In July, I had the honor of representing the Philippine start-up community, along with many esteemed colleagues, at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Dalian, China. This year’s theme, “Leadership 4.0,” explored how our evolving global economy has given rise to new types of leaders who are stepping up to the challenge of innovating, influencing and thriving in this modern age.
We are now facing the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where technology is changing the way we interact, live and work across industries and corners of the globe. However automated it may be, this unprecedented shift also gives us an opportunity to examine some of the more human ingredients for progress.
Sessions on “Closing the Skills Gap” and “Talent Transforming Technology” emphasized the importance of investing in people. Experts agreed that among millions of jobs with reskilling needs, the private sector could profitably be motivated to reskill 25 percent.
How we reskill will require involvement from the education sector, government and industry. Although the public sector may not be as swift to change, we can still all work together toward an evolution instead of an easy solve.
Discussions also stressed the importance of defining or redefining the skills of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. For every job, even stable ones, 40 percent of core skill requirements will change. Data scientists, while highly in demand, have seen their skill sets change drastically in the last three years, and they will continue to change over the next three and beyond.
The hype around tech-oriented skill sets also leads us to realize the competitive advantage of soft skills such as creativity, collaboration, teamwork and communication. The education system can play a role here, but it’s up to individuals to take on this type of lifelong learning, whether on-the-job or online.
This is our goal at Edukasyon, where we aim to bring together a wide range of partners who can help facilitate upskilling and holistic learning for Filipino youth, so that everyone can effectively contribute to our changing society. To date, we’ve partnered with more than 500 colleges and universities, and 50 foundations and corporations, that are committed to making an impact.
As I shared at the meeting, the need for responsible leadership comes at a time when the world has never been richer. However, as incomes rise globally and there is less inequality between countries, the reality is that inequality within countries has been increasing. This is influenced by unequal access to skills, infrastructure and opportunities, hampering economic drivers like youth employment.
As the rates of literacy and education increase within countries worldwide, the price of being left behind continues to grow. If we are to do business as usual, we will continue to see a rise in income inequality, with the top 1 percent of individuals controlling 28 percent of the world’s wealth by 2050.
What will it take? Experts at WEF agreed that Leadership 4.0 starts with having a purpose, mission and clear values. Great leaders inspire others around a shared vision, which is especially important for entrepreneurs who are often forging new paths.
Being an inclusive and collaborative leader far outweighs traditional practices of command and control. Beyond the workplace, these qualities are imperative for reshaping how we educate and train our people, to uplift, empower and prepare each other for the future.
Finally, our evolving technologies, societies and environment call for leaders who respond with agility. Not only will they themselves need to adapt to change and embrace uncertainty, but they also must foster this spirit among their teams and communities.
I’d like to think it’s no coincidence that the Innovative Startup Act was signed into law last month. I have seen our country’s growing start-up community in action, and it’s exciting to see the government prioritize capacity-building, development and training for new types of business leaders.
Along with new benefits and incentives, I have no doubt that the Philippines can and will develop our next generation of new champions.
Henry Motte-Muñoz is the founder and CEO of Edukasyon, a technology platform that helps Gen Z youth with education, career and life decisions.
Business Matters is a project of the Makati Business Club ([email protected]).
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