The 5 Skills Employers Seek in Today’s Digital Economy

The reality is that
we’re moving from an industrial economy into a digital distributed
economy. We started this research
three years ago when we discovered that
the world was changing so much beyond our borders, beyond
the borders of the school, that we had to redo
the curriculum. So we began to interview people
in public relations, strategic communications, the
media industry, entertainment, and, eventually,
with places like IBM and UPS. And the purpose was to ask them
two questions: when you hire people,
what are you looking for? And when you promote them, what kind of skills
were you looking for? And they said,
“Well, you know, “we know we need MBAs,
and so we hire them. “And we know we need engineers, “but we need another set
of skills, which we don’t have enough.” In other words, the market
is undersupplying this set of what turned out to be
soft skills. So what were those soft skills? Well, one was 360-degree
thinking. Our second was to be
culturally competent. And then empathy– understanding the perspective
and point of view of the other individual, of a group of consumers. Adaptability is essential. The world is changing crazy fast
every place. And then the final one
is really important. It’s intellectual curiosity, that core belief, you want to know the answer
to questions, you want to pose new questions. Those are the five attributes
that together constitute what we call
“third space thinking.” Third space thinking is not just
these attributes isolated from one another,
they constitute a way of asking different kinds of questions,
proposing different solutions and creating different kinds
of work units with different incentives
that, quite frankly, are different
from what you would find in a traditional business unit
or perhaps MBA training, or among engineers. So we think that’s really
important, too. My name is Ernie Wilson. It’s been great
to have this conversation, and I look forward to continuing
the conversation in the future. Thanks a lot, bye-bye.


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