Opinion: Skilling for the 4.0++ World!

As the festive lights and spirit of celebration brings another year to a close, it was inspiring to hear Mukesh Ambani’s address on the Fourth Revolution earlier this week. Mr Ambani outlined the move from what was typically eras of linear growth to the prevalence of the exponential era, where change was accelerating at an unprecedented level. As the Indian economy has moved from $350 billion in size in 1991 to $3 trillion currently with the aim of reaching $10 trillion by 2030, he saw a significant entrepreneurial opportunity in India’s 1 billion ‘unsolved problems’.

Furthermore, he believed strongly in the role of the millennial leader to navigate this much needed 4 th revolution driven by technology and a ‘digital enabled GDP’. A mindset shift towards greater positivity, self-belief and optimism, a focus on ideas and innovation driven by the principles of humanism and equality, as well as the acceptance and learning from failure, is what he saw as essential to make this dramatic shift.

Heraclitus of Ephesus had very famously said that “the only thing constant in life is change”. In our world of constant disruption, innovation and metamor-phoses, those words couldn’t hold more true. We almost continually find ourselves in a battle between what we knew to be, what is, what will be and will we even be ready?

Speaking at the Emerg-ingHR Summit 2018 earlier in the week on the role of digitisation in the employee experience, I was asked by several HR leaders as to what I saw as the key skillsets required to stay relevant. In a dynamic world driven by techno-logical intervention, where 60 per cent of workplace success is attributed to intangible skills, mastering the self and others has never been more relevant.

As media houses and the twitterati assess the capabilities of the ultimate Indian star Virat Kohli by way of his leadership, behaviour and sports-manship, I am reminded of a Vedanta class I attended a few months ago that emphasised the impor-tance of the ‘Mastery of the Mind’. In Vendanta philosophy, they advocate the prevalence of the intellect (the rational, logical, analytical, controlled) over the mind (emotions, inclinations, beliefs, likes/dislikes) as we become more evolved beings.

In the Top 10 skills identified as the key skills for 2020 by the World Economic Forum (WEF), emotional intelligence (EQ) related skills feature as key, apart from the other relevant intangible skills such as communication, critical thinking, cognitive flexi-bility and problem solving. As I work with millennial career aspirants and leaders, I re-emphasise the importance of inculcating these extremely pertinent skills that have largely been overlooked across our academic systems and institutions that have focused primarily on grades. An interesting Deloitte Millennial Survey 2018 that interviewed more than 10,000 millennials and 1800 Gen Z participants across 36 countries, found that only 36 per cent of millennials and 29 per cent of Gen Z felt they had the skills and knowledge to thrive in the World 4.0. Inter-personal skills, confidence and ethics featured as key skills they believed defined success in the 4.0 world.

As we wrap up 2018, some key takeaways include the re-emphasis on EQ and self-belief, honing those intangible WEF skills, building resilience, being prepared to be disrupted, understanding that set backs are the new beginning and making our mark in a low touch low feel world! For me 2018 will be the year I caught my 90-year-old grandmother playing music and ordering things through Alexa on her Amazon Echo. Bring it on 2019!

 (The author is Founding Partner of Edpower-U)