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CNN: THomas L. Friedman

In this interview with Chris Cuomo, NYT Pulitzer Prize Winning Columnist, Tom Friedman describes his theory of the Age of Accelerations from this latest book Thank You For Being Late and he quotes Heather’s theories of our Future of Work Identity Crisis, which is also detailed in his book. Click here to watch the interview


Heather McGowan MBA’01 travels the world speaking to leaders and organizations about the future of work. “She’s smart and she’s real,” says Babson President Stephen Spinelli Jr. MBA’92, PhD.

During the Centennial Celebration, McGowan brought her perspective on the future of work to a rapt Babson audience. “In the past, we learned once in order to work. In the future, we must now work in order to continuously learn,” she said. Click here to read full article

Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

Future-of-work strategist Heather McGowan doesn’t see the formula of “get a good college degree to get a good job” working for much longer.

Instead, she told an audience at the University of Colorado Boulder on Wednesday, students need the ability to continuously learn and adapt if they want to succeed in a future where they will have an average of 17 jobs across five industries.

“We stand at an inflection point in human history,” McGowan said. “There are some real fundamental steps we’re going to need to take. We need to focus on learning over knowing.”

McGowan spoke Wednesday at “The Future of Work and Learning, and CU’s Role in Furthering the Public Good.” For the second half of the event, a panel of six leaders of CU Boulder’s strategic initiatives talked about how the university is changing as it implements its Academic Futures priorities. Click here to read full article

Heather E. McGowan has been named a 'LinkedIn Top Voice on Education' for her efforts to prepare businesses for the future of work.

Heather E. McGowan has been named a 'LinkedIn Top Voice on Education' for her efforts to prepare businesses for the future of work.

Heather E. McGowan, internationally-renowned future-of-work strategist and a ‘LinkedIn Top Voice on Education’, is joining Swinburne’s Centre for the New Workforce.

Based in the US and one of the world’s most innovative thinkers on the future of work, Ms McGowan will join Swinburne as an adjunct professor, in what is her first academic appointment globally. She will share her expertise on the challenge of ‘learning for the future of work’ with the Centre.

“The Centre for the New Workforce is excited to welcome Heather E. McGowan to the team,” says Centre Director, Dr Sean Gallagher. Click here to read full article


How to prepare children for the jobs of the future

"We're asking young people what they want to be when they grow up, when maybe more than half of the job's tasks and industries they may work in have not been invented yet," says Heather McGowan, a future work strategist who helps to prepare people and organizations for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which will see the world reshaped by artificial intelligence, robotics and other technological breakthroughs.

A report by the World Economic Forum notes that 65% of the children entering primary school in 2017 will have jobs that do not yet exist and for which their education will fail to prepare them.

Education must adapt accordingly. McGowan thinks this means less focus on transferring knowledge, and more on the ability to learn for yourself.

"The foundational knowledge of the future is your own ability to learn and adapt, because if you don't your career will come to a screeching halt after a couple of years," she says. Click here to read full article


The future of higher education and industry

With the incredible speed at which technology is advancing and changing how we live, it’s crucial that institutions understand the impact that all of this is having —­ and is going to have — on how we work and learn, says Heather McGowan, a futurist and well-known lecturer.

Speaking at the Achieving the Dream conference in Long Beach, California earlier this year, McGowan noted that as humans, we are taught to learn to do one thing and be great at it, and maybe that one thing is going to change a few times.

“However, the reality is that technology is changing, preparedness is changing, and most are going to have more than one job and learn about many different fields,” she notes. “The idea is that being proficient in just one area is no longer good enough. Becoming aware and well-rounded is the future today, and the future of work is learning.” Click here to read the full article


Gig workers are forced to educate themselves to survive

Context matters more than ever in the evolving labor market, along with a worker’s ability to connect the dots. To succeed, gig workers need to develop future-focused capabilities like strategic thinking, analyzing, influencing, and integration, combining these with soft skills like creativity and lateral thinking.

Independent workers have to find the sweet spot in the ‘T intersection’, a framework developed by Heather McGowan, a consultant at Work to Learn. The basis of the framework is that in order to keep up with a changing world, professionals must evolve from “disciplinary” or “vertical” workers, to “multi-disciplinary” or “T-shaped” workers.

