Last month, George Passalis, Managing Director of Applied Intelligence at Accenture, posted an interesting article entitled “How data and AI are redefining business process”. The research report compared traditional processes that are designed to deliver consistent outputs in a linear, repeatable way to a ‘Living Process’ that uses data analytics, intelligent automation and AI to consistently predict, sense, act and adjust to fluctuating conditions. The author identifies five key characteristics and capabilities that power a living process and enable new levels of performance. So what does this have to do with careers advice? Well, the answer is “It doesn’t have anything to do with careers advice” and that’s the whole point of this article.

Consumer-centric experiences

Artificial Intelligence and automation are all around us. From simple chatbots on websites to robotics in manufacturing processes. From voice response systems in customer service to machine learning (ML) in e-commerce. You can change the date of your flight by talking to an AI system at the airline company. You can order the right hiking gear for your upcoming adventure through web chat with a system that is ML-driven. No people involved here, and the benefits are obvious. The processes are consumer-centric and you get the best available result every time. The experience is hyper-personalised, timely and context aware. Only relevant knowledge is fed into the real-time experience. Better for the customer and better for the service provider.

So why do we have none of this technology in careers advice?

The whole of the careers advice system seems to be bound up in a legacy of “traditional processes that are designed to deliver consistent outputs in a linear, repeatable way”. Careers advice is the way it is, seemingly because that’s the way it’s always been. Yet all the technology exists to turn careers advice on its head and make it 100% consumer-centric. To use the power of machine learning to understand the attributes of careers and jobs, and, more importantly, to match these to the aspirations of the person looking for careers advice.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced major expansion of post-18 education and training to level up and prepare workers for the post-Covid economy. The National Skills Fund will be available from April in England. Whilst this can be nothing but good news, how will adults decide what subjects they should study? Where will the careers advice come from, especially when the post-Covid economy has not yet resolved into a new and predictable equilibrium?

Careers advice as a ‘Living Process’

We have been working with AI and ML experts at IBM and elsewhere to apply these technologies to careers advice. A consumer-centric approach to careers guidance, data-driven by clever ML processes, will not only help our young people still at school – it will also become invaluable to adults looking to choose the right education and training to further their careers in the post-Covid world.

The beauty of careers advice as a ‘Living Process’ is that the minute a new job description becomes available, the minute a pre-Covid job specification morphs due to changes in the economy, this information can be ingested into the well-designed ML processes and be immediately available as intuitive knowledge for the consumer in real-time interaction with the system.

My thanks to Accenture for introducing me to ‘Living Process’ as terminology that fits the world in which we live today. The work we are doing in AI and ML means that careers advice will never be the same again. And now I have a new handle to easily explain the difference between the old and the new.

Please get in touch or message me directly if you would like to learn more about careers advice as a Living Process.