Podcast | Future Human Skills We’ll Need To Thrive In The AI Era

Gary Stringer
March 11, 2024
March 11, 2024

Which human skills are we going to need in the next five years?

Assemble You have put together a new audio series on 10 of the human skills AI can’t replicate, and Adam Lacey joined Gary to talk through five of them.

Including creativity, resilience, empathy and much more - with recommendations on how we build them for the future. 

Watch the episode

Listen to the episode


0:00 What is the Future Human series?
5:42 Any skills we won’t need?
8:31 Resilience
18:13 Creativity
27:20 Critical Thinking
30:53 Empathy and collaboration
44:24 Finding Adam and Future Human

Five lessons on future human skills for the AI era

1. Build resilience and you’re better equipped to respond to change

L&D has to wear a lot of different hats and react to changes in the external environments - and it means we have to act and respond very quickly.

Building resilience helps us recover and adapt faster!

“I really believe that you only get to develop resilience during those inflection points in your life. When things are going bad or those external factors come and knock you sideways.

“When you're up against it, it's that set of decisions you make at those points in your life that make the difference.”

Adam shared a great quote that “we can't control the things that happen to us, but we can control what we do next.” - and self care can help us get into the right mindset to respond to and recover from challenges.

“The better you feel physically and emotionally, if you’re in a more balanced and better place… You're going to be in a far better spot to recover, to handle it, to make a better decision going forward as well.

“[It’s about] well being, self care, looking after your mind, looking after your body, eating well, exercise, all the normal stuff everybody knows about that we all struggle to do enough of because of the demands of our jobs.”

2. Curiosity drives creativity, and creativity drives innovation.

“I think curiosity is a driver for creativity and creativity is the precursor to innovation - so one jumps to the next jumps to the next.”

“Curiosity is the open mind, creativity is the thinking, and then innovation is the doing.”

A great way of putting this into practice is to look outside your industry. To take lessons from different situations that don’t seem obviously related, and test them in your context.

On the other side, look at the things that limit your creativity. Adam explained how stress can stop our creative juices, but he also explained the need for you to move away from some environments and go to places that drive creativity.

“We've all been there - where that sort of creativity can flourish when the mind is allowed to relax…

“I find some of my best ideas come when I have some mental downtime. So maybe I'm on holiday - where I’m able to sit on a sun lounger and read a book, in the past, that has definitely triggered some great ideas.”

3. Be clear and ruthless in big decisions to hone your critical thinking

When it comes to big decision and the ones that impact the wider organisation, we need to be very ruthless about what’s important and what isn't.

Adam’s advice is to be really clear on your goals or vision and ask the challenging questions:

  • What are you trying to achieve with this? 
  • What are you doing? 
  • If you’re picking a tool or solution, does it do the things I need it to do?

“When you're excited by something new, run it against the goal or the vision. Does it align with what I'm trying to do here or actually is that taking me off over here? And I’m trying to get here.”

“Go deeper, ask a lot of questions, challenge the status quo, challenge assumptions - do all those things for critical thinking. And break larger problems into smaller chunks to try and get to the root of the issue as well.”

4. Empathy drives collaboration

“If you're empathetic, if you understand where people are coming from… then you will be able to collaborate effectively.”

It’s also about respecting people’s opinions and showing that in your actions. So if you’re in a meeting, give other people time to speak and space to share them.

Adam shared an example from a book called Time To Think by Nancy Klein:

“They run something called a thinking environment, where everyone has a set amount of time to speak in a meeting. Or to not speak, they can just sit there in silence and think if they like. 

“And it's really interesting. If you have 10 minutes, some people will think for nine minutes and say something really interesting. Others will talk for the full 10 minutes, but that's their process because they're sounding out their thoughts.”

5. Collaboration can accelerate a problem solving or troubleshooting process.

“You can normally get to a better answer, a more creative answer, when you're bringing other people in on that process. And also you get to stress test your own ideas. 

“You get to bounce those off other people as well. And if you've created this psychologically safe environment where people can say what they think and failure is celebrated, then you're in a really good place to come up with something that's a little more outside the box.”