The FutureWe Framework — WHY its needed, and WHAT it details as a solution
- by Jonathan Nalder, in his own words
(edited from video transcript on Youtube here ).
Hi there, I’m Jonathan Nalder, and I founded FutureWe because new technologies such as AI and auotmation are bringing changes that in many cases are happening too fast for business, education and society to cope with.
This question of how to be future-ready is beginning to occupy the minds of many leaders because now, automation is not just replacing human physical labor (as technology has done for thousands of years), but our cognitive and mental abilities as well.
The speed of this new development is such that I believe the next 10–20 years are going to see a very long succession of struggle as society collectively adjusts. We see something similar happening already in the current debates around issues such as fake news and online privacy. Society as a whole is grappling with questions that current tech like smartphones and always-on internet throw up, like ‘what does it mean when anyone can start broadcasting to the whole globe?’, and ‘how much personal information is too much to swap for a free social media service?’.
As we also move towards computers having the same level of intelligence and processing capacity as the human brain in the next few years, and as we potentially move off the Earth to become a spacefaring species, there are going to be more and more of these waves of social disruption, and the question then becomes ‘can we even prepare for them?’, ‘is there a way that education can write a new curriculum that will address these in time?’ or ‘is there a plan that businesses can put in place?’. It’s really hard to know the answer to these. In fact, part of the problem is that if you want, you can probably find something on the Internet which will tell you whatever you want to hear about what the future might be like.
FutureWe though is founded on a different approach. We think that rather than planning around a specific prediction, or hoping and waiting that someone somewhere else will maybe invent the new jobs or solution that might be needed, there is another option. Surely it’s going to be much better and safer for all of us if instead we are across the big picture skills we need to invent our own jobs, our own communities, and our own futures.
Especially in education — if we can put in place the programs and the mindsets that help us know how to invent our own futures, then we’ve all got a chance of thriving no matter what comes, and that leads us to the future-readiness framework which I’ve developed. It answers the question of ‘what are the big picture, meta-skills that we’re going to need?’, and has been helpfully evolved as a ‘compilation of best practice’ with the input of our 220-plus supporters in 18 countries.
The result of this work is a framework with five top-level ‘literacies’. The first of these is ‘Creativity’, and most people understand why it comes first, especially in the context of what sets humans apart in an age of automation. This literacy of Creativity then has a whole series of sub literacies that make it up — such as a sense of play, curiosity, resilience, divergent thinking and more — all of which become the starting point for being future-ready.
Next, as we are able to think creatively, we can move to the next literacy of ‘Community’. This is the one that helps us know ‘where am I in the world?’, ‘who am I supporting?’, and ‘who supports me?’. The Community sub-literacies cover things like collaboration and teamwork, but also several others such as empathy and leadership. All of these together mean that we’re going to be able to work together on finding the solutions our communities need.
Beyond this level then we move to acquiring the hard thinking and planning skills we’re going to need to apply our creative thinking to help our community. These thinking and planning skills can be processes like design thinking, agile practices, project based learning and even logic. There are a number of others as well, this is one area where many organisations already do have some in place.
Once you’re confident in this area, we can next move to ‘Project Delivery’. This happens when we can think creatively, understand our community, and be ready to apply thinking and planning skills. It’s natural that we then look to deliver a solution that’s going to empower our community or organisation, be it a school or business or other. This literacy covers things like having business sense and being an entrepreneur or even an intrapreneur — these all help us work out how our solution is going to be sustainable so it can be delivered to help people.
The very last literacy is the idea of ‘Storytelling’. This is an incredibly key literacy that often, like Community, is absent from other ‘enterprise’ and ‘soft’ skills efforts. Basically, it doesn’t matter how creative a solution is and how well you’ll be able to deliver it — if you can’t explain and communicate it to those who need it. This domain covers sub-literacies like communication, marketing, branding and creating content that allow you to tell your story and get your solution out there.
So that’s the framework, and it’s at the heart of FutureWe. There are several missions and projects that we’re working on to extend that framework out into people’s lives in practical, empowering ways — for students, businesses, leaders and whoever it can be useful for. Now you’ve read this introduction, I encourage you to visit the framework tab on our website where you’ll be able to download the framework, read a bunch more information, and watch our extended 25 min video.
Most importantly — on our site you’ll be able to access the framework self-assessment tool (or click here). This is the action that will show you where you are up to on your journey with these future skills as well as how future-ready do you feel. It’ll show you what you’re great at, and even what you’re not so great at. That’s the point where I think all of us can then be open to saying okay, let’s have a conversation — where do I need to go next on my journey? FutureWe would certainly love to have you as part of our community, and to tell you more about the next steps we’ve developed ourselves and with our key partners.