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How the digital default mindset is going to affect organisations in 2022

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With our collective mindset switched to digital learning this year, what does it mean for organisational culture, education and change?

19th Jan 2022
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Let me ask you a question. What would you say the main evolution of learning and development has been in 2021? I’m sure many would answer that as change, whether that’s change in role, change in working, change in business requirements or change in skills.

My answer to this would be change in mindset. And what I mean about this is not just the mindset in a more digital, hybrid or remote way of designing and delivering learning and development, talent or performance, engagement or communication interventions. I mean a total a 180 in digital as the default, and the collaboration needed across people teams to innovate culture through tech.

Web 1.0 and 2.0 gave us more spoon-fed, structured and controlled opportunities to glean information and a manner of interacting on Facebook, Amazon, Instagram and LinkedIn

I’m not going to spend the rest of this article talking about why we should be digital first. If we haven’t learnt this by now, then when will we? Let us focus on why this should be our default and how we can use our learnings in the pandemic (and for many of us, long before) to explain why this is critical to not just people functions, but business and industry as a whole.

Revolutionising human interaction

If like me, you rely on facilitating most of your day-to-day life online, whether that’s shopping, communicating, interacting or working, you would have heard about the next evolution of online. I am of course referring to web 3.0. 

Whereas web 1.0 and 2.0 gave us more spoon-fed, structured and controlled opportunities to glean information and a manner of interacting on Silicon Valley platforms such as Facebook, Amazon, Instagram and LinkedIn, web 3.0 is shaping up to be the phase of the internet which will address decentralisation and transparency, through tech such as the blockchain, bringing items such as cryptocurrency to the mainstream and offering up a whole new challenge around accountability and behaviour. 

In 2021 we were also introduced to the concept of the Metaverse, and although not likely to come to a screen near you for a few years yet, the conversation of in-home technology, engagement and the future of work is on everyone’s lips and starting to shift organisational culture all over the globe.

The near future is closer than we think

If you are collaborating with a workforce who are still getting to grips with, what is now classed as more rudimentary tech, such as SharePoint, Skype (who?!) and MS Teams, you probably need to think about your next step as a leapfrog as opposed to a steppingstone.

What does the future of educators and teachers bring, when we know the internet can provide us with all the knowledge we need?

Of course, I’m certainly not suggesting that you leave anyone behind, but as a people function sometimes, we can be guilty of bespoking solutions to everyone’s need, rather than challenging our teams to be self sufficient and innovating to accelerate adoption of new tech or ways of working. We all know that necessity is the mother of invention and never is that truer than in right now.

A shift in focus for educators and teachers

When collaborating with education and training providers, I also wonder the impact of generational uptake of technology and how hard sometimes the more experienced trainers in teams have to work to keep up with the new ways of working, that their own students and learners so effortlessly bring to the environment. This innovation is set to only accelerate and increase, and although I see investment in resource and skill, I wonder how sustainable this is for organisations, and the educators themselves.

For example, what does the future of educators and teachers bring, when we know the internet can provide us with all the knowledge we need. Therefore, the shift for these professionals, I would suggest, would be in the mindset, in how we see the accountability of these roles. Alongside this, the need to embrace and not just keep up, but leapfrog innovation, change and tech, which can be a scary concept when you first think about it.

However, let’s flip this on its head and consider the life experience of our educators and teachers, which can be shared with students and learners who are commencing their adult lives and will have a lot of mistakes to make. The focus here being not the consumption of knowledge, but the facilitation of experiences which provide self-awareness, personal learning, opportunities and reflection.

Digitisation in the classroom

What we don’t mean by all this is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Many people functions, educations and teams will still be looking for that in-person connection which many argue is difficult to achieve by purely remote working or relying only on virtual technology. 

There are huge opportunities to bring new tech into in-person learning, which are more engaging, fun, effective and efficient than the old chalk and talk, paperwork books, flip charts and alike. Swapping out old ways of working for new tech-based learning tools can be the first step, although, I would challenge you to think about how to leapfrog learning tech which has been around for years and has the same outdated feel.

It’s safe to say that education and learning have never faced the challenges they do today

According to the World Economic Forum Future of Jobs 2020 Report, 65% of school children aged between 5-11 will have a job which doesn’t even exist yet, so what does this mean to your upskill strategy and what do you need to do now to build the business case for the tools to make it innovative, relevant and personalised?

Bringing it all together in 2022

It’s safe to say that education and learning have never faced the challenges they do today. We know, the appetite for agility, leadership and communications in our organisations has rapidly grown and people functions must be at the forefront of the thinking.

So with the learning from the pandemic, the next revolution of tech, the need for change and our shifting mindset, we have the potential to lead innovation and have meaningful purpose to our organisations, communities, eco systems and wellbeing. But this will rely of our mindset and ability to operate with digital as our default from 2022 and beyond.

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