Showing posts with label technology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label technology. Show all posts

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Should We Expect Greater Innovation in the Future?

Will we see higher levels of innovation and skill development in the future? When entrepreneurship creates new products, it forces human capital upward as companies adapt this technology to create competitive advantages. Today's employment market is filling vacancies quickly and may soon begin to innovate again to find greater competitive strengths.

Spurts of technological advancement are followed by greater demands for market skills that raise human capital formation (Gomes, 2011). As companies adapt to new technology, they will seek to hire and train employees to use this technology. Employment expectation will adjust education and schooling to meet new job needs.

As the labor market moves closer to maximum employment capacity the cost of wages rises and pushes companies to adjust their strategies to focus on new competitive strengths. Technological advancement and integration is one approach that raises productivity and profit margins. The new demands will leave a gap in the employment market that takes time to fill.

The process of entrepreneurship, implementation, and human capital adjustments is a cyclical process where improvements in human capital can lead to greater adaptation. As businesses improve their competitiveness and hire additional skilled employees to fill vacant positions, the market becomes a draw for investment.

The development of society requires thinkers to create new ideas and spread those ideas to others where mass adaptation takes place. Today’s business world is more accustomed to innovation than at any other time in the past and will realign its educational and employment practices to encourage greater innovation. The speed of information transference will make innovation mass consumption faster thereby creating shorter product development times. Society will be in a constant process of change as innovation and skill development grow together.

Gomez, M. (2011). Stages of Economic Development in an Innovation-Education Growth Model. Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics and Econometrics, 5 (4).

Friday, March 13, 2015

How Technology is Narrowing the Gap Between Business and Academia

Someday we might be looking back at those old laptops and cell phones and blow the dust off the keyboards as you would the cover of some rare hard bound book. Across the nation educational platforms are changing bringing with it uncertainty about the future of higher education. As technology disrupts the foundation of business colleges there will be a closer alliance between businesses and academia to generate new solutions that improve the skill sets of graduates.

According to a Business Education Jam session it is possible to use technology to narrow the gap between academic and industry stakeholders (Freeman, 2014). The traditional gap that exists between academic knowledge and business knowledge is narrowing as stakeholders and universities take advantage of new technologies that offer a chance to connect at multiple levels.

Technology has advanced to the point that communication is moving at a much faster pace than in the past. New generation technologies and the way these technologies are used socially are impact the platforms of higher education (Rajesh, 2015). Higher education is adjusting to the new methods of communication to foster knowledge transference and this will have a natural impact on business-academia relationships.

Greater partnerships between employers and higher education can provide greater relevancy in curriculum development. Students should be learning skills that truly encourage greater ability to work in the modern market and develop systems thinking that can influence their ability to understand organizational operations.

The caveat being the courses that may not be directly career oriented but do support the general understanding of human nature and life. Greater communication will help industry stakeholders understand that ethics courses, philosophy, humanities, are not wasted courses when applied appropriately to human behavior and management. A shared understanding between colleges and employers can be found through perspective sharing.

The differences of perspective between the hallowed halls of higher education and the nitty gritty of corporate life will become more blurred in the future as communication technology advances and create permeability within these borders. Communication will influence the way leaders in both sectors think about challenges and opportunities. This increased level of communication doesn't need to be purposeful to create influence but implementing a more focused approach to sharing perspectives can lead to faster conclusions. 

Freeman, K. (2014). The call for innovation in business education. People & Strategy, 37 (2).

Rajesh, M. (2015). Revolution in communication technologies: impact on distance education. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 16 (1).

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Port Negotiations Should be About Wages, Skill, and Technology

We have heard a lot about ports and negotiations with workers that recently resolved itself in a tentative agreement. The Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union set upon some key provisions based on wages and benefits but have not yet completed all of the details. Formal announcements are still in the works. The ports offer an opportunity to understand how wages, benefits, skill, and technology should work together to create win-win situations.

This dispute has been bitter and raged on for over 9 months with the White House having to put pressure on both sides to get things done. Arbitrators were accused of bias and workers are accused of slowing down port operations intentionally. Ships waited over a week to unload their cargo that has a negative impact on economic growth.

Increasing trade over the past decade or so creates more product volume throughout the ports and this can have an impact on national commerce.  Larger businesses are able to weather the port slowdown but small businesses could be more seriously impacted as they need these supplies to keep their fragile operations going. A short delay could put them in the red.

Wages and Benefits are standard negotiation subjects and generally are set through market need and negotiation tactics. Increases in import and export containers have caused increasing demands on workers and wages are part of that process. The implementation of new technology and better infrastructure development could improve these issues.

Contracts last 5-6 years but set a precedence for future negotiations and create an expectation in the mind of employees. Ensuring that the implementation of new technology is part of the expectation is important to avoid  that failure change doesn't result in ports that are less efficient. Wage increases should be based in learning, growth and productivity.

There is no denying that wages in many places of the country have not kept pace with inflation or the profits that many businesses earn. But wage increases should be based in part on the cost of living as well as improvements in skill and ability. Doing so will help ensure that workers market position rises with increases in skill and the better use of technology that ensures ships are unloaded faster and at a lower cost that saves the company money.

Each negotiation should see improvement in worker skill, wages, job security and port efficiency. At least this is the case in theory when an economy is growing. If a middle ground can be found that ensures workers are accepting of training and new technology it lends support to the unions wage case while ensuring the ports are innovative and adaptive. This can be a hard sell when the rhetoric is negative on both sides and finger pointing becomes the predominant logic.

Ports are a fundamental transaction cost for businesses importing and exporting products. Economic growth relies on these ports to ensure products and supplies are making their way to their final destinations. American ports need to stay competitive, reduce costs, and continuously improve. That will require worker populations to grow in productivity, better management of operations and the implementation of new technology to make sure our ports do not slow down the rest of the economy.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Two Technology Complaints in Higher Education

Technology is often seen as the savior of higher education by reducing costs and increasing access. Not all people agree and disdain the breaking of ancient tradition with venom in their words. To be fair, technology can have either a positive and destructive impact on institutions and learning. Both the pro and anti-technology supporters have strong points of argument. Two common arguments are that technology fosters shallow learning and students are not reflecting on the material.

Argument 1: Technology Fosters Shallow Learning:

Anti-technology adherents find that the use of some technologies leads to shallow learning. Student simply post comments that lack insight-fulness to ensure they are meeting posting requirements every week. The learning model becomes more of mechanical process than a deep and insightful learning experience where students must challenge themselves to learn new things.

The problem is that many traditional faculty are not sure how to use the technology properly and a number of universities are counting posts versus grading the quality of the answers and discussions. Ensuring that engagement is required earlier in the week, multiple substantive interactions are needed, and grading is based upon the quality of the answers will mitigate this problem. 

Argument 2: Students Work not Reflective of Readings:

Students can sometimes skip over the text and just learn from the classroom or from their own personal experiences. This can be frustrating for professors that want the student to have sufficient depth and understanding of the theoretical material to formulate a coherent response. Online students sometimes give shallow responses to complex concepts showing a lack of reflection. 

The problem exists whether you are teaching an online or on-ground class. Like an on-ground classroom much of it is based upon how the class is designed. If the materials to pass tests, quizzes, and papers can only be found in the book then this will raise the amount of reading required. Randomizing questions, using more reflective papers, and treasure hunting information is beneficial for encouraging more reading. 

There are natural differences between online and ground based learning but ultimately each has its own positives and detractors. Online learning is still blooming and formalizing into a standard and effective approach while on-ground learning has also experienced its share of poor performance that has led to slips in international ranking.  Higher education is changing because it must to compete. The road may be bumpy but the path is clear; technology is here to stay.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

How E-Learning is Changing the Nature of Combat

A Patriot Breeze by Dr. M. Abel

Technology is here to stay while the development of higher levels of skill to effectively handle that technology is important.  A paper by Eparu & Atanasiu (2014) discusses the need to raise technological abilities through online training by encouraging higher levels of military systems development. The human ability to develop strategy and make political decisions is enhanced through proper systems and technological knowledge that allow for a more collaborative response to threats. 

The nature of the battlefield has changed. Data and information can be drawn from thousands of data points to understand the situation and the potential for threat. Understanding how data can lead to better conclusions of current and future activities is important for improved performance. 

The far majority of militaries are simply not prepared to measure, collect and properly use new information effectively. Misinterpretations of the data, improper measurements, and a lack of capabilities to act decisively on that information appear prevalent. 

