Skills and Education

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn – Alvin Toffler

The days of studying a subject, joining or starting a company and then staying there until you receive a long service award or retire are long gone. Businesses can’t expect certainty because certainty means a stable and unchanging environment and we don’t have nor can we expect that to be the case.

Many people are made redundant, start new careers or new businesses and as a result, our CV’s will reflect many different companies, roles and specialisms.

We all have to get used to change as the environment changes, Charles Darwin spoke about the survival of the fit, those creatures that evolved to fit into the changing environment, it’s the same challenge we face as business people and their employees.

So small businesses and their staff need new approaches and skills, the ability to question what we are doing and why, how can we do it better. Business owners need to be constantly asking better questions about every aspect of their business.

We need management and employees who are very comfortable with change and its implications and that means training the existing workforce as well as our children in schools about creativity and innovation, about the process of creating and turning those ideas that are generated into products and services.

We have a great history of UK inventors and designers but we don’t teach them in schools, how they used their mistakes to learn from and move forward and this needs to be part of the UK school’s curriculum, we should be studying these great Britons as well as Charles Edison, one of the prolific inventors and innovators in history, who used some great techniques that are still appropriate today:-

Trevor Baylis: Wind-up radio

Tim Berners-Lee: World Wide Web

Imran Chaudhri: invented the user interface and interactions of the iPhone, also worked on the Mac, iPod, iPad, Apple TV and Apple Watch

Michael Faraday: Electric transformer.

Jonathan Ive: Chief Design Officer of Apple Inc. and designer of many of Apple's products, including the MacBook Pro, iMac, MacBook Air, Mac mini, iPod, iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini, Apple Watch and iOS.

Isaac Newton: reflecting telescope

Frank Whittle: co-inventor of the jet engine

John Logie Baird: Television

Alexander Graham Bell: Telephone