Future IT Employees Will Need Art in Their Lives

by | May 19, 2015

That’s what I have to say.

I guess that it is time for me to get used to the fact that more and more organizations, policymakers, institutions, and leaders are recognizing the role of art in our future.
Deloitte, in its last report of Tech Trends 2015 (For the full PDF report), outlined trends that organizations should be aware of if they want to stay competitive and prepared for the future. The major key which is coming up from the report is that the future IT employee is different from what we have got used to. Well, you probably think – it’s obvious, isn’t it?
It might be so, but what’s different is that the future employee is not the one who has only technical skill, but rather the one who “really understands the whole science behind imagination -how customers think, what makes one customer’s experience desirable and another irritating……. and the creative aspect of how to design attractive products and online experiences … It’s about stretching the imagination of what you’re capable of,” as summarized by David Tansley, a partner at Deloitte.

But what does it mean and why?
It means that we are going to see a change in paradigm. Judy Pennington, director at Deloitte consulting, defined it as the “need for a new set of skills that will take us from where we are today to where we want to be in the future…We need to bring a more creative and innovative skillset to the organization – basically we are moving From STEM to STEAM”.

For those who are not familiar with the term STEM, it stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, which is being greatly used in the context of curriculum varieties and education policy in schools, in order to improve competitiveness in technology development. Now, surprisingly some will say, the “A” stands, as you might guess, for Arts.

Yes, that’s right: Arts. The future IT employee should have a relation to the arts.

But the question is Why Arts?
While “Arts” type employees can refer to artists, graphic designers, user experience, and engineers (just to name few examples) the answer to the question “why these kinds of employees are important” is related to the role of design in our future. “Design lies at the heart of the IT worker of the future. The emphasis on design may require new skill sets for the extended IT team. IT leaders should add an “A” for fine arts to the science, technology, engineering, and math charter—STEAM, not STEM. Designing engaging solutions requires creative talent; creativity is also critical in ideation—helping to create a vision of re-imagined work or to develop disruptive technologies deployed via storyboards, user journeys, wireframes, or persona maps,” Stated Deloitte’s report. Now, this discussion about creativity reminds me of the panel “why the future of innovation belongs to artists and designers” that took place in NYC and which you can watch here.

The STEM to STEAM initiative (and organization) is championed by the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). In my opinion, it can only be natural that this initiative will come out of a school in Rhode Island – not only because of the school’s excellent reputation but also because it is part of Rhode Island’s governor, Lincoln Chafee’s idea, to change the state’s focus to arts (read it on this previous post). The organization is supported by business people, policymakers, researchers, professors, and students from Rhode Island and beyond. The organization arranges events, brings resources, and connects organizations – everything that can promote the integration of the arts with STEM. Check their website to get updates and learn more.

You ask yourself how you can engage your employees with the arts? Well, that is a whole new discussion that I will be happy to initiate. Feel free to contact me if you are interested.


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