It seems the effects of new technology can create great happiness, connectivity and great opportunity. Sadly, it is increasingly evident it can also create great unhappiness, dislocation and inequality.
As the effects of new technology on news, on globalisation, on the agency of one’s data and ultimately on the work we do to earn a meaningful living begin to be more front of mind, it is essential to recognise the people who feel left behind.
It is significant we get these people to embrace the opportunity, irrespective of having an elite education and as such a correct postcode, ethnicity or gender.
The exponential nature of the current world, the explosion of Data and the VUCA environment we live in (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) makes it extremely important that while embracing opportunity, we behave in a way that upholds the spirit of the law; having the empowerment, understanding and skills to question the ethics of decisions.
While it is easy to have an iterative tech VC-like view of the world where, in pursuit of scale, nine out of 10 endeavours can fail and one survives to Unicorn proportions, it is negligent and irresponsible to do this when failure involves severely affecting the lives of vulnerable people.
It is important that we don’t miss out critical words in any strategy, that we ensure winning is done together rather than winner takes all, that growth is with empathy rather than at all costs and that we are not wilfully blind to morality.
Sometimes us academic elite use language and methods we think is right to help people unlike us, but often it does the opposite; like telling families learning to code is like learning another language, when their view might be that learning a language won’t put food on the table.
Or maybe grandiosely and incorrectly we talk about digital literacy in the same way as English literacy; where one changes fast, and the other doesn’t - setting false expectations that when you’ve learnt the knowledge, the knowledge stays the same.
There is a consistency in the world and that is the consistency of change. Change requires constant learning and practicing of new technologies and ways of working to stay relevant whilst re-practicing some age-old arts like empathy and ethics.
As an example, you may have learnt all about blockchain today, but such is the pace of change that if you didn’t keep learning every day, your knowledge in three months would be not just lacking, but dangerously wrong. On the other hand, if you had learnt all about empathy and how to apply it in difficult situations of conflict, this will last you in good stead for a lifetime.
When people change, their data trail also changes. They view the world differently to before. They self-assess differently. Their peers and friends see a difference. I believe that this change data can be harnessed for good and for empowerment. Equally I believe it is important to view this data diversely to build the best most impactful data models.
It is a critical time for people and people’s relationship with learning, with work and with technology.
Freeformers is a workforce transformation company and we are on a mission to build a digital economy for all by creating a Future Workforce now.
We are concerned about two audiences; those currently in work and those entering the workforce for the first time.
We help those in work, including those who have a mortgage and families, have done a job for a number of years, struggled every month to make ends meet and now feel left behind and concerned; like the miners did in the 1980s, feeling they are powerless to take charge of their own destiny.
We also help companies understand people can change and do a new digital job, irrespective of what they were doing before, while bringing their strengths from experience (such as empathy) to make them more valuable and not less.
We help those leaving school who have been signposted to jobs by a biased and malfunctioning education system that fails to personalise itself to the differences and individuality of children and young adults; promoting a view of work that is far from the reality of today’s world of digital everything.
We at Freeformers believe that it is not simply a matter of skills, but a matter of mindset; a digital mindset that drives people to constantly change skills and behaviours to make increasing impact.
We do this through coaching, digital learning (through our Learn app), self and peer assessment (through our Pulse app) and creating learning pathways in conjunction with amazing experiences. All of this is hooked into our future workforce platform, used to measure, monitor and analyse the change data generated while people transform. This is tagged to a data model we have designed called, unsurprisingly, the Future Workforce Model.
As far as our destiny goes, the worst case is we transform the workforces of many large employers and leave behind a new workforce analytics model and platform to help companies grow and people grow with them.
As a best case, we create a new data set of a human and their relationship with work in this new digital and VUCA age.
Gi Fernando MBE, CEO