The Indian start-up sector has done very well thanks to the country’s large number of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. And the sector has done equally well to give back to society, especially in the skills development area, benefitting companies as well as individuals.
In the HR space, for organisations across sectors like manufacturing, banking, insurance, hospitality, and IT services, digital start-ups are challenging larger HR product suites by relegating them to ‘systems of record’ status, while creating new platforms that enable systems of insight and engagement to be created and deployed. Skills Alpha, one of the newest start-ups from the 5F World stable of digital solutions, has found the perfect solution to the problem of motivating millions of millennials through extensive use of AI-based cognitive and adaptive learning methodologies. Skills Alpha is a platform that uses the best of engagement tools to provide a truly adaptive learning environment for young learners who are engaged by a ‘bot’ from the minute they gets on to the platform, enabling them to assess their own aspirations and goals, look at alternative learning and career paths, and get thoroughly engaged on journeys of content discovery, opportunity exploration and learning throughout their tenure in the organisation.
The advantage of such start-up innovations in skills is that they can transform the outlook and learning of different categories of audiences. The most obvious is the corporate executive who can plot his/her career graph and acquire skills at his/her own pace to meet goals, supported by the HR. College students preparing for industry readiness can also benefit by acquiring both technical and soft skills such as interview behaviour before they start their job quest. High school students can explore career options and even experience workplace situations through AI and virtual reality before embarking on a course or programme. Even the underprivileged youth who enter ‘safe spaces’ to acquire skills can continue to have the virtual safe space created by start-ups for ongoing interaction with mentors and coaches as they attempt to build a better quality of life.
The last aspect is probably one that has far reaching consequences for nations like India. With the complexities of our socio-economic position and the diversity of our people, start-ups that have the flexibility to bring new solutions to each customer and enable them to achieve their individual goals—in learning, banking, healthcare or micro-entrepreneurship—will be those that truly add value. And a new generation of start-ups solving social problems of the day are awaited as India moves towards transformation.
Dr Ganesh Natarajan is Executive Chairman and Founder of 5F World, a platform for skills, start-ups, and social Ventures in India. He is also Chairman of the NASSCOM Foundation as well as Global Talent Track, a pioneer in employability skills training in Asia. He is the former Vice-Chairman and CEO of Zensar Technologies.