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„The old models are crumbling down” – we attended HR Fest 2020


4 min read

The big yearly HR Fest conference in Hungary was last week, fully online for the first time ever. We were there, too, Codecool’s Head of Sales, Lea Kalocsai hosted the ToborZóna (RecruitZone) session room. One of our favourite events every year, touching also on subjects that matter for us most: training and sourcing of talents. In our case, tech talents, even with no IT background whatsoever.

After looking at the programme, we panicked. So. Many. Options. A main stage and 5 to 6 session rooms running in parallel. How will we ever not miss at least the most exciting stories and presenters? 

Obviously, we had to prioritise and choose. And we did just that. Still we ended up with running from session to session, and finally enough inspiration and ideas to think about for at least another week. 

So, we decided not to try dumping all of our insights summarised in one overview piece for you, as we wanted. Instead, we picked one of our favourite presentations that especially spoke to us, for a little dive-in.

Photo by Robert Markowitz

Steve Rader was one of the big stars of the event this year and for a reason. Being with NASA for more than 30 years, currently Deputy Director for the Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation – his titles sounds quite impressive already.

If you listened to him at HR Fest Online in May, you also know that he is a passionate advocate of an open-talent world and crowd-sourcing innovation. These are concepts worth their own blog posts, so we would not go in detail about those at this time.

In his presentation at HR Fest 2020 Steve raised 3 specific ideas that especially resonated with us. We thought you might find them inspiring, too.

Idea #1: Innovation is no longer an option, but still a challenge 

Sounds like a cliché already? That’s totally right. But it’s a cliché many keep repeating and few take seriously yet. 

Steve says innovation is not about getting ahead in the race. It’s not some icing on the cake, some pet project to attend to when you have the time. Today you have to innovate just to keep up with everybody else. To remain competitive and relevant. It’s that black-and-white.

Digital innovation is faster and faster and is happening across domains. Just look at 3D printing used in prosthetics, mechanics, fashion or the food industry. Or machine vision used for picking produce in farming, for calibration in mechanics or for safety in autonomous vehicles.

Therefore, he suggests, your innovation problems may only be solved by innovation from out of your domain. You should employ brains coming from different domains (crowdsource innovation), and you should be able to come up with the right questions for others to solve.


Idea #2: Learn tech – even if it’s not your focus

From Steve’s line of thought at least 2 reasons can be derived about why it is wise to study technology. 

One, for innovation leaders: because you need to at least “speak a little bit of tech” even to raise the right questions. If you are not the person working on solutions, you are probably one of those defining the problem and putting the questions. If you try to do that without understanding technology, that is, the means of the solution to at least some extent, you will not get very far in the process.

Two, for innovators: because they need to have the overview, the tools and the mindset at hand to help solving today’s problems. Knowing tech is not just about knowing code. It’s so much more. It’s about understanding systems, logic patterns, how to connect dots, how to fail early and how to keep learning new things. 


Idea #3: Outsource selection and training – make your life easier

In Steve’s experience, efficient innovators or problem solvers have to learn in 60% of their time and work on problems in only 40%. But then in this 40% they will probably deliver as much as six times more value than without all that time spent on learning. Because learning boosts effectiveness via increasing skillset, creativity and motivation at the same time.

He believes in life-long learning and looking at learning as if it was part of your job. The right approach, he says, is „life-long learning built into and agile workforce that can actually adapt to the changing market place and the changing way of work.”

To achieve this, Steve suggests that companies should outsource selection, pre-onboarding and upskilling of the work force to release the growing pressure on HR. Centralised hubs partnering up with companies focused on solving challenges could do these much more efficiently, in his view. They are already up-to-date with all the skills required for the fast changing challenges, and they are not pressured by the business challenges on their shoulders. 


These three ideas confirm our belief that we are doing something really good at Codecool. Helping companies by training and sourcing their digital talents. Supporting life-long learning of future-proof skills. Enabling digitalisation. 


They also project an exciting, and probably very close future for all of us. Open-talent platforms. Crowd-sourced innovation. More freelancers than employees by 2027 on a global scale. New HR models and new company structures. „Passionate crowds, voluntarily joining to create and find out and contribute to solving challenges.” 


All-in-all, really truly exciting changes. 

We are ready for them. 

Are you?

About us

Codecool is the fastest growing programmer school and tech talent hub in Europe. We make the digital talent gap disappear and enable people to take on future-proof tech careers. We solve IT skill development and resource needs via training and recruitment.

The Codecool Blog is a collection of the coolest insights and best resources for HR heads, IT leaders, other business executives and small business owners in charge of tech talents and digital strategies.

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