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Mindset of possibilities for the future of work, Industry 4.0

The future of work and learning has arrived.

Technology has gradually changed the way we live, work, and learn. COVID-19 was the elbow to the gut — a wake-up call to what’s coming at us in real-time: The Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The pandemic is the call to action. The question is how to ride the wave of Industry 4.0 where technology is bringing about exponential changes.

With the pandemic came great disruption. Businesses shuttered. Many were retrenched. Fresh graduates are without jobs. Any resistance towards the coming industrial revolution by individuals and companies comfortable with the old ways of working is futile.

Panel discussion at SG Future Forum: Industry 4.0

The accelerated adoption of technology and innovation has resulted in behavior and consumption changes during this COVID-19 period. Re-imagining how we live, work and learn post-COVID-19 stems from the identification of key trends that have already become pervasive and are now characterized as the new normal. 

SkillsFutureSG (SSG), Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), and Institute for Adult Learning (IAL) have announced a combined effort to ramp up the digital transformation of Singapore’s training and adult education sector. 

Singapore is not alone in these efforts. Its neighbors in the EdTech scene are also focused on upskilling and reskilling the workforce through startups providing learning technology innovations in Southeast Asia

A panel discussion SG Future Forum: Industry 4.0 — Surf the Wave of Change was organized by the Singapore Affairs Society at the Singapore Institute of Management. Together on stage were industry and thought leaders on the direction of the future of work and learning at the dawn of the fourth industrial revolution.

All speakers shared their thoughts on the right mindset to have as we weather the accompanying challenges of upskilling and reskilling to prepare for the roles of the future:

Lawrence Wong Singapore Minister for Education

Lawrence Wong, Singapore Minister for Education

Very often we hear questions about “What should I do today? Should I learn coding? Should I learn programming? What should I do in terms of filling the knowledge gaps that I have today?” I think that’s important. But more important than just content is this mindset of continuous learning.

Because whatever content you learn today — even if it’s the most cutting edge content — will become irrelevant five, ten years from now. So being willing to have that mindset of embracing change, but more importantly, always striving to learn and do better. That must be the mindset to adapt to this new world.

Howie Lau Assistant Chief Executive, Media & Innovation, IMDA

Howie Lau, IMDA

There are a few truths in tech. One is that fast will become faster. This speed will not slow down. The second truth in tech is that everything that’s default offline will become default online. The third, which is potentially uncomfortable for tech people, is tech and data will become an equalizer. It will become a non-competitive differentiator.

Because it is how you connect the dots and how you use tech that becomes a differentiator. The starting point is the mindset of possibility as opposed to the mindset of challenges. 

Seah Chin Siong President and CEO, SIM Group

A lot of technopreneurs look for physical things in the world: Can they make a digital twin and from there cause a disruption to happen?

Seah Chin Siong, SIM Group

What is amazing is there are people trying to create digital twins of programmers. A software can write software. They’re not there yet, but they’re working very hard on it. It means that you could actually tell the AI, “I want to have an app that does this.” And it will spit it out. The code you put it in and it runs as an app. And that’s how fast technology can move ahead.

Having a foundation in programming actually helps in your understanding of technology and how it is relevant in business. Especially when you get more and more into Industry 4.0.

David Yeo CEO, Kydon Group

We spoke about skillset. We spoke about mindset. I’d like to offer a third dimension: heartset. The heart is very important as we go through this difficult time. Whether you are about to graduate, already graduated, or in the workforce and struggling to think about what’s next.

David Yeo, Kydon Group

The heart is very important because it’s important to believe that we can do it. It’s important to believe that technology is not a challenge to overcome. The important thing is to know technology. Embrace technology. Believe that you can make use of technology for your purposes.

Do not be afraid to ask questions and do not be afraid to ask silly questions. Find out more. Be willing to learn. Learnability, adaptability, flexibility, is the most important part of a human being.

Chia Hock Lai President, Singapore Fintech Association

Chia Hock Lai, Singapore Fintech Association

Nowadays Singapore’s environment is so enabling. There’s no lack of training opportunities. Your formal education in university alone is not sufficient. Now it’s about speed to market.

You are likely to have to learn multiple skills after you train in a shorter and shorter duration. So your mindset is very important to adapt to this new normal — with or without COVID-19.

LEARNTech Asia
LEARNTech Asia showcases innovation in learning in Asia. We feature stories and resources in online learning, workplace learning, adult education, EdTech, and creative solutions by teachers and trainers in learning institutions, non-profits, and enterprises that enhance human capacity and inspire communities of lifelong learners.