DeVryWORKS on Meeting the Challenge of Digital Fluency

CEO of DeVryWORKS Joe Mozden Outlines the Intersection of Business Strategy and Talent Development

By Adina Sapp

Research from Forrester shows that 50 percent of CEOs expect that by 2020 nearly half of all revenue
will come from digital business. This is up from 20 percent just a few years ago. The report projects that: “As risk to existing revenue streams becomes apparent, companies will begin making a panicked effort to attract digital talent.”

Expanding on this research and the theme of a panel discussion from DeVryWORKS titled “Digital Fluency
in the Workplace,” Joe Mozden urges L&D leaders to not delay in kicking off digital strategies and digital methodologies. Technology is integral to the current business landscape, and we must act rather than getting bogged down in overplanning. “The most important thing is to start,” he says, “and then modify as you go.”

Kick Off and Lead a Strategic Plan

Often, overplanning holds people back from implementing digital strategies and methodologies. “There’s an obsession with planning, and I say this as a former engineer,” Mozden says. “But the desire to have the ultimate plan that accounts for all aspects of what’s going to happen can be self-defeating; as soon as you have your plan, it’s outdated.”

Instead, Mozden suggests developing a one- to two- year view that gives the workforce a common vision and set of goals. “The execution of that overarching strategic plan, however, is where you just need to kick the ball and start the game.”

Fear of making a poor investment in technology is another thing that holds leaders back. “They worry that what they buy today will be outdated in six months. But that prevents them from making decisions and getting involved,” Mozden says. Good leaders must be willing to take risks in the service of a desired end state.

Going forward, leaders who are best equipped are those who have digital fluency engrained in the way they think and operate. Technology is a toolset to leverage as a solution to business problems, rather than something to be bolted on as an afterthought, Mozden says.

On the other hand, a successful plan doesn’t necessarily mean revolutionary change. Sometimes it just means incrementally improving something that is already good.

Revolutionize the Learning Modality

When we think of digital comprising 50 percent of business going forward, it’s important to recognize this isn’t just hard skills like coding and programming; digital will be engrained in all business. Universities need to prepare to meet this need.

Seventy-five percent of all hiring managers feel that digital skills are a competitive differentiator, Mozden notes. DeVry is working to integrate these skills to prepare students for what employers need.

For education to be useful, it must teach students how to use and learn new technologies, rather than simply teaching a specific set of software and hardware. Skills are outdated as new technologies arrive on the scene, so it is the ability to learn that is important, along with being able to analyze data and utilize digital tools to solve business problems.

Also, digital fluency must be incorporated into all disciplines. DeVry integrates digital, experiential learning so graduates have the necessary business skills and digital fluency, regardless of the field. The focus is on people, processes, data and devices, along with the core competencies that bring those elements to life.

The modality of education must also be conducive to the workplace and client set. Classroom learning won’t resonate for many students and employers going forward. For many of those who are already in the workplace, learning new skills through evening coursework is unrealistic. “That modality, though effective, is not conducive to the workplace, where people have five- to 30-minute chunks available. Historically, content is organized by program and course. What employers (and students) are telling DeVryWORKS is that they want building blocks of content that are more consumable in smaller bites and more applicable to the business,” Mozden says. “Think of it like Lego blocks. For the most part, content doesn’t yet exist in this format, so this has been a big focus at DeVryWORKS. We’re providing employers with these little bites to fill their skills gap needs.”

DeVry is in the early stages of enabling employers and students to work together on this career-pathing, and the collaborative approach is something employers want and are working toward.

Partnership

As L&D leaders and business leaders, we are working together on this exciting journey. As we progress, the goal is not to become digitally fluent, but to make better business decisions leveraging digital fluency. The skills gap can only be bridged by organizations and universities working to marry digital skills with business acumen.

Learn more at devryworks.devry.edu. Check out the panel discussion from DeVryWORKS, “Digital Fluency in the Workplace,” hosted by Chief Learning Officer at http://player.clomedia.com/watch/dS7XNLdkEYQGpYrPa99ghQ?

At DeVryWORKS, we understand that some of the biggest challenges for any business are related to the workforce—hiring skilled people, retaining strong talent, and developing the leaders of tomorrow. DeVryWORKS seeks to truly understand your company’s talent strategies and goals, so we can help you build a brilliant workforce and drive success across your organization. Look to us as the resource you need to support your talent development, skills gap training and talent acquisition initiatives. devryworks.com

1 Fenwick, N. (2015). The State of Digital Business 2016 to 2020. Forrester.