Tuesday, May 27, 2014

When disruption happens

Some days ago I attended a technology presentation. On Learning and Development. The vendors (like many others) have a grand (working) platform of technology enabled learning. And with the season being one of analytics and data – they offer a bouquet of data and analytics as well – more than what you know you can do with it.

As technology becomes more and more prevalent, traditional trainings are taking a back seat. There are e-learnings, e-assessments, MOOCs and e-everything. Traditional trainers have a reason to run scared. And this is true across the spectrum – any type of training.

But very often, the first state is one of denial. "This wont affect us". But the fact is that it will.

Whenever a technology reduces cost, improves scalability and provides consistency to anything – any industry – the industry will face a shake up.

When mass manufacturing came by, this happened and the hand crafted industry went through a dip.
Automatic watches wiped out the HMTs of the industry.
When cinema happened, theatre faced the same issue. Ironically, video made the same threat to cinema.
When e-learnings happened, training faced the same threat. And now MOOCs threaten universities.
When IRCTC happened, training clerks were thrown out by Indian Railways. (No, you can pause your breath on this one for now)

You can take any example and the answer is the same.

Denial was the first recourse for all these industries. But denial wont help.

Because this will shake up the industry. Like all the earlier disruptors did in their respective areas. The laggards will be wiped out. And then, like with all disruptions, those who reinvent themselves will prosper significantly.  So, the question is, how does training prosper? Ah, I wont say it that easily, will I?  

All I can say that there is a significant set of people and training organizations who really need to do better. Deliver better trainings. With passion. Explore. Push the boundaries. Ensure knowledge. Consistency. Recognize that the learning process is a constant and that as trainers they need to learn as well and stay on top of the game. Dive deep. And not stay in mediocre platitudes. Every single time. With every single customer. Open new markets. Open new customers.

And it is not just vendors who face the threat. And this is true even if you are in a training department in an organization. Your job is not safe anymore – especially if you think you can exist as a pen pusher to execute vendor solutions. Imagine an Amazon like marketplace where all vendors are listed, with ratings from peers and all vendors a click away. Ah, that whoosh was the sound of the pink slip. Yes, the same- exact same thing above is needed for a training team as well – more passion, more understanding, more value.

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