The talk organised on 15 April by PHYD and Fuori Salone was entitled Design e futuro del lavoro, quali professionalità per quale mercato (Design and the Future of Work: Which Professionals for Which Markets. The event was conceived to reflect, together with important players in this ecosystem, on the relationship between training and business, to understand whether or not there is a connection between the two and how to effectively bridge the skills gap at such a delicate time for the economy and the world of work. Moderator Alessandro Mitola, content editor for Studiolabo, welcomed Luisa Collina, dean of the School of Design at Milan Polytechnic, Riccardo Balbo, director of the IED, Mirco Cervi, CDO of Italian Design Brands, Filippo Manetti, CMO of Musa-Fenix and Daniele Lago, managing director of Lago.
There is a need to create a link between supply and demand, between the world of education and the business world
In a fast-paced world, with digitisation and pandemic imposing a pace unparalleled in the history of industry, it is a priority for workers to equip themselves with new skills and abilities, and for companies to fully understand the nature and direction of this change, so that models, processes and roles, hitherto only imagined, can be realised and taken root in practice. There is therefore a need to create a link between supply and demand, between the world of education and the business world, through constant and, indeed, consistent updating. Luisa Collina believes that upskilling can no longer be optional for professionals today. Riccardo Balbo shares this view and believes that the greatest challenge, especially for the younger generations, is “to be able to understand how to survive their own obsolescence (…). Understanding how to renew oneself is a meta-skill, but it takes time“. We need to give ourselves time, according to the director of the IED Group, to slow down even (or especially) when everything around us seems to be moving faster, even than our thoughts. Mirco Cervi also talks about time, pointing out that everyone should follow his/her own pace without distorting his/her own identity and objectives, a principle that applies to both companies and people, adding that to be effective, skills updating must include cultural updating which, as you can imagine, can take years. Refreshing one’s skills has also become an imperative for Filippo Manetti, especially if one is part of a heterogeneous team, where continuous comparison and the sharing of different experiences and know-how are important drivers of growth and value creation for the business.
Daniele Lago, on the other hand, proposes a complete change of perspective, shifting the focus of the discussion to what he calls “approaches“:
I see skills as commodities, but the secret is to have approaches that are flexible and empathetic. The real issue is the culture of innovation, it means learning to look inside ourselves, to develop talents.
Author: Daniele Lago, managing director of Lago
In the light of these significant considerations, what then is the ideal profile of a young professional in the world of design? Will it be more tech or more humanistic?
Their responses were unanimous: More than merely mapping skills, which is almost impossible to create in such a chameleon-like world in which what is new today is already old tomorrow, we need a different mindset, a predisposition of thought that prepares the young (and not only the young) for the demands of the world of work, an aptitude for transdisciplinarity, for ‘holistic curiosity‘, as Cervi calls it, for listening, for “poking around in the domains of knowledge that are not one’s own“, to use Balbo’s eloquent phrase. Tomorrow calls for a systemic approach in which, Manetti is convinced, technology will increasingly be integrated into the humanities and vice versa, as demonstrated by the success of humanistic computing. According to Collina, there is one ability above all else, and that is the ability to renew oneself, to redesign oneself, to give oneself a new shape every time changes or disruptions make it necessary. If you learn with passion and determination to make ideas blossom, to turn them into actions, to connect the dots, as Steve Jobs taught more than a decade ago, you are truly ready for the future, whatever it may be.
To watch the talk, simply register on the PHYD site.