering Strategy, HR
  2. Kraft Heinz Senior Vice President Global HR, Performance and IT
  3. SunTrust Senior Vice President Employee Wellbeing & Benefits

What do these three roles have in common? All have been created in the last three years and acknowledge the growing importance of a company’s commitment to create a compelling employee experience by using data, research, and predictive analytics to better serve the needs of employees. In each case, the employee assuming the new role also brought a new set of skills and capabilities into HR. And importantly, the new roles created in HR address a common vision: create a compelling employee experience that mirrors a company’s customer experience.

 


 

An excerpt from McKinsey Global Institute | Notes from the Frontier | Modeling the Impact of AI on the World Economy 

Workers.
A widening gap may also unfold at the level of individual workers. Demand for jobs could shift away from repetitive tasks toward those that are socially and cognitively driven and others that involve activities that are hard to automate and require more digital skills.12 Job profiles characterized by repetitive tasks and activities that require low digital skills may experience the largest decline as a share of total employment, from some 40 percent to near 30 percent by 2030. The largest gain in share may be in nonrepetitive activities and those that require high digital skills, rising from some 40 percent to more than 50 percent. These shifts in employment would have an impact on wages. We simulate that around 13 percent of the total wage bill could shift to categories requiring nonrepetitive and high digital skills, where incomes could rise, while workers in the repetitive and low digital skills categories may potentially experience stagnation or even a cut in their wages. The share of the total wage bill of the latter group could decline from 33 to 20 percent.13 Direct consequences of this widening gap in employment and wages would be an intensifying war for people, particularly those skilled in developing and utilizing AI tools, and structural excess supply for a still relatively high portion of people lacking the digital and cognitive skills necessary to work with machines.

 


 

 

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