Today we will navigate you through our SuN Top 3 list devoted to the skills of the Future.

We are living in a rapidly changing world, and humanity is experiencing unprecedented levels of growth and development. Some spheres of life and business as well as some jobs are changing faster than others. Specialists from various fields are trying to predict how the world is going to change in the next decades. Some say that humanity will 'fall victim' to the precipice of the fourth industrial revolution, and that robots and artificial intelligence automating the jobs will leave most of the people in the world jobless. Others, however, believe that by transforming entire industries, disruptive technologies, AI, 3-D printing, machine learning, the internet of things, etc. will open up unimaginable job- and market-related possibilities.

Still, it will be only natural that rapid growth and development leads to some job losses, because many professions will become obsolete. According to Nick van Dam, global chief learning officer at McKinsey & Co., seven million jobs will disappear between 2015 and 2020, with highly predictive work (such as telemarketing) being especially vulnerable. Furthermore, he believes that two million new positions will be created from the disruption.

These jobs will probably be more complex and complicated, and will require the development of specific skills. But what kind of skills will be required? And how can we be certain that we will be able to adapt to the pace of change we will experience? 


1. Lifelong Learning

Thinking about the future may sound scary at first, but worry not - one of the keys towards the Future is LEARNING! Lifelong learning is one of the most empowering things a person can do, it gives us leverage, and opens the doors towards new horizons and awesome opportunities. So regardless of the changes that are to come, if we are committed to continuously learning new things, honing our skills, developing ourselves, and staying ahead of our industries, we will put ourselves in a good enough position to achieve our goals and fulfill our dreams.

The bottom line: It is crucial that we accept and embrace change, and acquire a continuous growth mindset. As the great George Bernard Shaw put it: 'Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything'.

2. Critical Thinking and Complex Problem-Solving

We spend so much time memorizing information and learning how to answer various questions that we often forget how to ask them. Logic, reasoning, and asking questions are the foundation of critical thinking. Before you can solve a problem, you must be able to use logic and reasoning to critically analyse it, consider various possible solutions, and the pros and cons of each approach. Thus, critical thinking and problem-solving are coupled together. 

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), complex problem-solving implies the ability to deal with novel, ill-defined problems in complex, real-world settings. In other words, it's about having the mental elasticity to deal with issues which we haven't experienced before, being able to see the whole picture but consider the details as well, and solving problems in a complex, constantly changing and developing environment. The world is full of issues, which are extremely difficult to solve - for example, inequality, climate change, terrorism, etc. So critical thinking and complex problem-solving will be among the core skills in the future to deal with them.

The bottom line: It is crucial that we have the ability to question the status quo, analyse it in a thorough and objective way and understand it, before we can innovate and prescribe an alternative.

3. Creativity

According to Alex Gray, senior writer in the World Economic Forum, the avalanche of new products, new technologies and new ways of working will stimulate the employees  to become more creative in order to benefit from these changes. Robots may help humanity get to where it wants to be faster, but they can’t be as creative as humans (yet).

Everyone is creative in his or her own way - creativity is all about seeing the links between seemingly disparate information, connecting the dots in an original way and presenting something new. The only problem with the creative process is that it doesn't have a defined framework, because of its inherent ‘non-process’ nature. However, there are ways to 'unleash' your creativity when dealing with problem-solving, for example by brainstorming ideas, making sketches and using other methods to visualise your ideas, as well as by exercising curiosity and self-expression on a regular basis. Limitations and problems can be a starting point for creativity!

The bottom line: Creativity complements critical thinking and complex problem-solving and is fostered by learning new things. All these skills build together the foundation for innovation and development. According to Nick van Dam, the future is all about the ways things can be done differently, and how people come up with new products and business models and use technology to work smarter - 'it all comes to ideation, and ideation is driven by creativity.'

Stay tuned for more exciting TOP 3 articles - coming to you every week!

Yours, SuN Team :)