In a VUCA world – Forewarned is Forearmed

We may well be in the midst of a revolution to bust the established theory of “Six degrees of separation” – which states that everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away from any other person in the world, so that a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect two people in a maximum of six steps.

Our world as we know it, is “shrinking rapidly” due to this ever increasing connectedness of human beings. Despite great geographical distances, human networks fuelled by technology have made actual social distances smaller. So let’s understand what’s going on :

1. Intersection of four major trends in technology: social media, explosion of big data, mobile revolution and emergence of wearable computing (Apple Watch, Google Glasses) has redefined concepts of Space and Time

2. Rapidly shifting demographics like gender, age, employment status, mobility, earning capabilities have resulted in rise of individualism and value shift in society, where people are starting to explore the meaning, purpose and identity in their professional and personal life.

3. Economic rebalancing has reached a tipping point in the way that global balance of economic power is shifting from developed to developing countries. As this trend continues it will have increasing impact on where growth opportunities are for companies and professionals and augur well for us to stay “nimble on our feet” and “learn on the run”.

Wikipedia defines Environmental scanning as “the study and interpretation of political, economic, social and technological events and trends which influenced a business and industry or even a total market”. Hence its critical for our personal and professional success, dare I say even survival to be constantly cognizant of our environment given it’s a VUCA world.

SHRM India Annual Conference on 25th and 26th September 2014 at Gurgaon with its theme of CONNECT – INSPIRE – GROW is designed to give us an immersive experience to be able to “Scan the environment”. Join me as we discuss Stimulating Workplaces: Creating a learning Culture at 1:45 PM on 26th September 2014 – Panel Discussion which will explore current and emerging social, economic, political, legal, and regulatory changes which make “environmental scanning” a critically important activity.

Conversations with Harlina Sodhi, SVP at Reliance Industries, a change catalyst and Learning visionary

RD> You and I are more or less in the same age group (Well! I am older ha!) — do you think the way we learned and ways we were taught is different from the younger generation that is getting into the workforce? If yes, how different?
HS> It is completely different. The younger generation, in particular when you consider that places like in India and other emerging markets where the median age of an employee is 35 years, learn differently and want to be taught differently. For example, their attention span is short, (140 characters Twitter revolution), they learn on-the-go and they want to pull information when they need it in small chewable chunks. They want technology-enabled learning with streaming media, threaded conversations, blogs, games, simulations and not just a teacher delivering lectures and batch-based learning events.

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