The pace of change from technology is speeding up. So how will 2013 be different than 2012? Will 2013 actually be the “year of collaboration?”  This is something people have been predicting every year for the last 20 years. I can remember writing articles in 1990 about “will this be the year for GroupWare?”

What I can say about 2013 is that more people are now aware of collaboration (in whatever form) and how critical it is to work. Many of my predictions are about new and sweeping technologies, but many others are about people and process. Let’s see how things play out via 10 predictions. This article just covers the first 2 predictions; the others will be in future articles.

1. Collaborative Tools for HR

My old joke about HR was that “its role was to lose resumes.” But things have changed and so is HR. Aside from the fact that talent can now be crowdsourced (BarrelofJobs, BeKnown, Simply Hired, Top Prospect, etc.) and people are using their personal networks to find candidates.

HR has to create better processes to collaborate around top talent and its acquisition, because if you found them, then someone else did also! Tools like Unrabble not only help rate candidates, but expedite the hiring process.

Then let’s take into account the mobile revolution. Collaborative tools on mobile devices are changing the way we work. Tools like Seesmic, Fuze Meeting, Soonr, Mighty Meeting and others not only support documents and content on mobile devices, but full multi-media and video conferencing.

It is now possible for a scenario like this to occur: Acme Corp needs a new widget architect. Widget architects are not that easy to find, so when the requisition comes to HR they try a variety of channels: they ask everyone in the company if they know of such a person or have worked with such a person. They then tell employees that if they or their friends help find the right widget architect, and they get hired, you will receive US$ 5000. They can use a host of tools to search for a widget architect, like on LinkedIn.

Once candidates are located they may be initially screened through a quick test on widget architecture to cull the best of the group. They are then passed into a collaborative HR system where multiple people (including the hiring manager) can interview the candidate (most anywhere through a mobile device) at whatever level of interaction they want (text to full video).

A few candidates make it through this process which may take a day or two (not weeks), since you can assume these talented widget architects have other offers. Offers are made to the candidates, and the ones that accept have been found and hired within a week.

The candidate may be on the other side of the globe and work virtually, or may fly in occasionally to work with the widget team. The whole process is documented and then stored with the candidate’s records for future use. As Andy Grove (former CEO of Intel) once said “you are either quick or dead.”

Another big change coming is thinking of people/employees as a service. I have talked about how groups of people can be a service (crowds), but this is the idea that an individual person can be a service. Or as CollabWorks puts it, a WaaS (Worker as a Service, See Figure 1) i.e., having the right worker do the right work at the right time.

Figure 1: WaaS -- Worker as a Service; from CollabWorks

Michael Grove (backed by an all star advisory group (me included)) sees the ability to plan people capital for a task at about 80 percent and the other 20 percent (which may be unknown at the start of the project) will be from “on-demand” workers.