SOGETI UK BLOG

Source: Corporate Learning (Emily, 2012)

“Have a vision of life that inspires you, and then try every day to grow closer to the fulfilment of that vision.” This beautiful quote by Deepak Chopra got me thinking about future goals, the learning process and it’s link to the corporate world.

How many of us have been asked during our childhood “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I always had a standard answer. “I want to be an engineer like my dad”.

Will I respond the same way today? What are my options?  Let’s see:  I could say I am all grown up and end it there or I could think of my dreams and express them out loud. But am I not old enough to already know everything? In the course of my IT journey, I have slowly begun to realise that my current knowledge is just a small leaf on a tree, in a dense forest.

If we discuss this topic with the present day companies, what would be the response?  We have start-ups, established successful companies and erstwhile champions. In this blog, I have tried to highlight some of the findings (based on articles and studies), of the current state of learning in the corporate world.

The first term that caught my attention was Corporate Learning. According to Greeno (2006), this learning design is intentional, strategic, inspirational and measurable. It emphasises the importance of global, company-wide, adaptive learning rather than restricting it within a department in the organisation.

According to Brandon Hall Group Research Team (2014), the learning department is becoming a part of the corporate strategy and is maturing steadily.  Expenditure on LMS (learning technology) grew by 21% in 2014 (Bersin, 2016). But due to the challenges faced, only 28% of the companies interviewed could revisit their learning strategy at least twice in five years. Some of the challenges include Time to Develop, Stakeholder conflicts, business alignment and ability to deliver globally. These challenges, on the positive side, enhance the importance of bringing learning in synch with the business needs and strategy.

As stated in a Forbes article (Bersin, 2013), companies that were interviewed for their innovative approach, emphasised the position of learning and developing capability in their journey to achieve their innovative goals. The research also mentioned that skills and capability development have become top priority for HR, and business leaders. It also explains the Maturity model for Corporate Learning.

Source: Maturity Model for Corporate Learning (Bersin, 2013) 

Some of the most popular learning technologies include MOOC, virtual classes, on-demand learning and collaborative learning using webinars and online meet-ups.  A previous SogetiLabs blog talked about how AI and deep learning could play an important role in the field of education. Adaptive learning has become the key BUZZ word in comparison to theoretical learning and formal trainings. The roles of mentors and coaches have never been so important than at the present. The focus on leadership training has increased. Companies like to invest in employees for long term engagement, thus focusing on not just the core competencies, but also on soft skills and team-building areas. Many companies have invested in university learning by collaborating with educational institutions to produce state of the art technologies.

A study by Bersin (2016) shows how millennials look at work. They look for experience in their work rather than just a career. They look for creativity with a chance to express their opinions in their companies, with regular feedback on their performance rather than just a mid-year or annual review.

So, in relation to corporate learning and growth, these are some of the questions we need to ask ourselves:

  • Do we as consultants, technologists and leaders have an inspiring vision for ourselves and our companies?
  • Is our organisation a learning organisation? Where are we on the maturity level?
  • Have we aligned our learning with the global business strategy and needs?

References:

  • Bersin, J.(2016, April 4). The Future of Corporate Learning – Ten Dsiruptive Trends. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/jbersin/the-future-of-corporate-learning-2016
  • Bersin, J. (2013, March 20). How Corporate Learning Drives Competitive Advantage. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com
  • Brandon Hall Group Research Team. (2014, April 23). Executive Summary: State of L&D 2014. Retrieved from https://membership.brandonhall.com/posts/798456-executive-summary-state-of-l-d-2014
  • Emily. (2012, May 21). Corporate Learning and Development and the Global War for Talent. Retrieved from http://flexworkglobal.com
  • Greeno, N.J. (2006) Corporate Learning Strategies. American Society for Training and Development
  • Sogeti Labs (2016, March). The Future of Artificial Intelligence in Education. Retrieved from http://labs.sogeti.com
Related Posts:

 

Jumy Mathew AUTHOR:
Jumy Mathew has been part of the Sogeti Group since 2007. In his current role, as a Java Senior developer, he is responsible for the design and implementation of the EU institutions' HR application (SYSPER2). He currently works for the DIGIT unit of EU commission. He is also involved in mentoring and coaching resources involved in his project.

