An argument to stay young... or at least think that way.

“How business schools are adapting to the changing world of work.” I just finished reading this and it got me to thinking, and apparently to typing. In short, it offers a commentary on how business schools are changing what (and the way) they teach to prepare business students for the new world of business.


If you happen to be curious about what’s happening around you it doesn’t take long to feel the onslaught of information that suggests change of a profound scale is upon us, and will shake the very foundations of who we are, what we do, and how we will survive — AI and robotics will put hundreds of millions of people out of work (leaving them with little purpose), liberal democracy, although not out, is down for the count, our environment is cascading to a place that may not be able to sustain the world’s population, and our mastery of the gene may change what it means to be human. Is it all as dire as the collective has made it out to be? I really don’t know. Although I do know that there is a very good chance that the scope and scale of these changes will be greater than anything we have seen for quite a while.

I think we can all agree that impactful change is“afoot”.

The premise of the article, aside from still needing technical skills, was to impress that creativity and adaptability are now the cornerstones of business education; it went on to suggest that creativity, grit, teamwork, communication effectiveness and decision-making skills are crucial for long term success. I’m not entirely convinced some of these actually can be taught, but that wasn’t the first thing that came to mind. What came to mind was that when we’re young we possess these skills, and in turn, have them suppressed or broken by social and institutional endeavours — and after they are crippled and broken, have the same social and institutional endeavours suggest they can help develop them in your time of need. Why not just nurture these in the first place? Simplistic yes and maybe even trite, but nonetheless resonant.

cre·a·tiv·i·ty [ˌkrēāˈtivədē] NOUN : the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.

grit [ɡrit] NOUN : courage and resolve; strength of character.

team·work [ˈtēmˌwərk] NOUN : the combined action of a group of people, especially when effective and efficient.

communication-effectiveness [kəˌmyo͞onəˈkāSH(ə)n,iˈfektivnəs] NOUN : A two way information sharing process which involves one party sending a message that is easily understood by the receiving party.

de·ci·sion-mak·ing [dəˈsiZHənˌmākiNG] NOUN : the action or process of making decisions, especially important ones.

I don’t really know how impactful the coming changes will be but I do know I will work through them; I’m also not really in a position to speak intelligently regarding how our social and institutional endeavours encourage conformity and suppress anything innately outside the box of, and frankly I don’t even know if these are skills we are born with. What I do know though are these two things —

  1. When you read you learn something, you’re encouraged to think, and ultimate encourage others to do the same.

  2. Creativity, grit, teamwork, communication effectiveness and decision making skills are definitely crucial for anything you will ever do, and this includes adapting to the changing world of work.

And because I can’t help myself, I have to say we are born into this world hardwired for challenge so we definitely come with grit, and if you have ever sent a group of kids outside to play you know they will come up with something interesting (so I suppose they have creativity, teamwork, communication effectiveness and decision making skills in their young tool kit). At the very least this reinforces how important they are.


Is it a woman with flowers, creativity, or a different way of looking at things?*

It doesn't take that long to go from one to twenty-one... we have all done it, we have all seen it happen, and if by chance you are less than twenty-one and reading this; trust me, you will be there before you know it. As a father watching his daughter grow into a lovely young woman, it seemed to all happen within a couple of heart beats** - The heart of a loving father who is so very proud; I hope you can appreciate with a knowing smile that most of what I'm about to say will be heavily biased. 

A poor photograph of a stunning Sarah Edwards original that is hanging on my wall.

A poor photograph of a stunning Sarah Edwards original that is hanging on my wall.

The title on her very first business card is "Visual Merchandiser and Fabricator". What that actually is becomes apparent as you look at her website, her LinkedIn profile, and almost everything she does for that matter. She is very much a CREATIVE by nature.

And what she creates are "visuals" that capture your attention.

Sarah Edwards Design Website

Sarah Edwards LinkedIn profile

With that obvious and shameless promotion by a loving father behind us, I wanted to offer some thoughts that came about when I attended my daughter's year-end visual merchandising show - All pertaining to the development of better ideas, better plans, better solutions, and ultimately better results (no matter what you are doing). 

Before I take us down any "creatively designed" bunny holes, it's probably worth framing up the context of my thoughts... I've found this can be done very nicely with pithy truisms.

Truism #1: Everything done will be better if more than one person is involved, which fortunately or unfortunately leads to "team dynamics".

Truism #2: Groupthink can offer some advantages but it will compromise Truism #3

Truism #3: Different perspectives lead to a "better everything" - situation understanding, ideas, and solutions.

Truism #4: Just because you don't understand it or agree with it, doesn't mean it isn't a better choice. 

Truism #5: Change will happen and what used to work will eventually stop working.

So as I wandered the show surrounded by dozens of creative souls, their talents and efforts, I found myself saying a couple of times, "I wouldn't have done it that way, but I really like it!" - And with that said, I was reminded THINKING DIFFERENTLY IS GOOD and it leads to new perspectives and ideas; all offering better outcomes. More importantly, I was reminded to search out those who have a different way of looking at things, listen to what they have to say, add their voice to the mix, and let their creativity capture your attention. 

How better to bring creativity to your situational analysis, ideas, planning or implementation then involving a "CREATIVE"... literally.

Here is to the Class of 2016!


*In my mind, the answer to the question in the title is all three.

** Saying  couple of heartbeats is artistic licence as a rough calculation of the number over 21 years is approximately 827,820,000 not accounting for leap years.