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    Entries in future (9)

    Tuesday
    Mar112014

    Job Titles of the Future #9 - Chocolate Foresight Activator

    I caught this Job Title of the Future from a recent piece on The Atlantic, describing the Hershey Company's quest to find, what the Atlantic called a 'Chocolate Futurist', or what Hershey refers to in their still-posted job ad, a 'Senior Manager, Foresight Activation.'

    I think The Atlantic wins points for the jazzier job title.

    Just what does a 'Chocolate Futurist/Foresight Activator' have to do?

    Straight from the Hershey job listing:

    Supports the activation of existing foresight (trends, forecasts, scenarios) into strategic opportunities (SOs) and platforms with commercial value for Hershey, mining existing foresight content for highest potential business impact opportunities or threats.  Performs ongoing monitoring of the external environment for new insights and trends approaching tipping points.  Partners with external agencies to identify new trends that can inform and accelerate foresight activation.  Collaborates with Corporate Strategy, R&D, Global Knowledge & Insights and Silicon Valley Advance Team as well as other business and functional teams to flesh out opportunity assessment and business case.  Shapes new initiatives in the front of funnel and drives to successful completion through Gates A, B and C.

    What kind of background or education do you need in order to activate foresight and drive to successful completion through Gates A, B, and C, (what the heck does that even mean, btw?)

    Education: MBA in Marketing or Masters in related field required

    Experience: Minimum of 8+ year’s relevant experience.  Multi-disciplinary background (Marketing, Corporate Strategy, R&D, Management Consulting).   User design or consulting experience a plus.  Solid front-end innovation capability including the identification of insights and translation to business growth strategy.

    Experience with a major innovation consultancy (i.e. What If? IDEO, Doblin, Innosight, Prophet, Jump Associates, Eureka Ranch, New & Improved) supporting multiple clients to accomplish the same.

    Progression of successful accomplishments in identification and commercialization of new business opportunities. Experience with a top-tier consumer packaged goods company preferred.  International and technical experience desirable but not required

    So, in order to 'activate foresight' it probably would help if you had a solid, cross-functional background, had a fair bit of customer-facing experience, and new something about product development and management.

    But, at least according to the posting copy, in order to be qualified to be a Chocolate Futurist/Foresight Activator, you don't necessarily have to know anything much about chocolate. In fact the word chocolate doesn't show up anywhere in the listing.

    Which in a way is kind of cool. The future might not be all that chocolat-y, who knows?

    Maybe the foresight activator for a chocolate company should be someone that doesn't view the world through cocoa-tinted lenses.

    Maybe Hershey is actually showing some foresight themselves in looking outside their normal frames of reference to find someone to help them 'form presentations that create a tangible vision of what the future might look like that business partners can grasp.'

    Sounds like a cool gig. And one that earns official SFB designation as a 'Job Title of the Future.'

    Tuesday
    Jan282014

    WEBINAR: Don't Fear the Future - 5 Tech Keys to Raise Your HR Game

    Tomorrow January 29, 2014 at 2:00PM EST I will be giving a Webinar sponsored by the fine folks at Silkroad called:

    Don't Fear the Future: 5 Tech Keys to Raise Your HR and Game in 2014 and Beyond

    This is meant to be a lively and hopefully interesting look at some of the most cutting edge or innovative technology trends, (robotics, wearable technology, etc.), talk about where these technologies are heading, why they matter, and then talk a little about how understanding how these technologies can and will be used in the workplace can help you raise your HR game in 2014 and beyond.

    Here are all the pertinent details, including the registration link for the FREE Webinar:

    While most of us with busy and chaotic jobs in HR are busily trying to get 2013 closed up -- there were some remarkable developments in the consumer, business, and economic arenas that you might have missed. Amazon introduced us to the concept of package delivery via a fleet of drones. Google wants to put a self-driving car in your driveway. And Rethink Robotics wants to supply you with your new office-mate, an eight-foot tall, fully articulated, and happy industrial robot named Baxter. Meanwhile, the workforce is getting older, entire industries are worried about finding the talent they need, and EVERYONE is fighting over the same superstar technical workers.