The horizontal intersection, which determines their success, is how they are able to influence clients, manage stakeholders, think laterally and create value. Click here to read the full article


Just Imagine: Moving forward means going back to school

Says future work strategist, Heather McGowan, "This is a shift from ‘learning to do’ to ‘learning in order to continuously learn and adapt’. This is a shift from storing stocks of knowledge to working in flows of emerging knowledge with a transdisciplinary mindset of human and technology collaboration. This is analogous to learning to master a single instrument versus learning to conduct an orchestra." Click here to read full article


IoT, AI and more: Getting technology and business to better communicate and collaborate

This is exactly the mindset that every professional needs to have; curiosity and learning desire are required for transforming a professional and for full-scale business transformation. Heather McGowan, the #1 global voice for education on LinkedIn in 2017, has also explained that the future of work is learning and the companies who achieve scalable learning to create digital assets will be the winners. Click here to read full article


how can india take advantage of industry 4.0

Renowned futurist Heather McGowan has said that, earlier, people were trained for 25 years and used that knowledge for the next 40 years till they retired. However, this is going to change very soon and “continuous lifelong learning” will be the successful model for industries to remain competitive and for workers to remain relevant in organisations. The distinction between research institutes and production units will blur, and there will be constant exchange between industries and educational/research institutes. With the help of AI and robotics, new ideas will be used to build prototypes and quickly converted into mass products. New products will be introduced at a much faster rate. This will require close interaction between academia and industry. Fast changes in technology will require constant upgrade of skills and implementing new ideas quickly. High-end educational/research institutions need to be co-located with industries in these greenfield cities, so that they can interact with each other seamlessly and bring new customised products as per changing requirements. India needs to create centres of excellence, which act as models for future growth of cities in India. Time is now to revamp our education system, with a focus on research, creativity, communication skills and jobs that cannot be replaced by robots. Click here to read full article


In 2018, Heather was listed as one of the world’s Top Female Futurists. Click here to read the article


Linkedin top voices 2017

In 2017, Heather was selected the #1 Global Voice for Education on the Linkedin Platform. Click here to read the article


Any technical disadvantage human artists have to robots may actually give them the upper hand in the long run, said Heather McGowan, a business strategist who focuses on the future of work…. Or as McGowan put it, “It’s not us versus the machines, rather, it’s us with the machines.” Read Full Article


Credit Suisse Bulletin: Future of Work

According to Heather McGowan, an American expert on education, we are in need of a radical new paradigm. “The worst thing for an adult to do is to ask a child what they want to be one day when they grow up,” McGowan says. “The world we live in is accelerating. Young people need to be prepared to do 17 different jobs in five different industries over the course of their lifetimes.” It makes no sense to use an educational model that requires a decade to teach a person a set of knowledge and skills and then to let them loose in the labor market. Instead, McGowan emphasized that we should be teaching people HOW to learn with passion rather than WHAT they should learn. “What role do I play in a team, how do I express myself, how do I develop confidence in the true sense of the word, how do I gain a strong understand- ing of what I can do?” Read the Full Article


DEloitte insights: future of work

Tom Friedman: My thoughts on the future of work are very influenced by my friend, a business strategist, Heather McGowan. She really describes that what’s going on is that work is being disconnected from jobs, and jobs and work are being disconnected from companies, which are increasingly becoming platforms. That’s Heather’s argument, and that is what I definitely see. Click here to read the full article.


Cisco Connected Futures: Relearning the Art of Learning: Heather McGowan

“Our systems of education have not changed very much from the Industrial Revolution,” said Heather McGowan, a thought leader at the intersection of education, business, and technology.

“The organizations that are learning and adapting are going to win,” McGowan believes. Read the full interview here


Pulitzer-Prize Winning NYT Columnist Thomas L Friedman Mentions

July 23, 2019 THE ANSWERS to our problems aren’t as simple as left or right

Or, as future-of-work strategist Heather McGowan puts it: The accelerations in climate change, technological change and globalization are so interdependent that “our old two-dimensional grid with its binary choices between left and right is insufficient to respond to them. It requires a more complex, three-dimensional set of policy tools and responses.” Read the full column


Today’s workplace is distinguished by one overriding new reality, argues Heather McGowan, an expert on the future of work: “The pace of change is accelerating at the exact same time that people’s work lives are elongating.”

