Monday, August 4, 2008

Training For The Future

Heres a thought ... we cant learn about the future by learning from the past. Interesting? Well ... this thought could turn a lot of fields of study upside down. But, its worth a thought, or a blog post, nevertheless ... One never knows whether it might strike a chord somewhere.

I have been thinking about this for quite some time now. Till now, we have had trainings which have focused on case studies, on analyzing the past, and synthesizing what worked in the past. And, the assumption is that this would work for the future. As much as it sounds cliched (and i dont even know who said it ...), but "the future aint what it used to be!". Quite clearly ... I remember the time when we grew up, television was to be seen only in a few households. Of course, we are a good three decades from that point, but the point i am trying to make here is that pace of change, especially with respect to technology, is getting to be so drastic, that its not enough to merely catch up with the trends, but to be truly effective, an organization needs to build the groundwork for predicting trends.

Rather than look at what has worked in the past, we must look at what would look in the future. Simply because the trends that defined the way things worked in the past are, in all probability, not the ones which are going to define the shape of things going forward.

Question ... what implication should it have on trainings? First of all, case studies are important ... please dont get me wrong. But, having said that, its important to remember that they give you only a picture of what worked in the past. We probably need to add components of future-seeing in trainings. There should be sessions about what participants see as the shape of the future, and how they see this as impacting them, both personally, as well as professionally. This might sound a little fanciful, but we need to bring in elements of this into training, especially when it comes to technology, if we want teams in the organization to develop a greater penchant for developing things which are going to be relevant by the time they are launched in the market.

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