Blockchain x Learning = (Chicken and the Egg)2
Its early 2018, a new language of technology has emerged and that language is evolving very rapidly.
Cryptocurrencies, ICO’s, and quantum computing have become common points of conversation. You can buy a 3-D printer on Amazon. Time magazine recently did a full edition dedicated to the implications of Artificial Intelligence.
In just the last 24 months, Blockchain has become a part of the conversation at cafés and bars around the world and during this same time, the technology behind this distributed technology has evolved. In fact, it has evolved from a technological platform into a way of seeing the world and potentially an approach to improving humanity. In the same time period, the general population has been saturated with articles about A.I., and simultaneously people are beginning to understand just how many vast sub-genres there are within this far-too-broad umbrella term. Whether these futures become realities is secondary. The fact is that you may be left behind if you and your company are not fully immersed in this knowledge acquisition.
As a CEO, entrepreneur, and as a motivated, intelligent person somewhere in the middle of your career arc, you are faced with a potentially paralyzing reality in the midst of this moment.
It’s the modern chicken and egg quandary, squared. Normally, the chicken and egg dilemma has two variables to consider simultaneously. It used to be that a complex question was a chicken and egg question. What does a company do first? Does R&D fuel innovation or does innovation fuel further R&D? Or, in the on-demand economy, the classic chicken and egg question is how to simultaneously attract consumers and producers at the same time.
Today, it is 2 variables, squared: what I call the rule of four for individuals and companies. The winners will master the rule of four. Instead of having to do two things simultaneously, which is hard enough, organizations will have to do four things simultaneously and strategically.
In the 4th industrial revolution
how we utilize, evolve, and develop exponential technologies will shape the future of work and the future of our world. With exponential technologies such as blockchain, VR/AR/MR, as the backdrop, companies must do these four things at the same time.
- Determine which 2-3 technologies have the most potential to positively impact their business and industry. There is an effective, science based and data-driven process that must be used to make this decision. Then, pick the one that seems most out of step and incongruous, and use that one for steps 2 and 3.
- Educate their current employees about these technologies. The foundational understanding of these exponential technologies together with a reshaping of culture will unleash a torrent of creativity and previously unforeseen inventions by your team.
- Hire new employees who have interest and knowledge with these new technologies. This will have a 2-pronged effect. First, new perspective and diversity of thought only strengthens outcomes. Second, these new employees will be crucial to the peer-to-peer learning of your current employees.
- Do these three things very quickly. I recommend a 12-18 month cycle of learning, hiring, and experimenting. In fact, you have to do these things faster than makes you comfortable, but again, there are proven processes that can be effectively calibrated to your company’s needs that will infuse a culture of nimbleness and agility that is a prerequisite for success today.
The beauty of where we are at this point of technological, educational, and innovative inflection is that the truly transformative ideas will not come from the top or from those with the PhD’s. Imagine what would happen if Starbucks mastered the rule of four and asked every single employee from the local barista to the c-suite, how do we Blockchain coffee? Imagine if Nike gave its employees a 6-week training on the foundations of quantum computing. Imagine if the local start-up used high quality, online curated content to teach its team of 20 employees about 3-D printing. Imagine if local municipal governments asked every bus driver how autonomous driving and/or robotics could improve their work?
Lastly, let me end this post with a fact that should wake you up. Kids in junior kindergarten will be graduating from high school in the year 2030. They may or may not be interested in spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for university. What I can promise you, however, is that they are going to want to only work for the companies who have embraced the rule of four.