"Saving the World with HPT": A Critical, Scientific, and Consultative Reflection

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If we aim to save the world with human performance technology (HPT), the answer, it would seem, is, "Everything." Given this, it is logical to ask if we are really prepared to handle everything.

An article recently printed in Performance Improvement reopens a discussion said to have been addressed at the 2003 International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) conference in Boston, Massachusetts, namely, "can HPT be used to save the world" (Andrews, Farrington, Packer, & Kaufman, 2004)?

That discussion is indeed progressive. However, despite its progressiveness, it points toward larger shortcomings within our profession that hide in plain sight and threaten the credibility of our field and proponents of HPT. In clarifying and addressing the issues, I will approach first from the standpoint of a sociologically oriented critic who seeks to deconstruct and explore the potential of HPT to legitimately solve problems that arise in social situations. Then I will take the standpoint of a technologist and consultant and offer a direction for HPT thinking and acting that may address these gaps and allow us to continuously improve our own performance.