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Future Skills - Book Review

1 March 2023
Dr. Moria Levy
book cover

The book "Future Skills: The 20 skills and competencies everyone needs to succeed in a digital world" is a book written by Bernard Marr in 2022. Marr is an opinion leader in everything related to artificial intelligence, digital transformation, and how to apply all of these in organizations, and had time to write About 20 books in these fields.

The book's greatness is not in-depth, but rather in a horizontal view of the skills. The list he offers is long (perhaps even too long, without filtering), but it is an important collection, and looking at each item in it, and looking at the whole thing together - is indeed valuable for understanding where we should strive.

For each skill, Marr offers an explanation, talks about its importance, and suggests how it can be promoted in the personal and organizational aspects. All skills, he will repeat and say, even if they sound like hereditary traits, can be learned.

Concept map of the book:



Content

Digital skills

Digital literacy

Data literacy

Technical skills

Cyber risk awareness

Thinking Skills

Critical thinking

Creativity

Flexibility and adaptability

Judgment and making complex decisions

Social skills

Emotional intelligence and empathy

Collaboration

Interpersonal communication

Self-branding and networking

organizational skills

Working in the gig economy

Ethical awareness

Awareness of cultural diversity

Change and change

Complementary personal skills

Time management

Curiosity and continuous learning

Leadersip

Take care of yourself

Summary


The summary below refers to examples only out of all the suggestions for ways to develop and cultivate skills. For a more in-depth study, read the book itself.

I learned. Recommending to read the full book.


Digital skills

Digital literacy

Explanation:

The digital skills required to study, work and navigate successfully in everyday life, in which computing and technology are becoming more and more powerful. Includes the ability to interact easily and comfortably enough with the technology, and self-confidence in the ability to deal with the technology.

At the basic level, it includes powering on and working safety in devices, searching the web, communicating with others by email and instant communication media, managing video calls, sharing documents, writing posts on social media, understanding the value of managing passwords and personal information in a safe way.

The next step includes the ability to deal with and deal with computing bodies, social and media policy; The ability to operate remotely in a way that is appropriate for the security policy, and the ability for digital collaboration.

The advanced level includes knowledge of the developing world of artificial intelligence, understanding the importance of data and how it serves technology (details in a separate skill below), and knowledge of the Metaverse world (including virtual reality). Recognizing where these worlds are evolving.

Please note - digital literacy does not include the need to know how to program or to be part of the high-tech world.

Such ability can be promising, but it is not required of everyone.


Importance:

The ever-accelerating development of technology necessitates the need to recognize and apply it.


Application tips (examples):

  • gradation

  • Positive attitude towards technology

  • Ask: How can technology help me even more in the performance of my tasks.


Data literacy

Explanation:

Basic ability to understand and use data. Including access to appropriate data, working with it, finding meaning in numbers, the ability to communicate related insights to others, and the ability to question the source of the data, its reliability, and accuracy.

Data, for the purpose of the definition, also refers to information, text, films, photographs, and more.


Importance:

Data literacy is defined by Marr as the most important organizational asset in the new reality. Data-based software giants such as Amazon, Google, and Facebook are undoubtedly the leaders in the new era.

The importance of data is also due to its important value for the success of companies, but also due to its increasing scope.

They improve the ability to understand a situation, optimal decision-making, and persuasion.


Application tips (examples):

  • Learn to assess the reliability of information

  • Valuable data, if they are also analyzed and researched

  • The skill of presenting information and its communication is an important skill in itself

  • Get to know the databases around you - especially those at work

  • Take a course and learn to read, understand, analyze and use.

Technical skills

Explanation:

Digital, scientific, physical, or practical skills required to operate specific equipment or tools.

In particular, everyone is required for technical skills related to their needs either at work, at home, or on a personal level.

The basic level includes areas of customer relationship management, project management, social media management, content and video creation, product development, technical writing, and mechanical maintenance.

Computing-intensive professions also include abilities in programming languages, artificial intelligence and machine learning, data science, visualization, cyber, cloud computing, 5G, IoT, software development, user experience, augmented reality, robotics, quantitative computing, and blockchain.


