I recently read “Digital Transformation,” written by Tom Siebel. The book suggests that we are undergoing a period of mass extinction and mass diversification in our economy and society, brought about by the confluence of four profoundly disruptive technologies: elastic cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Digital transformation has its roots in two waves. The first wave was digitalization, with the arrival of the personal computer. The second wave was the internet.
These two waves primarily digitized existing competencies, simply outsourcing them to a new worker: the computer. Neither wave fundamentally changed the processes being replaced.
Digital transformation is a disruptive evolution into an entirely new way of working and thinking. Companies must shift their focus from what they know works and instead invest in alternatives that they view as risky and unproven.
Although the book does not address the impacts of digital transformation on education, it is not difficult to extrapolate its effects. Digital transformation in education is a disruptive evolution that requires the integration and application of elastic cloud computing, big data, AI and IoT to every discipline as well as the business and academic processes that support education.
Five years from now, 35% of important workforce skills will have changed. We in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute need to address the mismatch between supply and demand for digital skills. This means preparing graduates in their respective disciplines with a digital core as well as creativity, teamwork and problem solving. The Polytechnic way that we have developed over the last few years is one attempt to address the mismatch between higher education and the needs of society brought about through digital transformation.