FOMU - Finding Opportunities to Make Unicorns

Guido Helmerhorst
Founder & CGO

FOMU, or the Fear of Messing Up, is a common feeling that many people experience when tasked with implementing new innovations. This holds especially true for people in the HR and training industry, where the stakes are high and the pressure to succeed can be overwhelming.

With the right mindset and strategies, it is possible to overcome FOMU and successfully integrate new technologies like virtual reality into learning programs. We therefor propose to update the definition of FOMU to Finding Opportunities to Make Unicorns.

In this context, here are 10 common fears of messing up, along with advice on how to overcome them:

Fear of failure

You may worry about the successful implementation of new innovations, leading to wasted time and resources. Focus on the potential benefits of the innovation and take a step-by-step approach from creation to implementation. Start small and iterate, as Nick Brashier from EDF shared in our webinar on immersive learning for safety and soft skills training.

Fear of resistance

Employees may be resistant to new technologies, which can make implementation more challenging. In the immersive learning context, the best way to overcome this fear is showing them. Communicate clearly with employees and let them experience the technology to lower their resistance. Erik Meuwsen shared a great tip in our webinar on how to use VR for education: let users first play around with headsets for about an hour, then dive into the content in the next session.

Fear of cost

Implementing new technologies can be expensive and cause anxiety for those responsible for innovation. Communicate the right expectations, build solid business cases, and start small. Showing people short term results makes it easier to explain long term cost savings. The current state of the market is that there are tools out there that don't require huge upfront costs and allow you to start small and then scale, as for example Dutch Railways did.

Fear of technical difficulties

You may worry about not having the technical expertise to implement new technologies. Distinguish between usage by end users on the one hand, and management of hardware, software, and content on the other. We advise to have someone provide technical support and guidance for the latter. Headset are pretty straightforward to use and aren’t even necessary as you can also play on mobile phones, tablets, and the web.

Fear of lack of ROI

HR and training professionals may worry that they won't see a return on investment from implementing new immersive learning technologies. Talk about the required business impact and measure accordingly and regularly to tackle this. Impact can be different for everyone: it's more about increasing the speed of training, increasing engagement, or providing better digital tools in a hybrid working world. Watch our webinar on immersive learning for safety and soft skills training to learn what this meant for Shell Brunei.

Fear of user adoption

Employees may not use new technology as intended, which can be frustrating for HR and training professionals. Making immersive learning part of an omnichannel or blended approach is crucial. VR learning is not a standalone product and should be part of the learning paths designed in your LMS or LXP. Watch our webinar HXM Time to learn with VR to learn how Erste Bank integrated VR learning into SAP SuccessFactors.

Fear of data security

Implementing new technologies can raise concerns about data security and privacy. IT departments can help mitigate these fears by recognizing potential dangers and helping you to mitigate these. Early involvement of your IT department and transparency of your vendors is key. For pilot and small scale implementations, heavy paperwork can often be avoided, and it's a great moment to test the data security part.

Fear of disrupting existing programs

You may worry that implementing new technologies will disrupt existing programs and processes. It can and should, but you can control to what level it occurs. Immersive learning allows you to redesign current programs and processes, and make situational learning part of the continuous learning flow. Embrace that, stand in front of a whiteboard, and sketch it out. Find likeminded colleagues and run a trial program. Communicate the challenges you face to the participants and co-create solutions.

Fear of time constraints

Implementing new technologies can be time consuming and daunting. We recommend to start small to show value and help management see that some time is needed to get various people involved. Innovation can be messy, but making small iterations will help you manage your time as efficiently as possible. Wach our webinar on how to use VR for education to learn how Hotelschool The Hague handles this.

Fear of lack of expertise

You may worry that you don't have the expertise needed to implement new technologies successfully, and that's perfectly normal. Seek out training and support from experts in the field and build a network of peers who can provide guidance and support. Communities like the VR/AR Association and books like Virtual Reality for Business are a great place to start.


FOMU is a common feeling when it comes to implementing new technologies like virtual reality in the learning and development domain. By starting small, focusing on the impact and potential benefits of the innovation, involving employees in the implementation process, and seeking out support and guidance from experts, it's possible to overcome these fears and successfully integrate new technologies into your training programs.

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