Nesta’s Top 21st Century Skills

We found nuggets of rich data in Nesta’s report, regarding the future of UK skills in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The three previous ones freed us from animal power, enabled mass production, and brought digital to billions of people.

Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, describes the fourth revolution as ‘characterized by a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenging ideas about what it means to be human’.

Nesta based its conclusions regarding the future of the UK job market around the cognitive skills it believes are necessary to navigate these new technologies, and discovered two main sets. These are:

Social Skills

 Primary skills are teaching (instructing), adjusting to others’ actions (co- ordination), assessing others’ performance (monitoring) and providing motivation (management of personnel resources). The fifth factor is active listening, which is critical for picking up on new ideas.

Cognitive Skills

 Primary skills are coming up with multiple ideas (fluency of ideas), deriving novel solutions (originality) and understanding new information (active learning). Other factors include critical thinking, deductive reasoning, information ordering, judgement and decision-making, active learning, systems evaluation, and complex problem solving.

Nesta believes workers in skilled trades – and those it calls elementary occupations – could ‘benefit from refining their strength and dexterity’. In contrast, professional workers and those in administration should ‘focus on developing their resource and time management skills’. Of course, there are many more applications beyond these examples

As we view the personality of Nesta’s 21st century human, we can’t avoid the conclusion this describes thinkers like Leonardo da Vinci and other polymaths. Their expertise spanned a significant number of different subject areas. The renaissance period saw the rebirth of humanism, art, science, music, and other gifts that had marked time during the dark ages.

This time round, Nesta visualises the emergence of two new occupations, that might allow us to explore our inherent creativity in different ways. These ‘new renaissance’ skill sets are:

Immersive Experience Designers blending creative and technology-based skills: They will have knowledge of fine arts, design, sales and marketing, and customer service, while their abilities include originality, visualization, fluency of ideas, and manual dexterity.

Managers in Hospitality will combine the two concepts, and be both effective sales people, and decisive problem-solvers. Their abilities will include originality, fluency of ideas, oral comprehension, and oral expression. They will be active listeners, active learners, critical thinkers, and decision makers with a service orientation.

Auger has enthusiastically embraced this ‘new renaissance’ thinking. We are independent specialists serving the insurance industry for drainage and water mains claims across the UK. The 2017 Wirral Businesses Awards named us best for customer service.

We will do whatever it takes to deliver what you need … using our bespoke technology and customer driven people, because to us it’s more than just a job.

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