I recently watched a TV programme which featured 3D printers, a pretty cool idea. This new method of manufacturing apparently allows you to reproduce pretty much anything. Life size, functional and even in colour. The programme showed some items made up of layer upon layer of extruded molten plastic, another method cuts and glues paper with incredible precision layering it up to make a solid object and they were even able to recreate a somewhat spooky and sinister version the presenter’s head. Here’s another company demonstrating their process using powder and presumably magic – with a bit of extra CAD wizardry to help the computer along, they can even copy moving parts! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZboxMsSz5Aw
What’s this got to do with careers, you wonder? Everything! This is yet another example of fantastic technology that’s a real game-changer. The manufacturing industry as we know it is already shrinking, but these advances must surely hasten the decline. This means the world will need different kinds of engineers and fewer staff to maintain buildings and machinery if we don’t need factories. The whole labour market and all the workers within it will have to adapt…and sharpish! We’re not talking about 50 years into the future, it’s happening right now. I’m old enough to remember life before mobile phones, when tiny communicators were only found among James Bond’s gadgetry or in Sci-fi films, but it’s amazing how quickly they became ubiquitous and affordable, maybe even indispensible: mine’s never switched off. I may laugh at the expense of my more senior colleagues who can’t or perhaps won’t get to grips with texting, but here I am, frowning with concentration as a beginner blogger.
STOP PRESS: new article in the Economist about the likely challenges and changes in the labour market at http://www.economist.com/node/21528226?frsc=dg|a
New ways of communicating mean new ways of doing business – and nobody can afford to ignore that. To stay on top and be ready for the opportunities that will arise in the next few years will require conscious effort. Assuming most of my readership is 18 or over, I’m sorry to tell you that you’re already kind of past it. The day will come when you, too, will say “well I don’t see the point in this new-fangled rubbish, it’s just a gimmick”. But it’s not just about learning how to use the technology, it’s about attitude. Can you learn and adapt? Can you look to the future and find a better way of doing things? Can you embrace change positively and take full advantage of what’s out there? Will you bring new ideas that make your life or your business better?
There’s a brilliant quotation that sums up the reason why we should see new things and different approaches as positive: “there can be change without improvement but there can be no improvement without change.” Unfortunately, when I searched online to find the original source of this wisdom, I was scuppered. What I came up with was the minutes of a Select Standing Committe on Education from D.C. in America. Random. I can only presume the original was worded slightly differently – let me know if you find it!