Daniel McKelvey is a firm believer in the concept of continuous mental evolution. From his perspective, a worker’s knowledge base is the foundation of his/her professional career. Both progression and degression rely entirely upon whether or not you’re always willing to learn.
General Electric (GE) was founded by legendary innovator Thomas Edison in 1892. 126+ years later, the corporation is a powerhouse in at least 10 individual industries, including:
- Oil & Gas
- Renewable Energy
When Thomas Edison formed the company with the likes of J.P. Morgan and Charles A. Coffin, it’s unlikely that he anticipated his lighting-centered company to develop into a full-blown multinational conglomerate. But regardless of the company’s humble beginnings, GE has branched out massively throughout the years, establishing itself as an unstoppable force in a plethora of industries. This is because although GE may be an old company, its leaders understand that in order to compete in the modern business world, you absolutely must continue developing. A one trick pony, as they say, is exactly that — a one trick pony, and nothing more.
GE thrives in what the company refers to as an agile environment. The philosophy behind this metaphorical atmosphere is that if you don’t speed up, you’ll be left behind in the dust. That’s why GE is constantly looking to adopt new and innovative industries to add to their repertoire.
But, let’s face it — we can’t all be GE. The average, everyday professional needs space in the business world race, too! But as technologies rise and opportunities develop, previous opportunities fade into obscurity. In the modern era, we are experiencing a major shift which is leaning towards automation. If a company can save money and time by using an automated service, as opposed to a human, they will. So, how can (human) business professionals keep up?
The answer is balancing informal and formal learning to develop a well-rounded knowledge base.
Experts claim that without appropriate reinforcement, in 2.5 years, your knowledge base will be depleted by 50%. Half of what you know today will dissipate from the forefront of your mind less than three years in the future. If you think about it, that means that in just 5 years, you can become completely obsolete in terms of productivity. The youngest group of today’s professionals, the millennial generation, has evolved their perspective on knowledge in a way which fights back against this claim. Rather than seeking a forever workplace, millennials are constantly on the hunt for new experiences, lessons and tokens of knowledge. If a position at another company can offer them completely new expertise and they feel as though their current position has been exhausted in terms of educational value, they’re moving on to the new company. It’s all about expanding their knowledge base to keep up with innovations.
But here’s a secret: you don’t have to leave your beloved workplace behind to expand your horizons. Furthermore, you also don’t have to leave your 10+ year old degree behind to collect dust. Instead, education professional Daniel McKelvey believes that rather than through formal learning, professionals should develop their knowledge base via informal learning.
With the advent of the internet, education and knowledge are more accessible than ever. If you can’t upgrade your perspective in the form of a new job or position, fear not — you don’t have to stop learning! There are a variety of web-based education platforms that allow you to learn new techniques and tactics — anytime, anywhere! Integrating these technologies in your daily life is a lot less painful than dropping your current job and venturing off somewhere else.
In his talk at an Open edX event, Daniel McKelvey discusses how to take this concept into the real world with web-based learning platform, EdCast. Check out his YouTube video on the subject to learn more!