We’re on the verge of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with technologies such as self-driving cars and artificial intelligence becoming versions of reality that are as exciting as those that the movies predicted. But how will humans embrace this wave of development? What kind of skills and knowledge do we need to ride into the future? According to the World Economic Forum, the following 10 skills are the ones you will need to take you through the Brave New World of 2020 and beyond – in other words, Industry 4.0.
- Cognitive flexibility
How flexible is that mind of yours? Imagine it to be the body of a gymnast, and you’d have an inkling of what it ought to be to take you through the modern challenges of Industry 4.0. Cognitive flexibility means being able to think in different ways – mathematics, creativity, science, finance – the ability to code switch from one discipline to another, form one world to the next, would help you adapt quickly to new world and its multifaceted demands.
And how does one develop flexibility? Read. Learn new stuff. Learn a new language. Learn a musical instrument. Get out of your comfort zone and exercise that brain of yours.
Yes, the exercise you allow your brain to have will give it plenty of flexibility, which will help you in your career, your business or just about ahy endeavour you take up in 2020.
Robots and artificial intelligence will be a big part of our reality in the days to come. But instead of sinking into despair that you’ll be replaced by a machine, develop the skills that machines cannot do – social interactions and negotiations are what your average robot will struggle to do, so be sure to develop these while you can. Interpersonal skills and the ability to negotiate will be in demand, so hone these skills to help yourself get ahead in the team or at least, become an important member for the skills that you bring to it.
- Service orientation
How do you serve the needs of your client? Businesses such as energy, financial services and IT, according to the World Economic Review, are constantly being bombarded by clients with a million questions and concerns, so service orientation would mean anticipating these concerns and translating them into the development of products and services that would meet these needs.
Having a firm grasp of service orientation requires the ability to get into the heads of clients and end users, knowing their desires, fears, values and even prejudices, and employing this knowledge to future proof your business or brand.
- Judgment and decision-making
In an age when humans are inundated with massive amounts of information and data, the ability to process the knowledge speedily and make decisions with these using sound judgment will be a highly-valued ability.
It’s all about getting a grasp of the data to answer your questions. What’s the problem? What does the information tell you? How can that data help solve your problems? Explore the many modern methods that have been developed to collect data and information, and start using these to your best advantage in your decision-making.
- Emotional intelligence
In an age of artificial intelligence, many an important decision made by leaders and managers will be informed by emotional intelligence. It means having to negotiate the behaviour of associates and colleagues, understanding social complexities and also managing our own feelings of any given issue. Emotional intelligence would be required in coaching and persuading others, and would be in high demand across all industries.
- Coordinating with others
How good a team player are you? How well are you able to work with other teams? Collaborations will always be an important part in the human work environment, and the social skills to coordinate with others includes strong communication skills and an awareness of the strengths of others in order to harness these for meaningful interactions will be a vital skill in the modern business world.
Yes, it requires flexibility. And adaptability to a range of situations while working with people of different abilities and personalities. A leader who can play well with others will almost certainly be seen as an advantage to any organisation or business.
- People management
How would you motivate your team? How would you bring out the best work from your subordinates? How would you keep them sharp and honest? While automation, robots and artificial intelligence continues to fill the working landscape, the human employee will remain a prized resource. The manager or leader who is able to keep his human resource keen and productive will be a prized member of the organisation. You’ll need cognitive intelligence. And emotional intelligence. You’ll be able to motivate and delegate, and maximise productivity on all levels, according to the needs of the firm.
Machines and robots will help us achieve our tasks more quickly and efficiently, but the creativity of the human mind will help us benefit from these technological developments. And creativity is not the prerogative of artistic types: If you can make sense of data to come up with something new, or even adapt several ideas for a workable solution to a problem, you’re actually being creative.
Let your mind wander. Allow it to explore possibilities as you tackle a problem. Let yourself be curious. Afford yourself as much self expression as possible on a regular basis. Creativity is really about allowing yourself to try out things by being less inhibited in your approach to problem-solving.
- Critical thinking
Logic and reasoning – the skillset also known as critical thinking – will continue to be an important asset in the Brave New World. What does it mean? It means using logic and reasoning to question a problem and to consider various solutions. It requires one to consider the pros and cons to each approach.
- Complex problem-solving
This is a skill that involves solving problems that are difficult to define, in a real world situation that is ever changing, often rapidly, and sometimes becoming even more complex as each moment passes.
The data available to you might not tally or may even be contradictory, so you’re required to exercise your judgment in arriving at a decision. It involves critical thinking, lateral thinking, and the ability to grasp the big picture before going down to fix the little but important and very complex details of the problem. You’ll need to make changes, and sometimes reinstate these as new information or data emerges. Occasionally, you’ll be required to move things around – whether they are people, machines or resources.