The world of work is changing faster than ever. The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2020 the Fourth Industrial Revolution will have brought us artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, autonomous transport, advanced materials, biotechnology and genomics. One estimate even suggests that 65% of our children will end up working in the jobs that don’t yet even exist. That makes it extremely hard to predict which ”hard skills” will be needed in the future. Instead of those ”hard skills” the World Economic Forum’s study “The Future of Work” highlights the importance of social skills: such as persuasion, emotional intelligence and teaching others over narrow technical skills. The study does not belittle the need for technical skills, but does claim that technical skills need to be supplemented with strong social and collaboration skills.
Our skills in sense-making, novel, adaptive and computational thinking are what separate us from robots and cannot be codified.
The study of the Institute for the Future ends up with same conclusion, but also sees the importance of human intellectual skills. Our skills in sense-making, novel, adaptive and computational thinking are what separate us from robots and cannot be codified. So how can we as adults prepare our children to their distant future? Schools of course support this, but not all education happens there.
Few ideas how to support our children’s future-readiness
1. Self-knowledge is a critical skill for us all, and for our children also. We can support the rise of their self-awareness by listening, discussing, questioning and giving different perspectives. (We wish that schools would utilize Personality Assessments developed for students to enhance their self-awareness and equip them to succeed and shine.)
2. Curiosity is said to be the most important feeling. It took us to the moon. Curiosity makes us look at things from a different perspective. We do not assume, but re-think. We also dare to take risks. We can support our children’s curiosity by challenging them to think and by creating an environment where it is safe to try, and also make errors. Doing so, we also encourage them to love learning, which is lifelong.
3. People-skills can be learned and improved. They are a combination of different skills like communication skills, listening skills, the ability to relate with others, empathy, flexibility and good manners. We can teach good manners to our children and help them to understand the points of view others have.
And last, but not least is our own mind-set. Are we curious enough to challenge our own thinking? Because that is what preparing our children to future takes.