One in four education professionals say a robot would be better at decision-making than their boss, finds new survey

The Advanced Trends Report 2018 finds that, while staff are keen to utilise new technology, a lack of clear leadership is holding back its adoption

26% of education professionals believe a robot would be better at decision-making than their boss, if it had access to the right business intelligence, suggest figures from the recently released Advanced Trends Report 2018.

Advanced’s third annual survey sees more than 1,000 professionals in UK organisations having their say on how businesses are faring in the digital era. The research comes at a time when teachers and their leaders will be expected to have a digital skill-set, with the government pledging £8 million to help them prepare for T Levels (the technical equivalent to A Levels).

“Disruptive technology is bringing into question everything that makes up a typical education organisation,” said Doug Hargrove, Managing Director – Education & Legal – at Advanced. “While robots are unlikely to take on the job of decision-maker – the reality is that they are simply not suited to such complex tasks and will work side-by-side with humans – our findings suggest that employees are dissatisfied with their current leadership, want to get rid of arbitrary decision-making, and want to challenge the norms. So who is it that needs to step up, providing the clear direction that people need and take charge of the intense change happening as a result of the digital era?”

Technology changes the make-up of the workforce, which is why creating an open and collaborative culture is so critical. Doug Hargrove, MD – Education & Legal – at Advanced

What’s clear is that there is appetite among respondents for innovative technology, with the right leadership, to play a greater part in augmenting their roles. The report reveals that 31% want to see cloud services in their daily working lives, followed by wearable technology (25%), predictive analytics (24%) and business intelligence (21%); one in five want to see artificial intelligence.

The fact that many education professionals want to see disruptive technologies in their daily working life is encouraging, say the report’s writers, arguing that it will drive productivity and win back critical thinking time. For example, 53% said they would spend an extra 60 minutes a day on planning and forecasting. But, the research highlights, there must be an openness to embrace change for every individual in the workforce if any technological innovation is to succeed in delivering the anticipated business benefits.

Doug added: “Bosses need to decide who in the organisation is best placed to drive a change in culture and support all employees in any technology transition. This means helping staff understand how innovative technology will enable them to focus on higher value roles and how it will positively impact their productivity.

“Ultimately, technology changes the make-up of the workforce, which is why creating an open and collaborative culture is so critical. New candidates in entry-level roles working on the ground are likely to be more digitally savvy, so would make great ambassadors to drive change and ensure innovation happens. As a result, education organisations will see more people feel open to embracing the change and placing confidence in their leadership.”

The Advanced Trends Survey was carried out online in September 2018. The highlights of the report can be found here: