tiistai 7. toukokuuta 2013

Future of self-improvement: Personal Development Cloud?

The past year has been the year of social media in executive education. What started as a managers' urge to stay up to date in this field has lead into a more profound change in managerial work, both on organisational and individual level. Here I'll concentrate on the latter by building on the past year´s experiences in running open and tailored exec education seminars and programmes (Web For Executives) about this theme.

Main message of this blog post is clear: It is time to get serious with digital applications and services.  
I´m not going to present opinions about which digital services are fashionable, fun or what will be the next killer app. Instead I´ll take a bit broader perspective to the issue. I would argue that in the future a wide array of different digital services will constitute the toolbox for your personal professional development. 

This "Personal Development Cloud" comes with the following features: 
tools of the trade
  • It will mould to your individual needs (Personal)
  • It is about enhancing your professional working capacity, not only productivity in mind but also including well-being and learning quite widely. (Development) 
  • It is always with you, instantly accessible online on every device (Cloud)

A year ago I wrote a blog post titled "3 reasons why also executives should use social media". The reasons then were about information management, networking and learning. I still consider this as the core of your personal development, surrounded by more specific goals and digital tools in each area. Here is a visualization of it, including a selection of my favorite services and apps that I use for these purposes at the moment. 

What I am  presenting here is not completely a new idea. Personal clouds have been discussed for a while now. Actually, my presentation is focused to approach the issue mainly from personal professional development point of view. I think this approach is quite important one since quite often the learning side is neglected when talking about modern technologies. Learning social media is not just about learning in order to reduce managers´ anxiety and "remaining the feel for the business game". Personal productivity cloud changes the game. We are also only in the beginning of quantified self when it comes down to personalized big data, analytics and behavioral pattern recognition.

Another view to the issue would be to look it from organisation´s perspective, as a complete set of tools, applications and practices for today´s knowledge work. That quickly raises new questions, for instance about collaboration on information objects, future of CRM, competence and topic-based problem solving inside the organisation etc. These topics are truly worth attention and many blog posts of their own. 

So the personal development cloud is not the whole picture. And I'm neither saying that the future of self-development is characterized only by digital services and apps. But what I am indeed arguing is that personal development is going to get quite digital whether you like it or not. And that without this digital approach, your self-improvement strategy is really missing something essential.

Digitalisation is going to supercharge personal development. Or how else would you be able to: 
  • Filter personalised news feed globally, 24/7? 
  • Quantify and analyze your activities and development? 
  • Remember everything by making searches to your easy to updatable learning notebooks and documents? 
  • Expand and utilize your professional learning network exceeding organisational boundaries? 

And last but not least, the most important question:
What does your personal development cloud set of services and professional practices look like and how are you going to develop it?

-Pasi Aaltola

Director of MBA Education
Avance Executive Education
Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics

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