Future of work jobs and skills in 2030

future work in project report and most important work skills
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Future Work Skills 2020 Institute for the Future for the University of Phoenix Research Institute 124 University Avenue, 2nd Floor, Palo Alto, CA 94301 650.854.6322 www.iftf.orgabout the … I n S t I t U t e F o R t h e F U t U R e The Institute for the Future (IFTF) is an independent, nonprofit strategic research group with more than 40 years of forecasting experience. The core of our work is identifying emerging trends and discontinuities that will transform global society and the global marketplace. We provide our members with insights into business strategy, design process, innova- tion, and social dilemmas. Our research spans a broad territory of deeply transformative trends, from health and health care to technology, the workplace, and human identity. The Institute for the Future is located in Palo Alto, California. U n I v e R S I t y o F P h o e n I x R e S e A R C h I n S t I t U t e The University of Phoenix Research Institute conducts scholarly research on working learners, higher education, and industry to improve educational outcomes and promote a more prepared workforce. The University of Phoenix Research Institute sponsored this piece of research to increase understanding of the skills workers will need over the next decade in a technologically advanced and changing world. C R e d I t S : Author: Anna Davies, Devin Fidler, Marina Gorbis Creative Direction: Jean Hagan Production Editor: Lisa Mumbach Design and Production: Karin Lubeck, Jody Radzik ©2011 Institute for the Future for University of Phoenix Research Institute. All rights reserved. Reproduction prohibited without written permission. SR-1382AIntroduction 1 Methodology 2 Six Drivers of Change 3 Future Work Skills Map 6 Ten Skills for the Future Workforce 8 Implications 13I n t R o d U C t I o n In the 1990s, IBM’s Deep Blue beat grandmaster Gary Kasparov in chess; today IBM’s Watson supercomputer is beating contestants on Jeopardy. A decade ago, workers worried 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 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 require- ments. 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. 1M e t h o d o Lo G y 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. IFTF uses foresight as a starting point for a process we call Many thanks to each of our workshop participants: Foresight to Insight to Action, a process that enables people to take future visions and convert them into meaningful in- • Amanda Dutra, Right Management sights and actions they can take to be successful in the future. • Caroline Molina-Ray, University of Phoenix Research Institute In writing this report, we drew on IFTF’s foundational forecasts in areas as diverse as education, technology, • David Pescovitz, IFTF demographics, work, and health, as well as our annual • Devin Fidler, IFTF Ten-Year Forecast. The Ten-Year Forecast is developed using IFTF’s signals methodology—an extension of de- • Humera Malik, Electronic Arts cades of practice aggregating data, expert opinion, and • Jason Tester, IFTF trends research to understand patterns of change. A signal is typically a small or local innovation or disruption that • Jerry Michalski, IFTF Affiliate has the potential to grow in scale and geographic distribu- • Jim Spohrer, IBM tion. A signal can be a new product, a new practice, a new market strategy, a new policy, or new technology. In short, it • Leslie Miller, University of Phoenix Research Institute is something that catches our attention at one scale and in • Marina Gorbis, IFTF one locale and points to larger implications for other locales or even globally. Signals are useful for people who are try- • Martha Russell, Media X at Stanford University ing to anticipate a highly uncertain future, since they tend • Micah Arnold, Apollo Group to capture emergent phenomenon sooner than traditional social science methods. • Natasha Dalzell-Martinez, University of Phoenix • Rachel Maguire, IFTF We enriched and vetted this research at an expert workshop held at our headquarters in Palo Alto, where we brought • Sonny Jandial, Procter & Gamble together experts in a diverse range of disciplines and • Steve Milovich, The Walt Disney Company professional backgrounds, engaging them in brainstorming exercises to identify key drivers of change and how these • Tracey Wilen-Daugenti, will shape work skill requirements. Finally, we analyzed and University of Phoenix Research Institute filtered all of this data in order to identify the six key drivers and ten skills areas that will be most relevant to the work- force of the future. 2S I x d R I v e R S o F C h A n G e We begin every foresight exercise with thinking about drivers—big disruptive shifts that are likely to reshape the future landscape. Although each driver in itself is important when thinking about the future, it is a confluence of several drivers working together that produces true disruptions. We chose the six drivers that emerged from our research as the most important and relevant to future work skills. 2 1 rise of extreme smart machines longevity: and systems: Increasing global Workplace automation lifespans change the nudges human nature of careers workers out of rote, and learning repetitive tasks It is estimated that by 2025, the number of Americans over We are on the cusp of a major transformation in our 60 will increase by 70%. Over the next decade we will see relationships with our tools. Over the next decade, new the challenge of an aging population come to the fore. New smart machines will enter offices, factories, and homes perceptions of what it means to age, as well as the emerg- in numbers we have never seen before. They will become ing possibilities for realistic, healthy life-extension, will begin integral to production, teaching, combat, medicine, security, take hold. and virtually every domain of our lives. As these machines replace humans in some tasks, and augment them in others, Individuals will need to rearrange their approach to their their largest impact may be less obvious: their very presence careers, family life, and education to accommodate this de- among us will force us to confront important questions. mographic shift. Increasingly, people will work long past 65 What are humans uniquely good at? What is our compara- in order to have adequate resources for retirement. Multiple tive advantage? And what is our place alongside these careers will be commonplace and lifelong learning to pre- machines? We will have to rethink the content of our work pare for occupational change will see major growth. To take and our work processes in response. advantage of this well-experienced and still vital workforce, organizations will have to rethink the traditional career paths In some areas, a new generation of automated systems will in organizations, creating more diversity and flexibility. replace humans, freeing us up to do the things we are good at and actually enjoy. In other domains, the machines will Aging individuals will increasingly demand opportunities, become our collaborators, augmenting our own skills and products, and medical services to accommodate more abilities. Smart machines will also establish new expecta- healthy and active senior years. As we move toward to a tions and standards of performance. Of course, some rou- world of healthier lifestyles and holistic approaches to what tine jobs will be taken over by machines—this has already we eat, how we work, and where we live, much of daily happened and will continue. But the real power in robotics life—and the global economy as a whole—will be viewed technologies lies in their ability to augment and extend through the lens of health. our own capabilities. We will be entering into a new kind of partnership with machines that will build on our mutual strengths, resulting in a new level of human-machine col- laboration and codependence. 3S I x d R I v e R S o F C h A n G e 3 4 computational new media world ecology Massive increases in New communication sensors and processing tools require new power make the world media literacies a programmable beyond text system The diffusion of sensors, communications, and processing New multimedia technologies are bringing about a power into everyday objects and environments will unleash transformation in the way we communicate. As technologies an unprecedented torrent of data and the opportunity to see for video production, digital animation, augmented reality, patterns and design systems on a scale never before possi- gaming, and media editing, become ever more sophisticated ble. Every object, every interaction, everything we come into and widespread, a new ecosystem will take shape around contact with will be converted into data. Once we decode these areas. We are literally developing a new vernacular, a the world around us and start seeing it through the lens of new language, for communication. data, we will increasingly focus on manipulating the data to achieve desired outcomes. Thus we will usher in an era of Already, the text-based Internet is transforming to privilege “everything is programmable”—an era of thinking about the video, animation, and other more visual communication world in computational, programmable, designable terms. media. At the same time, virtual networks are being inte- grated more and more seamlessly into our environment and The collection of enormous quantities of data will enable lives, channeling new media into our daily experience. The modeling of social systems at extreme scales, both micro and millions of users generating and viewing this multimedia macro, helping uncover new patterns and relationships that content from their laptops and mobile devices are exerting were previously invisible. Agencies will increasingly model enormous influence on culture. macro-level phenomena such as global pandemics to stop their spread across the globe. At a micro level, individuals will New media is placing new demands on attention and be able to simulate things such as their route to the ofc fi e to cognition. It is enabling new platforms for creating online avoid trafc fi congestion based on real-time trafc fi data. Micro- identity while at the same time requiring people to engage and macro-scale models will mesh to create models that are in activities such as online personal reputation and identity unprecedented in their complexity and completeness. management. It is enabling new ways for groups to come together and collaborate, bringing in new levels of trans- As a result, whether it is running a business or managing parency to our work and personal lives. At the same time, individual health, our work and personal lives will increas- our sensibility toward reality and truth is likely to be radically ingly demand abilities to interact with data, see patterns in altered by the new media ecology. We must learn to data, make data-based decisions, and use data to design approach content with more skepticism and the realization for desired outcomes. that what you see today may be different tomorrow. Not only are we going to have multiple interpretations of recorded events, but with ubiquitous capture and surveillance, events will be seen from multiple angles and perspectives, each possibly telling a different story of individual events. 46 5 globally superstructed connected world organizations Increased global intercon- Social technologies nectivity puts diversity and drive new forms of adaptability at the center production and value of organizational creation operations New technologies and social media platforms are driving an At its most basic level, globalization is the long-term trend unprecedented reorganization of how we produce and cre- toward greater exchanges and integration across geographic ate value. Amplified by a new level of collective intelligence borders. In our highly globally connected and interdepen- and tapping resources embedded in social connections with dent world, the United States and Europe no longer hold a multitudes of others, we can now achieve the kind of scale mono-poly on job creation, innovation, and political power. and reach previously attainable only by very large organiza- Organizations from resource- and infrastructure-constrained tions. In other words, we can do things outside of traditional markets in developing countries like India and China are inno- organizational boundaries. vating at a faster pace than those from developed countries in some areas, such as mobile technologies. In fact, a lack of To “superstruct” means to create structures that go beyond legacy infrastructure is combining with rapidly growing mar- the basic forms and processes with which we are familiar. It kets to fuel higher rates of growth in developing countries. means to collaborate and play at extreme scales, from the micro to the massive. Learning to use new social tools to For decades, most multinational companies have used their work, to invent, and to govern at these scales is what the overseas subsidiaries as sales and technical support chan- next few decades are all about. nels for the headquarters. In the last ten years, overseas companies, particularly IT ones, outsourced everything from Our tools and technologies shape the kinds of social, customer services to software development. The model, economic, and political organizations we inhabit. Many however, has stayed the same: innovation and design have organizations we are familiar with today, including educa- been the prerogative of R&D labs in developed countries. tional and corporate ones, are products of centuries-old As markets in China, India, and other developing countries scientific knowledge and technologies. Today we see this grow, it is increasingly difficult for the headquarters to de- organizational landscape being disrupted. In health, organi- velop products that can suit the needs of a whole different zations such as Curetogether and PatientsLikeMe are allow- category of consumers. ing people to aggregate their personal health information to allow for clinical trials and emergence of expertise outside Presence in areas where new competitors are popping up of traditional labs and doctors’ offices. Science games, from is critical to survival, but it is not enough. The key is not just Foldit to GalaxyZoo, are engaging thousands of people to to employ people in these locales but also to effectively in- solve problems no single organization had the resources to tegrate these local employees and local business processes do before. Open education platforms are increasingly mak- into the infrastructure of global organizations in order to ing content available to anyone who wants to learn. remain competitive. A new generation of organizational concepts and work skills is coming not from traditional management/organizational theories but from fields such as game design, neurosci- ence, and happiness psychology. These fields will drive the creation of new training paradigms and tools. 5F U t U R e W o R K S K I L L S 2020 What do these six disruptive forces mean for the workers of the next decade? We have identified ten skills that we believe will be critical for success in the workforce. extreme  superstructed longevity organizations While all six drivers are important in shaping the landscape in which computational each skill emerges, the color-coding and placement here indicate Social technologies drive   Increasing global lifespans  world which drivers have particular relevance to the development of each new forms of production  change the nature of  of the skills. and value creation careers and learning Massive increase in sensors  and processing power make  the world a programmable  KEY system Trans- Design Drivers—disruptive shifts that disciplinarity Mindset will reshape the workforce landscape Virtual Collaboration Key skill needed in the future workforce Sense- New  Making  Cross Media Cultural Literacy  Competency Social Cognitive Intelligence  Load Management Novel and Adaptive rise of smart Thinking machines and  Computational Thinking  systems globally-  Workplace robotics nudge  connected world human workers out of rote,  repetitive tasks new media Increased global  interconnectivity puts  ecology diversity and adaptability  at the center of  New communication tools  organizational require new media litera- operations cies beyond text © 2011 Institute for the Future for University of Phoenix Research Institute. All rights reserved. 