I heard already in the 80s about the elder generation looking for professional studies which they always were interested in, but never had time for. I do not mean the countless participants in beginner courses for language studies who are always well visited and caused by motivations such as being able to talk to people while staying in holidays in a foreign country. I refer to the classic university studies: philology, pedagogy, sociology, maths, medicine, finance… And indeed – by reaching the professional retirement, a few of them really came and a stayed with us in universities. But often those people were the exception. And their studies often seen by the general public as something for intellectuals and belonging to the upper class only.
How fast this has changed….
With the ongoing globalization and social developments “everything is now accessible” the cross functional thinking and opportunity combining abilities is becoming more and more one of the most urgent requirements.
Employers today are looking for people with a huge knowledge in a specific area, but that’s not enough…
For many people working in different areas it is key to understand the big picture and at the same time having the detailed knowledge in a specific area – networking, network structures, relationship management, connecting, innovating ….
A challenging task, without doubt. There will be needed still a lot of discussions on how to structure classes, which type of information is basic, which one advanced. How students should be prepared. And a lot of new study opportunities are growing, just thinking about MOOCs and online university studies for free, e.g. Coursera.
Additionally to these life accompanying theory based courses wouldn’t it be fantastic to have ongoing ‘two week experiences’ per year to a complete new working field? A marketing manager doing secretary work, a researcher working in the logistic department, a controller working as sales rep. Or a teacher staying in a huge industry office assisting a PR department, a journalist organizing meals for thousand of employees, a social worker being a business manager and, of course, viceversa…The internal globalization needs to follow the external one. It’s about leaving pure functional thinking of the past. It’s about diverse thinking..
I really wonder if innovation, cross functional thinking and collaboration would become easier. What do you think?