Immersion Conference - Dan Pink
Dan Pink, the author of A Whole New Mind, spoke next. Dan argues that our traditional focus on analytic skills is giving way to design and creative skills, due to the emergence of outsourcing, abundance and automation. Basically, anything that can be reduced to a routine - including many white collar jobs like law and accounting - will be automated (Turbotax) or outsourced to Asia or other low cost locations. Further, due to the abundance we have in the US and Western Europe, we seek products that are either very inexpensive or ones that have excellent design. So we have a $1 toilet brush available in any mass merchant, and Target offers a toilet brush for $15 designed by a world class architect. Does anyone really NEED a $15 toilet brush? No, but in an age of abundance we tend to look beyond price and function for design and beauty.
If Pink's arguments are true, we need to focus our skills and abilities on things that are 1) hard to outsource 2) hard to automate and 3) add design value. These things require creative, empathetic skills, not necessarily analytic skills.
I'd argue that we are moving into a new economy in the US and western europe. we've moved from an agricultural economy to a manufacturing economy to a (current) service economy, and we're going to open very soon a new economy - the innovation or creativity economy. We in the US and in parts of Western Europe will thrive and compete on our ability to generate new ideas.