The Future of Learning on Display at mediaX

By Natalia Farber, Content Marketer and Learning Journalist

Natalia Farber

Today’s workforce is social, always connected, technologically savvy and learning faster and in smaller bites. This raises specific challenges for businesses as they strive to keep up-to-date on the latest research and technologies addressing the changing needs of today’s workforce, particularly in the area of human-machine interactions, platform technologies, and networked collaborations.

To address these challenges, Conduent Learning Services took part in mediaX at Stanford University Innovation Leadership Workshop on the Future of Talent to gain insight on the latest research and technologies being developed and the emerging opportunities for creating new resources for talent acquisition, development and retention.

Throughout the three-day event at Stanford, we learned about the newest research and concepts in organizational cultures; talent networks; teams of teams heterarchy (or non-hierarchical organizations that divide or unite groups according to specific needs); empathy as the ultimate leadership characteristic; employee journey mapping and youth perspectives on learning as defined by the millennial generation.

One of the bigger takeaways for me was offered by Dr. Michael Bernstein, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Stanford and a member of the Human-Computer Interaction group. He and his team have designed a crowdsourcing and social computing platform that enables fast on-demand talent recruitment that combine groups of experts called “flash teams” for all types of project initiatives.

mediaX 2017

Dr. Bernstein’s platform is intended to work with talent resourcing sites such as Upwork and Mechanical Turk to co-create streamlined project workflows that deliver a vast array of products and services in the least amount of time. As flash teams self-organize, the platform quickly adapts to the growing or shrinking demands of each project task, quickly assembling larger or smaller groups and providing onboarding as required. Dr. Bernstein ultimately sees his research working to build systems that predict human behavior and respond to anticipated needs. Learn more about Dr. Bernstein’s work in this insightful article: The Future of Work: Working for the Machine.

We also heard from Dr. Larry Leifer, Professor of Mechanical Engineering Design and Founding Director of the Center of Design Research at Stanford. We met up with Dr. Leifer at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford known as d-School. As we toured the facility, Dr Leifer spoke about his affinity for design-thinking as a methodology that combines design, social learning, management and engineering science to develop a set of behaviors utilized by high performance project teams.

He stressed the importance of an interrelated design-team concept that encourages fast and unique learning cycles through conceptual prototyping- an approach that has proven successful in the development of innovative products, systems, and services in Silicon Valley. Some of Dr. Leifer’s past and current projects involve work with top Silicon Valley firms such as SAP, Autodesk, and Tesla that are integrating and successfully applying the latest design research innovations for today’s marketplace. Check out the d-School’s Executive Education Program for more innovation and design thinking concepts.

Probably one of the more tangible takeaways of mediaX this year was the Playbook for Strategic Foresight & Innovation, developed by Tamara Carleton, William Cockayne, and Antti-Jussi Tahvanainen.

The purpose of this practical hands-on guide is to support change leaders in developing new ideas and approaches towards innovation for businesses, products and services. I felt some of the more creative and easy-to-use tools and techniques in the guide were the Crowd Clovers, Voice Stars, and Context Maps methods specifically designed to lead participants through key phases of idea generation, innovative planning and action.

After an insightful and engaging event, there was much to examine in relation to potential interests in learning and development at Conduent. Currently, our next steps are focused on deepening our partnership with mediaX to leverage insights and innovations learned at this recent event and to develop research that solves some of the more pressing issues important to our clients and industry.  Stay tuned. It’s sure to get exciting.

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