The “future of work” and “fourth industrial revolution” are big concepts getting a lot of attention lately. We know that our careers are taking different forms: many of us are working in jobs that didn’t exist five years ago, have side hustles, undertake remote work or are starting to explore new business models. This is the future or work, and it is here already.
Exponential disruption ahead
However, don’t get too comfortable, because this change is only the beginning. We are on the cusp of entering a hyper technological era of innovation, known as the fourth industrial revolution. This is where we will see mass impact of robotics, machine learning, blockchain, automation and internet of things. The scale and potential is not yet fully understood, and that is a little daunting.
While nobody can predict exactly what the world will be like in 10 or 20 years time, we do know that the rate of change will be exponential. Technology is advancing and knowledge is increasing at a greater speed than we can understand. There is no more linearity. Adaptability will be essential to survival.
Empathy, purpose and human-skillls
For some, this future is scary. I’ve encountered people with real fears about losing their jobs or worried about being left behind because they don’t have coding skills or a tech background. The underlying assumption here needs to be corrected: the digital economy is not just for the coders. It’s for everyone. Technological advancement is only one side of the equation, and on the other side is humans creating vision, using empathy to solve problems, leading teams, designing experiences.
It’s no surprise then that the World Economic Forum’s list of the top 10 skills required for work in 2020 is full of people skills. “Complex problem solving” tops the list and “emotional intelligence” and “people management” are not far behind. In the past, work revolved around things that were necessary for survival: toiling the land, undertaking process work. Now we have a greater opportunity to focus on more meaningful work, to align work more closely with our purpose and passions.
Lifelong learning must become the norm
So, where do we start? How do we get from now to next? While there isn’t a secret formula or single path to success, there is an undisputed view that lifelong learning and a growth mindset are essential. We can’t sit idle.
This is really what Plato Project is on about. While we provide business education, we are also a network of likeminded people who are striving in the pursuit of next. We know that learning is continuous and propels us forward, better prepared for the future and equipped to make the future a better place.
Check out this little infographic, summarising the key themes of this article.
Ask yourself, what is your next?
If you’d like to know more about this topic, read a bit more about Plato Project’s brand story and you’ll understand why we do what we do. You can also check out our courses, aimed at building capability, mindset and purpose for success in the future of work.