Importance:

The directions of technological development show an ever-increasing trend of technological tools and equipment that will be integrated into any occupation. Our success will be both in their ability to operate and in augmentation, our combined ability and theirs together.


Application tips (examples):

  • Learning through online courses, self-learning or learning from experts

  • Developing an organizational culture of curiosity and active learning.


Cyber risk awareness

Explanation:

Our awareness and knowledge about the dangers lurking from being connected to the network and using different devices, and that we will have the tools to protect ourselves, our personal environment, our family, and our organization.


Importance:

The list of risks and dangers is very long.

This includes several types of risks and dangers. Examples:

  • Digital addiction

Tip: Pay attention to depressed moods as a warning flag.

  • Protection of information privacy

Tip: When installing new applications, invest in reading the terms of use (annoying - but worth the effort). Do not install applications that allow themselves to collect information about you.

  • Passwords

Tip: Don't be lazy. Separate passwords. Choose strong passwords (8 characters, mixed, meaningless).

  • Cyberbullying

Can be expressed in an attack, sharing your information or photos that are harmful to you, threats, and more.

Tip: There is no choice - you must report to the police. Capture the screen as a view (in real-time). Block access if the tool allows.

  • digital impersonation

Why? To follow you, steal information or money from you, and more.

Tip: It will be easier to manage a profile on social media that is not exposed to the public but only to close associates. To see if someone is impersonating you right now, search for your name and look for pictures of yourself (allegedly).


There are also data theft, phishing, malicious takeover, ransom, IOT (network overload) attacks - attacks that are mainly against organizations.

  • Do not click on pop-ups!

  • Do not give out sensitive information

  • Make sure software versions are up to date

  • Download applications only from safe sources

  • Back up your data.


Thinking Skills

Critical thinking

Introduction- one of the most important skills on Marr's list as he testifies.


Explanation:

In two words - objective thinking.

And in a little more detail - analyzing situations or issues, while identifying cognitive biases, and basing on evidence to form a renewed understanding. Defining the relevant information, solving a problem or conflict, and improving the way of conduct accordingly.


Importance:

We can all be biased, between cognitive biases, either due to polarization, false information on the net and more.

Critical thinking is the basis for understanding the present reality, and the basic assumptions that should guide us.

Critical thinking is the basis for making optimal decisions.

Application tips (examples):

  • Know the cognitive biases. Take them into account

  • evaluate new information; Don't take anything for granted

  • Form your own positions.


Creativity

Explanation:

Creativity is the ability to dream a different future, and the ability to realize this idea.

Marr chooses to combine in of his definition creative thinking (the ability to dream a different future) and the ability to perform, and package them together in one common term.

Like other skills, this skill is also acquired, although apparently we tend to think that this is not the case.

And another surprise: contrary to the fact that many would think that creativity and creative thinking is mainly related to art and the right side of the brain, it involves to a certain extent the correct activation of the logical side, and in particular is closely related to critical thinking.


Importance:

The importance of creativity, in that it is a main engine for innovation and creating new value for organizations.

In the age of artificial intelligence, machines will play a more significant role in helping to create new processes, but they do not have the power, at least at this stage, to replace the human being in creativity, but only to assist him, and to enhance his abilities and actions.


Application tips (examples):

  • improve critical thinking skills; Try to spot patterns

  • go to other places than you are used to; have other experiences; Read more and more

  • Maintain a positive mindset

  • Allow yourself to daydream

  • Organizations - create a work environment for people that allows creativity.

Flexibility and adaptability

Explanation:

Adaptability is adapting ourselves to the new and updated conditions.

Also includes flexibility, but in addition versatility.

The essence of adaptability is, according to Marr - Mindset.


Importance:

The importance of adaptability is the main infrastructure for our adaptation in a world of changes.

The rapid pace of change makes this skill of flexibility and adaptability extremely important.


Application tips (examples):

  • Try to perform unlearning processes for what you already know

  • Try to get out of your comfort zone

  • We practiced optimism

  • And for the organizations: give the teams more independence in the way of achieving the goals.


Judgment and making complex decisions

Explanation:

The basis of an optimal decision-making process is an optimal judgment of the situation and the alternatives and making a decision based on these.

Judgment will be defined as the ability to combine feelings and beliefs with knowledge and experience to form an opinion and make the best decisions.


Importance:

Always important. In the current era - will complement artificial intelligence that is not able to replace human judgment and decision-making.


Application tips (examples):

  • Awareness of our biases - cognitive and other, and taking them into account in the judgment process.

  • experience. Many times there is more than one decision option. Experiment and examine closely. If it's not good, buy it.


Social skills

Emotional intelligence and empathy

Explanation:

Emotional intelligence is our ability to be aware, express and control our emotions, as well as understand and respond to the emotions of others.

Empathy is the ability to see the world from the other's point of view. It is a key component of emotional intelligence, since it allows us to understand how the other person feels and why he behaves in a certain way (addendum - M.L.).

It is important to note that:

  1. Different aspects of emotional intelligence can be measured.

  2. There are artificial intelligence applications that today know how to recognize emotions according to facial expressions, voice changes and more, and offer tailored responses (based on business rules - ML). Some are starting to do it even better than us humans...



Importance:

Emotional intelligence has been, since its definition, a required commodity that affects business performance (for example, in the world of sales, and not only). Today in the digital age, this intelligence is important as a complement to artificial intelligence - to create a positive impression on a client, in planning successful hybrid work, in identifying challenges in general, and in change processes in particular, in the transition to smarter organizations, organizations driven by digital transformation processes.

And remember - a machine will never (probably - ML) be more successful than a human being in communicating with another human being.


Application tips (examples):

  • Devote time and effort to identifying and analyzing your emotions as a basis for understanding your own behavior, and no less, as a basis for understanding the feelings of others.

  • Practice mindfulness.


Collaboration

Explanation:

Working together with others to make joint decisions and achieve a common goal.

Marr emphasizes that collaboration is more than teamwork. While in teamwork, everyone has their own responsibilities and tasks, and everyone contributes to the great common goal, in cooperatives the thinking is shared, the work is shared and the decision-making is shared.


Importance:

Collaboration enables more efficient work for each individual, enables a more creative solution to problems, more innovation and more productivity.

In organizations in the new era, which combine remote work and part-time work, the need for collaborations even increases.

Application tips (examples):

  • Practice active listening

  • Donate your time and skills to others who ask, and look for opportunities for partnerships

  • Be open with others, about what you need from them as well (I liked it! - M.L.)


Interpersonal communication

Explanation:

Exchange of information, feelings and meaning between people.

There are 4 types of interpersonal communication:

  1. Oral communication (discourse). Including face-to-face meetings, video calls and phone calls.

  2. written communication. Includes Words, Slack, Social Media Conversations and more.

  3. Non-verbal communication. Signs accompanying oral communication and transmitted through body language and eye contact.

  4. Active listening. Often this type of communication, which means listening with full attention, including expressing signs of listening (humming, eye contact, etc.) is not considered.

Marr refers to 5 communication styles - assertive, aggressive, passive, passive-aggressive, and manipulative, and lists characteristics of the typical people for each type of communication + recommendations.


Importance:

This skill has always been important. With the understanding that artificial intelligence does not yet know how to replace it - the importance of this skill is only increasing.


Application tips (examples):

  • Also consider improving written communication. We are used to neglecting it in front of other communication skills, but it is definitely important.

  • Incorporate storytelling. Improves understanding of the message and improves connectivity.

  • Communicate the same messages over and over again. It's not just unnecessary - it's required.


Self-branding and networking

Explanation:

Self-branding mainly refers to digital branding.

To begin with, people must understand that the digital branding of all of us exists in the digital world just as much as in the real world.

Branding (according to Jeff Bezos) is what people say about you when you're not entertaining.

A person's branding is the impression people will get based on the first results obtained from a Google search. Self-branding is taking responsibility for digital branding and its design so that people think of you in the way you want them to think, and that allows you to stand out above others in work contexts or the sector in which you are.

Digital branding mainly refers to the website, social media, and LinkedIn.


Importance:

Self-branding is the bridge to opportunities that will come your way. worthwhile.