When the efficient steam engine was developed in the 1700s, McGowan explains, average life expectancy was 37 years and steam was the driving force in industry and business for around 100 years. When the combustion engine and electricity were harnessed in the mid-1800s, life expectancy was around 40 years and these technologies dominated the workplace for about another century. Read the full column

December 4, 2018 The Next America

All of this new technology will have important implications for the education-to-work pipeline. My friend Heather E. McGowan, a future-of-work strategist, puts it this way: “The old model of work was three life blocks: Get an education. Use that education for 40 years. And then retire. We then made the faulty assumption that the next new model would be: Get an education. Use it for 20 years. Then get retrained. Then use that for 20 more years and then retire.’’ But in fact, in the Next America, argues McGowan, the right model will be “continuous lifelong learning’’ — because when the pace of change is accelerating, “the fastest-growing companies and most resilient workers will be those who learn faster than their competition.” Read the Full Column

January 16, 2018 While You Were Sleeping

As education-to-work expert Heather McGowan points out: “In October 2016, Budweiser transported a truckload of beer 120 miles with an empty driver’s seat. … In December 2016, Amazon announced plans for the Amazon Go automated grocery store, in which a combination of computer vision and deep-learning technologies track items and only charges customers when they remove the items from the store. In February 2017, Bank of America began testing three ‘employee-less’ branch locations that offer full-service banking automatically, with access to a human, when necessary, via video teleconference.”

Each time work gets outsourced or tasks get handed off to a machine, “we must reach up and learn a new skill or in some ways expand our capabilities as humans in order to fully realize our collaborative potential,” McGowan said.

Therefore, education needs to shift “from education as a content transfer to learning as a continuous process where the focused outcome is the ability to learn and adapt with agency as opposed to the transactional action of acquiring a set skill,” said McGowan. “Instructors/teachers move from guiding and accessing that transfer process to providing social and emotional support to the individual as they move into the role of driving their own continuous learning.” Read Full Column

May 10, 2017 Owning Your Future

That’s why education-to-work expert Heather E. McGowan likes to say: “Stop asking a young person WHAT you want to be when you grow up. It freezes their identity into a job that may not be there. Ask them HOW you want to be when you grow up. Having an agile learning mind-set will be the new skill set of the 21st century.” Read Full Column

September 27, 2017 Folks We Are Home Alone

“When work was predictable and the change rate was relatively constant, preparation for work merely required the codification and transfer of existing knowledge and predetermined skills to create a stable and deployable work force,” explains education consultant Heather McGowan. “Now that the velocity of change has accelerated, due to a combination of exponential growth in technology and globalization, learning can no longer be a set dose of education consumed in the first third of one’s life.” In this age of accelerations, “the new killer skill set is an agile mind-set that values learning over knowing.” Read Full Column

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Working with AI and robotics jobs will mean mastering the skills that make us the most human. That's why American education expert Heather McGowan wants to shift the debate from lamenting skill degradation to refocusing on uniquely human values, those things that are hardest to automate. She sees the world at a "liminal space between the third and the fourth industrial revolution," with plenty of disruption and change ahead for tens of millions of workers and professionals. "Yet we are certainly not preparing for this new order," she warns. "We try to push humans to do what machines do better." Instead of codifying and transferring a predetermined set of skills and knowledge through traditional schooling, McGowan says, society should focus on setting up the conditions for faster human adaptation: how we learn, not what we learn. "If job skills are like applications on your phone which you add and delete as needed, then the agile learning mindset is the underlying operating system that allows the applications or skills to run." Read The Full Article


Vice Media: Empathy and Creativity Will Save Our Jobs In The Future

Issy Beech quotes Heather “We’re stuck in this paradigm of asking people what they want to be when they grow up, and asking university students what their major is, and asking each other what we do. Asking young people to think about the future when 65% of the jobs haven’t been created yet and half of existing work can be replaced by automation is becoming an increasingly ridiculous frame to put around things." Click here to read the full article 


Inc. Future of work: Heather McGowan

According to Future of Work Strategist Heather McGowan, a focus on certainty over creativity is coming at our peril. Read the full interview here. 


Forbes: The Future of Work and Our Social Compact

Academic entrepreneur and innovation strategist Heather McGowan, speaking at Amplify Festival 2015 in Sydney, Australia, described how jobs are over, and the future is income generation. The traditional life path of individuals has been as follows: we start under our parent’s safety net, then go through years of continuous education, before become productive members of the workforce and then finally retire back into the safety net of our own savings. This is idealized and based upon older lifelong employment ideals. Read the full article here.