The future of work: Part 3

The future of work: Part 3

The Disruptive Economy

Jon Halligan, Director of Schools, VIE Education

The third potential future economy, illustrated in the Workforce of the Future: the competing forces shaping 2030 report by PwC, is the Disruptive Economy.

In this third world, we’re exploring a future in which innovation – and therefore the individuals behind it – reign supreme. Innovation is so accessible and widespread that changes and updates will outpace regulations and governments, leading to amazing inventions, while also an uncertain, frontier style labour environment. 

In this world, innovators and specialists race to serve the needs of consumers and affinity groups, seizing the power for themselves while removing it from the hands of both the big corporations, as well as the government. This is the realm of small agile companies, developing products and services apace.

It is the disruptive economy, here’s what else you can expect in a world of pure innovation:

Degrees aren’t as important: if you’re someone that is a coding expert and you’ve developed four mobile apps by the age of 23, you’re going to be hired ahead of the student with the conventional university degree. It’s no longer about titles; it’s about competencies.

Workers are scouted through social media: in this economy, companies go to the people. They are stalking start-ups and entrepreneurs and providing them with offers based on their innovative products and thinking.

Vocational training is esteemed: worldwide communities start to embrace vocational training again, which lessen the educational debt that has been wrangling many nations. However, this causes some universities to close that don’t lower their rates or match the competitors.

Data literacy is critical: data is a key indicator in how everything is performing, which is why those with proficiency are highly sought after. In addition, those who are proficient at systems thinking AI development, deployment and big data analysis become high value commodities.

What does this mean for education?

If you’re not willing to adapt your educational institution in a disruptive economy, you can kiss your business goodbye. Four-year degrees have been abandoned as learners discover modular courses and bootcamps that provide them with the experience every company wants to see.

Individuals with a penchant for thriving ‘without a rulebook’ overtake those who are unable to function without clear instructions and directions. Companies work to embed “online e-courses” on freelancing sites where they can help educate individuals without requiring them to enrol at their institution. 

Educational institutions have been forced to completely restructure traditional learning. However, letting some of their campuses and related overheads go provides these entities with funds to modernise and make their education more accessible than ever – perhaps through VR and/or mobile technology.

The disruptive economy is really the wild-west, this is the world of designer babies and enhanced humans. The problem I see, is ethical, just because we have the innovative drive and technology to do something - should we?