Co=Gen 2020

Online Leadership Development for Millennials+


According to the OECD, skills are the new world currency. 21st century skills comprise skills, abilities and learning dispositions identified as being required for success in 21st-century society and workplaces. They are complementary to, not substitutes for, basic building block knowledge and skills like literacy and numeracy.

Covid Economy

 “…Many business practices, such as remote work and the online medical visits of telehealth, were slow to win widespread adoption because of behavioural inertia. But the outbreak — and its indefinite period of upended life — could speed adoption of such unfamiliar ways of doing business….”   The new coronavirus economy: A gigantic experiment reshaping how we work and live

 Due to the current Covid-19 lockdown there is an urgent need for enhanced  Digital Skills, especially to do with video meetings and conferences, on-line collaboration, and file-sharing. Accelerated demands for digital literacy, with more people working and learning at home, will be a permanent feature post-Covid.

There is also a growing emphasis on Critical Thinking and Problem Solving in the age of Trump, Communication and Creativity and Innovation.  There is a greater need for Flexibility and Adaptability, Self-Management,  Remote Team Leading and Cross-Cultural and Cross-Generational Interaction.

“Overall, social skills—such as persuasion, emotional intelligence and teaching others—will be in higher demand across industries than narrow technical skills, such as programming or equipment operation and control. In essence, technical skills will need to be supplemented with strong social and collaboration skills.”  2015 WEF report The Future of Jobs

Brain-Machine Interaction

Natural Intelligence (NI)

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Rapidly Changing Workplaces
The WEF 2016 report points out that the ability to identify and prepare for present and future skill requirements is increasingly critical for education and training organisations, businesses and individuals. It is important to both seize the opportunities and mitigate undesirable outcomes.

The OECD’s Learning 2030 framework builds on this and other initiatives.  Specific hard skills and soft skills sets are in increasingly high demand. This reinforces the case for humanities in the era of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Curiosity, creativity and empathy are key elements of the innovation process.

“…many of the major drivers of transformation…are expected to have a significant impact on jobs, ranging from significant job creation to job displacement, and from heightened labour productivity to widening skills gaps…the most in-demand occupations or specialities did not exist 10 or even 5 years ago…”  Work Economic Forum (WEF) 2016 report The Future of Jobs.

Soft Skills
In some people’s minds “soft skills” are seen as “easy skills.”  This is not true; it takes a lot of hard practice to master soft skills such as working collaboratively, facilitating team-based learning, engendering discussion, problem solving and managing conflict.

Far from “dumbing down” education, many 21st-century skills are also associated with deeper learning based on mastering skills such as analytic reasoning and complex problem solving.  The focus is not on content for its own sake.  The test is understanding why and demonstrating how, not regurgitating what. The most effective learning comes from a parallel process of knowing and doing.

Leaders at all levels may struggle with critical people issues and changes that confront them in today’s workplace. These include challenging issues like: unconscious bias, sexual harassment and diversity and inclusion.                                    

Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is a key attribute underpinning everything. Thinking about thinking and understanding different modes of thinking is not, as it should be, literally top of the mind in learning at all levels. Critical thinking requires time and application that some would say it is not compatible with our 24/7 “always on” fragmented digital world. But many employers place problem solving at the top of their desired attributes list.

Talent is what we do well naturally. It is our bent. Talents are inborn, and can be discovered and developed. They cannot be taught, but supporting skills can. Skills are simply how to do something. They are learned and transferable.

Insights often arise at the boundary between communities”.   Etienne Wenger

“One of the problems with the education sphere is that it swings from packing students with knowledge and not much in the way of skills to the other way round—all about skills, and knowledge can come from the Internet….I’d put critical thinking up there as one of the most important skills we should be teaching, but you can’t think critically without something to think about.”  Sir John Daniel, DeTao Masters Academy, Beijing

“Talent only takes you so far. You need planning, passion and 100% commitment to turn your dreams into reality.”  Barbara Kendall Olympic Gold Medalist


Digital Pathways

At a time of unprecedented changes in the global and local environment, the current education system in New Zealand struggles to remain adaptable, relevant, and capable of turning out self-motivated learners attuned to creative thinking.

Traditional Occupations
Qualifications, seen by many as an end point, are really just a point of departure. Organisations and individuals need to keep abreast of technological and business model changes, which affect occupations and required skill sets. They must be prepared to re-invest in appropriate upskilling at frequent intervals.

Many young people are not being prepared for the right jobs. Many are currently enrolled in fields of study that will be radically affected by automation. In an era of technology and AI, the so-called soft skills like critical thinking, communication, empathy, mindfulness, resiliency, decision-making, self-awareness and so on are even more important, especially for those who lead.

Open to New Opportunities

“… the education system… doesn’t prepare students for the real world.,, We are barely (or never) exposed to contemporary industries or shown how our world is going to change in the next 5, 10, 20 years….and therefore are unaware of pathways where [we] could excel in, or be passionate about…”  William Reynolds   Open letter to educators: please prepare us better for the real world

It is a concern that more young people than before appear to be picking their dream job from a small list of the most popular, traditional occupations, like teachers, lawyers or business managers,” Andreas Schleicher, OECD Director for Education and Skills


New Zealand demographic changes
Organizations  are complex adaptive systems that evolve in response to complex human interactions by an infusion of new people and new ideas.

The proportion of young New Zealand-born people entering the workforce in the next decade will decline as a result of declining birth rates in recent decades and increasing time spent in education.

40% of NZ’s workforce is aged 50 and over. In ten years’ time, close to 10% of people in the NZ workforce will be over 65. 45% of people aged 65-69 (235,000) are still in some form of employment – male 52% female 38%. There are more people aged 55-64 registered for Job Support than those aged 18-24.[1]

Ageing countries like New Zealand won’t just need lifelong learning – they need wholesale reskilling of existing workforces throughout their lifecycle.

Minister for Seniors, Hon Tracey Martin, has launched a “Positive Ageing Strategy”, based on an earlier report by the Ministry of Social Development[2]. This moves these key demographic issues from the analysis stage into the action stage.

 [1] Insights in Age and Work

[2] The Business of Ageing: Realising the Economic Potential of Older People in New Zealand 2011 – 2051, Ministry of Social Development.

“The workforce of the near future will be more flexible, collaborative and less secure, populated increasingly by older people and led by a generation with different values to their predecessors.”  Prof. Bentley, Co-Director, NZWRI and Director, AUT Future of Work Programme