Quantum has been called the most impactful technology humans have ever created.

It is destined to change everything we do—how we live, work and play. With its implications for transforming every industry, today’s business executives and leaders need to stay ahead of the curve in the rapidly evolving field of quantum information science and technology (QIST) to capitalize on its potential. 

“Quantum is coming,” says Christopher Bishop, an international business consultant and host of the Quantum Tech podcast. “In fact, it’s already here. If you’re not working it into your business strategy, one way or another, you can be sure your competitors are. Someone is striving to take the lead in your vertical by applying this new technology. If you want it to be you, jump in. Now’s the time.”

The challenge? QIST is still relatively new, and employers have a hard time finding specific training in quantum technologies with a business focus on the needs of leaders with profit and loss responsibilities.

Fortunately, a handful of targeted programs are available from skills and workforce development providers such as ASU CareerCatalyst. Its Quantum Technologies for Executives and Leaders course connects business managers and entrepreneurs to top scientific research facilities, leading QIST scholars, and prominent industry experts to discover the implications of quantum technologies and learn how to implement a QIST strategy in their organization.

Going All In On Quantum

With its enormous potential to revolutionize many different industries, QIST is attracting immense levels of investment for its development. This will likely lead to breakthrough advances in technology, and with it, tremendous opportunities to drive business, generate revenue, take market share, and get shareholders, partners and employees excited about your company’s prospects.

Quantum technology companies attracted more than $2.35 billion in private investment last year, slightly breaking the record set in 2021. A new report by McKinsey suggests this investment could be well placed, as companies deploying quantum stand to gain $1.3 trillion in value by 2035 (McKinsey 2023). 

What’s more, the National Quantum Initiative, which was established by Congress in 2018 and recently renewed, provides funding and coordination to enhance and accelerate U.S. QIST research and development, fund partnerships with industry, invest in QIST infrastructure, promote international cooperation, strengthen supply chains, and develop QIST talent (The National Quantum Initiative Advisory Committee report, 2023).  

“If executives expect to implement and lead growth strategies for their organizations,” Bishop asserts, “they need to understand the role quantum will play, communicate effectively about the impact of QIST on their industry, and develop plans for recruiting a workforce that anticipates and facilitates the future of quantum technologies.” 

If you’re like most people, you have some learning ahead of you to get up to speed on the implications of quantum in business. To get started, these are the three fundamental aspects of quantum you need to know.

#1: Quantum Cuts Across Industries

Based on the principles of quantum mechanics, quantum technologies solve many problems exponentially faster than current technology, and they do it with less energy. “I call it quantum supremacy,” Bishop says. “For example, Google claimed they solved a problem with their quantum computer in 200 seconds that would have taken a classical computer 10,000 years to solve. That’s just a taste of how far quantum can take us.”

Bishop points out that quantum technology empowers businesses to do any number of functions better, such as financial services, where microseconds impact the amount of revenue generated. It’s used to enhance encryption, improve fraud detection and prevention, optimize investment strategies, make new drug discoveries—even predict the weather. 

“It’s a game-changer technology that will spark substantial investment, drive innovation, and reshape the business landscape in what is likely to become a great leap forward in transformative new technology,” Bishop says.

#2 You Must Build a Roadmap for Quantum

To stay on the cutting edge, you should be able to identify potential applications for quantum and know how to lead the incorporation of QIST within your organization. 

“Begin now by keeping an eye on progress in quantum technology,” Bishop advises. Read the literature, consult expert sources and stay abreast of developments. Study the roadmaps of thought leaders in the field, and look at how they’re putting them together. 

“Ideally, you would put a team of people in place who can help you monitor the advent of QIST,” Bishop says, “and begin to envision plans and scenarios for the ways it could affect your company.”

#3 Quantum Requires its Own Workforce

Identifying strategic and relevant QIST staffing needs is critical and should be top of mind for every company today. A quantum technology and talent ecosystem already exists, including government agencies, research organizations, academic institutions and industry. “You can and should connect with this system,” Bishop says, “and begin to create a talent pipeline for quantum technologies.” 

While you’re at it, make an effort to get into the mindset of quantum professionals. Understanding the culture of the QIST workforce while fostering innovation, collaboration and teamwork will help you develop strategies for attracting and retaining the talent your organization will need.

How to Get Up to Speed with Quantum Technology

As mentioned earlier, excellent training in QIST adaptation and management is now available from ASU CareerCatalyst. The Quantum Technologies for Executives and Leaders course focuses on the business side of quantum and its enormous application potential for industry. 

Science and technology leaders and professionals can delve into the exciting landscape of QIST, exploring its disruptive potential across academia, government, and industry. By gaining a deep understanding of past developments, current advancements, and the transformative power of QIST adoption, learners become better equipped to drive quantum progress, create competitive advantages for their organizations, shape the future of the field and propel their careers to new heights.

The course leverages insights from renowned quantum experts across academia, industry, and government, unlocks the collective wisdom of Dell Technologies, General Dynamics, IBM Quantum, Inside Quantum Technology and the U.S. State Department. Learners begin with an introduction to QIST and the core principles of quantum mechanics. Then they explore a variety of quantum technologies, spanning sensing and metrology, communication, networking, simulation, computing and machine learning. 

Beyond the technical aspects, the course illuminates the economic, geopolitical and national security ramifications of ongoing QIST research and development. The course also demystifies the complex topics of post-quantum cryptography and encryption, as well as providing business leaders insights into the landscape of quantum investments. 

Talent transformation and management is key to cultivating a competitive quantum workforce, so learners will acquire strategies for sourcing, recruiting, and retaining diverse quantum professionals to build quantum-competent teams within their businesses. Furthermore, they will develop the skills needed to create quantum technology roadmaps and establish organizational standards, while seamlessly integrating QIST-based approaches into existing workflows.

Upskilling for QIST Leadership at Arizona State University

ASU’s CareerCatalyst advances the workforce of tomorrow, today. CareerCatalyst upskills learners directly through a range of ready-to-learn offerings and partners with organizations on tailored talent-transforming education programs. Powered by the #1 ranked university for innovation, a holistic range of learning experiences blend vital professional and technical skills, supporting learners from entry to executive level. Tapping ASU’s wealth of knowledge — from the expertise of our faculty and researchers to industry connections – CareerCatalyst aims to spark workforce development and economic growth through a more skilled workforce.

Learn how you can upskill in quantum technology leadership to plan for and implement a QIST strategy and program for your organization.