It is so easy to get stuck in today and not look at tomorrow.
The reality that is unfolding around us is that of a fast globalising world in which our daily actions are creating change on an unprecedented scale.
There are some significant patterns of change that is emerging globally and that will characterise how we view the future. We draw heavily from the FastFuture – Shape of Jobs to Come Report (2010) to share some insights of new and emerging trends that are shaping our realities.
The key areas of change in society was analysed by drawing from the top think thanks in the world and they are discussed below.
- Demographic Shifts
There are no more nation states representing single cultures – so in reality there are people from every country in every other country. Global travel has created pockets and communities that are still fairly nationalistic but in 2-3 generations there is a massive transformation away from “old” cultural models to new ways of working. The official population of Europe in 2010 was 738 million people. Africa recently overtook Europe and stands at a population of 1022 million people. It is a new age in which people, space and living conditions are a choice and not only a birth right introduces new cultural and socio-economic realities, conflicts and opportunities.
- Economic Turbulence
Economic turbulence is here to stay. The cycles may be shorter or longer but the reality it will not go away. The balance between commodities, energy and consumption will go through multiple shocks and corrections and whole economic clusters will go up or down at a time.
- Politics Gets Complex
In a new world – the role of the state will also change and politics will become both more transparent and complex. SOPA, ACTA and other legislative practices have shown that laws have a global impact and require a global focus (and skills). Global problems also will require global solutions – and while it was always convenient to look to the USA for solutions – increasingly every country will play a role. Take the recent insurance policy that had to be taken against economic collapse where a every country had to pay in some billions in case of a future rescue package. Really complex solutions require massive collaborations of government, business and organisations all over the world and solve ever-larger geopolitical problems.
- Business 3.0 – An Expanding Agenda
We are still working through understanding new concepts such as the cloud, big data and the post 2010 enterprise. The new business – called Business 3.0 by some will look at the role of business in which previously undesirable functions of state become big business. Globalised companies and changes in revenue and earnings recognition relative to stock markets are changing the reality of accounting, finance and business. Large corporates have both a more social agenda, but also increasingly an obligation to be present in the countries they profit from – and not only the countries they are listed in.
- Science and Technology go Mainstream
We are in an unprecedented time of knowledge sharing and innovation with the internet having precipated a knowledge boom that allows everyone to challenge their previously held assumptions, but also advance at a much higher rate. Science and technology is surrounding us all and together with aesthetics means that we are getting devices that are more compact, function and that start taking care and empowering people to do more.
- People living longer
People living longer are a reality. It will challenge every model that has ever been built on the assumption that people retire at 65. In reality people will start hitting 150-200 within our lifetimes. This will lead to a whole new world of service delivery, generational issues and industries. It will also change resource consumption patterns, wealth patterns and general approach to education, development and
- Rethinking Talent, Education and Training
Talent is changing. It may not exist right now, or it may be sitting in South America. Models for contributing to solutions and execution will emerge unlike some of the early models that we have seen. Crowdsourcing is one strategy, but when we start seeing proprietary cloud structures emerging the possibilities become a lot more radical. We have seen business models like Groupon, Pinterest, FormSpring and other businesses emerging overnight and changing the way that businesses market, consumers consume and that people work. All of a sudden the retailer sitting at a counter is busy uploading specials into a system and a person sitting at home is running their own reseller of products and services.
This will fundamentally change how talent gets managed, how education and training gets done and when and where people consume information that is relevant to them being skilled in ever more on demand learning styles. Regenesys believes that through our eLearning and mobile offerings we will continue to provide new and innovative ways to accelerate workforce readiness and development.
The digital divide will be more of reality than ever – with those that can access knowledge and utilise it effectively accelerating ahead, and those that do now – falling ever further behind.
- Global Expansion of Electronic Media
With your mobile device you can currently control your life. This will only get more and more advanced and ubiquitous. One device to rule them all? Who knows – anything is possible. With nano technology advancing and cloud computing a reality, we will also soon be able to package nearly any level of desired functionality into any form factor. What does this mean – don’t be surprised if you can watch TV on a cup, take it off and stick it onto your fridge, crumple it up and put it in your pocket and then drop it on your desk at work and start typing on it.
- A Society in Transition
As we are moving from one society into a new one there are many traditional institutions that will be changing – a lot of hard questions that will be answered by laws, big fights and global crisis and scandal. This has and will increasingly lead to high ethical and legal standards, a loss in faith in traditional institutions and a reshaping of a future world of work. The information age has moved NGO’s to a new business model often expressed as social entrepreneurship. Businesses have taken on more social responsibility and government increasingly have to find ways to stay out of the way of progress, rather than being the primary movers in creating progress.
