Out of Left Field
From inside of the HR industry, that’s where innovation seems to come from … way out in left field. The major players in the business are better understood as channels for innovation that happened elsewhere. HR vendors are largely companies that are adept at applying external changes to the local market. In our case, local refers to a profession rather than a place.
With the opening of the new Mac App Store, Apple is making a move to take the entire computing market onto the desktop. There are some pretty serious implications for the market and its vendors. This is a hybrid of SaaS and on-machine delivery. Installation is simplified and a part of the purchasing process. Updates, integration and maintenance are all embedded in the App store which is a component of the operating system.
It’s a real time world.
In many areas of the economy, the universe of things that came in big chunks is starting to come in smaller, more customized chunks. It’s not just the new App Store, it’s the products and services in the store and the way of thinking that makes apps small. It spells a radical rearrangement of all of the HR silos, particularly Recruiting and Training.
In the old days, step A always had to precede Step B because you couldn’t collaborate while the work was in process. These days, we’re headed for massively parallel processes operating to deliver higher quality, cheaper, just-in-time results.
Here are a couple of examples.
Knowlagent is a provider of training to call service companies. When the system notices slack in the demand for call operators, it delivers small slices of training. That way, the system stays up and the cost of training drops because slack time is being exploited.
The whole deal is made possible because youtube thinking and time splicing can be combined to eliminate the ‘classroom hour’. The need to assemble everyone all at once to get the same song from the same hymnal is a pre-internet artifact. Today, training modules are only as long as they absolutely have to be. That makes it possible to distribute and arrange them into available wedges of time on an individualized basis.
The Knowlagent tool is really useful in the streamlining of High Volume Recruiting processes. Smart RPOs will start using this sort of technique as a way of balancing workloads across populations of recruiters engaged in customer specific programs.
The other example is Mental Case:
Use it to learn a language, brush up on your human anatomy, or study for the bar exam. Enter your information directly, or import it from online sources like The Flashcard Exchange. Mental Case automatically generates lessons for you, syncs them to your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, and even tells you when to study.
Found on the App Store, Mental Case is a Flash Card generating application. It takes your data (or material found in their Flashcard exchange). It takes content and builds lessons and deadlines. It automates much of the curriculum development process that drives Training Department costs.
The future of the HR leader involves the assembly of full tilt programs from small pieces from a variety of sources. Cost effectiveness and high value delivery requirements will continue to force the practitioner to innovate whether or not the vendors do. They are going to do more with less and the result will be higher quality.
The innovations will seem to come out of left field.