In 1984 the first Terminator movie was made, built around the premise that in the future there will be a war between humans and machines. Whether or not you believe that all science fiction comes true, it is clear that despite the use and reliance on AI (artificial intelligence) we also need to maintain ‘human skills’.
Problem Solving is highlighted by Kieran Flanagan and Dan Gregory in their book Forever Skills as essential skills that humans will always need, no matter how clever the machines get. They suggest that “problems are where opportunities hide”.
Yes, we need to quickly solve the urgent incidents that arise, and we can take this a step further to use these same skills to be proactive about longer term problems that we are ‘putting up’ with or perhaps even unaware of.
Whole industries are currently facing problems that are not easily solved. The steel industry must consider how to decarbonise, the energy industry is planning for renewable energy, and Australian manufacturing is addressing supply chain limitations. Each of these examples is at different stages of identification, understanding and resolution.
Encouraging aspiring leaders to seek out issues, and then spend time defining the problem and exploring the solution is a great way to encourage and develop these skills. Let’s not wait for the machines to solve it for us. What opportunities are hiding in your problems?