I share insights, reflections and hands-on experience throughout my year at Kingston University London. I study MA Communication Design & the Creative Economy (MACE). Please be part of my journey and let me know what you think.
It’s almost summer and my time at University will come to an end in a couple of months. It’s time for the job search! I’m excited about that and it made me think a lot about skills that are needed today but also about skills that will be needed in the future. I was going through my personal library on Evernote and I found this report from 2016 The 10 skills you need to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The priority shift of certain skills is undeniable. Creativity will jump from position ten (2015) to the top three (2020). Emotional Intelligence, which I wrote about in my previous post Lead with your brain & with your heart is not on the list of 2015 but will be crucial in 2020.
“Five years from now, over one-third of skills that are considered important in today’s workforce will have changed.“ (Gray, 2016)
Graph: Edited version of Future of Jobs Report, World Economic Forum (2016)
Complex Problem Solving
Personally, I see problem-solving as a team sport, especially if it is complex. I believe this because we cannot waive valuable feedback and a different perspective, which could lead to more potential solutions. During class, we worked a lot with post-it notes. I loved it. For me, this was a free way of working. The advantage of post-it notes is that we can move them around, stick another note on top of it or throw them in the trash. Furthermore, there is limited space on the post-it notes which forces you to break down something that is complex to be simple enough to fit. The way we approach problems influences how we feel (overwhelmed or in control) about it. Our process includes many steps, changes, and building on each other’s ideas. We iterate as long as necessary until we are able to create a simple solution for a complex problem.
“The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with,
but whether it is the same problem you had last year.”
(John Foster Dulles, Former US Secretary of State)
I guess this quote plays with the idea of solving a problem sustainably and not just temporarily. If you solve a problem just to get it out of the way than you probably have to deal with it again.
My master’s degree is all about critical thinking. Every brief includes this skill and I guess that is no coincidence. This skill is essential to reflect on our own assumptions, beliefs and values. We question arguments and conclusions. Critical thinking is based on three core skills: curiosity, scepticism and humility. Curiosity is the drive to learn and gather more information. Scepticism is what makes us questioning things. We learn to understand how we think, but not what to think.
We talk a lot about creativity in class. We try to define it and understand how our brain works. If we gain enough insights about what is going on in our bodies, we can create more situations for ourselves that encourage creativity. People like Tim Brown (CEO) and David Kelley (Co-Founder) from IDEO embrace creativity because they realised how relevant it is and will be. I share their belief that everyone has the capacity to be creative, some people just have to free it first. In the future, it will be even more important to create save environments where people can free their creativity and talk openly about their ideas.
So, are we ready for the future? Do we have to become superhumans? I believe we have the brain to adapt to these changes and take on the challenges. Nonetheless, we have to stay flexible, keep developing our skills and be in peace with the uncertainty.