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Transdisciplinarity, Social Intelligence, and Cognitive Management: Work Skills Vital for Future Success

Global connectivity, smart machines, and new media are just some of the factors reshaping the skills that workers will need to be productive contributors in the future. To shed light on the technical and societal shifts that will require new job skills in the next 10 years, University of Phoenix Research Institute sponsored research by the Institute for the Future, a nonprofit research group with over 40 years of forecasting experience. Research findings highlight some of the key drivers and disruptions that will reshape the landscape of work and 10 new work skills that will be critical for the next decade.

The research underscored 6 drivers or disruptive shifts:

·       Extreme longevity: Increasing global life spans change the nature of careers and learning.


·    The rise of smart machines and systems: Workplace automation nudges human workers out of rote, repetitive tasks.


·    Computational world: Massive increases in sensors and processing power make the world a programmable system.


·    New media: New communication tools require new media literacies beyond text.


·    Superstructured organizations: Social technologies drive new forms of production and value creation.


·    Globalization: Increased global interconnectivity puts diversity and adaptability at the center of organizational operations.


“As these forces reshape our expectations of workplace success,” said Tracey Wilen-Daugenti, Vice President and Managing Director of the University of Phoenix Research Institute, “lifelong learning will no longer be merely a choice, but a necessity to remain employable in the future.”

The research identified 10 skills that will be vital for success in the workforce:

·       Sense-making: determining the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed

·    Social intelligence: connecting to others in a deep and direct way, sensing and stimulating reactions and desired interactions

·    Novel and adaptive thinking: proficiency at thinking and finding solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based

·    Cross-cultural competency: operating in different cultural settings

·    Computational thinking: translating vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and understanding data-based reasoning

·    New media literacy: critically assessing and developing content that uses new media forms and leveraging these media for persuasive communication

·    Transdisciplinarity: understanding and communicating concepts across multiple disciplines

·    Design mindset: representing and developing tasks and work processes for desired outcomes

·    Cognitive load management: filtering information for importance and understanding how to maximize cognitive functioning

·    Virtual collaboration: working productively and demonstrating presence in a virtual team

The results of this research have implications for individuals, educational institutions, businesses, and government.

“To prepare America’s workforce for the jobs of the future, individuals, educators, business leaders, and policymakers must anticipate emerging trends and work together to promote skill development across industry sectors and geographic regions,” said Wilen-Daugenti.

To be successful in the next decade, individuals will need to demonstrate foresight in navigating a rapidly shifting landscape of organizational forms and skill requirements. They will have to continually reassess the skills they need and quickly put together the right resources to develop and update these.

Educational institutions will have to collaborate with businesses to identify future skill needs and integrate workplace skills into academic degree programs. “Colleges and universities bear a responsibility to adapt to the changing needs of the workplace,” said Wilen-Daugenti. “To best prepare students for the jobs that will be available in the future, educators need to anticipate emerging trends and reconsider the kind of skill development they are promoting.”

Businesses must also be alert of the changing environment and adapt their workforce planning and development strategies to ensure alignment with future skill requirements. Strategic human resource professionals might reconsider traditional methods for identifying critical skills, and selecting and developing talent.

Governmental policymakers will need to respond to the changing landscape by taking a leadership role and making education a national priority. “President Obama has acknowledged the need for America to produce 8 million more college graduates to meet workforce demands by 2020,” said Wilen-Daugenti. “Now individuals, higher education administrators, business leaders, and policymakers must all take a leadership role to make educating our workforce a shared national priority.”


Read the full report or learn more.

Posted by The League for Innovation in the Community College on 07/19/2011 at 9:08 AM | Categories: Partners & Friends -