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Innovation and skills

The modern workplace is a complex adaptive system. There is no single approach that can be used all the time.” – Harold Jarche

This is a reality that sometimes prompts us to try to resolve problems within one hour or, sometimes, challenges us to create a service in 48 hours. Our skills are continuously evolving to adapt to the requirements of a future that we want promising but which presents complex.

If we want to solve problems by creating products or services we must take into account not only the needs of consumers or users, but also their social and cultural infrastructures.

These cultural and social structures are complex systems, i.e., they are composed of various elements (people), different but interconnected, which makes its representation to be viewed as a whole not stand out the private aspects.

This is important, because a system must be treated as a whole and we must identify the emerging properties, which may not be static and therefore, have the ability to change and learn from experience.

A health system is a clear example of complexity, where the ability to change is remarkable, especially when we saw catastrophic situations. It is also remarkable the ability of learning and adapting to new situations, so they are treated as complex adaptive systems which incorporate an interdisciplinary dynamic.

Are these and other examples that lead us to think what competencies are needed to face the challenges of the future.

For example, the Institute For The Future presents a reflection on the ten emerging skills for the future of work in a new environment for the near future.

If we look at the skills mentioned by the authors of this work we will check that the relationship skills will refine and evolve towards adaptability and interdisciplinarity:

“Sense- making – ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed

Social intelligence – ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions

Novel & adaptive thinking – proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based.

Cross-cultural competency – ability to operate in different cultural settings

Computational thinking – ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data-based reasoning

New media literacy – ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for persuasive communication

Transdisciplinarity – literacy in and ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines

Design mindset – ability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes

Cognitive load management – ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive functioning using a variety of tools and technique

Virtual collaboration – ability to work productively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual team”

The delimitation of these skills arises by virtue of a prospective thought about great change which may model the landscape of the future, be they related to longevity, the role of new technologies or to global connectivity.

Our ability to find solutions and answers beyond what is routine or rule-base, the result of a quick thought and regular can be the key to solving the problems that we will feel.

It has no usefulness become richer in knowledge if it is not compatible with the desired action.

Today, the work place is “an adaptive complex system”, inserted in social and cultural structures that represent a huge diversity of opinions that should serve to facilitate our adaptation to the environment where we are or will be inserted.

What now is beginning to draw is the construction of our capabilities, taking into account two requirements, which although distinct are complementary:

-Our need to adapt to a dynamic and evolving workplace, i.e. our need to create skills to avoid discomfort or to survive and

-Our need to create or develop skills to carry out our activity effectively and renewed.

If we want a role in innovation it is crucial to adapt (create skills) in order to facilitate the adaptation of others through innovation.


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It is for everyone!

David Holzmer wrote on twitter (@DavidHolzmer) “Intriguing feedback on my ILA piece making me think abt how distant most current #leadership is from #complexity & #interdisciplinarity”

Maybe this is less intriguing when we consider that our beliefs influence how we see the events that surround us and our imagination about the future.

Often we only believe when we suffer the unintended consequence of the lack of attention.

“Groups made up of intelligent people who are inwardly diverse—that is, who have different perspectives, mindsets and ways of solving problems—can make  more accurate predictions and solve problems more  effectively than groups of ‘experts’.” – Scott E. Page

I may not believe that the major changes that happen in society, could lead to certain results or I may not believe that there is a need to rethink my skills to cope with the change, but put our hypotheses also does not cause wear.

The future has in itself something mysterious that provokes curiosity and defies the imagination and maybe that’s why it is so desired (at least by some).

There are changes that act as drivers of our learning and growth (growth is understood as the ability to live sustained in values). Some of these drivers when combined function as a sufficiently strong and elastic cable to guide us safely to the future.

It is a future that arrives faster and for which we must build a set of capabilities to be successful.

The “Institute for the Future” performed a work called Future Work Skills 2020 that presents, as a result of an investigation, some (six) of the drivers of change that will be important in the future of work and skills and being this a possibility is useful to begin or continue our lifelong learning.

This work will seek to make a small adjustment of six arguments:

1-Extreme longevity that has widespread across the globe is one of the riders in this race of competences

I remember that at the beginning of my professional life I looked for retired people as elderly and tired for work. Often we heard the news that someone just had taken five or six years of retirement!

Today we have witnessed a greater longevity, a better quality of health and to different requirements of the labor market. Today the prospects for future professional activity have changed radically in the face of new variables introduced in our life, such as (in addition to greater longevity), an amazing technological development with a unimaginable amount of information that will require redesigned forms of communication and business structures in a world increasingly connected.

Our professional life will be extended in future years and we shall have as its fundamental requirement a continuous learning in an environment of cultural diversity and interdisciplinarity.

But, what will be the fate of our knowledge acquired over the years?

How can we transfer the tacit knowledge fruit from our experience?

In the future organizations will have to be more flexible to meet the different values and interests of the various generations cohabiting their business area and simultaneously seeking innovative solutions to the needs that emerge in new ecosystems.

2-Our relationship with tools will suffer a profound evolution.

Although today we already found many machines to replace people in routine tasks in the coming years the surrogate role of machinery will accentuate and those will be our competitors in jobs.

How do we adapt?

How can we transform the machines as our employees while employees of an organization or in another environment?

For this reason we need to think about what will be our skills with characteristics of success in the face of this competition.

3-The massive growth of sensors and processing power will release an unimaginable amount of data

Tomorrow, each space, each object, each interaction will be converted into data and our focus will be in its manipulation, perhaps using our creativity and confirmation bias to achieve the results we want.

Whether it is a business to manage or our family life, increasingly we will need new skills to interact with data and make decisions.

4-New communication tools and new apprenticeships

The new multimedia technologies are transforming the way we communicate, developing the display in an environment of mixture and combination of different places and cultures. Now we are developing a new form of communication that left the limitations of text-based content to create a different meaning across the image.

The virtual networks that encompass millions of users become a factor of influence on our culture and the transformation of our ecosystem.

What values should we preserve?

Which direction should we take to create meaning in our environment?

This development also requires a new learning and consolidation of new skills with features of flexibility and adaptability.

5-Organizations will be pushed by social technologies for unprecedented restructurings.

Tomorrow, what was the domain of large enterprises will be divided for smaller enterprises by virtue of the new technologies and social networks. Our role as employees of these organizations also suffer a transformation, forcing us to create new skills in accordance with the influence that we suffer from these six wires cited above.

How do we imagine our organizational model in the future?

What kind of new leadership requires the new organizations?

The basic shapes of traditional organizational structure and working teams will suffer changes.

6-The world will be connected globally and the diversity and adaptability will be the center of organizational operations

In a highly interdependent world and connected globally, it becomes difficult for some organizations develop products that meet the needs of categories of consumers totally different from each other.

Organizations that currently are present in several distinct geographical areas can have a competitive advantage at the moment, but that won’t be enough against the effects of global connectivity.

It is necessary then to reinvent interactions with the environment and relationships between people.

This text is based on “what if?” and allows the defense off other opinions!

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