“Opportunities to learn and grow” is the highest-ranked driver to a great work culture, according to the LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report, 2022. Its epic rise from #9 to #1 since 2019 is no surprise. The skills needed to succeed in your role have already shifted significantly and are expected to change by more than 40% by 2025, thanks in no small part to the pandemic speeding up digital transformation.
So, what does that mean for us and our teams? Fundamentally, that the relevance and value of our existing skills are reducing. That the skills we have today are not the skills we need for the future.
The world around us is constantly evolving. We need to continuously invest in our skills and capabilities to stay relevant and deliver value for our companies, our customers, and, crucially, ourselves.
At EDII, this is always top of our agenda. We’re perpetual learners ourselves, and we spend our days working with business practitioners to help them innovate and upskill. We have a window into the world of innovation and change and what’s needed to get there. While we have yet to invent a crystal ball to see the precise skills we’ll need in 2025, we have a pretty good idea of ones that will remain significant, and that everyone should strive to acquire.
Here is what’s on Team EDII’s learning list for 2023.
Paul Willoughby, Coaching Director
If we don’t truly understand our customers, how can we anticipate their needs and deliver the high-quality service they expect? To me, being customer-centric and having the ability to empathise with your customer is second to none.
I started my career as a claims broker broking asbestos pollution and health claims; whilst this is not the most interesting of areas, it was a great place to start understanding more about our clients and the real reason why insurance exists.
Moving to other business areas, my focus shifted to data, technology, and strategy. But the customer was no longer in sight. Our customers need to be the focal point of our decision-making. We can all create a new product or process, but nobody will use it if it doesn’t meet customers’ needs.
Being customer-centric doesn’t mean only focusing on the end client. It means driving value for those around you. Your customer could be Frank from Finance or Iesha from IT. Advocate for them and invite them into the conversation.
Eni Ajani, Innovation Executive
Did curiosity really kill the cat, or was it just boredom? Being curious and wanting to know more and learn more are essential for driving value for your organisation.
After studying for my master’s in innovation, I learnt that curiosity is a crucial driver for innovation. Curiosity might be an impulse to pursue and explore a new idea, find a solution, seek new possibilities, or perhaps even stay on a path to just see what’s around the next corner.
When we welcome curiosity, change and the uncertain, we can ready ourselves for what could be, whether that’s a new technology or system, a new process, or being open to learning something new. Shifting your mindset and adopting a curious attitude will enable you to explore new areas, broaden your interests and put you on the essential path of mastering new skills.
One of the most powerful words in innovation is “why”. So, add it to your vocabulary, use it regularly, and go and find out what is behind the door!
Hélène Stanway, Non-Executive Director and Coaching Director
They say that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. So whilst it’s clearly important to have domain knowledge, the ability to build your network will be a vital skill for years to come. Networking also has a strong link to diversity. The more and different people you surround yourself with, the broader your ideas, your inputs and, thereby, the more rounded and robust your outputs.
In innovation, even more so! To build a strong network is to expose yourself to fresh ideas, dissimilar operating models, and different cultures and opinions. Networking isn’t easy, and it’s a learned skill.
How do you walk up to groups of people at an event and join or build a conversation? How do you do that at the proverbial water cooler?
The answer is to try. We love talking about the weather. A clichéd conversation starter, but a starter, nonetheless. You never know where that might lead.
Caroline Bedford, Chief Executive Officer
One of the most challenging but most important skills to master is the art of iteration – the principle of creating the first pass, assessing the outcome, adding to it and adding to it some more. Continually improving and progressing. Traditionally, perfection is seen as the goal, and to so many people, it isn’t worth even starting if you can’t guarantee perfection from the outset.
In my experience, this is one of the biggest blockers to building a culture of innovation and developing yourself. As a result, good ideas are left in limbo, suggestions stagnate, and concepts remain untested as people cling desperately to the notion that something will only work if you have every part nailed.
We all need to overcome the ‘perfection or nothing’ mindset. The art of iteration – creating something good enough, letting it loose, reviewing and building on it. That’s where innovation, growth and personal development really come into their own.
Jasmine Shell, Innovation Manager
Creativity is often viewed more like a personality trait; you either have it, or you don’t. But creativity is a skill, and just like every other skill, it can be taught and learned.
Most of us are natural problem solvers. We identify a problem and look for a solution, whether a quick fix or a complete overhaul. But when we add creativity into the mix, that’s where the magic happens.
Creative problem-solving involves looking for inspiration in new places, combining ideas, challenging assumptions, and collaborating with those around us. It’s when we combine all of these skills; curiosity, customer-centricity, networking, and iterating – that we come up with the best solutions and ones that solve a genuine problem too.
Before jumping into a solution, (in any situation – not just innovation), it is essential to take a step back, assess the situation and understand the problem. Then we can leverage creative tools and techniques to drive innovative ideas and create meaningful change.
As the world of work rapidly continues to change, so does the market value of skills. So, it’s time to start investing in yours. What new skill are you going to learn this year?