"The Magic Number of Greatness": ASU and Infosys are Opening Doors to Opportunity

In his 2008 book “Outliers,” Malcolm Gladwell wrote that “ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness.” The meaning behind this, in theory, is simple. To be considered elite and truly experienced within a certain craft, you must practice it for ten thousand hours.

For many looking to join the American workforce today, the chance to start working towards “the magic number of greatness” is out there, it’s just a matter of finding that opportunity. And as Chamber Foundation vice president Jason Tyszko recently wrote, those pathways to opportunity should be co-designed

“The business community succeeds or fails based on its ability to find and develop a consistent and reliable pipeline of high-quality talent,” said Tyszko. “Thus the business community is very interested in what is taught in our nation’s postsecondary institutions.”

A great example of this is a new partnership formed between Infosys, a multinational technology consulting company, and Arizona State University (ASU), an institution that is known for engaging in partnerships and initiatives that continuously improve the development of the American workforce. 

The Technology and Innovation Center in the SkySong ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center marks Infosys’s sixth U.S. hub, one that looks to tap into the rich academic environment and large talent pool the university offers. The company has also announced a partnership with InStride, a global learning services firm that allows employers to provide their employees degrees and credentials through universities, to allow its own employees to utilize the courses and degree programs offered at ASU. 

Infosys chose ASU as a partner for this new hub because of the school’s reputation for building trusted business partners and pipelines of specialized talent, as well as SkySong’s reputation as a home for technology, engineering, data science, and cybersecurity innovation. 

This partnership not only benefits the future IT workforce, but also provides Infosys employees with upskilling opportunities and a way to attract fresh talent to ASU to obtain new skills in the IT field. With this partnership in place, ASU also benefits by having a direct connection to its employer partners, in this case an employer on the front lines of studying, testing, and finding solutions to challenges in artificial intelligence, big data, and cloud systems. 

This investment will be a catalyst for the IT community, producing high-quality talent aligned to the dynamic needs of business in a state that Arizona Governor Doug Ducey says is a “tech industry leader.” Public-private partnerships like these are the way to maintain that status.

The alignment of education and business in order to maximize the potential of workforce systems is one of the guiding strategies within the Chamber Foundation’s Talent Pipeline Management (TPM) initiative. Collaboration between employers and educational institutions allows for efficient and effective identification of workforce needs. 

Setting up the next generation of the American workforce, and continuing to educate the current generation, is a task that cannot be accomplished by businesses alone. The initiative that Infosys took in partnering with ASU is one that businesses, large or small, can replicate in their own communities. Infosys’s connection with ASU is an example of a large company connecting with a large university, however, as the TPM initiative shows, conversation between education and business is imperative at any level if a community wants to address a skills gap or workforce system problem. 

These collaborations are not meant to happen overnight, but rather developed over time in order to set up a plan for the future of a workforce system. The discussions could take hours, ten thousand even, but that’s what it takes for a workforce to achieve greatness.