When information was scarce and knowledge acquired only through another human, the value of that stock of knowledge was high and the aggregation of that wisdom in a university degree was proxy for a good job and a stable career. As access to information becomes nearly ubiquitous (70% of the planet will be connected by an internet connected smart phone by 2020) the value of a stock of knowledge drops and related value of that bundled wisdom declines. We must move from transferring existing knowledge and predetermined skills to new sets of professionals and develop agile learning mindsets where we stream knowledge.
FIFTH ERA IN HUMAN HISTORY
Throughout human history, we have augmented our ability to perform most tasks using various tools of our invention. Harnessing animals accelerated labor-intensive agriculture. Engines and machines made factory work not just easier, but often possible. Calculators and computers made professional work far more productive. Today, super-computers with vast stores of information even augment a doctor’s ability to make difficult diagnosis. Up until now, these tool advances allowed us to hyper-specialize but as the machines begin to replace cognitive work, we need to become net-generalists focusing on the uniquely human skills of creativity, collaboration, and empathy.
The design process is a series of phases of convergence and divergence or focusing and flaring from problem finding, framing to solving and solution selecting. The design process is uniquely suited to identify new value to be created. The early phases of the design process are steeped in ambiguity, adaptation, re-orientation, and sense- making. In a world of accelerated change with rising automation, where fewer people are needed to work in execution and optimization, there will be a greater need for individuals adept at the early phases of the design process-- we propose to call this a new field entirely-- design learning.
Change and Longevity
The combination of rapidly extended human longevity coupled with technology and social accelerated change requires that we rethink our system of education, workforce development, and work itself.
Velocity of Change Requires Adaptation
Paradigm shifts used to happen once a generation. Due to a combination of accelerated technological change and expansive human longevity we must absorb and adjust to multiple paradigm shifts with in a single generation.
Evolution of Work
As humans we have moved from single self-sustaining producers to semi-organized barters with some skill specificiation to hyper-specialized workers in an organized structure of production. We are now moving from fulfilling roles in the pipeline production (organized structure) to become individual, adaptive, companies of one that engage in platforms swarming to produce work in ecosystems of activity.
Old Economy vs. New Reality
Education used to be a one and done single dose. Careers used to be predictable escalators. Today those separate bands of education, career, and retire have been replaced by overlapping bands of learn, leverage, and longevity.
The Future of Work is Learning
We must focus on new value creation.
Types of Innovation
Understanding what type of innovation you seek aligns you with the right questions to ask, right capabilities to seek in your team, and right expectations to set for success criteria (co-created with Ellen di Resta)