I am sure most of you have heard the word “nanotechnology”. Most of you probably don’t really have any idea of what it really is, much less why someone in HR should be paying attention to it. I am here to tell you why.
Wikipedia (the font of all knowledge) defines nanotechnology this way:
“… as the manipulation of matter with at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometers. This definition reflects the fact that quantum mechanical effects are important at this quantum-realm scale, and so the definition shifted from a particular technological goal to a research category inclusive of all types of research and technologies that deal with the special properties of matter that occur below the given size threshold.”
Think small…. Really, really small. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter. To put that in perspective 50,000 nanometers side-by-side is equivalent to the width of the average human hair.
That is interesting, but…
I am sure you are saying “Well that is interesting, but I am in HR, why do I really care?” You need to care, and be aware, because nanotechnology is going to radically change many of the industries in which you work. If it changes your industry it will change the jobs in your industry; it will change the types of employees needed in your industry; it will change the tools those employees use and subsequently the training those employees are going to need; and as you will see in the video below it will change things more quickly than you think.
So, in order to be the progressive, think-ahead HR professional you have desired to be you need to start thinking about nanotechnology. Start wondering what may be changing in your industry. Pay attention to industry publications. Then start thinking about how the nature of work may change in your company. Then expand that to the job descriptions of employees who might be affected by those changes, and so on.
If you do this you will be prepared on how to deal with some of those changes. You will not be behind the curve. You will be proactive.
Below is a video of a remarkable nanotechnology that has produced an unbelievable waterproofing capability. I first read about this in New Nanotech Keeps Fabrics and Machinery Dry. I have already come up with a list of about 15 applications for this technology that could keep employees safer, dryer and cleaner than is currently occurring. See how many you can think of. This video is of Mark Know giving a TED demonstration.