The metaverse, digital twins and leadership development
Mark Zuckerberg announced last Thursday that Facebook’s new name will be Meta, infusing the word – and concept – “metaverse” into headlines and social media feeds around the world. Zuckerberg’s definition of the metaverse is “Internet Incarnate.” And Facebook is not alone. At the Microsoft Inspire 2021 partner event, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella showcased the concept of an enterprise metaverse, with simulated environments and mixed reality. be “digital twins”.
NASA is credited with creating the concept of the digital twin. It turns out that performing tests and modeling what-if scenarios on a digital rocket model is much less expensive and time-consuming than testing dozens, if not hundreds, of physical spacecraft. Today, digital twins are commonplace in industries such as manufacturing, product design, and logistics. Anheuser-Busch InBev has created a digital twin of its entire supply chain, from the wheat field to the bottle. But we are now seeing that the applications of digital twin technology extend far beyond heavy machinery simulation.
The possible applications of digital twin technology are endless and will undoubtedly have implications for leadership development.
How digital twins will revolutionize learning and development
Most digital twins in an organizational environment mirror business processes, but there is untapped potential when it comes to creating digital replicas of individual employees. After all, the employees of an organization are its main competitive advantage, especially in the area of knowledge. And the old method of employee training and development (i.e. unique events for everyone) just doesn’t work in the new world of work.
So what data could constitute a manager’s digital twin, for example? All this and more:
- Personality assessments (eg, DISC, Myers-Briggs Type Inventory, Big 5)
- Strengths (for example, CliftonStrengths or VIA)
- Recent Employee Engagement Survey Results
- 360 survey results
- Learning style
- Resilience profile
- Growth mindset
- Existing certifications and skills developed
- The competency model of the organization in which the person works
- Role in the company (front line manager or senior manager)
With a digital twin leadership model or an entire workforce, you can quickly see the benefits on multiple levels:
- You could receive hyper-personalized nudges based on your unique digital twin
- You could receive advice and training on how to best communicate with your manager, peers, direct reports (based on each other’s digital twin)
- You might receive advice on how to individualize your leadership based on your team’s digital twins.
- You may receive career path recommendations that better match your strengths, personality and background
- The company may receive forecasts of increased sales in certain business units
- The company could identify personality profiles statistically correlated with higher performance (note that Google has long tested candidates for high levels of consciousness)
It might sound futuristic, but some companies are already using digital twins for skills and leadership development. A pharmaceutical company created twins of its sales reps and managers based on role, DISC assessment, situational leadership, QE, and coaching models. Support for resilience stages is added in the new year.
Digital twins and privacy
Remember that collecting and storing personal data leads to privacy concerns. In most cases, the data that would power digital twins already exists. Employees already conduct behavioral assessments, 360 surveys, and various training programs. The key is to be fully transparent about how the data will be used, who will have access to it, and to consider granting the option to opt out (as required to comply with GDPR in Europe).
The future of digital twins for leadership development and culture
As digital twin technology takes hold in leadership development and organizational culture, applications and use cases will only increase. Imagine if you could optimize the scheduling of a learning and development conversation for the exact time of day when a person is most receptive to new information. Or if you could simulate the culture fit, how well a new hire would fit in with existing team members based on personality and work style before sending out an offer letter. . Or being able to digitally ‘map’ culture to see what skills, competencies and personality types are lacking in the organization as a whole.
The “metaverse” may be on its way, but the digital twins are already here. Organizations that learn to harness digital twin technology for leadership development will have the ultimate competitive advantage: people who grow and develop at the speed of innovation.
Kevin Kruse is the Founder + CEO of LEADx, a platform that adapts and maintains leadership habits through micro-coaching and behavioral nudges. Kevin is also a New York Times bestselling author of Great leaders don’t have rules, 15 secrets successful people know about time management and Employee engagement 2.0.
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