A Task-Based Approach to Prepare Students for the Future of Work


When a friend and colleague recently told me about the book she was reading “The Future of Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts”, I was intrigued and decided to give it a read. I’ve long been an avid researcher of the ‘future of work’ exploring topics such as systems thinking in the context of organization development, connected communities and networks and their impact on business transformation, and meritocracy in the face of hyper competition and innovation. At the heart of Couragion’s undertaking we are preparing students for the future of work, thus we strive to be on the forefront of what it’s means to be career ready in a world where jobs and workplaces continue to evolve.

The Future of Professions dives deeply into how society receives medical help, legal advice, the latest news, business assistance, accounting insight and architectural know-how to understand how professions are changing because of technology. The researchers believe that the insights are critical to our current professions as well as the professions of the future. And in a world where systems and machines are increasingly capable, devices are pervasive, and humans are thusly more connected, we are witnessing both a ‘liberation of expertise’ and ‘routinization’. In the face of these shifts, what are we educating and training students to become?

The research argues that we should take a task-based approach that prepares students for the future of work. The approach defines ‘roles’ people need to be comfortable playing. Here are a few of those critical roles:

  • Process analysts – decomposing work into constituent tasks and sourcing these tasks in new ways
  • Designers – conceiving of and designing new systems and innovations
  • Knowledge engineers – building online services that solve problems and offer advice
  • Moderators – proving structured and systemic diplomacy and domain expertise for communities
  • Data scientists – analyzing large bodies of information to uncover patterns and insights
  • Systems engineers – developing machines largely focused on artificial intelligence and big data

To be successful taking on these roles, individuals will need to be to learn, develop, and adapt quickly. The main skills people will need are as follows:

  1. Communication – with different techniques, methods and means
  2. Data Mastery – for interpretation/prediction and competitive differentiation
  3. Adept Technology Usage – from the front office to the back office
  4. Multi-Disciplinary Practice – with practical expertise spanning traditionally siloed boundaries

Couragion Challenges are well aligned to this approach of a task-based orientation designed to impart practical expertise and build key skills in data science, collaboration and communication, authentic problem solving, and technology adoption while gaining applied interdisciplinary knowledge. Learn more about how Challenges help prepare your students for the future by sending us an email at info@couragion.com.

Melissa RisteffComment