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Brian Glassman

Interesting and thought proving post,
Brian Glassman
Innovation Management


In a recent blog ("It's the arts, stupid" 2-19-09), I wrote about the huge disconnect between the strategies and demands of the emerging American business community and the reality of the workforce that is currently being shaped by the K-12 education environment. In terms of talent development, if kids in the education pipeline aren't equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to think about things in new ways (creativity, the role of the arts), how on earth are they supposed to merge into the workforce ready to innovate? If our political and business leadership is looking to innovation to drive economic recovery, they better take a closer look at the investments they're making in K-12 education.

Jacoline Loewen

The best stimulus package out there is the half trillion dollars sitting with private equity investors looking for good businesses. Talent of management is always what gets the money. These private equity partners do not fall for the charisma but prefer the intellect behind the talk.

john sviokla

John, I too agree it is about the talent, and helping the USA continue to be the most competitive market not just in businesses, but in business models too.

Your commentary reminds me of the book Future Wealth in which Davis and Meyer put forth the idea that there can be a liquid market in talent, and the funding of that talent. To a certain extent, Fundable, eBay and other markets in financing and business access are the beginnings of the market to directly fund talent.

John R. Atkins

There was considerable, if somewhat vague, talk in the early 1990s as the erosion of America's manufacturing base began to accelerate about retraining schemes for displaced workers. That never happened on any meaningful scale, but I agree with you that the need is even greater now with whole sectors of the economy wobbling.

I have been involved in human capital planning for almost 30 years and have started to see evidence of a renewed commitment to talent development. And not just in an effort to make employees "better" at what they have always done, but to push them to rethink what they are doing in the first place, whether it is contributing any longer to the health and longevity of the company, and if perhaps they and the company might be better served if everyone stopped doing what they were doing and tried something different altogether.

Indirectly, though still forcefully, the massive business and institutional failures over the past couple of years have been a catalyst for my own employer to think more deeply and deliberately the kind of people it is going to need in the future. And that future will look quite different than the past as a substantial piece of our core business has literally evaporated over the past twelve months. I am hopeful the same sort of thing is happening in Detroit, on Wall Street, and in Washington where I live. For a lot of us it has come down to survival and that may be just the motivation we need to finally start paying real attention to what our people are actually doing.

Jon Bischke

Amen John. When I hear all the numbers being thrown around as to what it will cost to save Detroit or bail out Wall Street I think it's really important to think about the opportunity costs. How do we prepare America for the future rather than propping up archaic economic models that are no longer viable?

I think it comes down to exactly what you are talking about: Talent development. We have a big choice in front of us. Invest in the past (ie Detroit, Wall Street hucksterism) or invest in the future (ie education, job re-training, clean energy).

I hope (hope hope hope!) that the new Administration chooses to emphasize the latter.

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