     

    But you are a progressive HR, recruiting, or talent management pro (that’s why you’re reading this), and you know that in order to help drive your organization boldly into the future you’ve got to stay ahead of the rest of the pack and be the lead dog so to speak. And not only being aware of what is happening in the world outside of the HR office but how these technology and environmental developments will help inform and shape your talent management strategies.

     

    You already get that the key to winning in 2014 (and beyond) is probably not going to be found in creating a better PTO request approval workflow, but you might not yet have the time and the bandwidth to think more deeply and creatively about how to leverage these changes in your organization and for your career.

     

    That’s why Silkroad created their latest webcast – Don't Fear the Future: 5 Tech Keys to Raise Your HR and Game in 2014 and Beyond. Join us for this webcast, and we’ll give you a quick look at what these trends will mean for our work and workplaces, and more importantly, share some creative ideas about how to apply them to your HR and talent practice (and make you look like some kind of clairvoyant in the process). So make plans now to get your 2014 started in the right way - by getting your creative juices flowing and thinking about how your organization can be ready to win the future!

     

    January 29, 2014
    2:00 p.m. (Eastern)
    1:00 p.m. (Central)
    12:00 p.m. (Mountain)
    11:00 a.m. (Pacific)

     

    Date or time doesn't fit your schedule? Go ahead and register anyway. We will be sure you receive an email with a link to the recorded webinar following the event.

     

    You can register here and I hope to see you tomorrow!
    Wednesday
    Jan012014

    REPRISE: The State of the Future

    Note: The blog is taking some well-deserved rest for the next two weeks (that is code for I am pretty much out of decent ideas, and I doubt most folks are spending their holidays reading blogs anyway), and will be re-running some of best, or at least most interesting posts from 2013. Maybe you missed these the first time around or maybe you didn't really miss them, but either way they are presented for your consideration. Thanks to everyone who stopped by in 2013!

    Since it is New Year's Day, and I am purposefully avoiding writing an inane 'predictions' post  (Wow, do you really think mobile will be big in 2014?), I found the closest thing to the same kind of piece in the 2013 archive. The below post took a look at what people who make a living attempting to see the future, i.e. Futurists, talk about when they get together to talk about the Future. The piece originally ran in July 2013.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     

    The State of the Future

    Pretty much every HR/workplace/talent blog or blogger has at one time or another taken a stab at defining or predicting the 'Workplace of the future' or tried to opine on 'The future of work.' Speculating on the future is kind of fun for a blogger, I know I have done a bunch of pieces like that over the years. Those kind of posts are also fun due to the complete lack of accountability towards the accuracy of any of the predictions. I could post that intelligent and full articulated robots like Atlas, (aside - Atlas is super cool, and I have to post about him/her/it separately), will replace all HR/Talent functions in the organization by 2020 and pretty much feel confident even if I am wrong, no one is going to call me out about it seven years from now.

    But there is another category of folks that spend even more time waxing philosophic about the future - actual futurists. People who spend pretty much all their time trying to spot new trends, consider what new technologies may emerge, (and how existing ones will change the world), and often try to help companies and governments with long, and even really long-term planning.  

    And when futurists get together, they talk about the future - duh!. And just like in the HR space when after a big event like SHRM or HR Tech there are articles posted that reflect not just on the event itself, but also on the industry overall. And often these 'state of the industry/discipline' pieces are more interesting than specific or detailed event reports. A really good industry thinker is concerned more with and attempts to make these larger connections and conclusions by piecing together, comparing, and connecting lots of smaller data points.

    So why did I start this post talking about futurists?

    Because over the weekend I read this really interesting piece titled Dispatch From the Futures: Thoughts on WorldFuture2013, about a recent conference for futurists, and the overall state of that discipline - a kind of 'State of the Future' if that makes sense. 

    In the piece, the author breaks down what he/she, sees as some of the challenges facing the folks who get paid to see into the future, and while I encourage you to check out the entire piece, I'm going to drop a couple of the issues raised here, as I think they do resonate with folks in the HR/Talent space.

    From the Futurist:

    Radar or Canvass?  Is foresight and the work of futurists primarily focused on scanning for dangerous futures (radar) or building new ones (canvass)?  Again, this is a false dichotomy, but an important one.  My sense is that governments and larger corporations focus on radar, while innovative companies focus on the canvass.  And this thought experiment leads me to one of the more interesting questions posed at WorldFuture. 

    HR takeaway?

    When faced with something new - like the emergence of social media, or of wearable technology, or of changing demands of a new generation of workers - how much time do you spend thinking and preparing for the worst, or at least thinking about things through a lens of risk mitigation? What percent of your time is spent developing ways to positively leverage these changes?

    From the Futurist:

    New Novelties vs. Megatrends: There is a tension between learning about entirely new future scenarios on one hand and exploring the evolution of already identified megatrends.  Take 3D printing.  Most of my friends at WorldFuture were already well aware of 3D printing and its impacts on the futures.  But, despite the fact that most futurists were all over 3D printing several years ago, this tech is still in its infancy and could revolutionize manufacturing and commerce.  It’s a huge and important trend worthy of study regardless of how long it’s been on your radar.

    HR takeaway?

    It is really easy to want to jump two or three steps ahead of the organization and push for adoption of the very latest and coolest new thing. But are you getting the most benefit out of the 'old' tools and technologies you already possess? Chances are there is a lot of untapped potential in things that seem old, but really are new to you and your teams. You don't always need to be first to adopt something in order to seem cool.

    From the Futurist:

    Resilience:  Although very few sessions covered this topic, many of my discussions were on resilience.  If the industrial era was about efficiency, perhaps the near future will be most about resilience, as people and societies develop hedging strategies as a means of coping with dramatic change.  How might we classify these resilience strategies? 

    HR takeaway?

    Are you assessing candidates for something like resilience? Are you coaching managers and leaders to instill this trait in their teams? Do you even consider yourself and your HR shop to be resilient? If the futurists are right about this one, it seems like you should be thinking just a little about how or not your organization stacks up here.

    Like I mentioned you should take a few minutes and check out the entire piece here and I will let it go at that.

    You might think that the Futurists are kind of the modern-day snake oil hucksters, but one thing is for certain - the future is coming for you and your organization whether you are prepared for it or not.

    Monday
    Oct212013

    SPORTS WEEK #1 - The futures market for your career

    Note to readers: As I have had a really busy Summer and early Fall preparing for the now recently concluded HR Technology Conference, the posting frequency here has been pretty diminished lately. Additionally, I find myself well behind my regular number of 'sports' posts that form the basis of my contribution to the annual 8 Man Rotation E-book on sports and HR. So I have declared this week of October 21 to be 'Sports Week' on the blog. I'm shooting for 5 days of sports-themed posts to make sure I don't get dropped from the 8 Man crew. So if sports takes are not your thing, check back in a week of so, when I will probably have another equally inane theme working.

    Onward...

    Last week a really unusual story dropped about NFL Houston Texans player Arian Foster's plan to essentially 'go public' and have a personal Initial Public Offering. Through a sports management company called Fantex, the plan is for Foster to float shares in himself that would enable investors to have a claim on 20% of his future career earnings.  Fantex is looking to sell as much as $10 million in Foster equity, taking a half million fee for themselves for the trouble. It is also a pretty good deal for Foster, (assuming the $10M in shares gets snatched up). He gets essentially an advance on $10M of future earnings he may or may not even realize. The shelf-life of NFL players, even top stars like Foster, is notoriously short. One bad step or rough tackle to the knees and the newly 'listed' Foster might not earn another dollar in the NFL.

    While the Arian Foster story is kind of a goof, and one that seems to only have even a chance of actually working due to his notoriety and fame, it did get me thinking about the feasibility of similar career earnings investment schemes for 'normal' people.

    Would there be a potential market for shares of your future career earnings for example? Could you convince someone to invests $50 or $100 in you today with the promise of a potential windfall as you climb the corporate ladder or start up the next big App that all the kids will be using next year?

    And if the market for 'you' might not be so hot, how about your kids? The ones that you are going to have to help get through college and are likely to end up back in their middle-school bedrooms with you after they graduate? Could you maybe help them float an IPO that just might raise enough money to put them in a 2007 Camry and a studio apartment downtown so you can finally create that game room in your house you have been dreaming about since 1995?

    The Foster story is basically absurd and it probably won't amount to much, but it does make you think about your own career a little bit I think. 

    If you actually were a publicly tradable security what would your market look like?