Posted in: Digital strategy, Human Behaviour, Innovation, IT strategy, Quality Assurance, Requirements, Research, Software Development, Testing and innovation, Training, Uncategorized, Webinars      
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Innovation is growing at a rapid pace, with some of the innovations, disrupting the market completely. New entrants are replacing incumbents from their position of leadership. In an analysis done by Thomson Reuters in 2014, it has been found that innovative companies have outperformed Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 companies, for four consecutive years. As per their analysis, the top 100 global innovative companies generated annual revenue of around US $4 trillion in 2014. While the S&P 500 companies showed an increase of about 4 per cent in R&D investments, the investments of innovative companies increased by around 17 per cent.

 

A lot of studies have been conducted focusing on the determinants of innovation. Of late, the topic onCorporate Culture has been gaining a lot of attention. For this reason, I decided to explore more about its relation with innovation, as a thesis topic, for my Masters’ program. Some of the questions that I tried answering through my six-month study are:

  • What are the cultural traits of the present fast innovating and slow innovating companies?
  • Are there similarities and dissimilarities in the cultures of companies that innovate constantly?
  • What cultural attributes or traits can impact innovation?
  • Can change in leadership cause change in culture?

The research methodology was based on the Case Study methodology and was focused on four companies that have been very involved in the Technology sector: Apple Inc., Google Inc., Nokia Corporation and Microsoft Corporation. The analysis was performed against the backdrop of the Competing Framework for Culture (Quinn, & Rohrbaugh, 1983), for the period from 2000 until 2014. A cross analysis of these companies was done to understand the common and dissimilar cultural traits.

Seen in the figure below, is the segmentation of the mentioned companies, as per their flexibility (control) levels and focus (internal versus external).

Figure 1. Cross Analysis Based on Competing Framework

Some of the key pointers that distinguished fast innovators from their slower counter parts, among the four companies, are:

  1. Risk-taking affinity:
    Fast innovators are risk-friendly. These companies allow their employees to work on ideas, which, if accepted, could become marketable products. They are tolerant to failure. On the other hand, less or slow innovators possess a culture that is risk-averse.
  2. Leadership:The fast innovators have had visionary leaders, throughout. This has helped the companies to look beyond the present and focus on unexplored areas, thereby building entrepreneurial culture within the companies. On the other hand, in case of the slow innovators, it can be observed that, though initially the companies possessed entrepreneurial cultures, with the change of CEO’s, the goals and strategies became short-sighted. The CEO’s focused on financial figures and created a strategy that launched products that would help to reach the financial goals of the company, as quickly as possible.
  3. Bureaucracy and role of middle management:
    There is a clear problem of bureaucracy in the companies like Nokia and Microsoft. The middle management created silos, thereby creating communication gaps within the organisations. On the other hand, in Apple and Google, it can be seen that there was direct communication between the executive management and the teams. There was transparency within the organisations, thus making information readily available.
  4. Focus on Radical versus Incremental Innovations:
    Fast innovators based their focus on radical innovations. These innovations helped the companies to displace the incumbents in the market and remain as leaders for a long time. The slow innovators, though being innovative, focused mainly on incremental innovations that created products that were not differentiates.
  5. Time to market and investment in R&D:
    Among the fast and slow innovators, a common aspect that can be observed is their investment in R&D. But the differentiating factor is the conversion rate of innovations into marketable products at the right time. It was observed that, in the case of Nokia and Microsoft, though they were innovating to a certain extent, these companies remained behind their competitors. This was mainly due to their slowness in converting innovative ideas into commercial products.
  6. Employee trust and empowerment:
    The fast innovators invested well in hiring excellent resources and provided an environment of transparency. The employees were part of the decision-making and ideation processes, which made them, feel committed to the companies. On the other hand, there was internal politics and job insecurity in the slow innovating companies. This inhibited the ideation processes, as employees worked to gain visibility and keep their jobs.

