Forging Digital Futures; or Why I Love my Job

Lead image for the news story 'Forging Digital Futures; or Why I Love my Job'

Having worked in digital training for nearly a decade, I could be forgiven for becoming a little bit jaded. But a shift in focus towards how we work rather than what we do promises some exciting developments as we launch our CPD workshops at Digital Innovation.

Back in 2006 when I ran my first event, digital skills training was big news. Self-taught senior managers were starting to look for ways to check their knowledge, and young industry entrants needed new skills fast. Areas like search, email and social were changing so rapidly that we could only offer ‘suggested’ best practice, and I had the privilege of watching minds being regularly blown in unassuming grey training rooms south of London Bridge.

A decade on and while the pace of change hasn’t really slowed, the industry is operating from a more solid foundation. Core digital skills are now fairly well established, and organisations are either better able to hire for the specialist skills they need, or have the capability and confidence to train internally.

But businesses are looking for something new when they recruit and I’ve recently heard the phrase ‘we hire for mindset not skillset’ on a number of occasions. It’s a whole new challenge for digital training.

The digital industry was founded in quite a specific cultural mindset. The internet itself was a tool to facilitate learning, ease collaboration and improve communication. Digital businesses grew up in an atmosphere of innovation, risk-taking and curiosity.

But as digital skills have become more ubiquitous, and economic hardship has focused a young workforce on the practicalities of securing a job, the emphasis on these original values has dropped away. We find ourselves with a young workforce who know (or can rapidly learn) the ‘how to’, but tend not to question why.

Digital education at all levels has a new job to do. It has to support a cultural shift back to the exploration and excitement of the internet’s first days in order to keep driving the industry forward. The way we educate needs to inspire the practices we wish to see in the workplace, creating a learning environment that embodies those values.

At Digital Innovation we hope to regain some sense of that pioneering spirit. Sitting at the digital heart of a huge range of disciplines we have unique access to the resources and experts to ensure our workshops benefit from blended learning, multidisciplinary groups, peer to peer discussion, creative exploration, hands on implementation and (healthy!) competition. Our aim is to get you excited about the learning, not to hand-hold you to mastery.

So after ten years, I find myself back where I started, with all the hope of building a new working culture, but this time focusing on the behaviour of the workforce, rather than the wonder of technology. And that’s still really exciting.

For details of all our upcoming CPD workshops, check out the events page.