6extreme  superstructed longevity organizations computational Social technologies drive   Increasing global lifespans  world new forms of production  change the nature of  and value creation careers and learning Massive increase in sensors  and processing power make  the world a programmable  system Trans- Design disciplinarity Mindset Virtual Collaboration Sense- New  Making  Cross Media Cultural Literacy  Competency Social Cognitive Intelligence  Load Management Novel and Adaptive rise of smart Thinking machines and  Computational Thinking  systems globally-  Workplace robotics nudge  connected world human workers out of rote,  repetitive tasks new media Increased global  interconnectivity puts  ecology diversity and adaptability  at the center of  New communication tools  organizational require new media litera- operations cies beyond text © 2011 Institute for the Future for University of Phoenix Research Institute. All rights reserved. 7t e n S K I L L S F o R t h e F U t U R e W o R K F o R C e 1 S e n S e - M A K I n G 2 S o C I A L I n t e L L I G e n C e DEFiNiTioN: ability to determine the deeper meaning DEFiNiTioN: ability to connect to others in a deep and or significance of what is being expressed direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions As smart machines take over rote, routine manufacturing and services jobs, there will be an increasing demand for the While we are seeing early prototypes of “social” and kinds of skills machines are not good at. These are higher- “emotional” robots in various research labs today, the range level thinking skills that cannot be codie fi d. We call these of social skills and emotions that they can display is very sense-making skills, skills that help us create unique insights limited. Feeling is just as complicated as sense-making, critical to decision making. if not more so, and just as the machines we are building are not sense-making machines, the emotional and social When IBM’s supercomputer, Deep Blue, defeated chess robots we are building are not feeling machines. grandmaster Gary Kasparov, many took this of a sign of its superior thinking skills. But Deep Blue had won with brute Socially intelligent employees are able to quickly assess the number-crunching force (its ability to evaluate millions of poss- emotions of those around them and adapt their words, tone ible moves per second), not by applying the kind of human and gestures accordingly. This has always been a key skill for intelligence that helps us to live our lives. A computer may be workers who need to collaborate and build relationships of able to beat a human in a game of chess or Jeopardy by sheer trust, but it is even more important as we are called on to coll- force of its computational abilities, but if you ask it whether aborate with larger groups of people in different settings. Our it wants to play pool, it won’t be able to tell whether you are emotionality and social IQ developed over millennia of living talking about swimming, n fi ancial portfolios, or billiards. in groups will continue be one of the vital assets that give hu- man workers a comparative advantage over machines. As computing pioneer Jaron Lanier points out, despite important advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) research it is still the case that, “if we ask what thinking is, so that we can MiT Media Lab’s then ask how to foster it, we encounter an astonishing and Personal Robots 1 Group is developing terrifying answer: we don’t know.” As we renegotiate the a robot that can human/machine division of labor in the next decade, criti- generate some cal thinking or sense-making will emerge as a skill workers human-like increasingly need to capitalize on. expressions. http://robotic.media.mit.edu iBM’s latest supercomputer, Watson, recently took on human contestants at game-show Jeopardy. http://www-943.ibm.com/ innovation/us/watson/ 8DRiVERS extreme longevity computational world • • rise of smart machines and systems superstructed organizations • • new media ecology globally connected world • • 3 n o v e L & A d A P t I v e t h I n K I n G 4 C R o S S - C U Lt U R A L Co M P e t e n C y DEFiNiTioN: proficiency at thinking and coming up DEFiNiTioN: ability to operate in different cultural settings with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based In a truly globally connected world, a worker’s skill set could see them posted in any number of locations—they need to Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor David be able to operate in whatever environment they find them- Autor has tracked the polarization of jobs in the United selves. This demands specific content, such as linguistic States over the last three decades. He finds that job op- skills, but also adaptability to changing circumstances and portunities are declining in middle-skill white-collar and an ability to sense and respond to new contexts. blue-collar jobs, largely due to a combination of the automa- 2 tion of routine work, and global offshoring. Conversely, job Cross-cultural competency will become an important skill opportunities are increasingly concentrated in both high- for all workers, not just those who have to operate in diverse skill, high-wage professional, technical and management geographical environments. Organizations increasingly see occupations and in low-skill, low-wage occupations such as diversity as a driver of innovation. Research now tells us food service and personal care. Jobs at the high-skill end in- that what makes a group truly intelligent and innovative is volve abstract tasks, and at the low-skill end, manual tasks. the combination of different ages, skills, disciplines, and