Digital Future Trends

Knowledge for adults: Micro or Macro?

Would dinosaurs have survived if they had SEO know-how or better project management skills?

The world is changing – it always has been. Horses were followed by tractors, kingdoms by democracies. Today it’s called: Digital transformation. Agility. Network organisation. Total flexibility. Only through lifelong learning can baby boomers and retro-millennials master these new challenges and play along professionally in the future, they say. That as well – an old hat.

So what is new? The philosophical-sounding question of whether real adults should use further education for training or degeneration

The right model or the most beautiful modelling?

In animal films, bears, lions and whales age gracefully. They see the light of day, learn from their mothers, have a few offspring – always satisfy their hunger, fend off attackers. In this world, disruption does not come from one’s own pack or because birds of prey learn new techniques in online courses; at most, it comes from humans.

People have not been animals for many millions of years and are always inquisitive. But do they learn the right things to live better – or do they just learn to fill their heads with details and take work off others instead of creating new work?

So I asked myself: Do dinosaurs have a higher chance of survival with all the details about SEO, online advertising and graphic design – or in project management? Or is there an in-between?

What makes the difference for older employees who want to reposition themselves with fresh knowledge? Leadership skills or detailed knowledge?

Value creation in a generational context better not compete with AI

To anticipate the answer right away: I don’t know exactly yet, because I still feel too young. But I have a hunch! Innovation also needs progress in the mind. But when it comes to digital issues, aren’t those who have Web 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 in their DNA always at an advantage? So what is special about older adults? Experience!

We will see a huge evolutionary leap in artificial intelligence by 2050. Routine tasks such as the boring (and unnecessary) driving of a car, the evaluation of email content, but also the creation of projections will increasingly be taken away from us by supercomputers.

So people who don’t want to manoeuvre themselves into the sidelines need:

  • a craft that cannot be carried out in its individuality and quality by AI and robotics.
  • Leadership and decision-making skills that are superior to those possible with machines.

Craft skills speak for craftsmanship (unfortunately, there are too few retraining programmes for office workers to become doers who deliver tangible results). For leadership dynamics, in-depth knowledge of how to organise projects speaks for itself.

Continuing education with a horizon combines the best of both worlds

My appeal to curriculum developers and the heads of leading adult education institutions is: besides Google, Meta and Co., think more about Scrum, Asana, Clickup and the rich treasure of experience that mankind has acquired over the last centuries with mega-projects. Success starts with understanding and being able to formulate what you want to achieve. Goals, risks, resources. Impact is only sustainable if it is comprehensible: analysis, continuous improvement, analysis….

We have to learn that we are challenged more as leaders in our old age. This is true in our own private environment, in our lives. But also in our world as freelancers, as team players or company leaders. Project management is a universal tool that distinguishes trial & error from sustainability.