Human Transformation is essential in the rapidly evolving Age of Digital Transformation.
It has become imperative for leaders, individual contributors, organizations, and processes to transform and evolve along with the world around us. Moreover, arriving in a time of continuous transformation and navigating according to old paradigms is like trying to find your way through Oz using a map of Kansas. As we become comfortable with the uncertainty of unknown territory, the changes around us go from being challenges to becoming opportunities.
Meanwhile, first the Covid-19 pandemic hit and Generative AI is coming online. Both requiring human transformation in enabling remote work, adjusting to a rapidly changing economy and a paradigm technology shift.
In this age of disruption, we must not only embrace change, but also be a catalyst of it.
Human Transformation (Hx) is the concept of humans continuously learning, adjusting and growing as our world changes. Transformation requires breaking free of established paradigms through seeking disequilibrium and challenges.
Historically, inventions that triggered Human Transformation included fire, electricity, the printing press, guns, steel, and transistors. After the transistor came out, Digital Transformation is leading to changes in our lives at an ever increasing rate.
Machine Learning has accelerated Artificial Intelligence through systems deriving algorithms via pattern recognition. Likewise, Human Learning enables Human Transformation when learning focuses on recognizing and processing patterns (learning how to learn) rather than acquiring specific knowledge.
What does Human Transformation mean for us?
As our world changes at increasing speed, keeping up has become demanding. The first blockchain was conceptualized in 2008. Subsequently, Gartner forecasts its annual business value to exceed $3 trillion by 2030. Likewise, Artificial Intelligence growth is accelerating. Gartner predicts that business value will reach $3.9T in 2022. As a result, there is a need for speed to keep up with paradigm shifts. Continuous Human Transformation has become a necessity.
Furthermore, “The 2019 Hype Cycle highlights the emerging technologies with significant impact on business, society and people over the next five to 10 years,” says Brian Burke, Research Vice President, Gartner. “Technology innovation is the key to competitive differentiation and is transforming many industries.”
In August, 2023, the Gartner Group placed Generative AI on the peak of “Inflated Expectations” of the Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies. They also suggest emergent AI will have a profound impact on business and society reaching transformational benefit within two to five years.
Human Intelligence and Artificial Intelligence – A Symbiotic Relationship
In 1977, the term “Knowledge Engineer” first came into use as a domain expert that would help bring domain knowledge into the realm of AI known as knowledge-based systems. Today, with the rapid evolution of Generative AI, what college students are learning about AI and its application is outdated before they graduate. The direction of information flow has transitioned to being from expert systems to humans wanting to apply that AI within their domain.
To effectively bring AI to bear within a specific domain requires a human expert that is constantly staying current with evolving AI. Such experts can advise and serve as copilots to industry leaders within their domains to help them put AI to use effectively. Human intelligence will need to continuously evolve to keep pace with how to effectively use artificial intelligence. The role of such experts is becoming vital to remaining competitive for industry leaders hoping to effectively leverage the rapidly evolving capabilities of AI.
Such experts can assist others in our human evolution and transformation within a world of rapidly accelerating digital transformation.
Generative AI advances yet more Human Transformation
Generative AI achieved 1 million users in less than a week and just seems to be accelerating.
Previously, consider a short, immersive 9-month training in Blockchain, Machine Learning, or Cloud Computing. Nevertheless, material relevant at the beginning would be outdated by the end. Also, finding instructors that would stay current is also a challenge. Compared to Generative AI, that now seems slow.
|Digital transformation: are you ready for exponential change? Futurist Gerd Leonhard, TFA Studios|
20 years ago, as one of my many transformations, I took a sabbatical to become a K-8 teacher. In the same vein, we were taught that jobs available to students when they graduate from college wouldn’t have existed when they began. As a result, they emphasized helping students learn to learn new concepts above teaching specific subject matter. Additionally, one professor had worked alongside Carol Dweck as she was coming up with the theory of a Growth Mindset. The Growth Mindset is an essential foundation for Human Transformation. Likewise, as leaders, we may need to lean out to create the space for others to step into the transformations necessary for success.
Enabling Human Transformation
Learning to continuously adapt to a rapidly changing world can be challenging without help. As a result, demand is rapidly growing for all forms of Transformers helping us cope in this Age of Rapid Transformation.
- “Watch for an evolution in 2019 and beyond of an informal mentoring culture, where people move within and between explicit mentoring programs.” Mentors Are The Secret Weapons Of Successful Startups
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggests, employment for psychologists overall will grow by 19 percent between 2014 and 2024.
- The International Coaching Federation (ICF) had 33,645 members, an increase of 10,288 – ICF 2018 Annual Report.
- Google’s Project Oxygen discovered the most sought after and valuable skill in a manager was the ability to coach.
- A Gallup study shows stress levels highest among Americans. Additionally, APA’s “Stress in America” annual survey found up to 63% of American’s are stressed about the nation’s future, work, money, political climate, violence and crime.
What kind of help to look for
Transformers are Talent Whisperers that enable talent to keep up with ongoing paradigm shifts. They evoke change in individuals, teams and organizational processes. As a result, the structure and processes of an organization also need to continuously evolve to enable innovation. Coincidentally, the same month this site was published, the Harvard Business Review published this article describing a “Transformer CLO – Chief Learning Officer” as a role more and more organizations are adopting to help leaders and organizations transform.
In contrast to consultants, coaches are trained to avoid leveraging their own industry experience and to not directly offer solutions. Hiring a consultant or advisor to give you and answer is like asking someone to give you a fish rather than having someone teach you to fish. In the spirit of Humble Consulting , coaches and Talent Whisperers facilitate learning to sustainably finding solutions that best fit your circumstances at any time. Hence, you strengthen your change and situational leadership skills rather than forming dependence on consultants. Nonetheless, experience in having gone through similar transformation can help asking the right questions.
If there are 5 Frogs on a log, if 2 decide to leap, how many will be left on the log? The natural tendency would be to answer 3; however, Robert Kegan would argue the more likely outcome is 5. Why? Because deciding to leap and actually leaping are two very different things. Immunity to change is a natural tendency in humans. Hence, change agents help us overcome the inertia of homeostasis. Furthermore, transformers may sometimes need to leverage radical candor to help others let go of the past and reach for the new. We ourselves may need to take on our villains to find the confidence to embrace change.
Transforming as Humans
Ancient beliefs speak of reincarnation as the notion of one spiritual life transcending multiple physical lives. However, things have flipped. Consequently, we now find ourselves transforming through multiple virtual lives within the context of a single physical life. Evolving through the various epochs brought about by paradigm shifts has become essential. It’s easy to get left behind like the dinosaurs given increasing rate of change around us.
As we overcome immunity to change by truly letting go, it also helps to know which aspects of our identity we wish to carry with us so that we don’t become lost on our journey. Continuously transforming while maintaining our core identity also comes with it’s challenges.
“The evidence suggests that we are seeing a mass disruption in the corporate world like Gould’s recurring episodes of mass species extinction. Since 2000, over 50 percent of Fortune 500 companies have been acquired, merged, or declared bankruptcy, with no end in sight.”McKinsey: Why digital transformation is now on the CEO’s shoulders – Tom Siebel
“It’s increasingly clear that we’re entering a highly disruptive extinction event. Many enterprises that fail to transform themselves will disappear. But as in evolutionary speciation, many new and unanticipated enterprises will emerge, and existing ones will be transformed with new business models. The existential threat is exceeded only by the opportunity.”
Hence, this site helps leaders evoke and navigate continuous transformation leveraging personal experiences, research, and insights from transformational leaders. Human Transformation is valuable to us and those we lead under all circumstances.
- Kodak was worth $38B with 140,000 employees. In other words, it had a value of $270K per employee
- YouTube sold for $1.65B with 65 employees. In sum, that’s $25M per employee
- Later, Instagram sold for $1B with 13 employees. Overall, that’s $77M per employee
- Consider the $19B WhatsApp acquisition with 55 employees. That’s $245M per employee.
- Imgur achieved 40 billion monthly image views with seven engineers. Instagram reached 30 million users with 13 engineers when it was acquired for $1 billion dollars.
In other words, we have more “exponential organizations” requiring fewer, but more impactful or “10x” employees. Hence, continuous Human Transformation and growth is a key differentiator.
Top business schools such as MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Wharton, Berkeley, U.Va., Columbia, etc are offering executive programs to keep up with various forms of Digital Transformation.
Certainly, Digital Transformation is not the only reason why continuous Human Transformation is valuable. It’s a fundamental part of growth and evolution under normal circumstance and unknowns brought on by changes in the political landscape and climate. Lastly, to establish an anker to operate from while racing through a transforming world where passivity is not an option, more and more are turning to Meditation. Bridgewater’s Ray Dalio calls Transcendental Meditation ‘the single biggest influence’ on his life.
- Harvard Business Review: The Transformer CLO: https://HBR.org/2020/01/The-Transformer-CLO
(Coincidentally, this was published the same month and year this site went live.)
- Harvard Business School: The Future of Executive Development: The CLO’s Compass and The Executive Programs Designer’s Guide https://HBSwk.HBS.edu/Item/The-Future-of-Executive-Development-the-CLO-s-Compass-and-the-Executive-Programs-Designer-s-Guide
- In the Age of AI (full documentary) | FRONTLINE
First Published: January, 2020 by Chris Dolezalek – as a Talent Whisperers® site