I tuned in to the Teens in Tech Ustream, being broadcast from PARC in Palo Alto today, and was riveted by the opening comments from Andrew Hsu, founder of Airy Labs, which is creating the next generation of social learning games for kids. He was a 19-year-old 4th year Ph.D. candidate in the Neuroscience Program at Stanford University when he left in January 2011 to pursue his startup. Wow.
The new workforce is coming of age. They not only use social technologies as learning platforms, they are using social technologies to re-invent learning. Turns out students and employees want to watch, research, learn, and share information with one another. They'll learn this way and ultimately work this way.
A new marketplace is dawning as well. That the consumer is fully in control is a given. Consumers turn to reviews to inform their buying decisions, they expect a conversation with the brands of their choice, and they want their social influence to be rewarded. The learning curve for the consumer on social, mobile, tablet, and gaming platforms is well underway.
That the workforce supplying products and services into the marketplace is fully fluent is social technologies is another story indeed. The ability for most Fortune 500 companies to use real-time social business strategies to be competitive in today's marketplace and grow the bottom line is sorely lagging. And despite the recent rockiness on Wall Street, there are somes signs of global economic growth. This downturn won't last forever.
This is creating a fresh war for talent. In fact, studies show that talent shortages are cited by business leaders around the world as a chief barrier to growth. Clearly, it's time for CEOs to shift their attention from drastic cost cutting to strategic expansion and skills development. Ensuring your employees, suppliers, and other stakeholders have working knowledge of social technology platforms and how to deploy these internally for collaborative innovation and development is the gateway to growth.
Trust me, your company and brand wants to attract and retain the folks attending Teens in Tech today as you look forward to growth and innovation. Either that, or you'll be interviewing for them as they invent and invest in the future.
Don't find yourself waking up one day to realize that everyone is speaking a new language of hashtags, checking-in, virtual currency, and gamification of brands. Get social, fast.
Beverly Macy is the CEO of Gravity Summit LLC and the Co-Author of The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing. She also teaches Global Marketing and Branding and Social Media Marketing for the UCLA Extension. You can send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @beverlymacy