Archive for the ‘Futurist’ Category

Education and Training in Business

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

 

Education and Training in Business

The Futurist is a magazine that covers trends, forecasts and ideas about the future and is published by the World Future Society, a non-profit educational and scientific organization chartered in Washington, D.C.  Their website is www.wfs.org.

The Futurist May-June 2009 featured an article titled, Trends Shaping Tomorrow’s World/Forecasts and Implications for Business, written by Marvin J. Cetron and Owen Davies.  During the next few weeks we will be presenting segments of their article as they relate to businesses and business owners.

Education and training are expanding throughout society.

 

  • Of roughly 240 high-growth job categories identified by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 86 require a college degree, while 70 more require at least some college education.  All the rest call for work experience in a relate field; on-the-job training, often for long periods; or a postsecondary vocational degree.
  • Knowledge turnover in the professions is a growing challenge that will require continuous retraining and lifelong learning.  The half-life of an engineer’s knowledge today is only five years; in 10 years, 90% of what an engineer knows will be available on the computer.  In electronics, fully half of what a student learns as a freshman is obsolete by his senior year.
  • Rapid changes in the job market wand work-related technologies will require increased training for almost every worker.
  • A substantial portion of the labor force will be in job retraining programs at any moment.   Much of this will be carried out by current employers, who have come to view employee training as a good investment.
  • In the United States, education is moving rapidly to the Interne, as small, rural grammar and high schools supplement their curricula with material from larger institutions, while universities increasingly market their programs to distant students.
  • In order to give those who cannot attend their classes a chance to educate themselves, the Massachusetts Institute of technology has put its entire curriculum on the Internet, including class notes, many texts, and sometimes videos of classroom lectures.  Other institutions are following suit.

 

Implications

 

                In knowledge-based economies, a region’s growth prospects depend on its ability to generate and innovation, giving cities and advantage over rural and suburban areas. 

            Skills are the most important factor in economic success today.  Unfortunately, the people who need them most, the poor and unemployed, cannot afford schooling and therefore are least able to obtain them.  Helping people overcome this disadvantage is an important task for companies as well as communities.

            Even small businesses must learn to see employee training as an investment, rather than an expense.  Motorola estimates that it reaps $30 in profits for each dollar it spends on training.

            Both business owners and employees must get used to the idea of lifelong learning.

            As the digital divide is erased and minority and low-income households buy computers and log onto the Internet, groups now disadvantaged will be increasingly able to educate and train themselves for high-tech careers.

 

 

The next Futurist article:  The Services Sector

Advanced Communications Technologies

Friday, June 4th, 2010

 

The Futurist is a magazine that covers trends, forecasts and ideas about the future and is published by the World Future Society, a non-profit educational and scientific organization chartered in Washington, D.C.  Their website is www.wfs.org.

The Futurist May-June 2009 featured an article titled, Trends Shaping Tomorrow’s World/Forecasts and Implications for Business, written by Marvin J. Cetron and Owen Davies.  During the next few weeks we will be presenting segments of their article as they relate to businesses and business owners.

Advanced communications technologies are changing the way we live and work.

  • Web 2.0 services are building communities nearly as complex and involving as those existing wholly in the real world
  • MySpace and Facebook have a total of more than 180 million members who form communities of friends, most of whom have never met except on the Internet.
  • However, the millennial generation has already abandoned e-mail for most purposes other than communicating with “clueless” parents and grandparents.  Most have adopted instant messaging and social network Web sites to communicate with their peers.
  • Telecommuting is growing rapidly, thanks largely to ever-advancing communication technologies.  About 80% of companies worldwide now have employees who work at home, up from 54% in 2003.  The number of telecommuters in the United States reached an estimated 20 million in 2006.
  • At&T says that 90% of its employees do some work away from the office, while 41% work at home one or two days per week.  This saves the company a reported $180 million a year.

Implications

E-mail promised to speed business.  Instead, it absorbs more time than busy executives can afford to lose.  Expect the nascent reaction against e-mail to grow as many people eliminate mailing lists, demand precise e-communications rather than open-ended conversation, and schedule only brief periods for dealing with mail.

Instant messaging is likely to be even more destructive of time for the under-30 set.   However, e-mail is a major contributor to globalization and outsourcing, because it  eliminates many of the obstacles of doing business across long distances and many time  zones.

Unfortunately, e-mail and other modern communications techniques also have  made possible a variety of crimes, from online fraud to some forms of identity theft.

The next Futurist article: Specialization