References:

  1. Pettigrew, A. M. (1990). Longitudinal field research on change: Theory and practice. Organization science, 1(3), 267-292.
  2. Quinn, R. E., & Rohrbaugh, J. (1983). A Spatial Model Of Effectiveness Criteria: Towards A Competing Values Approach To Organizational Analysis. Management Science, 29(3), 363-377.
  3. Thomson Reuters Names the 2014 Top 100 Global Innovators. (2014 November 6). Retrieved from http://thomsonreuters.com/press-releases/112014/2014-top-100-innovators

 

Jumy Mathew AUTHOR:
Jumy Mathew has been part of the Sogeti Group since 2007. In his current role, as a Java Senior developer, he is responsible for the design and implementation of the EU institutions' HR application (SYSPER2). He currently works for the DIGIT unit of EU commission. He is also involved in mentoring and coaching resources involved in his project.

Posted in: communication, Data structure, Digital strategy, High Tech, Human Interaction Testing, Innovation, Internet of Things, IT strategy, Microsoft, Quality Assurance, Research, Social Aspects, Transformation, Transitioning      
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iRobotDuring our childhood days we all dreamt about how life would be in the future, truly inspired by the wonderful movies and animated cartoons such as The Jetsons, Terminator, and the like. How many of us imagined having robots as our best friends? Or becoming heroes of the Earth? Or defending the human race from the humanoid attacks? Did we even imagine that we would actually witness some of the fiction characters in reality though?

Meet Jibo, the first family robot.

With more than $2m raised through crowd funding, this is certainly not far from being a reality; Jibo is a family robot and is designed to perform a few essential tasks specifically aimed at busy families.

As per the creator Cynthia Breazeal, Jibo is an alternative to smart phones and tablets with apps like Siri. It orients toward people, recognises voices, and provides personalised interaction. Some of its features include telling children stories or taking messages for specific family members.

Romeo

Another type of robot is being made for medical and research purposes. Romeo is a humanoid created to help with assistance for the elderly and those who have lost autonomy.  It can open doors, climb stairs, and even grab objects on a table in order to be of help.

Yet another type of robot is the industrial robot, Tesla, which has been a pioneer in innovative manufacturing techniques. The Tesla factory uses robots of various sizes to put together a car in record time. With the combination of humans and robots, the Tesla factory is a model to be studied and understood.

Looking at the ever-increasing number of robots like Jibo and Romeo, it is the right time to look into creating standards and protocols to ensure that everything is under control. With the mélange of Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics and EQ, the new age robots have slowly moved into our houses and workplace, performing the duties that we used to do on our own. Seminars and TED Talks show how the world can progress with these new robots and humanoids. Many of us would love to have a Wall-e or Rosie kind of robot at home. But would you be able to handle a robot which has gone out of control or a humanoid gone bad?

The International Organisation for Standardisation has brought in a few standards for different categories of robots: industrial robots, social robots, etc. For example, ISO 13482:2014 focuses on the safety requirements for personal care robots in non-medical applications. The hazards associated with robots have been identified and security measures are provided.

Ethical aspects of using robots in our lives are also gaining significant importance. Many questions have already been raised by various groups such as the Danish Council of Ethics, some of which are:

  • Will robots change the way we view human interactions?
  • In the medical field, is the use of robots a step forward or backward?
  • As robots do not actually have emotions, will the use of these in helping patients with dementia be a positive step towards their recovery or is this plain deception?

In a previous Sogeti labs blog post, Daniël Maslyn mentioned the importance of testing and expanding our robotics domain knowledge to ensure that these robots do not go astray. After all, humans created robots and we are error prone.

Though still in its initial and exciting phase, the field of robots and robotics has already acquired a lot of fans on one side and strong critics on the other. We, as technology lovers, must not get too caught up with the merits of robotics alone.  In the mad rush for personal glory, it is also essential to treat this field with enough criticality so that it remains sustainable and a viable solution to our problems.

References:

  1. http://www.myjibo.com/
  2. http://www.iso.org/
  3. http://www.fastcoexist.com/1682635/watch-robots-put-together-a-tesla
  4. http://www.aldebaran.com/en/robotics-company/projects
  5. Image: http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/home-robots/cynthia-breazeal-unveils-jibo-a-social-robot-for-the-home
  6. Image: http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/humanoids/france-developing-advanced-humanoid-robot-romeo

To read the original post and add comments, please visit the SogetiLabs blog: I ROBOT… AM BACK!

