The Future Belongs To The Radically Curious

The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways

This is the challenge we’re facing in the Next Economy: how do we train people for jobs that are yet to exist?

The catalyst for this question is the threat and opportunity of automation, driven by algorithms and robots that will dominate the workforce; people need digital skills.

PwC recent study points out that students, and non-students, are not prepared for the jobs of tomorrow:

How do we solve this very complex challenge?

Their study looks at the challenge from the the institution perspective; there are many approaches. Let’s look at it from the perspective of the person looking for a job.

From know-it-all to learn-it-all

People develop specialized skills ad as they jump from college to work life, and then from job to job. You get evaluated and valued based on your ability to execute your specialized skills; this is normal.

With that said, as change happens, the main challenge is you’ve been trained and are experienced in something that is no longer valuable. Which means you have to develop new skills. The other is most people use technology in their day-to-day lives, but are not trained in using it to create better outcomes for others; they’re consumers not creators. This circumstance is the result of both the education system and yourself.

Let me explain…

There are two types of people in the workplace:

  1. Fixed mindset. An example of this person is when a new task comes up, their response is: “it’s not in my job description. I’m not trained for this.”
  2. Growth mindset. Same example of when a new task comes up: “wow, I’ve never seen this before. Great. I’ll figure it out.”

The world needs more of the latter: people who embrace the act of learning to satisfy their curiosity; a learn-it-all. This matters because the Next Economy has to be defined, and learners embrace ambiguity; this is what makes life-long learners future-proof.

From learning what to think to how to think

Learning is not over at the end of college. If it’s over then you’re ossified, and when the job market shifts you’re not ready for it because you don’t know how to think, and learn.

Once school is over, you throw your papers in the air and say good-bye to learning. This attitude means the school didn’t train you to embrace curiosity, that learning was a chore and now the chore is over. Therefore, the school system needs to make adjustments, most important is to develop life-long learners.

What does this look like? A great way to visualize is by imagining the moment you get out of school you have to say to yourself: Damn I want to learn more!

Companies around the world need to embrace and celebrate curiosity. As I’ve said before: If you don’t value a growth mindset, then you reject innovation. And innovation is the only activity that creates new value, it’s the mindset of leadership.

How do we achieve this? I don’t have a solid answer, but the starting point could be reframing “learning as a chore to learning as fun”. I know, it’s an old idea; but it’s true. Remember, it’s not that people don’t want to be educated; they don’t want to be bored.

But it goes both ways. We shouldn’t rely on institutions to make learning more fun for people, rather everyone should see learning as fun and be accountable for themselves. It’s our choice and responsibility too!


Bottom line: People are not prepared for the jobs of tomorrow. That’s a fact. People should be responsible for their own betterment, this includes learning new skills on their own to counter this challenge.

Creativity, emotional intelligence, critical thinking, collaboration are key skills in the Next Economy; skills that algorithms will not master until something extraordinary happens in computing. With that said, the leader of the future is entrepreneurial, creative, collaborative, embraces diversity and is highly emotional intelligent. Leaders are learners, and the future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways.