The Most Useful Skills In Our Emerging Economy I Oxford Open Learning

The Most Useful Skills In Our Emerging Economy

“The times they are a changin,” said Bob Dylan, and if that was true in the 60s, then his head must be spinning now. The skills needed for the new world are hard to pin down, and quite frankly, no one truly knows what they are. We’ve got the old favourites that never change such as people skills, negotiation, organisation, but what new skills will you need to thrive in tomorrow’s economy?

Marketing Yourself Online

So this might sound a little niche, but hear me out. There is a lot of noise in the world of economy, and it’s just getting louder. By noise, I mean the amount of people trying to shout about their goods, services, or ideas.

If you ever want to put goods, services or ideas of your own out there you will have to ask yourself how you can make your voice stand out in a busy market. My recommendation: learn how to do the basics of digital marketing. Want to be a small business person? Google My Business will be indispensable. Want to blog about your services? You’ll want to optimise those words for search engines. And then there’s your professional presence to “market” yourself on Linkedin, as well as other social networks. Don’t know what any of that means? Well, the good news is you can learn nearly all of it online – for free.

Information Management

We’ve mentioned noise: it’s LOUD out there. We can think about each decibel of this noise as a bit of information competing for your attention and time; Is that website giving you the complete picture of the situation? Which ones are to be trusted? How can we filter out the nuggets of gold? Well, it comes through digital education, critical reading and evaluating the things you pay attention to.

Part of this process is the enormous and technical task of taking all the data available and organising it so that it can be understood. We need people who can handle these vast torrents of information and help us understand them. This could be data visualisation or other forms of simplification.

So that’s evaluation of data, but if we want to take it a step further we’ll need to do something with the golden information we have filtered. Synthesis means putting those ideas together in new and interesting ways. Perhaps this is the hardest information skill of them all, as it takes a true big-picture thinker to not get lost in the noise.

The Economy Loves Original Design

Because times are a changin’ at unprecedented speed, no one really knows what all the new and marvellous goods and services should look like, or how we should navigate them. This is the job of designers, be they digital, educational, commercial, or any of the many sub-skills in this area.

People don’t want to linger when making exchanges. They simply don’t have time. A customer experience is a good example. These are designed by User Experience Designers. Think about how seamlessly a purchase can be when done right and how painful when it’s not – it’s not down to chance. The best companies are investing huge amounts of money in people who walk a mile (or two) in your shoes and tell them how to make things easier for you. Next time you use a really great mobile app, think about the kind of logic that makes it so great.


So there you have it. Yes, they are all digitally orientated skills, but that’s because whatever you want to do, you’ll need to manage it through the internet at some point. The economy demands digital flexibility of businesses now, and hence employers demand it of you. Most jobs now need websites of some sort, and everyone needs to get reliable information about the world online. These skills don’t have to be jobs in themselves though; they are the way you can survive and prosper in an increasingly chaotic world of information.

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Hi, my name's Phil. I am a Content Writer and Producer. My background is a mixture of education, social media and management. I've spent a lot of my career working in Latin America and Spain, and I have a love for languages and education. I also have my own blogsite:

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