Related Posts:

  1. The H+ shift of Google (Part 3/4: Robotics)
  2. WE ARE THE ROBOTS: TEST US (IF YOU CAN)
  3. Finally, yesterday’s future is here!
  4. 20 jobs of the future

 

Jumy Mathew AUTHOR:
Jumy Mathew has been part of the Sogeti Group since 2007. In his current role, as a Java Senior developer, he is responsible for the design and implementation of the EU institutions' HR application (SYSPER2). He currently works for the DIGIT unit of EU commission. He is also involved in mentoring and coaching resources involved in his project.

Posted in: Automation Testing, Business Intelligence, Developers, Human Interaction Testing, Innovation, Open Innovation, Opinion, Technology Outlook, Transformation      
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social innovation

In our ever busy and stressful lives, the role of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Social service is slowly gaining importance. And so, while we are at innovating and creating smart devices, one is forced to ask if there are substantial investments done in innovations in CSR and Social Service aka Social Innovations. Do our companies have what it takes to be Social Innovators?

In the field of Social Innovation, we can think of various subjects:

  • Innovations in Social Service and working of Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs)
  • Green Innovation
  • Innovation and Sustainability
  • Innovation in Education

An excellent example for Social Innovation is Nike. Along with its innovations in footwear, Nike has made great efforts in investing in sustainable innovations. The Flyknit project uses technology to weave the yarn of each shoe in the most optimal manner, to get maximum performance with minimum wastage. Another one of their innovations includes recycling of bottles to make shoes. Plastic bottles are melted to form strands of polyester, which are then woven into fabric for the shoes.

An innovative initiative that showed Nike’s passion towards creating a sustainable environment is the launch of its app ‘Making’. This app helps companies measure the environmental impact of using different materials. It encourages designers to choose the right green materials while creating their products.

The Nike leadership team understood that in order to have sustainability and innovation embedded in its system, it would not just be about altering the company’s vision and mission, but it would also depend on “having the systems, structures, people, responsibilities and accountabilities in place to ensure our commitments are reflected in our day-to-day business activities”. (Nike CR Report)

Nike has taken the responsibility of not just being a sustainably innovative company, but also a driver of sustainable innovation amongst its partners. It has invested in doing good research to find out standards and protocols that would help use materials and processes that create a sustainable ecosystem.

Considering the example of Nike, what could, therefore, be the most essential factors needed for a company to be a successful Social Innovator?

1. We must be able to find a burning issue and make enough efforts to convert this into something of business value. There has to be concrete proof that the outcome will have benefits (tangible or intangible). Finding a business value based on intangibles is not an easy task. But it is mandatory.

2. We need to know our users. The environment and the people affected directly or indirectly by the products and services of the corporate world are the primary users.

3. We need sponsors and champions for this, in the same manner as we have for Internet of Things, Smart Things and the like. We also need a team of dedicated resources who can help in this initiative.

4. Transform the organisation to be broader in its approach to production and manufacturing. This transformation can be in its culture or in its processes. Only by embedding the innovative approach into the heart of the company’s working, can a company really innovate.

5. We should make full use of technology. But is it worth investing in IT for Social Innovation? We need tools to identify and create the products, processes and services, in the same way as we have done for the more commercial areas of our lives. We need the right model and design to execute this Innovation initiative. There are many programs and applications that can be used for this task. There also has to be lessons learnt repository, to broaden our domain knowledge.

6. Marketing Research is crucial in identifying the pain areas and getting detailed reports to study the issues.

The question we have to ask ourselves regarding innovation is, will this make our lives better and prosperous rather than just making our lives luxurious.

References

1.http://www.fastcompany.com/most-innovative-companies/2014/nike
2.http://nikeinc.com/pages/responsibility
3.http://barrowfotu.com/blog/2012/12/what-is-social-innovation

Jumy Mathew AUTHOR:
Jumy Mathew has been part of the Sogeti Group since 2007. In his current role, as a Java Senior developer, he is responsible for the design and implementation of the EU institutions' HR application (SYSPER2). He currently works for the DIGIT unit of EU commission. He is also involved in mentoring and coaching resources involved in his project.

Posted in: Collaboration, Environmental impact, Green, Innovation, IT strategy, Opinion, Requirements, Smart, Technology Outlook, Transformation      
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