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Why the Arts are Essential to Industry 4.0

Posted by Mariama Holman
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We are on the precipice of industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where interconnected devices, systems and artificial intelligence utilize analytics to provide greater decision making capacity. The advancements will be ground breaking, disrupting not only business models, but the entire labor market.

 

According to the Guardian, about 47% of all jobs in the United States, ranging from low-skill labor all the way to white collar accountants, are at risk for termination. How can workers stay competitive within this rapidly changing environment?

 

The World Economic Forum’s The Future of Jobs report offers hope. The recent study indicates the increased importance of creativity and other elements fostered by the arts for the workforce of 2020.

 

In a ranked list of the top 10 most important workplace skills, creativity moved from being the lowest prioritized skill in 2015 to the third most important skill by 2020. Critical thinking also lifted - from fourth place to second place in the 2020 study. Emotional intelligence made a debut on the 2020 list.

  

How can these results be interpreted? Workers will need to be more agile – more willing to experiment and develop new ideas for improving business performance, needing both the intellectual rigor to internalize information and creative problem-solving aptitude for turning disparate and rapidly changing data into practical solutions. The ability to practice emotional intelligence is crucial for bringing these solutions to life.

 

Creativity is key for future workforces

Given the gushing fire house of data now available from the Internet of Things, employees will need to do more than perform automatable calculations, but utilize creativity to ask better questions of the datasets they have access to – being able to take a big picture approach to understanding what is important, what is not, and most importantly, develop an ability to utilize creative thinking to generate solutions.

 

Workers will also need to justify why their work role is crucial to the firm, and creative thinking is crucial for finding new ways to deliver this value to employers.

 

Creativity is a skill, not a talent

According to University of Texas at Austin psychology and marketing professor, Dr. Art Markman, America’s workforce is in luck, because “creativity is a skill you can build, not a talent you either have or don’t.”

 

This means employers can make their employees more valuable to the firm and cultivate a future leadership pipeline by offering training that fosters creativity.

 

In Fast Company, Dr. Markman listed several core dimensions for building creative aptitude – one of which was practicing openness, or how well someone can impartially consider new ideas, experiences and concepts, rather than dismissing them because they simply are “not the way [they] do things.”

 

Smart companies realize the importance of openness, and that is why they foster in employees an appreciation of the diverse array of perspectives found in the arts.

 

For instance, Fortune 500 companies and BCA 10 awardees such as Kaiser Permanente, Humana Inc. and Lincoln Financial Group offer employees access to benefits such as discounted performance tickets, in-office art installations and a variety of other amenities to develop this sense of openness.

 

The arts and culture sector offers workforce training solutions desperately needed for businesses to thrive in the emerging industry 4.0.   

 

Image: Future of Jobs Report, World Economic Forum

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