Skills professionals need for the future


Mic Mann | Co-CEO | SingularityU South Africa | mail me |

As exponential technologies are more widely adopted across the globe, we’ll see professions transform. Some will be disrupted entirely due to advancements in automation, mechanisation and robotics, but this will also create space for new technology-enabled job opportunities that we cannot yet imagine.

There are three main skills that I believe professionals will require in order to stay relevant and avoid being disrupted in future. These are: develop an agility mindset, adopt a creative approach and leverage the power of networks.

This article is part of a series about the professional industry, how it has evolved over the centuries and how it will continue to evolve in the future due to the widespread adoption of exponential technologies. The second article will talk about catalysing the future of professionals, while the third will cover a timeline of the evolution of the professional. The final article in this series will discuss how human-machine convergence will enhance professionals.

Develop an agility mindset

The world is changing quickly, and we need to be agile, ready to adapt to change and willing to constantly learn new concepts and skills. We need to be able to adapt with changing roles or get into entirely new roles and industries. That means embracing scalable learning opportunities through the internet, online courses and live events, beyond the traditional education system. These will allow us to reskill and retool our careers a number of times throughout our lifetimes in order to keep up with the change that exponential technologies will bring, and to ensure that we are not disrupted. An agility mindset will help us move from a single-discipline to a multiple-discipline society.

Twenty-six-year-old Stacey Ferreira – who spoke at the SingularityU South Africa Summit 2018 in Johannesburg – has already had five careers. She studied programming and developed an app. Next, thanks to her ingenuity on social media, she managed to get $2-million worth of funding from Richard Branson, which she used to become the CEO of a start-up. Later, she sold that start-up only to write a best-selling novel 2 Billion Under 20: How Millennials Are Breaking Down Age Barriers and Changing the World. She is a world-renowned speaker and has co-founded a Silicon Valley start-up called Forge, which is an on-demand labour marketplace that caters to the rising gig economy.

Adopt a creative approach

Creativity is going to be another key skill in the future. Our ability to find solutions to problems we cannot even conceive will come with help from Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, mathematical algorithms, machine learning and robotics. These exponential technologies are going to take humanity to another level.

A leading manufacturer of power tools presented their new recruits with a power drill and asked if that is indeed what the company sells. Though somewhat confused, they all agreed that yes, that is what their company sells. The trainer then showed them a neatly drilled hole in a wall and suggested that, in fact, this is what they sell and what their customers really want. And that it is their job to find more creative, competitive and imaginative ways of giving their customers what they want.

Most professionals, when thinking about their future, tend to have a Power Drill Mentality. They often think about

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Read the full article by Mic Mann, Co-CEO, SingularityU South Africa, as well as a host of other topical management articles written by professionals, consultants and academics in the October/November 2019 edition of BusinessBrief.

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