Automation, robotics, artificial intelligence and other tectonic shifts in technology and customer expectations are radically re-shaping the way we work. Meanwhile, boundaries between our professional and home lives are diminishing drastically. We are also living longer than ever before – driving new models of living, learning and working. It is reasonable to believe that the early 21st century will be remembered as a moment of change as profound and significant as the first Industrial Revolution.
This emerging workforce will likely see an increase in demand for technological know-how, greater agility, resourcefulness and disruptive analytical-thinking capabilities. As hierarchies dissolve and new leadership paradigms emerge, tomorrow’s decision-makers will need the skills to delegate and empower others. For us, as educators, the challenge is to understand and respond to these changing needs through individual development and tailor-made learning solutions; and to come to terms with the reality that we need to compete to attract talented students. There is a greater onus on us than ever before to focus on STEM subjects, leadership development and the effective management of people, the integration of technical competencies and micro credentials – to redouble our efforts to equip the next generation with what they need to lead the future of work.
The Covid-19 crisis has only accelerated all of this. We have all faced a huge shift to online-only communication, building virtual networks and partnership ecosystems to cope with unprecedented and exponential needs.
None of this has been easy, however, in adversity, often comes opportunity. This is a unique moment in time. We have a real chance to truly innovate how we teach and learn, to close the technology gap and create far superior learning opportunities for students. We also have the opportunity to really embed relevance as a necessary deliverable in our teaching and our research.
It is my greatest hope that from this period of disruption that we find a way forward which enhances our collaboration and we find new ways to address inequalities and discrimination and deploy our collective intelligence to protect and sustain our planet.
This issue of the CEMS Magazine is dedicated to that future. In 2020, we highlight the amazing work of our students and faculty in preparing for the future of work in ways that are as innovative as they are sustainable, as creative as they are ambitious. I trust that you share with me a tremendous feeling of pride in the fortitude of the CEMS community, and optimism in our capacity to shape this future.
CEMS Executive Director