R&D projects enhancing competencies needed in the future
Sakariina Heikkanen and Anu Sipilä 15.3.2020

An article in Financial Times listed top qualities a competitive employee needs to master in the future. Apparently, flexibility is among the most important competencies in 2020. Also needed is a mindset for personal growth and a hunger for new challenges. The future inspired employee needs to accept change as an opportunity and to tackle possible challenges by creative problem solving.

Companies will also look for people who can work with technology and make the best use of their creativity, even when working alongside a “cobot” (collaborative robots that work with humans on tasks). Technological competencies are not optional.

However, without soft skills, or emotional intelligence such as the capacity to collaborate and actively listen, a person is not very much valued at all. Especially companies facing rapid transformation, look for emotionally intelligent individuals to lead the change.

What about the importance of networking skills? Future work comes as projects and self-employment is the norm. Those who are not mastering all of the future competencies, need to be surrounded by trustworthy professionals and thus, be able to buy, sell, trade and compensate skills – to create more value to the end-customers. To be valued in these professional networks, you need to be able to build your own brilliant brand.

Surrounded by the necessary professionals and networks, powerful ecosystems may emerge, in which each entity affects and is affected by the others for survival. In the future, ecosystems are increasingly valuable platforms for exchanging skills, projects and business.

Where to learn these future-oriented competencies? Classrooms may not be the best places for digesting it all. One good learning platform could be Research and Development (R&D) projects. When working in R&D-projects you get to collaborate with companies and in networks and ecosystems. Projects tackle and solve real problems with creativity. You work with all kinds of experts and end-users, which requires people skills. Anyone’s flexibility is likely to develop in often unexpected but always rewarding project work.

We, employees of Universities of Applied Sciences, are experts of teaching, learning as well as research and development activities; we offer quite a fruitful combination to anyone wanting to brush up on employee skills of the future!

(Source: FT Jan 6 2020 https://www.ft.com/content/74d3c16a-1f35-11ea-92da-f0c92e957a96)


Sakariina Heikkanen, Leader of “Change in Work and Skills” 3UAS RDI Strategic Spearhead

Anu Sipilä, RDI Expert, Study Guidance

Sakariina Heikkanen and Anu Sipilä

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