For nonprofit leaders, the barriers are abundant when making a business case for costly initiatives. Too often we at organizational consulting firm Brighter Strategies see our clients making important strategic decisions through a short-term lens.

“Executives understand they need to invest in technology to drive new business models; however, they have a hard time making the business case for that investment,” Deloitte Insights reports in its recent publication, The Fourth Industrial Revolution is here – are you ready?  “When asked what the hindrances were, executives most often point to a lack of internal alignment (43 percent), a lack of collaboration with external partners (38 percent) and a focus on the short term (37 percent).”

Today’s workplace, ripe with disruption and change, requires leaders with foresight who are not afraid to challenge the status quo. The need for innovative thinking, risk taking, and agility has never been greater.

New technologies shaping the future of work

Emerging technologies, by their very nature, have the capability to change the status quo. Most nonprofit agencies are not pushing the boundaries when it comes to technology; rather, many are behind the curve. Most often this lag is due to a lack of knowledge about the cutting-edge resources available. Below are some of the prominent emerging technologies that are transforming the workplace and practical uses for each.

Virtual reality and augmented reality

Virtual reality (VR) is a completely immersive experience in a simulated environment. VR is a type of gamification that allows employees to interact within a true-to-life situation as they are learning new processes. Augmented reality (AR) is a form of VR that layers digital elements as three-dimensional images in a real-world environment. AR is a powerful tool for on-the-job performance support. These new technologies take case studies and role playing to another level, providing a new depth of employee training and skills building.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning

According to Forbes, “artificial Intelligence [AI] is the broader concept of machines being able to carry out tasks in a way that we would consider ‘smart,’ and machine learning is a current application of AI based around the idea that we should really just be able to give machines access to data and let them learn for themselves.” Many organizations are using AI to automate manual tasks, which frees up employees to focus on the more human skills required by their jobs, such as creative thinking, collaboration, and communication. Machine learning is increasingly used in conjunction with big data as companies leverage predictive analytics to make business decisions.

One size fits one

Emerging technology critics express disdain for those chasing new and shiny objects. Brighter Strategies understands that your organization, with its unique strategy, business goals, and leadership team should examine the feasibility of adopting any new resource, including these leading-edge technologies. We advocate for a systems approach, which examines how the various people, planning, process, and performance components of your organization work together to advance your mission. Investing in such resources is worth it when they directly contribute to your organization’s strategic priorities.

So what makes sense for you?

If you are weary of chasing best practices and yearn to stay on the edge of the newly adopted, Brighter Strategies is here to help. Contact us today to learn more.