Article: This is the time to change the rules of the game!

HR Technology

This is the time to change the rules of the game!

In the welcome note of People Matters TechHR17 conference, Ester Martinez states that changing the game is about taking charge of defining the problem statement, which is the most critical step in the whole process of design thinking a solution

What do you think happens when a child draws a picture of somebody and shares it? Have you ever thought about his level of pride, excitement, joy or his level of satisfaction with his drawing? 

Research reveals that adults lose the ability to feel excited about their work unless they can do it perfectly, that pride of the effort and the excitement is taken away by the fear of being judged, of being rejected or misunderstood. But does this mean that we should not feel joy and excitement in the journey of doing something that is not our cup of tea?

This is something that we all face today, in all aspects of our lives, especially our professional lives.

When we were designing the conference agenda, one of the most common themes that came up in the last few years as a critical piece is this whole area of Exponential Change. The level is so exponential that the mind cannot comprehend it intuitively. Something like this:

When the inventor of the game of chess showed his invention to a King, the emperor was so impressed by the new game that he said to the man that he could name his reward.

Chessboard and Rice

The game inventor said that his wish was simple — one grain of rice for the first square of the chessboard, two grains for the next square, four for the next, eight for the next and so on for all 64 squares, with each square having double the number of grains as the square before. The emperor agreed and was amazed that the man had asked for such a small reward. However, after a week, his treasurer came back and informed him that the reward would add up to an astronomical sum, far greater than all the rice that could conceivably be produced in many centuries!

The king did not realize that he was committing to 1,000 times more rice that exists today in the world and a mountain of rice as big as the Mount Everest. Intuition cannot handle Exponential Growth. 

Science & Technology are growing exponentially. The number of Patents filed double every 19 years & the number of Scientist double every 15 years. Exactly 90% of all scientists that ever lived are currently alive. In the last 200 years, we have invented more than in the last 200,000 years. This is what exponential growth is all about, it adds to each other at such a scale that the mind cannot intuitively wrap its arms around it. 

When it comes to talent, human capital and jobs – something critical is also changing: McKinsey Global Institute predicts that by 2020 there will be 38 million to 40 million fewer workers with tertiary education (college or postgraduate degrees) than employers will need, or 13 percent of the demand for such workers; 45 million too few workers with secondary education in developing economies, or 15 percent of the demand for such workers; 90 million to 95 million more low-skill workers (those without college training in advanced economies or without even secondary education in developing economies) than employers will need, or 11 percent oversupply of such workers. What research calls talent paradox – while employers cannot find talent, employees cannot find jobs. 


What can we do as leaders to prepare for these talent tensions?  Should we play by the rules of the game or should we change the game all together? No action will mean going backwards — so that is not an option. Great examples of breaking the game — A Chinese development company, Broad Group, builds a 57-storey tower in a record 19 days in Changsha, Hunan Province in southern China. With the traditional methods, they would have to build a skyscraper brick by brick, but with the modular method they just need to assemble the blocks; Airbnb with the role given to the host of the house, being able to handle 80 times more bedrooms per employee than the typical hotel group. Or one of my favorites, Hyperloop Transportation who challenged to build the 5th form of transportation realized that they did not know how much time, money or investment it would need to take off, and so they used Crowdstorming to have access to the best talent globally – and now it has over 170 part-time engineers and designers who work for equity, and many work part time for organizations like Boeing and NASA.

Airbnb & Hyperloop

Breaking the game requires talent leaders to become product leaders. Changing the game is about taking charge of defining the problem statement – For Broad Group it was about the speed to build; For AirBnB, it was about giving the power to the Host; For Hyperloop Transportation, it is about accessing the top talent anywhere in the word and aligning them with equity.

But defining the problem/challenge is the most critical step in the whole process of design thinking a solution, diverging, converging, prototyping and finally implementing. 

In my experience, outstanding leaders who design creative solutions have two ingredients sine qua non – Playfulness, and one more that is connected with that … Experiences. Few weeks ago a very senior HR leader addressed People Matters leadership team and shared with us a beautiful quote from Steve Jobs that read – “People in the industry do not have enough experiences, without experiences you don’t have dots to connect and end up going back to problem-solving in a linear way. The more experiences you have the more dots you can connect the more creative solutions you can find – better problem solving for our world.”

People Matters TechHR has been designed with learning, playfulness and experience at the core.  Diversity of people to learn from – large number of speakers from different functions and fields, delegates from across the country and with a growing 20% number of Suite Delegates from other functions rather than just HR; Diversity of formats – formal, informal, mixed, Ideas for the Future; Diversity in ways to experiment – Lab Theater, Ideas for the Future, Treasure Hunt, Entrepreneurs & Mentors. Diversity of experiences - Our vision at People Matters is to be the window to the world of talent and really bring that outside in perspective to talent leaders. As we do this with product in our portfolio – from the monthly magazine, to our events & roundtables, to our digital platform and virtual conferences and of course you will experience that in the next two days here in Gurgaon. 

People Matters TechHR is an Experience

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Topics: HR Technology, C-Suite, #TechHR2017

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