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In order to thrive in the age of digital disruption, companies should start focusing on six roles, according to Scott Snyder, partner of Heidrick & Struggles and co-author of the book, Goliath’s Revenge: How Established Companies Turn the Tables on Digital Disruptors.

Here are the six roles proposed by Snyder:

  1. Product incubation manager: Going beyond typical project management with the skills needed to be savvy about the unique triggers of the digital generation.
  2. Behaviour scientists: Combining consulting experience and neuroscience/behavioural economics to create personalised nudges that shift behaviour.
  3. Journey mappers: Applying the scientific approach to understanding context and constructing user journeys.
  4. Business modellers: Rapid experimentation to challenge business model assumptions in a complex and fast-changing business condition.
  5. Solution finders: Cultivating innovation networks to translate raw inventions into complete solutions that meet a defined need.
  6. Emerging technology specialists: Tracking, translating, and hyper-testing technologies such as AI, IoT, blockchain to identify how they can impact the company.

The two most demanding roles are technology specialists – who will need to understand how to translate and apply new technologies such as AI and IoT to cases in specific enterprise functions such as HR, legal, and R&D and require a strong blend of both digital technology awareness and specific areas of the business – and behavioural scientists.

“Given the scarcity in some of these emerging profiles, companies need to blend internal talent development with external staffing to get the right mix of fresh digital talent and institutional knowledge in these new roles,” Snyder said.

He advised companies to develop digital talent across the enterprise in all functions and lines of the business, starting from defining these roles, communicating ideas to employees, and providing them access to micro-learning programmes, mentoring and coaching.

“Valuing talent over technology” means nurturing the six new roles, along with the right 3D (design, development, and data science) digital talent, and developing leaders with digital dexterity.

Commenting on the future of human resources, Snyder told Human Resources: “HR will be an enabler in shaping the company’s future talent and culture profile to support its growth ambition and digital advantage, while building a legacy enterprise function that can show the way in reinventing itself using digital technologies, for example, digital employee engagement, AI-based assessment tools, and immersive virtual learning.”