It’s widely accepted that we’re living in a knowledge age, where there is an onus on organizations, and therefore all of us, to learn relentlessly.
Yet, that is often easier said than done in an age where calls upon our time are increasing. It’s lead to a perferct storm of there being both too much to learn and not enough time to do so.
With the pace of change increasingly rapid, the learning treadmill can rapidly overwhelm even the most diligent and conscientious of us.
As someone that tries to stay on top of things in my own line of work, it really is a full time job, and that’s despite having relatively well honed skills in finding and filtering the right knowledge.
Solving the skills gap
It’s no surprise that a number of professions are complaining about a skills gap. A recent report, led by Erik Brynjolfsson, highlighted the crucial role lifelong learning will play in maintaining our competitiveness in the job market.
Whilst it’s a compelling message, it’s often easier said than done. In the race against the machines, the pace of technological change is outpacing our ability to learn enough to keep up.
A recent article in the Harvard Business Review suggested that managers should consider three questions for its employees:
- How much learning is realistic for employees in a particular role?
- What are the priorities of learning? Of course, this assumes that managers know what their employees need in terms of knowledge.
- How can learning be made more practical and efficient?
The research gap
The gap between research being released and that insight finding its way into mainstream practice is believed to be somewhere in the region of a decade.
In a fast moving environment that’s clearly way too long, and it helps to underpin the two speed economy highlighted by William Gibson’s quote that the future already exists but that it’s unevenly distributed.
Being able to curate, make sense of and spread that knowledge is therefore crucially important to the intellectual capacity of both your employees and your organization.
This is a fundamental part of the horizon scanning service that I offer, as my job is to curate the latest research and case studies in your field; make sense of them by connecting them with previous work and boiling them down to their very essence; and then helping you to spread that knowledge throughout the enterprise.
It seems inevitable that the fire hose of information is only going to get stronger and more powerful in the coming years, so the pressure to stay on top of best practice is only going to get more intense.
How are your employees equipped to cope with this? How are you as an organization equipped to cope with this?