Are future ready skills still future ready?

The past couple of months have been disruptive, to say the very least. As an ecosystem, we have had to adapt to new ways of working without knowing how long our new skills must hold out. We’re on the verge of a new age, but we’re not sure what that is, let alone what we’ll need in order to be successful in it.

Where does that leave “future-ready skills”?

Which skills will help us in the new environment? How do we make sure we are prepared for what’s to come, if no one is really sure what that looks like?

The good news is that the skills that made us future-ready a few months ago are still relevant. These have never been one-size-fits-all skills. They are skills that make us flexible, innovative, and teach us how to solve for new solutions rather than use standard solutions for situations where they do not make sense. These skills can be adapted to our new environment, and the changes we will continue to see. The future may have been different than we had anticipated, but the way to get there and navigate it still works.

Here are some examples of some existing future-ready skills that still apply:

Critical thinking

It’s the ability to understand what’s behind an idea; to question, analyze, identify and make connections. It means using experience and knowledge to construct a logical solution, rather than applying a standard procedure. Critical thinking is arguably the most important skill to have in the face of a major, widespread change as it prepares us to tackle situations we have never seen before.

Problem-Solving

Going hand-in-hand with critical thinking, problem solving means being able to understand a problem and addressing it in a timely and sensible fashion. It is the ability to make sound decisions quickly, without dwelling on all the possibilities. It is an imperative skill to have as we face new problems now and as new ones emerge when we slowly begin to come out of isolation.

Lifelong Learning

The need to adapt to the new environment illustrates an excellent example of lifelong learning. Though workers may have known their jobs inside and out, the need to adapt to new standards shows that there is always more to learn. Learning how to use new tools and changing work practices to adapt to at-home working is the new trend, but we are always learning as we grow in our work and lives.

Creativity

Overcoming new challenges will take a certain degree of creativity. Desperate times often lead to unconventional measures and, with a touch of creativity, we can turn these measures into entirely new things. We must be creative and daring to try things we have not before to find solutions we have not been able to reach in the past.

Undoubtedly, it’s time for 21st Century skills we have been cultivating to shine. These skills are never tied to any one challenge and can be used over and over again to respond to entirely new circumstances. They are gateway skills, teaching us how to apply everything we know to discover what we don’t know.

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