Skills You Need for the Future (beating AI & adapting in a rapidly changing world)
Introduction: The Future is Now
The next revolution is alive and well: from the adaptation and integration of AI in our daily lives (especially if you’re in the digital workforce), to the loss and creation of new jobs (and the paradigm shifts of the new workforce), to mention a few.
The future is happening NOW.
In 2013 (when I was 20), technology advancements felt normal and easier to accept. There was a sense of ‘easing into it’, rather than a desperation to catch up and understand it.
Since 2023, I’ve witnessed significant advancements in Artificial Intelligence. My expertise in digital and growth marketing has also evolved due to AI (ChatGPT and Claude AI). Additionally, setting up and launching Performance Marketing campaigns has become more streamlined, and content marketing has become way easier.
It boggles the mind.
A part of me doesn’t feel quite settled, and that’s coming from someone who considers themselves an early tech adopter. I can’t imagine how someone who isn’t technologically and digitally literate might feel.
In this blog, I want to share my insights and research on this topic. I hope to help those of you in that area. Specifically, I’ll focus on the current macro trends of the economy and the top skills I suggest being aware of (preferably learning).
I got most of the information from two reports: the ‘Future of Job 2023 Report’ by the World Economic Forum, and McKinsey’s ‘Future-citizen Skills’ article. A big thanks to Growth Tribe for connecting me with these sources. Let’s begin.
Macro Trends of the Current Economy
The Unity of Cultures and Diversity in Skillsets
Saying the internet has made the world more unified is an understatement. We can literally know what someone is going through on the other side of the world, in seconds. This theme will continue to grow. It’s not only about sharing knowledge but also about how our beliefs might mix with others. Which constitutes our current ways of thinking to be questioned and even altered.
The emphasis on having a diverse set of skills is also becoming the norm. I’ve always felt that being T-shaped (generalist with a specialist skill set) had a lot more merit vs solely relying on one skillset (this is a separate blog in itself!).
AI may eliminate specializations (it just needs the logic behind it to do so), but merging diverse skill sets and perspectives is harder to replicate. Having an omnidirectional skillset is valuable. It boils down to creating a unique and individual projection of an idea. AI can’t copy this, at least not for now.
Exponential Technological Growth and Lifelong Learning
The idea of technology is no longer a foreign concept, it is a must-learn. Technology will become more integrated into our personal lives (especially if you live in the city). This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, our perspective will ultimately determine how we see this change, good or bad.
There is high evidence technology is rapidly evolving, and we have to catch up. From our phones becoming mini-computers to IT advancing with automation and 3D printing.
Our ability to continually learn, known as lifelong learning, can help alleviate this. We must never come to a point where we are content with our knowledge. What we know now will probably become outdated in the future.
Being digitally and technologically literate in these areas has a lot of value for us adapting. You reading this is a first step.
The Evolution of the Labour Market
They say that there’s always opportunity in a crisis, and I definitely agree with this, but we have to wear our ‘optimistic hat’ for this to manifest. We already have the connotation that Artificial Intelligence is replacing humans in jobs like data entry, customer service, accounting, manufacturing, and language translation.
This will cause a big change in the job market within the next couple of years (or months).
Are you ready?
While automation and AI will mostly replace administrative tasks, new job roles will also be created. For example, managing these technologies will be important, again, a testament to being literate in the digital landscape and technology.
It is also more important than ever to have skills that are transferable across different industries, problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity to name a few.
Focus on the future’s possibilities and how you can be resilient as we transition into it. You got this.
Growth in Tech and Sustainability Sectors
The demand in tech, digital and sustainability sectors is ever-increasing. And with this, comes the importance of gaining an understanding of these sectors. According to the World Economic Forums, the most wanted skills are within AI, Machine Learning, Business Intelligence, Cybersecurity, and Systems Engineering. These areas are experiencing a lot of disruption.
Managing the upskilling in both hard and soft skills has some merit. there’s no point being the best in creating Large Language Models, if you can’t communicate its value to a business.
Rising Cost of Living (for consumers) and Financial Literacy
The brutal truth is that the gap between the rich and poor will continually widen. The middle class will likely be erased according to (Mckinsey). We know that inflation is a problem (an opportunity for the rich), so the concept of perceived value (where money tends to gravitate to), is a perspective I recommend to start pondering on.
How does the world value things? What do people value? How can I be more valuable in the marketplace?
This point will directly relate to how the economy will change, especially the choices people make for their careers and what they consume (buy into). The importance of financial literacy and general knowledge is no longer a nice to have, it must be part of our daily lives as the economy goes through fluctuations.
Amplified Social Issues and the need for Global Empathy
We have to acknowledge that social issues are becoming more vocal and widespread, which does provide opportunities for social entrepreneurship and innovation.
Awareness of global issues is information that can help us navigate in our day-to-day lives. What happens in another country, will have a direct impact on us, in some form or another. The need for empathy, and social awareness, are skills in navigating complex social dynamics.
Sustainability Transition (The Green Transition)
Boring but true, the sustainability sector is a theme that will keep being discussed, it does affect us all, to be fair. The focus and priority towards sustainability and climate change initiatives will be a top contender in our day-to-day. And I’ll admit, this is an area I probably should further investigate.
