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“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Is a question of the past!!!

Heather McGowan, who inspired us last year at a BBG innovation forum on the future of work, has written a brilliant piece in Forbes this week.


Below are some of the gems :- 

According to research by the Foundation For Young Australians,in the developed world, today’s young people may have upwards of 17 jobs across five different industries in a single generation. 

Many of those jobs do not yet exist and those that do will be rapidly and radically reshaped by technology. 

As a result, we need to think differently  how we prepare the next generation for work.

Future jobs of the future will require  creativity and problem the balance will be lost to automation and outsourcing The human skills such as empathy, social intelligence, creativity, communication and judgment will be key and we don’t  seem to be reaching them in schools. 

What can we do to  retrain those displaced? (Will we in fact be able to?) 

A key element of work in the future is lifelong learning.

We need to think differently about how we define ourselves beyond a one-time application of skills and knowledge in a single set career.

The mindset of a “profession” or “skill” or “specialisation” ( a degree, job title, company affiliation) will be redundant – a doctor, lawyer or accountant will be done by “Google”

What will be needed  is an identity formed from internal validation rooted in purpose, passion, uniquely human skills, and fundamental literacies.

It’s about self-awareness 

It’s about one’s ability and methods for learning, adaptation, and value creation. 

Knowledge and specialisation will not be an asset. 

Your job will be “augmented” by AI and AR – which will not make mistakes…. (and  in my view – the world will be better off . )

We need to teach our children how to interact with AI and the 4th generation – it’s different to what we taught our children in 1st and 2nd revolutions.

The way we teach high school has to change – and there are some interesting “prototypes”

 Heather identifies a few XQ, the Khan Academy and PACE 


In 2015, XQ Institute funded 19 different types of high schools. 

XQ’s mission is to fuel America’s collective creativity to transform high school so every student succeeds—no matter their race, gender or zip code.

In the words of cofounder Russlynn Ali, “In the last 100 years we have gone from the typewriter to the touch screen and from the silent movie to virtual and augmented reality yet our high schools remain frozen in time. 

(A full list of the schools can be found here.) 

All 19 schools include 

Foundational Knowledge, to place information in proper context; 

Fundamental Literacies, including digital and computational proficiencies, to navigate this complex new world; 

Generous Collaborators, to work in cross cultural and trans-disciplinary teams; and 

Original Thinkers to create new value while serving our world’s most pressing challenges, cognizant that all students must become 

Learners For Life.

Khan Academy 

In 2014, Salman Khan of the Khan Academy launched the experimental Khan Lab School(K-12) where students  move through competencies rather than seat time or tests, each student is responsible to teach as well as learn to reinforce their capabilities, and each student has a passion project in addition to their core competencies and teaching responsibilities. 

Students were  engaged inspired and enthused ant he energy was electric .

PAST Innovation Lab 

Annalies Corbin founded PAST Innovation Lab in Ohio which in 2016,  – testing the boundaries of the work/school interface. 

By fully embedding teaching and learning in industry R&D, startup and launch we saw exponential growth in students grasp of what is possible. When no longer constrained by the limits of traditional high school, students in the PAST lab excelled — they found the connections between industries and application, and they are able to contribute to solving real-world challenges in real time as full active members of design teams — our kids are only constrained by the limits of their own knowledge, which grows daily.”

Inspired by  Heather E. McGowan – a Future of Work Strategist and Keynote Speaker. More information about her work can be found at http://bit.ly/2WRqqWn

Posted on April 6, 2019

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