Economic philosopher Joseph Schumpeter wasn’t the first person to come up with the concept of creative destruction, but he did make it popular in the business world. More than 60 years after he published Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, his explanation about how old processes and technologies are naturally annihilated by new and better ones is even more applicable than it was in his time.!@!
(Incidentally, Schumpeter demonstrated remarkable prescience in economic affairs. His description of how and why pure free-market economics would be replaced by a corporatist fusion of socialism and capitalism was probably even more spot on than that of his more famous contemporary, British economist John Maynard Keynes.)
We see plenty of evidence of creative destruction in the economy today. Take the music industry: Over the past five decades, music media has evolved from vinyl records to eight-track and cassette tapes to compact discs to MP3 files. Or consider the labor market for large organizations: Total reliance on workers in a particular region or country was replaced by offshoring to developing nations for cost savings, which in turn seems to be in the process of being replaced by a truly globalized quest for the best talent, resulting in a borderless workforce.
Looking at the learning industry in particular, it seems like over the past quarter century, the creative destruction has been in the way its practitioners describe what they do and how and why they do it. Specifically, it’s gone from the tactical and tractable “training” function to the strategic and forward-thinking “learning” department.
In which areas of learning have you seen significant creative destruction? Or, in what areas do you think we’ll see this happen in the next few years? Feel free to let us know.
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