6 Drivers of Change
In the not-too-distant past, if you hadn’t learned something by the age of 21, you would never learn it. However, the knowledge you had by then would most likely remain useful for your entire life. For young people mainly destined for careers on the factory lines, schools prepared them with the knowledge and skills required to perform industrial tasks to perfection.
The age of industry has since yielded to the digital age. Novel forces are shaping the work landscape:
- Increasing lifespans. Workers can expect to change careers at least once. The ongoing,
voluntary and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge will be essential.
- The rise of workplace automation. Machines and artificial intelligence will eliminate more
jobs. The need for workers to build the algorithms that control the machines means that
automation will also create jobs.
- Sensors and processing power make the world a programmable place.
- Communication technology is the primary cause of social change. Today’s new media
ecology is comprised of media forms that are native to computers, computational and reliant
on computers for distribution.
- Social technologies dominate.
- Our planet is globally connected.
Today, what you have learned by the age of 21 is simply a foundation on which you develop yourself. Learning and education should be thought of as a lifelong project where competencies are learned, developed – and unlearned – as necessary. Changeability is the norm.
10 Skills for the 21st Century
The world of work in the digital age will require 10 skills:
- Critical thinking: The ability to think clearly and rationally, understanding how and why ideas connect.
- Social intelligence: The ability to connect to others effectively, to sense and stimulate reactions and interactions.
- Innovation: The ability to develop solutions and ideas.
- Cross-cultural competency: The ability to operate in different cultural settings.
- Entrepreneurialism: The ability to meet an unsatisfied demand or to radically improve the
performance of something.
- Media literacy: The ability to develop and use content across media forms.
- Trans-disciplinarity: The ability to access, analyse and synthesise information across several disciplines or subjects.
- Productivity and accountability: The ability to create a product and be accountable for its performance.
- Cognitive load management: The ability to discriminate and filter information for
importance. This involves all aspects of perception, thinking, reasoning and remembering.
- Collaboration: The ability to work productively, to drive engagement and to demonstrate presence as a member of a team, physically or virtually.