working and thinking styles that members bring to the table. What both of these categories of tasks have in common Scott E. Page, professor and director of the Center of the is that they require what Autor terms “situational adapt- Study of Complex Systems at the University of Michigan ability”—the ability to respond to unique unexpected has demonstrated that groups displaying a range of per- circumstances of the moment. Tasks as different as writing spectives and skill levels outperform like-minded experts. a convincing legal argument, or creating a new dish out of He concludes that “progress depends as much on our col- 3 set ingredients both require novel thinking and adaptability. lective differences as it does on our individual IQ scores.” These skills will be at a premium in the next decade, particu- larly as automation and offshoring continue. Diversity will therefore become a core competency for organizations over the next decade. Successful employees within these diverse teams need to be able to identify and communicate points of connection (shared goals, priorities, Change in employment by occupation, 1979-2009 Percentage point change in employment by occupation, 1979–2009 values) that transcend their differences and enable them to Percent build relationships and to work together effectively. 60 1979–1989 1999–2007 50 1989–1999 2007–2009 Professor Scott E. Page has 40 30 shown how diverse groups 20 yield superior outcomes when 10 compared to homogeneous 0 groups. -10 -20 http://press.princeton.edu -30 Managers Professionals Technicians Sales Office and Production, Operators, Protective Food prep, Personal  admin  craft, and and laborers  services  cleaning  care and repair  services Employment growth in the United States is polarizing into high- skill and low-skill jobs, both of which require capacity for novel thinking. David Autor, The Polarization of Job Opportunities in the US Labor Market. Center for American Progress and The Hamilton Project, April 2010 9t e n S K I L L S F o R t h e F U t U R e W o R K F o R C e 5 Co M P U t At I o n A L t h I n K I n G 6 n e W - M e d I A L I t e R AC y DEFiNiTioN: ability to translate vast amounts of data into DEFiNiTioN: ability to critically assess and develop content abstract concepts and to understand data-based reasoning that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for persuasive communication As the amount of data that we have at our disposal increases exponentially, many more roles will require computational The explosion in user-generated media including the videos, thinking skills in order to make sense of this information. Nov- blogs, and podcasts that now dominate our social lives, will ice-friendly programming languages and technologies that be fully felt in workplaces in the next decade. Communica- teach the fundamentals of programming virtual and physical tion tools that break away from the static slide approach of worlds will enable us to manipulate our environments and en- programs such as PowerPoint will become commonplace, hance our interactions. The use of simulations will become a and with them expectations of worker ability to produce core expertise as they begin to feature regularly in discourse content using these new forms will rise dramatically. and decision-making. HR departments that currently value applicants who are familiar with basic applications, such as The next generation of workers will need to become fluent the Microsoft Ofc fi e suite, will shift their expectations, seeking in forms such as video, able to critically “read” and assess out resumes that include statistical analysis and quantitative them in the same way that they currently assess a paper or reasoning skills. presentation. They will also need to be comfortable creating and presenting their own visual information. Knowledge of In addition to developing computational thinking skills, fonts and layouts was once restricted to a small set of print workers will need to be aware of its limitations. This requires designers and typesetters, until word processing programs an understanding that models are only as good as the data brought this within the reach of everyday office workers. feeding them—even the best models are approximations Similarly, user-friendly production editing tools will make of reality and not reality itself. And second, workers must video language—concepts such as frame, depth of field remain able to act in the absence of data and not become etc—part of the common vernacular. paralyzed when lacking an algorithm for every system to guide decision making. As immersive and visually stimulating presentation of information becomes the norm, workers will need more so- phisticated skills to use these tools to engage and persuade their audiences. Scratch is an interactive learning environment developed by Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MiT Media Lab. it Howard Rheingold’s teaches young people Social Media Class- the fundamentals of room teaches view- computational method- ers the vernacular ology in a fun, low risk of video. environment. http://socialmediaclassroom. http://scratch.mit.edu com 10DRiVERS extreme longevity computational world • • rise of smart machines and systems superstructed organizations • • new media ecology globally connected world • • 7 t R A n S d I S C I P L I n A R I t y 8 d e S I G n M I n d S e t DEFiNiTioN: literacy in and ability to understand concepts DEFiNiTioN: ability to represent and develop tasks across multiple disciplines and work processes for desired outcomes Many