Digital green shoots: New opportunities arising from disruption

green-shoot-in-pavement

There’s no getting around it: Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, robotics, and automatic will disrupt most or all industries in the next two decades. And disruption means specific jobs and even entire industries will go away.

Whether future technologies will result in a net gain or loss of jobs has been a matter of debate among technology experts and economists. That debate, however, is irrelevant to the millions of enterprise employees and business owners who are trying to navigate an economy in which technology is accelerating change.

That’s why I’ve written a number of times about the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the workplace of the future. Adaptability, the ability to learn and relearn, critical thinking and problem solving, initiative and entrepreneurialism, curiosity and creativity — all of these can help people find a valuable role (or roles) in the digital economy.

Easy to advise, I know, but here’s a good real-life example of adaptability in action: Uber Eats, the food-delivery service run by the ride-hailing company, has been hiring former restaurant employees for its product-development team. As Fast Company contributor Lydia Dishman writes: members of Uber Eats’ product development team “have leaned on the skills they’ve learned working in restaurants to get jobs in tech.”

Granted, some of them also had at least some rudimentary design and development skills, but that’s not essential. Brion McDonough, senior product designer at Uber Eats, tells Dishman that the real value he brings to Uber Eats is his experience in customer service. McDonough, Dishman writes, “says there is a lot of talk about customer obsession on the team, and they spend a lot of time immersing themselves in the businesses by interviewing restaurants. ‘Building great products that solve actual problems is a similar skill set,’ he says, that can transfer into the tech space.”

Kunal Arora, another former restaurant worker who works as a product manager for Uber Eats, adds, “It’s not the skills you come in with, but your ability to learn. Product teams need smart people to build out something great.”

Bottom line: To survive in the digital economy, people must 1) think outside the box in terms of how their skills and experience can be leveraged, and 2) recognize new opportunities arising from economic disruption — digital green shoots, if you will. They are out there, and more will appear as the economy continues to transform.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: