collaboration_teamwork_23amh_awards1-351-3157x2105Growing evidence suggests that more and more, businesses of all types are in need of some very hard-to-find skills: The so-called “soft skills.”

Last week, I joined several of New Hampshire Destination Imagination board members in giving a marketing brief to a team of students at Southern New Hampshire University. After the class, one student asked a great question: “Is creativity and problem-solving skills actually needed?” I love when you start out to “question everything”. It’s something many of the students in our program learn to do. Destination Imagination, or “D.I.” empower kids to build creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration skills while solving open-ended challenges based on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math).

Here’s why this is important.

The World Economic Forum, or WEF, is an International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation with the goal of improving the World. In their Future of Jobs Report, of the top ten skills needed in the job force by 2020, schools currently provide few of these and the D.I. program helps students grow all of them:

  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Critical Thinking
  • Creativity
  • People Management
  • Coordinating with Others
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Judgement and Decision Making
  • Service Orientation
  • Negotiation and cognitive flexibility.

[Click here for the full Future of Jobs report].

What About New Hires?

Entrepreneur.com just published the results of a survey of the top unique skills that companies are looking for in their new hires.  Again, presentation skills, solving problems, coaching co-workers, voicing opinions while open to feedback, being creative and innovative are all key needs – and takeaways that students in Destination Imagination program learn. In recent conversations, we also hear of one not mentioned in the article: confidence.

team20160319goffs_reg_close-051-x3On almost the same day, Time.com published the results of a study showing why college grads can’t get hired: They need more “soft skills”. According to the article, “More than 60% of employers say applicants lack “communication and interpersonal skills” — a jump of about 10 percentage points in just two years”. Again, a core component to Destination Imagination.

Finally, Overblog posted a commentary on the IBM report entitled “Capitalizing on Complexity / Insights from the Global CEO Study”. [DISCLAIMER: IBM is a sponsor of Destination Imagination, Inc.].

Among the core takeaways, “The world’s private and public sector leaders identify ‘creativity’ as the single most important leadership competency for enterprises seeking a path through…complexity.”

They broke down the central themes of the report as: “Creativity Leadership Rocks!”, “Build Cross Disciplinary Collaboration Capacity!” and “Enable Organizational Dexterity!”

Finally, I have taught university classes on The Future of Business for several years, and I will share that the way we learn, act, react, engage, transact and affect transactions is changing quickly. Powered by less expensive technology and changing buying patterns in the economy, local and global collaboration has gained significant traction. These trends will continue, and if our kids have a say in it, will only be for the better.

Resources:

Destination Imagination web site

New Hampshire Destination Imagination web site