Changeboard's 4th Future Talent Conference aims to inspire and empower senior HR and leaders with in business and society to better manage the challenges of our time.
Join 750 peers in the theatre in which Darwin gave his ‘Origin of the Species' lecture for an immersive day of thought leadership and discussion designed to provoke and support your own personal and organisational evolution.
Speakers will provide insights about how to build trust in our relationships and in society, choosing the right moral priorities and meaningful goals, and convincing others to join our work and take up our cause.
They include easyJet Chief Executive Carolyn McCall, philosopher Alain de Botton, theatre director Roxana Silbert, author Margaret Heffernan, and Dame Katherine Grainger & Sir Clive Woodward from the world of sport.
All too often organisations prepare their employees for what the world looks like now, or even what it looked like in the past. As a result, employees often learn skills that are -like a whale’s vestigial leg bones - things that once were crucial, but are now merely a remnant from an earlier time.
Almost 160 years on from Darwin’s Origins of the Species lecture, and we face a different type of evolutionary challenge. That of discovering how can we can evolve as individuals and organisations to meet the challenges of the future workplace. It’s a deceptively difficult task, which requires us to think about not what people need to know at this moment, but what they’ll need to know in five, ten, or even twenty-five years.
In order to meet the challenges and opportunities of the years ahead, we’ll need to pay close attention to a few key areas in which we might all ‘evolve’.
We'll need to adapt to the nearly blindingly-fast pace of technological development, from artificial intelligence to automation. Self-driving cars, customer service robots, and AI data analysts are now reality, not science fiction.
These technological developments signal that we are, as a species, moving away from certain types of work altogether. What once might have seemed like a core part of a job - perhaps encyclopaedic knowledge of a particular financial index or a knack for catching errors in computer code, is now useful, but no longer what makes an employee exceptional. Instead, it is our capacity for critical thought and social and emotional skills that will make the difference. We’ll need to adjust our paradigms of education and employment accordingly. This means that instead of focusing only on the hard skills that are useful right now, employees will increasingly need to develop emotional skills like empathy, resilience, and persuasion. Equipping people with these skills is a particular passion of mine and core to the mission at The School of Life which I founded in 2008.
But ultimately I believe that what technological development really does is free us to focus on what we do best as humans and finally explore some exciting and previously underexplored territories. We are now better placed than ever before to devote our best efforts and energies to the greatest tasks there are: building trust with others, choosing the right moral priorities and meaningful goals, and convincing others to join our work and take up our cause. It is these psychological and emotional drivers, and the skills that they entail, that will remain relevant in twenty-five years’ time, even if benevolent robots (let’s hope they are benevolent!) take over the rest of our jobs.
It’s deeply exciting time to be thinking about professional development and the future of work, which is why I’m delighted to be speaking once again at the Changeboard Future Talent Conference this month. I look forward to exploring some of these themes there and hope you’ll find it useful in your own personal and organisational evolution.
Alain de Botton is a philosopher who has written on love, travel, architecture and literature. He started and helps to run The School of Life, an organisation dedicated to building a new vision of education. Alain will be a keynote speaker at Changeboard's 4th Future Talent Conference, which aims to inspire and empower senior HR and leaders within business and society to better manage the challenges of our time.
The conference takes place on 30 March 2017 at the Royal Geographical Society London, in the theatre in which Darwin gave his ‘Origin of the Species' lecture.
For more information on the conference and speakers, visit: http://www.ftconference.changeboard.com/