of today’s global problems are just too complex to be The sensors, communication tools and processing power of solved by one specialized discipline (think global warming or the computational world will bring with them new opportuni- overpopulation). These multifaceted problems require trans- ties to take a design approach to our work. We will be able disciplinary solutions. While throughout the 20th century, to plan our environments so that they are conducive to the ever-greater specialization was encouraged, the next cen- outcomes that we are most interested in. Discoveries from tury will see transdisciplinary approaches take center stage. neuroscience are highlighting how profoundly our physical We are already seeing this in the emergence of new areas of environments shape cognition. As Fred Gage, a neurobio- study, such as nanotechnology, which blends molecular bi- logist who studies and designs environments for neuro- ology, biochemistry, protein chemistry, and other specialties. genesis (the creation of new neurons), argues, “change the 5 environment, change the brain, change the behavior.” This shift has major implications for the skill set that knowledge workers will need to bring to organizations. One recent study found that ceiling height has a consistent 6 According to Howard Rheingold, a prominent forecaster and impact on the nature of participants’ thinking. Participants author, “transdisciplinarity goes beyond bringing together in the study were asked to rate their current body state or researchers from different disciplines to work in multidis- feeling. Those who were in the room with higher ceilings re- ciplinary teams. It means educating researchers who can sponded more favorably to words associated with freedom, speak languages of multiple disciplines—biologists who have such as “unrestricted” or “open”. Those in the lower-ceiling understanding of mathematics, mathematicians who under- room tended to describe themselves with words associated 4 stand biology.” with confinement. This impact on mood was directly trans- ferred to mental processes; those in the high-ceiling group The ideal worker of the next decade is “T-shaped”—they were more effective at relational thinking, creating connec- bring deep understanding of at least one e fi ld, but have the tions and the free recall of facts. capacity to converse in the language of a broader range of disciplines. This requires a sense of curiosity and a willing- Workers of the future will need to become adept at rec- ness to go on learning far beyond the years of formal edu- ognizing the kind of thinking that different tasks require, cation. As extended lifespans promote multiple careers and and making adjustments to their work environments that exposure to more industries and disciplines, it will be particu- enhance their ability to accomplish these tasks. larly important for workers to develop this T-shaped quality. Ceiling height can encourage The California institute for open, expansive thinking. Telecommunications and http://scienceblogs.com/mixingmemo- information Technology ry/2007/05/does_ceiling_height_affect_the.php (Calit2) at the University of California’s San Diego campus brings together researchers from STEM e fi lds of science and engineering with art, design, and myriad other disciplines to tackle large scale societal problems. http://socialmovement.org 11t e n S K I L L S F o R t h e F U t U R e W o R K F o R C e 9 Co G n I t I v e Lo A d M A n AG e M e n t 10 v I R t UA L Co L L A b o R At I o n DEFiNiTioN: ability to discriminate and filter information for DEFiNiTioN: ability to work productively, drive importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member functioning using a variety of tools and techniques of a virtual team. A world rich in information streams in multiple formats and Connective technologies make it easier than ever to work, share from multiple devices brings the issue of cognitive overload ideas and be productive despite physical separation. But the vir- to the fore. Organizations and workers will only be able to tual work environment also demands a new set of competencies. turn the massive influx of data into an advantage if they can learn to effectively filter and focus on what is important. As a leader of a virtual team, individuals need to develop strategies for engaging and motivating a dispersed group. The next generation of workers will have to develop their own We are learning that techniques borrowed from gaming are techniques for tackling the problem of cognitive overload. For extremely effective in engaging large virtual communities. example, the practice of social lfi tering—ranking, tagging, Ensuring that collaborative platforms include typical gaming or adding other metadata to content helps higher-quality or features such as immediate feedback, clear objectives and a more relevant information to rise above the “noise.” staged series of challenges can signic fi antly drive participa - tion and motivation. Workers will also need to become adept at utilizing new tools to help them deal with the information onslaught. Members of virtual teams also need to become adept at Researchers at Tufts University have wired stockbro- finding environments that promote productivity and well- kers—who are constantly monitoring streams of financial being. A community that offers “ambient sociability” can data, and need to recognize major changes without be- help overcome isolation that comes from lack of access to a ing overwhelmed by detail. The stockbrokers were asked central, social