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Future Work Skills 2020

In the 1990s, IBM’s Deep Blue beat grandmaster Gary Kasparov in chess; today IBM’sWatson supercomputer is beating contestants on Jeopardy. A decade ago, workersworried about jobs being outsourced overseas; today companies such as ODesk and LiveOps can assemble teams “in the cloud” to do sales, customer support, and many other tasks. Five years ago, it would have taken years for NASA to tag millions of photo-graphs taken by its telescope, but with the power of its collaborative platforms, the task can be accomplished in a few months with the help of thousands of human volunteers.

Global connectivity, smart machines, and new media are just some of the drivers reshaping how we think about work, what constitutes work, and the skills we will need to be productive contributors in the future.

This is the introduction to the report from the Institute for the Future (IFTF) for the University of Phoenix Research Institute : Future Work Skills 2020This report analyzes key drivers that will reshape the landscape of work and identifies key work skills needed in the next 10 years. It does not consider what will be the jobs of the future. Many studies have tried to predict specific job categories and labor requirements. Consistently over the years, however, it has been shown that such predictions are difficult and many of the past predictions have been proven wrong. Rather than focusing on future jobs, this report looks at future work skills—proficiencies and abilities required across different jobs and work settings.

Over its history, the Institute for the Future (IFTF) has been a leader in advancing foresight methodologies, from the Delphi technique, a method of aggregating expert opinions to develop plausible foresight, to integrating ethnographic methods into the discipline of forecasting, and recently to using gaming platforms to crowdsource foresights. We have used these methodologies with an illustrious roster of organizations—from Fortune 500 companies to governments and foundations—to address issues as diverse as future science and technology, the future of organizations, and the future of education.

According to the research, there are 6 drivers of changes are the most important and relevant to future work skills.

1.Extreme longevity : Increasing globallifespans change thenature of careersand learning

2.Rise of smart machines and systems: Workplace automation nudges humanworkers out of rote, repetitive tasks

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

4.New mediaecology : New communication tools require new media literacies beyond text

5.Superstructed organizations : Social technologies drive new forms of production and value creation

6.Globally connected world : Increased global intercon-nectivity puts diversity and adaptability at the centerof organizational operations

Then, 10 skills for the future work place are concluded:

future work skills for 2020

1.Sense-Making : ability to determine the deeper meaningor significance of what is being expressed

2.Social-Intelligence : ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interaction

3.Novel and Adaptive Thinking :  proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is roteor rule-based

4.Cross Cultural Competency : ability to operate in different cultural setting

5.Computational Thinking :  ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data-based reasoning

6. New-Media Literacy :  ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for  persuasive communication

7.Transdisciplinarity : literacy in and ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines

8.Design Mindset : ability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes

9.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 techniques

10.Virtual Collaboration : ability to work productively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual team

The results of this research have implications for individuals, educational institutions, business, and government. Read the full report for details here : Future Work Skills 2020.

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3 Responses »


  1. Future Work Skills 2020 | Future Trends and Advances In Education and Technology |
  2. Future Work Skills 2020 | Ingleburn High Education |
  3. 21th Century Education | Pearltrees

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“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand.” -------- Chinese Wisdom "Games are the most elevated form of investigation." -------- Albert Einstein
"I'm calling for investments in educational technology that will help create digital tutors that are as effective as personal tutors, educational software as compelling as the best video game," President Barack Obama said while touring a tech-focused Boston school (year 2011).
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