Over the last few weeks, meeting clients and partners across Europe, I have been struck how many times I have been asked, “Do you have anything digital?”
As we are essentially a software company, the automatic response could have been “Yes, everything we do is digital.” However, a more productive reply has often been, “What do you mean by digital?” When people use the word digital, they can mean many different things.
Sometimes the request for something digital reflects a desire to use technology to deliver a less traditional and more interactive and virtual learning experience. This may be driven by a wish to provide a development opportunity that reflects more closely the reality of a workplace that is increasingly virtual, and perhaps by the understandable pressure to reduce costs without sacrificing the quality of the learning. Doing something “digital” in this sense is at the heart of what we offer clients. We provide an experiential and engaging way of learning with others that can be run face-to-face, but is increasingly being delivered virtually, and that is designed in a way to foster collaboration and enable the formation of new and diverse networks. Team members work together on simulations, but may not be physically together, often supported by virtual coaches, facilitators and/or leaders in their own organisation. This learning experience, sometimes part of a blended programme, is being used very successfully by a range of companies, including BNP Paribas, Cap Gemini, Ferrero and Randstad. As the HR Director of one client commented: “This is a great model for how virtual programmes can engage large numbers of talented, busy people over an extended period of time and forge new relationships as strong as any traditional face to face programme.”
Often the request also signifies a search for a learning experience that will bring to life the impact of new waves of technological development on the strategic and operational environment in which companies find themselves. We have created several bespoke and off the shelf simulations which highlight the impact of disruptive technologies such as intelligent robots, blockchain technology or IoT (Internet of Things). These simulations provide a “digital” context but they are also designed to develop the skills and behaviours that will be increasingly important in the digital age, such as scanning, collaboration, relationship building, resilience and change leadership. We are currently building a new simulation on Leading Continuous Change in the Digital World, set in the context of a traditional industry adapting to the new digital technologies.
Finally, of course, we are always conscious of how technology can change the world we work in. We are constantly exploring how combining neuroscience with artificial intelligence can change the way we learn. Over the next few months we hope to launch a number of new initiatives that will bring further advances to learning and overall human performance.