di Cristiano Galli


In a globalized and network-centered space, it is increasingly complicated to place a clear divide between military and non-military issues. More than ever this is true when we approach human resources (HR) functions: from hiring and recruiting, to training and development, assessment and evaluation, to career development and talent retention, HR functions is probably the most important organizational function since it addresses the key organizational resource, that is, the human element.


Like other issues in the organizational domain, HR requires a comprehensive approach engaging diversified professional areas of expertise. Historically speaking, HR functions have been the natural domain for Industrial and Organizational Psychology professionals but it’s becoming more and more necessary to expand the domain to interdisciplinary sectors in order to approach HR with an innovative perspective. Forward-looking leading organizations are increasing their HR workforce with Information Technology, Anthropology, Complex Adaptive Systems Dynamics, Socio Physics, Social, Cognitive and Economic Neuroscience experts and many more.


Few hot topics are emerging in the fields that require integrated project teams bringing a 360° technical and perspective approach to solution finding and research development. First of all, “what kind of leadership competencies models for future fit leaders and how to discover and nurture talents?”

This issue requires a complete turnaround from classical leadership theories. Leadership is shifting from a “personal set of knowledge, abilities, attitudes and competencies” to a “relational process” involving people at every hierarchical level of the organization, top-down command and bottom-up execution is not enough anymore. Leadership-followership dynamics are constantly shifting across organizational networks. Complexity theories are guiding a new approach to competencies and should be seen as “strange attractors” through which leadership is performing the function of free energy flow enabler, in order to facilitate the rising of emerging states: from a social relational self, to a Dumbar(1) limited anthropological Team, to an up scaled organizational dimension (Team of Teams), back to an augmented self and team into the Strategic Dimension of organizational top leadership.


The second core issue is “implementation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) in HR functions”.

Soft skills approach following complexity principles requires a brand new approach to assessment, decision-making and learning methodologies. AI and ANN are indispensable tools to implement a complex approach to HR functions like assessment, recruiting, development, instructional design and related methodologies. Only neural networks can map and follow up on complex dynamics competencies. Classical psychometrics are not fit anymore for future fit leadership competencies.


Another trending issue is “wearable sensoring for competencies development”.


Wearables are becoming more and more invasive in our daily life. We have smart watches and bands measuring our physiological parameters for sport performances, sleep quality, and general health purposes. Technology is there, the problem is how to transport this technology in support of training and education inside organizations. The main broadly debated issue is related to the balance between the objective and effective feedback that technology would provide to experiential learning activities and coaching while preserving the privacy and the psychological safety of the learners. This, of course, requires a strong hold between HR needs and academic and technological research.


Last but not least, “Virtual and Augmented reality in support of educational methodologies”.

Virtual and Augmented Reality platforms (VR and VR), from E-Real caves to Holographic goggles are key tools to create inexpensive and safe simulation environment in which training and education can push forward on lasting and sustainable behavioral change. Learning and memory are strongly affected by multisensory and emotional activation. The use of VR and AR can empower teachers and training professionals, in relation with Instructional Designer, in order to deliver an unprecedented quality of education and training.


These trending topics are the object of worldwide organizational discussion in workshops and conferences. Several leading organizations in different fields are promoting events in which these topics will be discussed and integrated in order to create a linkage between technology, models and methodologies. A dedicated event is currently being promoted in the UAE and will feature European and Middle East companies sharing and promoting specific solutions for an augmented approach to HR organizational functions.




(1) Dunbar’s number is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. Relationships in which an individual knows who each person is and how each person relates to every other person. This number was proposed in the 1990s by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, who found a correlation between primate brain size and average social group size. By using the average human brain size and extrapolating from the results of primates, he proposed that humans can comfortably maintain 150 stable relationships.