With everything getting digital, we are very much in the territory of machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, virtual reality, biometrics and AI revolution. Not only does it stop there, digital economy also includes the changes companies should undergo to incorporate these technologies and changes. Hence, by digital economy, i infer both, the technological changes and the incorporation of these capabilities where it all comes together. The digital economy is remaking almost all aspects of our professional
The digital economy is remaking almost all aspects of our professional life and transforms the way business is done. With such an accelerated pace of change, the skillset needed to thrive in this age has fundamentally shifted.
For those who have the winning skills, this wave of change will propel them to greater heights. The good news is, we are at the beginning of this new shift and if you set to develop them, you could ride the wave. However, one has to hurry as technology grows in an exponential and not linear manner.
So, what are the critical skills that are going to determine your success in this digital economy?
#1. Friction-less Adapting
Digital Economy has induced a phenomenon of constant and rapid change. With change being constant, adapting becomes a survival skill. You either adapt or perish (quick or slow). The underpinning success of this skill is to adapt without any impactful friction to the dramatically changing environment. Also, you should be an early adapter to have a less adaptation gap and make the most out of developments.
This is going to demand the very depth of one’s ability, speed and perseverance. This by far, will be the most demanding skill of the digital economy. The adapting is expected in all areas such as emotional, psychological, mental, intellectual, physical, technical, technological and functional.
#2. Understanding both People & Machines
Having either of these will simply not be an option anymore. The digital economy requires individuals to be able to understand both and leverage them. Being a technology literate alongside understanding people will be a skill in high demand especially with senior executives. If you lack in either of these, you are not going to be able to effectively deliver results.
Organizations will be structured in ways where understanding and leveraging both of these will be needed. Even the non-technical roles will need an understanding of the technology. In fact, there will be almost no role outside the remit of technology. For example,
HR without understanding technology is not going to be able to deliver. It is inevitable that a significant portion of the data for managing the workforce is going to come from technology, algorithms, artificial intelligence and computer ecosystems
Whoever does not understand or learn the technology in their field, will be left out. The same applies to experts in technology who do not understand people. After all, technology is for people.
#3. Holistic Thinking
It is no more enough to think in bits and pieces nor within one’s remit. In a digitally dominated business environment, majority of jobs will be interlinked to a wide range of topics. Industry borders will merge or totally disappear. This interdependence, requires one to think simultaneously about what their clients, colleagues, markets and technology want within the limitations of time, resources, knowledge and information.
The integrated thought process is essential to connect the dots and piece together information that make sense.
The higher one is in the organization; the more holistic thinking is expected as this is a business-critical skill. This requires being able to comprehend and think across varied environments such as culture, geopolitics, social, markets, business, customers, cross-channels, stakeholders etc.
#4. Cultural Competence
One of the strengths of the digital economy is the equality and the level playing field it creates across the world. With it, comes the enriching emulsion of different cultures working together. Regional, national and local cultures will continue to have differences. Whether working remotely or physically across cultures, cross cultural competence will be a decisive factor. I hope, I could also include the cultural differences between different generations (Generation Y, Generation X, Millennials etc.) into the basket.
For leadership positions, this would be prominent as they would be required to manage smoothly across different cultures within the organization. With a flat structure and a transparent workforce, the one who can understand different cultures and operate successfully across them will be highly sought after.
Understanding the different viewpoints, psychology and ways of doing things, will help to avoid conflicts and boost cooperation and efficiency. The ability to understand the cultural differences and similarities and find amicable and efficient solutions is a skill you can’t live without.
#5. Curious Learning
Building your career for tomorrow starts yesterday. This is how, I would describe the skills needed for the digital economy
Learning will never stop in the digital economy. Those who can do this effectively must clear through the overload of information and determine what to learn. Learning is going to be equally difficult. Without learning, there is no adapting.
The inner drive to perpetually keep learning the right skill is what moves you forward in this life marathon. Skills do not come overnight and you need to work at it. Without a curiosity based learning, the learning will become an unbearable burden.
Remember, it is not learning, but curious learning that makes you play the long game well.