The battleground has been laid out… The confrontation is on the horizon… The growing desire to be on top makes it all the more cutthroat…
This could easily be a teaser from a big athletic event (originally I mentioned them by name but thought I could owe somebody some money for royalties or something) or maybe a trailer for an upcoming summer blockbuster, but it is not. I am talking STEM. I mentioned before that the DOD is looking to encourage this growth area through regulation, but as I check the latest twitter feed from @Lori-Garver via @NASA, I find myself staring at the proverbial stage being set for the future.
NASA is looking. DOD is looking. Corporate giants are looking. Big Data is looming. Rocket science is calling. Exploration and innovation are reaching a critical mass. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics are at the critical tipping point where the demand will soon outweigh the supply (in some cases it may already be this way).
It is encouraging to see some real investment in this area. Locally, I hear radio ads constantly about STEM (with a short “e”) and STEM (with a long “ee”) programs at major and non-major universities and colleges and high schools. Search for “White House STEM” and see what you find. The push in this area seems to show an ever-expanding desire to actually innovate again (When was the last time someone thought of something original like a computer, rather than just improving upon it? Or, better, when was the last time a US citizen touched the moon?). I really appreciate this.
Whether it is BIG DATA or ROCKET SCIENCE or everyday PRODUCT MANAGEMENT, the ability to analyze and peel away the layers of a problem is a desired skill. Cultivating the skills around this analysis is another problem altogether.
As someone who can listen to a problem, quickly analyze it, and then provide an 80% solution by the end of the day, it has always appealed to me to innovate and create. Taking something that has already been done and enhancing it, changing it, manipulating it – this is the key to the future of STEM training and development efforts. Taking an idea from conception to fruition is a cornerstone management concept critical to the success of such leaders in the future.
I will be reaching out to my manager in the future to see about a product management seminar or class to supplement my “stem” (I got rid of capitalization because I am not what you would consider classically trained in such things) background. What are you doing to encourage this growth in your company or what have you heard? Is STEM training something your company or your customers are starting to want?