Boundless curiosity, deep generalism, and other skills for the postnormal era

Stowe Boyd’s recent Work Futures article, “10 work skills for the postnormal era”, is a cracker.

In it, he suggests that the “top 10 skills for 2020” as published in the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report are “at least five years out of date”, and proposes an alternative list of skills for the rapidly and radically changing world of work:

  1. Boundless Curiousity — The most creative people are insatiably curious. They want to know what works and why.
  2. Freestyling — We have to learn to dance with the robots, not run away. However, we still need to make sure that AI is limited enough that it will still be dance-tithable, and not not-runnable-away-from.
  3. Emergent Leadership — Emergent leadership: the ability to steer things in the right direction without the authority to do so, through social competence.
  4. Constructive Uncertainty — The idea of constructive uncertainty is not predicated on eliminating our biases: they are as built into our minds as deeply as language and lust.
  5. Complex Ethics — All thinking touches on our sense of morality and justice. Knowledge is justified belief, so our perspective of the world and our place in it is rooted in our ethical system, whether examined or not.
  6. Deep Generalists — Deep generalists can ferret out the connections that build the complexity into complex systems, and grasp their interplay.
  7. Design Logic — It’s not only about imagining things that we desire, but also undesirable things – cautionary tales that highlight what might happen if we carelessly introduce new technologies into society.
  8. Postnormal Creativity — We should expect that in postnormal times creativity will have a few surprises in store for us.
  9. Posterity, not History, nor Future — While we need to learn from history, we must not be constrained by it, especially in a time where much of what is going on is unprecedented.
  10. Sensemaking — Skills that help us create unique insights critical to decision making.

The skills on this list really resonate with me, and I agree that “Boundless Curiousity” deserves the no. 1 spot.

As I constantly tell my kids – and my clients: you can never be too curious!

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