Officers have some difficulty in understanding this macro data or solve problems using that data in unique ways. More complexity requires a different way of handling competing information, weighing and balancing options, and coming to conclusions in difficult situations. 

Those decisions also impact the specific use of technology on the ground level. There is a natural chain-reaction throughout the battlefield as new data is decided on and those decisions are spread quickly to change specific activities. Individual soldiers will need to use technology based equipment to respond quickly and effectively to emerging threats. 

You can see this example in enemy troop movements that are not yet completely formulated but are nevertheless represented sparsely in the data. Officers will need to interpret the change of events, make a decision that counters risks and raises opportunities, and then send their decisions to multiple battlefield components that use their individual tools to respond. 

The author’s conclusion is that all modern militaries update knowledge using e-learning methods. The development of higher functioning ranges through the use of verbal, decision-making, information gathering, analysis and a whole host of contributing skills that can be taught online. Game simulation is only one of the skills needed to accomplish military goals. E-learning programs can be more effective through developing learning policy, measuring performance, applying learning resources, maintaining learning standards, and satisfying users. 

Eparu, D. & Atanasiu, M. (April 24-25,2014) New training for successful military action. The 10th International Scientific Conference eLearning and Software for Education

Sunday, June 15, 2014

How Knowledge and Technology Improves Small Business?

The Internet has contributed to globalization while small and medium (SME) businesses are finding the ability to connect with worldwide customers and increase revenues. Research by Vanyushyn, et. al. (2011) discussed the implementation of Internet technology for either structural improvements or marketing enhancements. SME adoption of new technology is important for their overall growth and innovative contribution to economic development.

The Internet is reducing borders and spreading new technologies that create shifts in global structure (Kemeny, 2011). As information spreads, cultures change, businesses connect together, and commerce adjusts it develops a wider marketplace. A small business can be located in the U.S. but have customers from nearly any other place on the globe. Such changes were not possible a few decades ago.

New information technology increases interaction between local governments, large corporations, and international organizations while SMEs improve upon their international competitiveness (Ruzzier at. al., 2006).  Because business is less restricted to geography than it was in the past small businesses can find ways of filling gaps and services in an international market while still being grounded in their local communities.

SMEs are also a major catalyst to local and national economic growth. A report by the European Commission (2011) found that “European SMEs are a major source of job creation: More than 50% of new jobs derive from a group of fast growing companies representing 4% of the total number of European SMEs. In addition, almost half of the two million industrial SMEs have recently introduced innovations to the markets.” Such businesses improve upon the employment market and develop new technologies.

To be successful in an ever changing market businesses must innovate and continue to innovate when new challenges present themselves. Innovative behavior is directly related to the performance of innovation by the adaption or creation of new technology, products and/or processes. The adoption and integration process becomes a new source of competitive advantage for both the business and the nation.

Innovation is not only within the realm of technology but also includes the gathering of knowledge to create change. Innovative change comprises proposing new questions, developing new skills, creating technological advantages, or finding new ways of resolving problems (Comison-Zornoza, et. al., 2004). Innovation is a process of learning about new competencies and technologies that enhance performance and then integrating them into processes for higher organizational effectiveness.

The authors studied 1.) the sequence of steps in the adoptive process, and 2.) the evaluation of the contribution of the Internet on international competitiveness. They found that over time new technologies reduce cost, develop skilled specialists and improve productivity. Small firm innovation takes on more of a refinement, production, implementation, and execution of new online channels. SME can integrate new technologies through refinement of process that are realized in more effective production and performance.

Camison-Zornoza, C., et. al. (2004). A Meta-Analysis of Innovation and Organizational Size. Organization Studies, 25, 331–361.

European Commission (2011). Assessing the performance of European SMEs. Enterprise & Industry Online Magazine.

Kemeny, T. (2011). Are International Technology Gaps Growing or Shrinking in the Age of Globalization?. Journal of Economic Geography, 11, 1-35.

Ruzzier, M., et. al. (2006). SME Internationalization Research: Past, Present, and Future. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 13, 476-497.

Vanyushyn, V. et. al. (2011). New business models for international performance-a longitudinal study of Internet and marketing. ICSB World Conference Proceedings: 1-17. Washington: International Council for Small Business (ICSB).