Learning future 2020 – utopia or dystopia?

Learning future 2020 – utopia or dystopia?

Research shows we are conditioned to think negatively 70% of the time – largely in ways that express our fears; something we don’t want or are actively trying to avoid.

As we leap further into an uncertain world – forever changed by jittery markets, rapid technological advances, shifting cultural mores and the end of the ‘job for life’ – it’s only natural to be daunted by our own position in the evolving workplace.

Yet there is much to be optimistic about if we’re open to change and the exciting new opportunities that present themselves with it. This was the subject of the Cegos Learning Future 2020 event in Singapore – 10th March, 2016.

Here are 5 key takeaways:

1) Be ready

Cegos MD Jeremy Blain gave numerous examples of what he termed the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ – the advent of sophisticated automation (see the first robot hotel) and the information age. This revolution is not about to happen…it’s happening now. Yet too many companies fail to accommodate new technologies and new ways of working. This is understandable, what with the pace of change being quite overwhelming, but companies can make incremental changes to ensure they exploit the latest technologies and systems to their full advantage.

2)Embrace technology and experiment

Social media has taken over the workplace like nothing else. Many people are aware of its existence and will probably use some platforms, such as Facebook or Instagram, in their personal lives. Yet when it comes to using social media in the workplace, many leaders are unsure just how it fits into the vast scheme of things. The point here is to experiment. There are countless new ways to connect, to market and to learn, and technology feeds this ravenous beast all the time. There is likely something out there that could really make a difference to your place in the market, but you don’t have to succeed immediately. As Jeremy says, “if at first you don’t succeed, call it 1.0”.

3) The old ways are no longer the best

There is much talk of Gen Y these days, and how companies should respond to their needs to engage them in the workplace. Gen Y advocate and speaker, Ben Loh, spoke of a generation that has grown up with the Internet who don’t necessarily fit the narcissistic and lazy stereotype. Instead, they are challenging the old ways of working and adapting to a whole new working landscape; one devoid of 9-5 and top-down management. Rather than pandering to Gen Y – as their elders often feel pressured into – the most successful companies are finding new ways to work cross-generationally and embrace diversity. And this is yielding some very positive results.

4) Think positive

Global workforce innovator and author of Seeing Red Cars, Laura Goodrich, expanded on the idea of positive thinking to inspire motivation. This is nothing new, of course, but Laura articulated just how it works in practice, backed up by some pretty nifty brain science. In short, many people fail because they frame objectives in a negative way (“we need to avoid missing targets”, “we shouldn’t be too passive”, etc.) As we navigate the minefield of the 2020’s workplace, a positive mindset makes a huge difference and learning how to motivate your workforce so that they embrace change is paramount in any modern organisation.

5) Adopt new ways of learning

Online learning is fast becoming the norm for many employers. As people feel more comfortable using online technology these days, the space is open to make learning more convenient, easily accessible and adaptable to the learners’ needs. Stephen Jenner, Digital Learning expert at Cegos, explained how digital technology is enhancing distance learning and also how it is being employed in the face-to-face environment to make classes more interactive. Blended learning (the mix of digital and face-to-face) is the future, it seems, and everyone benefits.

I guess the answer to the question in the headline is subjective. Some will flinch at the idea of so much change and perhaps yearn for a world where things were so much simpler. Understandable, as a lot of people prefer to maintain the status quo.

For those who are familiar with modern technology or have a willingness to learn, however, the future could be bright indeed.

Neil Stoneham is Managing Director of Voxtree – a global communication consultancy

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