Why we need to learn in the digital age
Cause : the world is interconnected; information, ideas go at light speed from one point to another and multiply hence foster innovations which, in turn, increase competition and accelerate change And they, then, have multiple consequences which drive us to learn.
Consequence 1. Knowledge is quickly obsolete.
Not every knowledge but any knowledge that has some IT in it. A student in IT (engineer or developper) will have to update his technical knowledge 6 months after getting out of school. This situation helps you to understand the panic millennials feel when they don’t “update” themselves regularly. They know they need to learn. I know a company that lost talents because developers thought they were losing their edge staying in their job. So they quitted.
Consequence 2. Certainties which used to milestone professional life are gone.
Name them : predictable markets, slow innovation giving you time to adapt quietly, organisations with silos of specialists or with one strategist in chief and staff that didn’t ask questions. Instead, you will find disrupted businesses and unpredictable markets evolutions, radical innovations, new competitors and millenials asking “why?” As a result, you venture into unknown territories, with new rules to be created. Complexity is here to stay. And so is necessarily adaptation. People have to learn new things (or updated things) all the time. Harold Jarche talks about “life in perpetual beta”.
Consequence 3.Technology brings diversity which brings necessity to adapt.
Technology brings potential – and now real- diversity in organisations. It is technically easy to share, chat with people from others cultures. Many of us are part or lead a multicultural and virtual team. Working together is a daily challenge : you need to learn subtle cultural differences and/or different logics if you want to be efficient.
Consequence 4. Innovation needs more brains collaborating together, to happen.
Multi-disciplines teams add another layer of diversity. Working with others is sometimes difficult. Working with different jobs in a same project is harder. Each of us tends to see the problem to be solved through its own lenses. But companies need these teams to innovate. So people have to listen to others, understand the logic behind the words. They need to adapt aka learn…
Consequence 5. Agile is coming.
Agile is coming with “software eating the world” (1). It will soon pervade all management techniques (just see how one annual performance review is replaced by multiple feedbacks sessions in some companies) The foundational principle of the method are: trust people, make them talk and learn together.
Consequence 6. Automation is coming too…
Your job or parts of it, will be automated within years : it will be transformed and you have to re-question your place in the client chain of value. Answering this question needs more learning : how the machines work and how to add more value .
Learning opportunities are larger than ever because learning necessities are more urgent that ever.