“Never stop learning! That should be your mindset. There isn’t an alternative!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
A phrase I often use on stage – “Learning is what most adults will do for a living in the 21st century.” It’s from Lewis J. Perelman, who authored a seminal work, “School’s Out: Hyperlearning, The New Technology, and the End of Education,” which took a prescient look at what had to happen in order to move the world’s most intractable industry forward. It certainly my thinking about the future in the context of skills and careers.
Almost 30 years on, the struggle continues.
Successful people focus on enhancing their ability to generate just-in-time-knowledge. It’s a phrase I’ve been using for almost 3 decades – I first wrote it into my book Surviving the Information Age back in 1997. It is more powerfully relevant today in the context of fast change.
If you aren’t learning, you are dying.
Let’s take you back to put it into context, where I’m quoted years ago in the Toronto Star today with my observations on the future of knowledge, careers, and work. Kind of provocative, but I really believe it to be true….
Forget what you think you know
Toronto Star, Oct 25/05
You know a diploma is worth less and less. Soon it’s going to be worth nothing at all.
If you’ve just completed an undergraduate degree you might not want to hear what Mississauga-based futurist Jim Carroll has to say.
“For young people, I think one of the things they will need to understand is the skill of `just-in-time’ knowledge,” says Carroll, who advises companies across North America.
He explains that “just-in-time” knowledge is the skill of learning information during quickly advancing periods of change. The information learned is entirely — and possibly only — relevant at a specific time. Learning it will require people to immediately dump previous information that is no longer relevant at the same time.
“The concept of going to school for knowledge is kind of quaint,” says Carroll, who foresees a future when longer degree programs will become almost obsolete. “What is the relevance of a three or four or five-year degree program when half of what kids learn in their first year will be obsolete by the time they graduate?”
Carroll says the majority of knowledge needed in the workplace of the future will be gained from collaborative social networks, online sources, and independent learning.
As far as formal education goes, he doesn’t think many degree programs will be longer than about nine months.
“A survey I saw a couple of weeks ago said young people now think self-employment is more secure than a corporate job.
“As young people continue to completely reject the concept of the traditional workplace they will also move to educational models that suit their relationship with a changing work world.”