Application tips (examples):

  • Start with a niche. Expand gradually

  • Think strategically

  • Be yourself

  • Also share what you have learned from others

  • Be generous with the required time investment; very

  • Build an image in the sector and not only in relation to the current employer.


Organizational skills

Working in the gig economy

Explanation:

I don't really like the use of the term Gigs, which means "gigs".

It seems that he, too, is not completely relieved of this usage.

In any case, the reference is to the reality to which we are gradually moving, which is not a multitude of external freelancers providing service to companies, and/or working on short-term contracts.

To understand how widespread the phenomenon is, Marr points out that in the US, as of 2022, it is about a third of the workforce (about 57 million people) and in the UK, a significant portion of them as well.


Importance:

Important, in light of the trends in this employment method, and in light of the significant gap between the mindset and the skills required of those who work in the organization traditionally, in the face of this new work method.


Application tips (examples):

  • Strengthen your adaptability

  • Create a daily work routine for yourself; Stick to her

  • Strengthen connections and personal branding

  • And for the organizations: when you have found successful independent workers - do everything in your power to keep them.


Ethical awareness

Explanation:

Business ethics is a system that guides the values, beliefs, decisions, and behaviors of an organization and the people working in it.

Ethical awareness of the individual focuses on our ability to be aware of our choices.


Importance:

The importance stems from the scope and depth of the new ethical questions facing us in the new era of artificial intelligence that makes decisions.


Application tips (examples):

  • Start by defining personal values

  • We practiced empathy for others

  • Look for ways to help others

  • Avoid the temptation to impose your ethics on others; Remember that the meaning of ethics is different for everyone

  • Get to know the ethics where you work, and make sure you can actually act accordingly

  • And when things break down (and they do break down) - turn to Atika and let her guide you in the course of action

  • For organizations: introduce the code of ethics as part of a new employee onboarding program.


Awareness of cultural diversity

Explanation:

Awareness of cultural diversity is an organizational awareness of the diversity that is part of our lives, an understanding that work environments and companies are becoming more diverse, and that diversity is a good thing.

The term cultural diversity includes the three related terms called together DEI: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.


Importance:

Marr argues that culturally diverse organizations will be more successful, as the multiple perspectives facilitate both idea generation and problem-solving.


Application tips (examples):

  • Practice self-awareness and personal biases that affect your behavior

  • Be curious about others, especially those with different opinions than your own

  • As organizations: try to make sure that the organization includes a variety of talents

  • Formulate a strategy to foster cultural diversity.


Change and change

Explanation:

This skill concerns the practical part of leading change, and dealing with change that someone else is leading and we have to adapt to it. The principle part of the required mindset is discussed in other chapters, first of all the chapter that discusses the ability to adapt.

Marr presents a number of models that he connects with regarding change (I slightly disagree with his understanding of this chapter - M.L.), especially the J-Curve model and Kotter's 8-step model.

importance:

The importance of the skill stems, as already suggested above, from the pace of changes in all channels (technological, organizational, environmental, and in fact - what not?).


Application tips (examples):

  • Do not assume that the worst will happen, on the contrary - be optimistic

  • Rate the change and change - one bite at a time

  • Be kind to yourself when things don't necessarily go as planned

  • Be prepared for problems along the way. They will answer. Try to assess and prepare in advance, if not to prevent the problem, at least to reduce it (here I learned - taking! - M.L.)

  • Remember that in the era of the fourth industrial revolution, occupations are changing and demands are changing at a rapid pace; accept this; Always look for ways to upgrade yourself and your abilities.


Complementary personal skills

Time management

Explanation:

Time management is the ability to use time effectively and productively.

Time management means working smarter, not necessarily more.

It refers to our dealing with motivation, procrastination, priorities, distractions, and more.


importance:

Simply...because of the pace of work, the flood of information, the stress, and the endless distractions that exist.


Application tips (examples):

  • Get ahead of doing what's important first

  • Prioritize daily tasks; Limit the time set for the task

  • Do not multitask!

  • They were taught to say no, or at least to postpone

  • Remember that sometimes procrastination is good (incubation time); Allow yourself sometimes; in a domain way


Curiosity and continuous learning

Explanation:

Curiosity is the intense desire to learn and understand new things, including how things work, learning a new hobby, experimenting with foods, visiting unfamiliar places and more.

