6 Essential Skills You Need To Survive An AI Workplace

Forget technical skills, it’s time to get expansive, creative and analytical

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BY Annabel Acton - 12 Sep 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Automation is coming for us, whether we like it or not. It will effect every department, from sales, to R&D, to marketing and talent management. While the tendency is to clutch on to granular technical skills, these are likely to be the first that will be replaced. The real skills you need to succeed will involve far more right brain thinking, and favor the creative skill sets that have often struggled to find their place in the business world. This is an exciting and promising prospect for many reasons. Starting with the fact that the most complex problems the world faces right now demand solutions imbued with a healthy dose of creativity. Here are the skills you should start doubling down on now.


1. Connecting Dots & Pattern Recognition

Big data means we will have more information available to us than ever before. The skill will not be in finding it, or organizing it, rather it will be in analytical pattern recognition. This skill involves connecting dots and finding magic and meaning in data sets, and uncovering true insights that lead to genuine opportunities. This is a tricky skill for a machine to learn, and one humans must practice consistently.


2. Inspiration Hunting

Great businesses make a habit of stealing inspiration from other categories and applying it on their own. Picasso famously said, "Good artists copy, great artists steal". Then Steve Jobs stole the quote from Picasso! Both these visionaries understood the importance of inspiration hunting in unusual places. This skill, of looking out into the big wide world to find ideas, angles and opportunities will only grow in importance. It involves seeing possibility in places that no-one sees. It means suspending judgment, removing the feasibility and practicality lens and seeing instead what could be.


3. Creative Risk Taking

There's little room for mediocrity and the 'safe middle' at the best of times, and there's be even less in the future. Those businesses and entrepreneurs that succeed will grow proficient in pushing their business to the edges, and taking risks routinely and willingly. Even today, we're not interested in platforms, concepts or brands that coast in the middle. We are drawn to confidence and those that choose to lead, not follow. And this has never been truer than now.


4. Clear Articulation & Convincing Communication

Communication counts. Being able to gracefully and compellingly bring people along with you as you build a business and espouse ideas is critical. This is a job best done in person, and best done with passion, conviction, integrity and feeling: difficult skills for an algorithm to replicate.


5. Quick Learning & Adaptability

The future changes fast. Those that thrive will be comfortable sailing in unfamiliar seas, and able to change course at a moment's notice. Specifically, this means not being too welded to a fixed outcome, not being determined to be 'right' or stuck on the traditional methods of doing things. To succeed, adaptability will be key. Not only must you be willing to change, but willing to ramp up from novice to proficient in areas that you know little about. The lines 'I don't know how to...' wont get you very far. The winners will learn on their feet.


6. Open Mindedness

Being open minded enables you to spot golden opportunities in the first place. Recognizing these and jumping on them, at pace, will be the difference between success and stalling. Those with an open mind don't just accept change, they recognize it when it comes. It's a skill that becomes easier the more you practice it.

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