How to Enable a Bionic Workforce
Augmentation and a growth mindset can help organizations reach new heights when it comes to technology in the workplace.
Remember the Bionic Woman? In the titular ‘70s show, The Bionic Woman, actress Lindsay Wagner’s character, Jaime Sommers, had super strength, could run faster and could hear better than any human all thanks to augmentation with “bionics,” or engineered parts.
Today, we hear a lot about artificial intelligence and robotics in the workplace. But for many of us, there isn’t much excitement about this enhanced technology, rather there is fear that jobs will disappear and humans will be unable to adapt. But what if we think about this a little differently?
Using the Bionic Woman as an example again, Jaime Sommers was a professional tennis player who was injured in a skydiving accident and then fitted with bionic parts. She went on to work for the government, using her bionics on super-secret missions. She adapted from being a professional tennis player to being a bionic super-agent.
Now granted, The Bionic Woman was a fictional TV show, but there is still something we can learn from it. The ability to adapt and learn, combined with new workplace technologies, opens up new opportunities that weren’t remotely possible before those technologies were available, and aren’t really possible without embracing an adaptive growth mindset. Jaime didn’t come out of her bionic surgery thinking “I’m a tennis player, I don’t know how to be a secret agent,” and stop there. Instead, she adapted, learned, and went on to use her bionics to hit new heights.
In our everyday lives, we adapt to and learn about new technology to work at a level and speed that would have been impossible just a few years ago. Think of the way you can organize family and kids via text messages now, or how you can learn how to do something quickly via a Google search and a YouTube video.
We can harness this power at work if we think of ourselves from more of a bionic viewpoint. As learning and development professionals, we can think of the coming changes in terms of how we can help organizations properly prepare for a bionic workforce
“Augmentation…means starting with what humans do today and figuring out how that work could be deepened rather than diminished by a greater use of machines” – Harvard Business Review, June 2015
Augmentation instead of replacement, combined with a growth mindset in organizations, can enable all of us to reach new heights when it comes to technology in the workplace. Enabling a bionic workforce is something to get excited about rather than something to be afraid of, and it’s a workplace evolution that learning and development professionals can get behind and help enable by helping to train people around how to better work with technology. We have modern learning tools to help us and new research to build engaging learning – helping all of us get a little more bionic every day.