You will need new skills in the workplace of the future

Posted by Janice Scheckter on 17 November 2016, 08:20 CAT

There are so many drivers disrupting the workplace as we know it today. Included are expanded lifespans – globally, the rise of smart machines that will make the repetitive, rote-type tasks performed by humans, redundant and a globally connected and computational world among others.

Skills such as new media literacy, cross-cultural competency, design mindset, cognitive load management, sense-making and of course virtual collaboration will be required.

So let’s unpack some of the skills for greater clarity.

Sense-making. The concept is that higher level thinking skills cannot be codified, so while machines may well take over the repetitive tasks currently performed by humans, these skills will, in essence, will support higher level thinking and more strategic and critical levels of decision making.

Social intelligence is about gaining another skill above machines. Socially intelligent employees quickly assess the emotions of those around them and adapt their words, tone and gestures accordingly and in a collaborative environment this is critical.

Novel and adaptive thinking talk to the ability to respond to novel and unexpected events.

Diversity is a driver of innovation and the skills of cross-cultural competency heightens the ability to truly embrace diversity. 

The skills to operate in transdisciplinary ways acknowledge that global problems can no longer be solved by single-focused specialisations. According to Howard Rheingold, a prominent forecaster and author, “transdisciplinary goes beyond bringing together researchers from different disciplines to work in multidisciplinary teams. It means educating researchers who can speak languages of multiple disciplines—biologists who have an understanding of mathematics, mathematicians who understand biology.”

Cognitive load management talks to the ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximise cognitive functioning using a variety of tools and techniques. It’s really about ‘filter and focus’ around mass data.

And then, of course, there is virtual collaboration which plugs into all the above skills but it’s also about the ability to work productively which can have a number of influencers including, quick access to institutional knowledge and agile alignment and innovation.

Those companies embracing virtual collaboration will be more competitive having increased efficiencies in multiple ways.

Janice Scheckter is the co-founder of Indigo New Media and presenter of Collaboration Central.

See the latest episode – Is UBER really a collaborative era disruptor?

Source: Future of Work Skills 2020

Institute for the Future for the University of Phoenix Research Institute




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