I’m finally reading Daniel Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind. This was written before his excellent work on motivation, Drive. Drive had a lot of buzz, and I read it first (review here). Recently, someone recommended that I read A Whole New Mind as well, and I found it on Apple’s iWhatever as a audiobook for under $5.00.
The premise of this book, why right brainers will rule the future, may not leap out at you. However, the assertions he makes will likely wake you up. While left brain work (logical, mathematical, or process driven) will always be needed, the right brain activities that are High Touch and High Concept are going to be where the jobs are in our future.
Daniel talks about the modernization of manufacturing, which shifted jobs in the United States from building things to knowledge work. Yes manufacturing still happens in the United States, but not to he extent it did in the past. Knowledge work is moving in the same direction. You’ve seen it, the ability to automate or outsource that kind of work (think Turbo Tax and help desks) is causing the next coming shift in our skill sets: the move to creative (i.e. Right brained – high concept and high touch) activities.
Think about it. What gets outsourced or automated? Other people jobs? Not anymore. Now, any tasks that can be repeated, directly measured and doesn’t take creative thinking can truly be done by anyone, anywhere.
Of course, the more important question is this: What are you going to do about it?
Daniel goes on to say that the MFA (Master of Fine Arts) is becoming the new MBA. MFA programs are becoming more popular, more prolific, and more preferred by the business world.
This isn’t an all-or-nothing concept. Imagine there are (hypothetically) 50,000 positions this year for new MBAs, 40,000 of them are outsourced and 100,000 people complete their MBA. Completing their MBA looked like a great idea for the 10,000 that find MBA-related work. I’m just thinking that if you’re considering being one of those who pursue the MBA, but your not sure you’ll be in that top percentage, you might want to rethink that investment.
What are you going to do about it?
Daniel’s six senses: Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play and Meaning are described in this book, with ideas you can use to incorporate these concepts into your life, and start catching up with an ever-changing world. It’s not too late, but should you keep waiting, expecting that you will be the exception to the coming wave?
Look around. Daniel Pink is right about the change that’s happening. We’re seeing it every day, across diverse disciplines and industries. If you don’t find a way to add the value of high touch and high concept in your work, then someone else will soon be doing your job, and another person who has prepared will be handling the high touch, high concept work that is needed. Pink gives some poignant examples throughout the book.
If you find yourself thriving in a left-brain life style, you may be able to live out your days without change. But, it’s not the same certainty it was just a few decades ago. Now is the time to jump-start your right brain thinking and get ready for what is already happening to us. Read this. Today.
Do you have an old mind?