ATD Blog

Human Capital Must Prepare for the Hyperconnected World of Work

Thursday, April 2, 2015

“The only sustainable competitive advantage is an organization's ability to learn faster than the competition.”
—Peter Senge

Technology is continuing to increase its capability and speed of change. It also is creating greater connectivity that makes globalization that much more relevant. Consider a few facts: 

  • It took the radio 38 years to reach 50 million users, the TV 13 years, the Internet 4 years.  

  • For every minute, 13 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube; it would take over 400 years to view every YouTube video.

  • There are more than 13 million articles on Wikipedia in more then 200 languages.

  • Every second, there are approximately six million Facebook views, two million Google searches, one million YouTube videos viewed, 100 new LinkedIn profiles created, and 47,000 app downloads.

  • Analysts predict there will be $38 billion in annual revenue generated by 2015 in Smartphone and Tablet apps. In 2010 there were over $1.6 billion worth of mobile device purchases. It is estimated that tablets will overtake desktop sales by 2015. Today more people in the U.S. browse the Web from their IPad then from their desktop. 

  • There are businesses that simply did not exist five or 10 years ago. For example, a library without physical books opened in Texas—a $2.4 million project supported and led by County Judge Nelson Wolff called Biblotech that uses only technology and no paper books.

  • There are terms that did not exist five to 10 years ago, such as cybersecurity.  

This is just a sample of the exponential growth and impact of evolving technology—and the Internet, in particular. This dramatically changing pace of technology has raised the bar globally with regards to competition and given rise to the Knowledge Economy, the digital workplace, and a culture of connectivity. 
All of this reminds me of something Thomas Friedman mentioned during the 2012 presidential election. Freidman said that when he wrote The World is Flat, “Facebook didn’t exist (or at least for most Americans), Twitter was a sound, the Cloud was in the sky, 4G was a parking space, LinkedIn was a prison, applications were what you sent to college, and for most people Skype was a typo.”  Friedman explains that this has taken the world from connected to hyperconnected

To be sure, these advances have changed the paradigm of how work. Increased virtual workforce and telecommuting opportunities have altered how we define work teams. Technology also has challenged how we educate and collaborate, with more options for social and mobile learning. Likewise, it has changed how we collaborate. 


Bottom line: The 21st century organization will need to be smart, agile, and proactively ahead of its competitors in integrating mobile, social, cloud, and analytic technologies in order to reinvent itself through people, process, and technologies. The question for those working in talent development: How can we help our organizations succeed in this new world.

To discuss more human capital trends and challenges, join me at ATD 2015 International Conference & Exposition for my session W304 - The Perfect Storm: Human Capital Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century.



About the Author

Edward Mouriño-Ruiz, PhD,  is a U.S. Air Force veteran and a seasoned multi-industry human resources development (HRD) professional. He has more than 30 years of experience in a variety of organizations and industries, including the U.S. Air Force, utilities, aerospace and defense, and medical. He has served as an Association of Talent Development (ATD) chapter president as well as a member of the National Advisor to Chapters. He has been a guest speaker at numerous conferences and events, including the Futurist Conference, IT Symposium, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Corporation (HENAAC), and the Corporate University Exchange (CUX) among others. He also serves in the capacity of adjunct faculty at the graduate level at institutions, such as Rollins College and Webster University. He has written numerous articles on a variety of subjects in a variety of publications and recently published The Perfect Human Capital Storm: Challenges and Opportunities in the 21 st Century .  

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