- Natural Resource Challenges
We currently have 7 billion people. It is likely to double. This means a couple of things. A lot more waste, a lot more production – bigger markets and bigger challenges. Smarter materials will be required and recycling is huge. Even as we speak there are major initiatives in most countries to increase recycling capacities. The mines of the future are the dumps of today.
FastFuture published a report on the jobs of the future looking at what 2020-2030 may look like in terms of going to the office. Are you looking forward to becoming a body part maker, or maybe an old age wellness manager? The world of work will change and will change dramatically in the next couple of years. (See full List of Interesting new jobs here)
In South Africa we have an emerging view that we will become an industrialised knowledge economy and that the future lies in building our skills and knowledge around creating and managing innovation.
The question that needs to be posed is if we are looking forward far enough into the skills that may be required tomorrow and starting to build those today.
At Regenesys we are constantly looking at how to empower managers and leaders of today and tomorrow to deal with this ever more complex society.
The top 20 FutureSkills
- Body part maker Advances in science will make it possible to create living body parts, so we could need living body part makers, body part stores and body part repair shops.
- Nano-medic Advances in nanotechnology for creating sub-atomic devices and treatments could transform personal healthcare so we would need a new breed of nano medicine specialists to administer these treatments.
- Pharmer of genetically engineered crops and livestock New-age farmers will grow crops and keep animals that have been genetically engineered to increase the amount of food they produce and to include proteins that are good for our health. Scientists are already working on a vaccine-carrying tomato and therapeutic milk from cows, sheep and goats.
- Old age wellness manager/consultant We will need specialists to help manage the health and personal needs of an aging population. They will be able to use a range of new emerging medical, drug, prosthetic, mental health, natural and fitness treatments.
- Memory augmentation surgeon Surgeons could add extra memory to people who want to increase their memory and to help those who have been over-exposed to information and need more memory to store it.
- ‘New science’ ethicist As scientific advances speed up in areas like cloning, we may need a new breed of ethicist who understands the science and helps society make choices about what developments to allow. It won’t be a question of can we, but should we?
- Space pilots, tour guides and architects With companies already promising space tourism, we will need space pilots and tour guides, as well as architects to design where they will live and work. Current projects at SICSA (University of Houston) include a greenhouse on Mars, lunar outposts and space exploration vehicles.
- Vertical farmers Vertical farms growing in skyscrapers in the middle or our cities could dramatically increase food supply by 2020. Vertical farmers will need skills in a range of scientific disciplines, engineering and commerce.
- Climate change reversal specialist As the impact of climate change increases, we will need a new breed of engineer-scientists to help reduce or reverse the effects. The range of science and technologies they use could include filling the oceans with iron filings to putting up giant umbrellas to deflect the sun’s rays.
- Quarantine enforcer If a deadly virus starts spreading rapidly, few countries, and few people, will be prepared. Nurses will be in short supply. And as death rates rise, and neighborhoods are shut down, someone will have to guard the gates.
- Weather modification police The act of stealing clouds to create rain is already happening in some parts of the world and is altering weather patterns thousands of miles away. Weather modification police will need to controland monitor who is allowed to shoot rockets containing silver iodine into the air – a way to provoke rainfall from passing clouds.
- Virtual lawyer As more and more of our daily life goes online, we will need specialist lawyers to resolve legal disputes which could involve people living in countries and regions with different laws.
- Avatar manager / devotees / virtual teachers Intelligent avatars or computer characters could be used to support or even replace teachers in the classroom. The devotee is the human that makes sure the avatar and the student are properly matched.
- Alternative vehicle developers We need the designers and builders of the next generations of vehicle transport using alternative materials and fuels. Could the dream of zero-emission cars or even underwater and flying cars become a reality within the next two decades?
- Narrowcasters As content on the television, radio and the internet becomes increasingly personalised, there will be jobs for specialists working with producers and advertisers to create news, entertainment and information tailored to our personal interests. While some personalisation will be done by computers, customised narrowcasting to individuals could be performed by humans.
- Waste data handler As data and information about us increases on computers everywhere, we may need waste data handlers to securely get rid of our data so we can’t be tracked or have our identity stolen.
- Virtual clutter organiser Clutter managers will help us organise our electronic lives. They would look after our email, make sure our data is stored properly and manage our electronic passwords and profiles.
- Time broker / Time bank trader Time has always been precious and time banking already exists. In the future there may be other alternative currencies that will have their own markets where they can be traded.
- Social ‘networking’ worker We may need social workers for people who may be traumatised or marginalised by social networking.
- Personal branders This job would be an extension of the role played by celebrity stylists and publicists. Personal branders will work for anyone to create a personal “brand” using social networking sites and other media. The sorts of issues they will be dealing with will be what personality are you projecting via your Blog, Twitter, etc? What personal values do you want to build into your image? And is your image consistent with your real life personality and your goals?