I was recently reading The Future of Jobs from the World Economic Forum. They predict that problem solving, critical thinking and creativity will be the top 3 skills needed in 2020. 2020 – really? These are the top skills needed now!
This point was highlighted to me recently when one of my graduate students said, “We have so much data from our social channels. How do I figure out where to start?”
We spend so much time teaching our teams the technical skills to gather analytics. But many of our team members don’t have the critical thinking and problem solving skills to turn that data into insightful action. Payscale found that 60% of hiring managers rank critical thinking/problem solving as the soft skill most lacking among recent college graduates. We’ve all seen it – the data gets saved to the shared drive never to be touched again. We check the box that says we’ve collected it and we move on. We keep making decisions the same way and, big surprise, we keep getting the same results.
We can’t wait until 2020 to make problem solving and critical thinking the top skills on our teams. In their book, Stop Spending, Start Managing, Tanya Menon and Leigh Thompson, researched how much companies waste on analytics. The companies they surveyed reported spending $7,731 per day on gathering analytics. And, where did most of it wind up? You guessed it -in the shared drive. Because, as they state, “…despite all of the data available, people often struggle to convert it into effective solutions to problems.”
It’s time we start training our teams to think critically and creatively solve problems. We can’t wait until 2020.