workplace. This could be a physical cowork- to watch a stream of financial data and write an involved ing space, but it could also be virtual. Researchers at email message to a coll-eague. As they got more involved Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab exploring the in composing the email, the fNIRS (functional near-infrared real-world social benefits of inhabiting virtual worlds such spectroscopy, which measures blood oxygen levels in the as Second Life report that the collective experience of a brain) system detected this, and simplified the presentation virtual environment, especially one with 3D avatars, provides 7 of data accordingly. significant social-emotional benefits. Players experience the others as co-present and available, but they are able to concentrate on their own in-world work. Online streams created by micro blogging and social networking sites can serve as virtual water coolers, providing a sense of camaraderie and enabling employees to demon- strate presence. For example, Yammer is a Twitter-like micro blogging service, focused on business—only individuals with the same corporate domain in their email address can access Adaptive interfaces, developed by researchers at Tufts, can reduce the level of detail in the market the company network. information stockbrokers see when sensors detect that they are experiencing high mental workload. Yammer asks employ- ees to provide updates http://www.cs.tufts.edu on the question, “What are you working on?” www.yammer.com 12I M P L I C At I o n S The results of this research have implications for individuals, educational institutions, business, and government. To be successful in the next decade, individuals will need to demonstrate foresight in navigating a rapidly shifting landscape of organizational forms and skill requirements. They will increasingly be called upon to continually reassess the skills they need, and quickly put together the right resources to develop and update these. Workers in the future will need to be adaptable lifelong learners. Educational institutions at the primary, secondary, and Businesses must also be alert to the changing environment post-secondary levels, are largely the products of technology and adapt their workforce planning and development strategies infrastructure and social circumstances of the past. The to ensure alignment with future skill requirements. Strategic landscape has changed and educational institutions should human resource professionals might reconsider traditional consider how to adapt quickly in response. Some directions of methods for identifying critical skills, as well as selecting and change might include: developing talent. Considering the disruptions likely to reshape the future will enhance businesses’ ability to ensure organiza- » Placing additional emphasis on developing skills such as tional talent has and continuously renews the skills necessary critical thinking, insight, and analysis capabilities for the sustainability of business goals. A workforce strategy for sustaining business goals should be one of the most critical » Integrating new-media literacy into education programs outcomes of human resource professionals and should involve collaborating with universities to address lifelong learning and » Including experiential learning that gives prominence skill requirements. to soft skills—such as the ability to collaborate, work in groups, read social cues, and respond adaptively Governmental policymakers will need to respond to the changing landscape by taking a leadership role and making » Broadening the learning constituency beyond teens and education a national priority. If education is not prioritized, young adults through to adulthood we risk compromising our ability to prepare our people for a healthy and sustainable future. For Americans to be prepared » Integrating interdisciplinary training that allows students to and for our businesses to be competitive, policy makers should develop skills and knowledge in a range of subjects consider the full range of skills citizens will require, as well as the importance of lifelong learning and constant skill renewal. Trans- Design disciplinarity Mindset Virtual Collaboration Sense- New  Making  Cross Media Cultural Literacy  Competency Social Cognitive Intelligence  Load Management Novel and Adaptive Thinking Computational Thinking  new media 13 ecologye n d n ot e S 1 Jaron Lernier, Does the Digital Classroom Enfeeble the Mind? New York Times. September 16, 2010. Available at: http://www. nytimes.com/2010/09/19/magazine/19fob-essay-t.html?pagewanted=2. 2 David Autor, The Polarization of Job Opportunities in the US Labor Market. Center for American Progress and The Hamilton Proj- ect, April 2010. 3 Scott E. Page, The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools and Societies. Princeton: Princ- eton University Press, 2008. 4 Quoted in Science & Technology Perspectives, Institute for the Future, SR 967. 5 Quoted in John P. Eberhard, and Brenda Patoine, Architecture With the Brain in Mind. The Dana Foundation weblog, 2004. Avail- able at: http://www.dana.org/news/cerebrum/detail.aspx?id=1254. 6 Joan Meyers-Levy, Rui Zhu, The influence of ceiling height: The effect of priming on the type of processing people use. Journal of Consumer Research 2007: 34. 7 Audrey Girouard, Erin Treacy Solovey et al., From Brain Signals to Adaptive Interfaces: using fNIRS in HCI. Brain Computer Inter- facts: Human-Computer Interaction Series, 2010, 3: 221-237. 14

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