Learning faster than the world is changing

The need to learn faster

Some people say (myself included) that the globe is turning faster and faster, even though we know that’s not really true. It revolves around the sun as before but it sure does feel like it’s spinning faster all the time.  With constant technological development and digitalisation, we get access to to more information and faster than before, we can contact anyone, anywhere, at any time. We see innovation happening at a speed never seen before. The world is never sleeping.

The speed of innovation together with the need for us to have the most awesome product that will match the desires and needs of our customers (whether it’s fans or artists) requires us to learn fast. Our product did not exist before we built it which means we are breaking new grounds. So we need to learn new things, and faster than anyone else in our field to stay ahead of the game.

Rapidly changing working life

In addition, we have a rapidly changing working life. Some jobs have already been automated and some will be in the near future. But new jobs will develop as well. Working life as we know it will look dramatically different in just a few years, and the types of skills needed evolves with those changes. We need constant learning to adapt to new conditions.

Work equals learning

I have seen a few studies showing how much time the modern worker has for learning. For example, a study by Bersin & Deloitte shows that the average american spends 1% of their working week, or 24 minutes, on deliberate learning activities. With numbers that low you may wonder how we can create an innovative and learning environment and how would we make use of those minutes in the best way? But those are actually the wrong questions to be asking.

We can see that the future of work is learning so it’s really impossible to separate working and learning into two different activities. Not in modern working life. Our ways of working and living our lives will keep changing and evolving and the lines between what is work and what is learning will continue to become more blurred. A lot of our work is connected to innovating new things. Innovation requires learning, thus learning is work for us.

The new approach

This is a mindshift in how we look at learning. It’s not that we need to run faster, but we need to be open to new ways of doing things. We’re running a marathon, not a sprint, meaning; we do need to be fast but it’s important to remember to pace ourselves. To keep nurturing a company culture with a focus on learning and development that we see is crucial to our success, we need to enable and facilitate faster learning for Spotifiers.

The Spotify way

At Spotify, this mindshift and new approach, both comes from our L&D strategy and helps shape it.

It’s a firm belief of ours that when you learn, you develop. When you develop, you grow. When our people grow, the company grows. We want our band members to be their very best selves and we believe that everyone can learn and develop. We believe that motivated band members can move mountains, create great things. We focus on dialogue instead of heavy admin, formulas and control when it comes to developing performance, and we believe that everyone wants to self direct their work for their own good as wells as for the company’s’ good.

So when we innovate new things in our work, learning becomes a part of the work, and it’s very obvious to us all that innovation is learning.