December 2016, by So-Young Kang

Disruption and change have become the new norm. Many have been left confused, frustrated, or fearful of the changes that lie ahead. The good news is evolution. As humanity, we have been designed to evolve and adapt to our surroundings. If we don’t adapt, we will become extinct. History of mankind has shown us this. What this means is that we have the capacity and capability to evolve.

Evolution requires: 1) openness to future trends, 2) purposeful intention, and 3) courage to move into the unknown.


To share an example close to home, Awaken Group is also not immune to digital disruption which is causing nearly every industry in the world to rethink its business models. We see this happening in training and development as 72% of large enterprises are ready to adopt EdTech solutiuons and over $12 billion USD* is being spent in mobile learning alone. For a company that prides itself in the powerful experiential learning journeys we curate and deliver for clients, these trends point to a more challenging future ahead. So we were left with a choice…

• Continue to focus on what we have done to preserve 40% of our revenues from capability building and try to do it better
• Shift focus from training to consulting & design work
• Evolve or
• Some combination of the above

We chose to embrace the future that lies ahead with purposeful intention. Our intention was to do our best to re-create a powerful experiential learning journey using technology. This led us to spin out a new mobile learning and engagement platform called Gnowbe, an EdTech company, with a team of top developers from San Francisco and Singapore. We understood that it could disrupt parts of our capability building business. And we also recognized the need to scale training at lower cost to reach millions around the world in a way that face-to-face could not deliver.


We are charting new territory as the challenge of creating a powerful experience on mobile where people can reflect and change behaviors has not been solved yet. We are on the frontiers of something new. As we evolve, we are finding that this innovation is actually enriching our core business as we can now offer a blended learning experience for sustained behavior change and impact after our programs. We don’t know how everything will play out in the end. But we choose to walk with intention, driven by our purpose to humanize the world to greater joy and beauty. This gives us the courage to keep evolving.

As we enter the holidays, I want to encourage you to take some time to reflect on what’s been happening in your businesses, industries, and in your lives. What trends are you seeing? What is your purpose? What choices would you like to make to continue evolving in 2017?

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*Source: eLearning Industry