Concerned by their necessary digital transformation, businesses say they lack digital talents, as we already saw for marketing departments. But if everybody’s talking about it, do we really know what a digital talent is .
A digital talent is not someone who can use Facebook or Twitter. Depending on their mastery, such people rank from normal to geek, nothing more. And knowing how these services work does not mean being able to have a relevant use of it and even less in a work context.
Is it a talent using digital technologies ? Sometimes but it’s not everything. First because businesses don’t need people who act digital (or not only) but people who think digital and have a new approche to their job, their mission, an approach that will impact what they propose, design and implement.
Digital talents are talents first
The digital talents businesses are looking for mark themselves out by their ability to understand a new environment and move comfortably into it. An environment characterized by its speed, its unpredictability, the growing number of information channels, issuers and receivers, and the informal nature of interactions. If talent and skills are not the same thing – may the purists forgive me…- we know what skills will me needed in a very close future. Many lists exist but I like to mention the one that’s been issued by the University of Phoenix.
• sense making
•novel and adaptive thinking
• social intelligence
• trans disciplinarity
• new media literacy
• computational thinking
cognitive load management
• design mindset
• cross cultural competency
• virtual collaboration
There’s also a webinar on this matter.
A talent is pointless if he can’t express himself
As weird as it seem, these talents exists. Sometimes there’s not at the right place, sometimes they’re not numerous enough, but they exist. And they can even be found in the same companies that now have their back against the wall and are desperately looking for talents.
And this will be my last point. Clay Shirky said “when you adopt a tool, you adopt the management philosophy embedded in this tool“. If digital is an enabler for those talents but businesses are not adopting the management philosophy that comes with, none of these talents will be able to express himself.
Instead of looking for digital talents that will help them with their transformation, businesses should rather transform themselves to help the talents they have to express themselves and sustain this digital transition.
Forget digital. Most of times it’s a screen of smoke. A digital talent is a talent before all. He’ll become digital when he’ll be empowered to become so and without this empowerment all the talents you’ll find will be wasted like the one you already have