In an age of material abundance, AI is gradually taking over our mechanical tasks and consumers are showing more high-touch desires.
One of the results is that, while organizational skills are losing ground in the workplace, sensory skills from our emotional and intuitive right brain are thriving.
According to Daniel Pink in a Whole New Mind, abilities like empathy, creativity, and emotional intelligence, are ushering a new era, as they are expanding over the next 40 years. In an increasingly complex world, they will soon be in high demand.
What they bring together are both abilities to cross boundaries, to design innovative and valuable products, to confront different cultures and personalities, and to create meaningful narratives for employees and consumers.
Here’s how these 4 types of right-brain skills will help you increase your flexibility in your future job.
1. Being Able to Cross Boundaries and to Synthesize
In a world where specialized work quickly becomes routinized work, being automated or outsourced away, the truly creative people differentiate themselves.
In a society that seeks access to new, remarkable, and valuable products and services resonating emotionally with them, the creative people also stand out.
What defines their creative skills?
For one, the ability to mix different perspectives on your work and to come up with a big picture of your situation.
It requires collaborators who provide connections between several areas of skills, expertise, cultures, and even values.
For example, the role of computer engineers already requires to be effective in the hard science of computing as well as in the soft science of sales and marketing.
“Most engineering deadlocks have been broken by people who are not original engineers,” says Nicholas Negroponte of MIT. A rich interdisciplinary background and a varied field of experience allow them to bridge insights that people with academic backgrounds don’t even have.
It’s all about opening your curiosity to new disciplines and fields of knowledge.
You may have a metaphor notebook to keep your most surprising associations, use an inspiration board where you can draw, flip and visualize your problems, and learn to draw and paint to find easier connections.
2. Adopting The Method of Design Thinking
The abundance of utensils in homes and kitchens has increased the sensitivity of consumers, who seek products that provide a superior experience of utility, meaning, and beauty.
It leads to an economy of quality, which promotes differentiation through beautiful and innovative design.
Within this framework, the product is no longer a simple solution but an experience in every sense of the word: psychological, cultural, aesthetic.
The design thinking method invented especially by the IDEO agency is providing a framework to create those kinds of experiences. It teaches how to imagine and design products that give an adapted and remarkable value to their user.
It consists of living the customer journey from the inside and creating innovative solutions to old problems, using techniques such as visualization, drawing, collage, and framed brainstorming.
Jobs as an architect or product designer have already adopted such a perspective, gathering in groups to discuss problems.
The Charter High School for Architecture and Design, for example, opens its students to drawing, painting, history, science, and maths to give them a holistic approach.
But this trend also appears in other types of jobs.
Being a consultant, marketer, salesperson, manager requires more and more to take into account the different dimensions of the experience of their clients and collaborators: the psychological factors of motivation and sales, the importance of a coherent and aesthetic message, and image, the increasing value of well-designed products…
Faced with such a requirement, you may adopt design thinking as a way of life: maintaining a notebook of notes and drawings, brainstorming with different minds, reading design magazines, and observing people using your products.
3. Opening Yourselves to Various Emotions and Personalities
As AI conquers more mechanical and analytical tasks, skills such as face reading and interpreting remain exclusively human.
Your ability to respond appropriately to emotions are skills that are difficult for a machine to duplicate since they belong to our right brain, which is responsible for your empathy.
They allow you to respond adequately to a variety of human situations, and are increasingly in demand on the job market.
Medicine, for example, has a growing need for doctors and nurses who can read and understand human emotions, while having expertise and a strong sense of diagnosis.
Stage actress Megan Cole travels across the United States to teach future doctors the values of empathy: how to read facial expressions, intonations, body language, and use acting techniques. These courses allow doctors to make more accurate diagnoses and to take into account the emotional needs of their patients.
And it pays off since the most empathetic doctors and nurses are more often than not accurate in their care. They also report patients who are more satisfied and reassured in their treatment.
While these skills are partly innate, you can learn them through facial recognition tests and by reading emotion specialists like Paul Ekman.
4. Learning to Be Emotionally Creative
With the emergence of an affluent society, individuals in Western societies no longer have so much materialistic needs as more spiritual ones.
Some of the illnesses of our new world (stress, heart disease, burn-out) show a need to give meaning to work, as 70% of respondents to Roffey Park’s annual management survey wanted their working lives to be more meaningful.
More and more consumers are concerned about the sense they can draw from brand and marketing experiences, seeking products that make a difference in their world and their mind.
As a result, companies need to adapt to this transition in a post-materialistic society by putting more narratives and purpose into their service and product.
People who master the art of storytelling, turning complex information and insights into inspiring fiction, are valuable for today’s companies. Robert McKee, the famous screenwriter from Hollywood, is attracting more and more executives and entrepreneurs listening to its writing method in its seminars.
Steve Denning, one of the founders of the “organizational storytelling”, seeks to make companies aware of the stories that fuel their people, their activities, and their goals. This helps them to differentiate themselves, to give motivation to their employees, and to sell more emotionally accurate messages to their audience.
To improve your conceptual skills, you may read and learn to write short stories, build your storytelling, cultivate a gratitude notebook for you and others, and read screenwriting books.
Invest in your most promising right-brain skills!
And if you want to master your creativity further, get a checklist of 9 basic reflexes to flex your mind.