The “Green Transition” refers to the global shift from a dependency on fossil fuels and environmentally harmful practices towards more sustainable and renewable sources of energy and eco-friendly practices. This transition is a key part of tackling climate change and environmental degradation. Here are the main aspects of the Green Transition: renewable energy, sustainable transportation, circular economy and conservation and reforestation, to name a few.
Top 7 Skills to Apply for Future-proofing Yourself (my perspective)
Analytical & Critical-thinking (problem-solving)
Analytical thinking: Analytical thinking refers to the ability to break down complex information or problems into smaller, more manageable parts to understand them better.
Critical-thinking: Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally, understanding the logical connection between ideas. It’s about being active, not passive, in your learning process, questioning assumptions and evaluating evidence.
Problem-solving: Problem-solving is the process of identifying a problem, developing possible solutions, and choosing and implementing the best solution.
My belief is that both analytical and critical thinking, fall under problem-solving. The only difference between the two is the process in which the problem is seen, but the end goal is the same to solve a problem.
Progress can only come from the need to want to solve problems. And in a world full of problems (problems = opportunities), our inclination to solve these problems can be a goldmine for how we adapt to the future. You already have this skill, hone it and try to solve bigger problems.
As a musician, I don’t see creativity as some form of elite skill that only the chosen one can cultivate. Creativity is one’s ability to be curious enough to connect different reference points and the inclination to make sense of them, upon our desired purpose.
As Steve Jobs has been quoted:
“Creativity is just connecting things”
Digital and Technological Literacy
To be literate, we need to understand and express ourselves in the digital and technological fields. Practical ways of doing this are to read books on the topic, potentially take courses and engage in communities that are within these areas.
Here is a list of blogs that talk about the theme of futurism (future forecasting).
Flexibility and Agility (our ability to adapt)
I’ve been a musician, a customer service staff, a cleaner, an entrepreneur, a consultant and more. The one thing I can guarantee to anyone is that change is constant. One’s ability to be flexible enough to adapt to a new environment is vital.
The world can be merciless to the ignorant, so don’t be.
Think 7 steps ahead and brainstorm how can you adapt to the future. Think about what elements or skills you need to survive that ordeal.
An extension of adaptability is being humble enough to know and accept, that our current knowledge may not be enough. We’re all moving through life upon the knowledge we currently understand. And that’s okay.
Be better at adapting by being aware of yourself and where you can fit in in the overall grand scheme of things.
Self-motivation and Self-awareness
At first, I didn’t like this skill set. However, I noticed that successful people from tough situations often motivate themselves. Before this happens, we must reflect on ourselves and our outdated beliefs that no longer benefit us.
Self-motivation is self-awareness. Here are a few questions to activate this:
- What does the world need? And how can I contribute to it?
- Why do I get up in the morning and what motivates me to carry on?
- What is my higher purpose in this life? Am I on the path towards it?
Curiosity and Lifelong Learning (Growth Mindset)
Reading ‘Mindset’ by Carol Dweck has positively impacted and changed me. It made me accept that growth and progress, and in many ways, fulfilment, comes from our curiosity.
Curiosity is being interested in what we don’t know and accepting that there is much for us to learn. Lifelong learning is a strong value I live by, and I highly advocate this in all I do.
What is the Growth Mindset?
The growth mindset is a concept developed by psychologist Carol Dweck, which posits that abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work. This mindset contrasts with a fixed mindset, where abilities are seen as static and unchangeable. Individuals with a growth mindset embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, see effort as a path to mastery, learn from criticism, and find inspiration in the success of others.
This approach fosters a love of learning and resilience, which are essential for great accomplishment. Essentially, it’s the belief that one’s fundamental abilities can be developed and improved over time.
Leadership and Social Influence
A big topic in today’s world, and another theme I have been working on. It is more important than ever to understand leadership, and how this can influence society (for better or worse). This starts with self-leadership, which is taking control of one’s own behaviour, highly correlated to self-awareness (seeing the good, the bad and the ugly and working to improve ourselves).
I’m currently reading The Truth About Leadership and here are 10 truths from the book I am adapting:
- You can make a difference
- Credibility is important
- Know your values
- Focus on the future (be a visionary)
- You can’t do it alone (you need a team)
- Trust is important
- Challenge is the crucible for greatness
- Lead by example
- The best leaders are the best learners
- Leadership is an affair with the heart
Overall, I’m pretty damn optimistic about the future. That’s the angle I’m taking and hope to manifest. Have you chosen your side? I hope this blog has shed some light on answering that and I hope it can serve you now and in the future. Thanks for reading!
I am a Digital Leader, Digital and Growth Marketing Consultant and Entrepreneur. I run a Performance Marketing consulting startup called Proverve. I share my latest perspectives and insights on digital and growth marketing at The Growth Club – where I discuss futurism and how we can adapt to it and provide growth mindset perspectives for my fellow entrepreneurs and marketers.
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References & Resources:
#FutureOfWork #DigitalTransformation #LifelongLearning