Kendall College School of Business faculty member Aurora Reinke attended TechWeek in July in Chicago. This conference featured nationally known keynote speakers and panels on current issues businesses are facing as they seek to leverage technology. Here she shares some of the key takeaways from this exciting event.
One of the “hottest” topics of the conference was crowdsourcing, which is similar to outsourcing, distributed workforces, and virtual or digital workers. Using crowdsourcing, a business can have a program designed and installed or a marketing campaign created and executed, without having to hire any new employees. For this approach to be successful for the company or the contractors, people will need to handle the dynamics of working in this manner.
As technology becomes more prolific and permeates and alters all industries, it will have an impact on the next generation of workers. At the Kendall College School of Business, we’re preparing our graduates to have the skills needed to adapt to this environment by applying what they’ve learned in human resources, business contracts and law, operations management, project management, business innovation, and technology and innovation.
Another popular topic was entrepreneurship. This conference offered a wealth of “war stories” that make for great case studies and best practices for anyone studying small business management. Participants also discussed the challenge of garnering resources (bootstrapping) and obtaining capital. Similar to crowdsourcing, crowdfund allows both businesses and non-profits to have the ability to use websites to raise funds from anyone around the world. This avenue exploits social media and other marketing technologies to draw attention to an idea or cause and galvanize support for it.
Some keynote speakers mentioned the democratization of data. In general, there has been a trend in access and lowered costs that makes technology and data more accessible to anyone who has an idea. School of Business courses on business law, technology and innovation, entrepreneurship, and design could present ways that Kendall students can apply this in the future.
We must not forget that “soft” skills such as communication, initiative, accountability, professionalism, punctuality and follow through are essential to successfully leverage technology. At Kendall, we focus not only on business functions, but also on these softer skills essential for long term career advancement, resulting in graduates who are professional, confident and prepared for a variety of service-oriented career fields .