    Would there be an intense battle by investors to get in on your IPO action?

    What would your ticker symbol be?

     

    Monday
    Jul292013

    The State of the Future

    Pretty much every HR/workplace/talent blog or blogger has at one time or another taken a stab at defining or predicting the 'Workplace of the future' or tried to opine on 'The future of work.' Speculating on the future is kind of fun for a blogger, I know I have done a bunch of pieces like that over the years. Those kind of posts are also fun due to the complete lack of accountability towards the accuracy of any of the predictions. I could post that intelligent and full articulated robots like Atlas, (aside - Atlas is super cool, and I have to post about him/her/it separately), will replace all HR/Talent functions in the organization by 2020 and pretty much feel confident even if I am wrong, no one is going to call me out about it seven years from now.

    But there is another category of folks that spend even more time waxing philosophic about the future - actual futurists. People who spend pretty much all their time trying to spot new trends, consider what new technologies may emerge, (and how existing ones will change the world), and often try to help companies and governments with long, and even really long-term planning.  

    And when futurists get together, they talk about the future - duh!. And just like in the HR space when after a big event like SHRM or HR Tech there are articles posted that reflect not just on the event itself, but also on the industry overall. And often these 'state of the industry/discipline' pieces are more interesting than specific or detailed event reports. A really good industry thinker is concerned more with and attempts to make these larger connections and conclusions by piecing together, comparing, and connecting lots of smaller data points.

    So why did I start this post talking about futurists?

    Because over the weekend I read this really interesting piece titled Dispatch From the Futures: Thoughts on WorldFuture2013, about a recent conference for futurists, and the overall state of that discipline - a kind of 'State of the Future' if that makes sense. 

    In the piece, the author breaks down what he/she, sees as some of the challenges facing the folks who get paid to see into the future, and while I encourage you to check out the entire piece, I'm going to drop a couple of the issues raised here, as I think they do resonate with folks in the HR/Talent space.

    From the Futurist:

    Radar or Canvass?  Is foresight and the work of futurists primarily focused on scanning for dangerous futures (radar) or building new ones (canvass)?  Again, this is a false dichotomy, but an important one.  My sense is that governments and larger corporations focus on radar, while innovative companies focus on the canvass.  And this thought experiment leads me to one of the more interesting questions posed at WorldFuture. 

    HR takeaway?

    When faced with something new - like the emergence of social media, or of wearable technology, or of changing demands of a new generation of workers - how much time do you spend thinking and preparing for the worst, or at least thinking about things through a lens of risk mitigation? What percent of your time is spent developing ways to positively leverage these changes?

    From the Futurist:

    New Novelties vs. Megatrends: There is a tension between learning about entirely new future scenarios on one hand and exploring the evolution of already identified megatrends.  Take 3D printing.  Most of my friends at WorldFuture were already well aware of 3D printing and its impacts on the futures.  But, despite the fact that most futurists were all over 3D printing several years ago, this tech is still in its infancy and could revolutionize manufacturing and commerce.  It’s a huge and important trend worthy of study regardless of how long it’s been on your radar.

    HR takeaway?

    It is really easy to want to jump two or three steps ahead of the organization and push for adoption of the very latest and coolest new thing. But are you getting the most benefit out of the 'old' tools and technologies you already possess? Chances are there is a lot of untapped potential in things that seem old, but really are new to you and your teams. You don't always need to be first to adopt something in order to seem cool.

    From the Futurist:

    Resilience:  Although very few sessions covered this topic, many of my discussions were on resilience.  If the industrial era was about efficiency, perhaps the near future will be most about resilience, as people and societies develop hedging strategies as a means of coping with dramatic change.  How might we classify these resilience strategies? 

    HR takeaway?

    Are you assessing candidates for something like resilience? Are you coaching managers and leaders to instill this trait in their teams? Do you even consider yourself and your HR shop to be resilient? If the futurists are right about this one, it seems like you should be thinking just a little about how or not your organization stacks up here.

    Like I mentioned you should take a few minutes and check out the entire piece here and I will let it go at that.

    You might think that the Futurists are kind of the modern-day snake oil hucksters, but one thing is for certain - the future is coming for you and your organization whether you are prepared for it or not.