Curiosity is a key component of learning. Learning is easier when you want to learn.

The two main elements that have a substantial effect on curiosity and learning are

  1. Humility - the inner understanding that we do not know everything while freeing ourselves from pride and indifference that prevent learning.

  2. A mindset of personal growth - the belief in our ability to continue to develop, grow, improve, and succeed.


Importance:

Marr seems to connect to all the skills, like beloved children, and has a hard time distinguishing between them, but this skill of curiosity and continuous learning is a skill that he claims if he had to choose only one that everyone needs - then this is his choice.

Curiosity and continuous learning are key, according to Marr, to success and personal fulfillment.


Application tips (examples):

  • self-honesty

  • Comfort with being sometimes in a state of uncertainty

  • Ask for help

  • Remember the power of the word "not yet". Not that I don't know - I still don't know (I connected - M.L.)

  • Make time for learning

  • Set yourself goals

  • When you see others who are successful, first celebrate with them, then ask and learn from them how they got to where they are, what challenges they overcame and what the process was all about.


Leadership

Explanation:

Marr offers a beautiful definition of a modern leader - someone who grows others.

He refers to the popular opinion that leadership is an innate quality, and does not contradict it, but attributes to the innate aspects only a relative part (about a third), while the other elements that make someone a leader are acquired.

For a start - all the skills mentioned in the book are skills required for leadership. In addition, he gives his opinion

For additional skills, including:

  • motivating others

Tip: Define clear requirements; Cherish and celebrate successes

  • Recognizing and encouraging people to fulfill potential

Tip: Help people develop critical thinking and decision-making ability

  • inspire confidence

Tip: define clear personal values and be an example of their application

  • Taking responsibility, and at the same time, decentralizing responsibility

Tip: know what to separate and what not; Remember that at the end of the day - you are responsible

  • Strategic thinking and planning

Tip: remember the difference between important and urgent (I liked it! - M.L.); Spend time on strategic thinking

  • Setting goals and expectations for everyone

Tip: Read about, learn and apply the OKR (Objectives and Key Results) approach

  • Giving and receiving feedback

Tip: Separate positive and negative feedback (otherwise they won't remember what they don't want)

  • team building

Tip: remember that a strong team makes you look better; Look for the teamwork ability in the candidates

  • positivity

Tip: Optimism affects those around you for the better. However, don't pretend that everything is always fine

  • authenticity

Tip: bring yourself to work. Do not maintain different personas for work and home (I was very connected - M.L.).


Importance:

Why leadership now? And what is the connection?

According to Marr:

  1. Leadership must be considered not only at an overall organizational level, but also in partial / limited contexts, therefore relevant to more people

  2. The extent of the technological changes, as well as the turnover of the workforce, the changing face of work, diversity and more, will dictate the need for leadership. were there


Take care of yourself

Explanation:

Taking care of yourself means taking care of our physical and mental health, reducing stress, having more time for the things that are important to us, and in one word: balance.

Caring for ourselves means prioritizing, devoting time to taking care of yourself, meeting the limits we have set for ourselves in relation to the limits of the workplace.


Importance:

Do I even need to explain?

And yet: taking care of ourselves improves our physical and mental health, our relationships with those around us. It makes us function better at work and not only there, and makes us more creative.


Application tips (examples):

  • Exercise regularly

  • Forget perfection; Don't try to aim there

  • Adopt the SHED (Sleep, Hydration, Exercise and Diet) method

  • Reframe bad thoughts that don't help us

  • Look around and choose the people you choose to spend time with

  • Look for meaning, and spend time on something that gives meaning

  • If necessary, change your way of life/work, to match the required energies and balance

  • Treat your time as your most valuable asset.


Summary

It may not be easy to read the summary as one piece. Maybe it seems like a long grocery list. Still, it is important and gives a summary of what is probably required of each of us.

Still, for those looking for core dies that are common to skills:

  • modesty

  • Optimism

  • Confidence

  • survivability

  • taking initiative.

And if from all of this, you got motivated to adopt one or more of the skills and strengthen your abilities with them - then the book has achieved its goal.


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