Later on this year at the HR Florida Conference and Expo Trish McFarlane and I will be co-presenting a session titled "Thinking Outside the (In)box - What These ‘Big Trends’ Mean for HR and Recruiting", what will be (hopefully) a fun and challenging look at what some of the big tech, demographic, and economic trends will mean for HR and Talent Management. I have been a big believer in the importance and need for HR and Talent pros to think more expansively about how things like wearable technology, the shrinking (and aging) workforce, and (see yesterday's post), massive and rising levels of student loan debt will impact their organizations and talent programs. So I'm always on the lookout for what's new, what's next, and trying to think about whether the latest piece of high-tech gadgetry might change the way we find, align, collaborate, and coach in the workplace.
Recently, the MIT Technology Review (thanks MIT!), posted it's list of '10 Breakthrough Technologies for 2013', an interesting collection of new and new-ish innovations that they think will move past niche status and enter (or at least approach) the mainstream in 2013. Some of the items on the list - Baxter the Industrial Robot, 3D printing, and smart watches are probably familiar sounding. But some of the others like memory implants or deep learning represent some of the latest in technology innovation. Taken together the 10 technologies will certainly have some impact on work and the workplace this year and beyond. The challenge is, as always, for you as a Talent pro to think about developments like these and try and assess which ones might matter for your organization and your approach to talent.
One way to make sense of these kinds of lists is to try and put the technolgies into buckets or categories - something to help you prioritize and allocate your already limited time and ability to even attempt to process these kinds of innovations. I like to use three buckets (see below), and I'll offer my shot on whether or not the 'breakthrough technologies' on the MIT list should be on your radar in 2013.
I'll save the rationale for these categorizations for now, but you can come hear Trish and I talk about them at HR Florida!
Get on it - These are potentially important right now - you should be not just aware of these trends, but should be actively assessing how they will change either the workplace, the nature of work, or how you will engage talent.
On the come - Probably not going to hit you in 2013, (or maybe even 2014), but if you have your act toghether enough to be able to talk about talent needs in say 2015 and beyond, then this trend will probably come into play. Only talk about these with the C-suite if you have some serious internal credibility.
Discovery Channel - These are fun to talk or think about, but you probably don't need to give them more than 5 seconds of consideration unles your business is directly related to the technology in question. If not, then be content with catching up on them on the Discovery Channel in a few years and re-evaluate then.
That's my take on this latest list, and how to attempt to evaluate whether or not you need to spend time thinking about and planning for any of these new technology innovations as they pop-up. I'd love to get your take on these, or any other potentially disruptive technologies that are going to or are already changing your workplace and your talent game.