I recently had the privilege of attending the kickoff for the 2016 FIRST Robotics Challenge at Georgia Tech. FIRST (For Recognition and Inspiration of Science and Technology) was founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. The FIRST Robotics Challenge is designed to bring the excitement of a sporting event to a technology challenge. In the state of Georgia alone, there will be 1200 high school students in 45 teams competing for a spot at the National championships.
During the kickoff presentation, Dean spoke via webcast to the audience and was asked if he had one piece of advice to offer students today, what would that be? Here is what he said:
…I think instead of waiting 20, 30, or 40 years to see how silly we were, this is the first generation that will grow up obsoleting their own stuff, their own profession. Which is why it is critical for [them] not to try to develop some skillset.
Every generation before you could develop a specific skillset and use it for their career. You will have 3,4,5 complete skillset changes in your lifetime.
If you want to stay on the leading edge, the most important thing to do is to learn how to learn, learn how to keep learning, learn how to be open to change, because change otherwise will overtake you. You will become obsolete in your own generation, you’ll be looking at your own creations thinking, “What were we thinking”.
Keep open minded and moving fast. Anything you learn that is fundamental is critical. You have to deeply understand them. Every skillset you acquire that is specific to today’s technology in 5 years will be obsolete... “
WOW! I remember thinking, there are executives out there who need to hear this same message. I wonder what the corporate landscape will look like in 5 years. What technologies and careers will be obsoleted in that span of time? This isn’t just a message in adaptability for the younger generation, this is a message in adaptability for all of us.
How will you stay relevant in this brave new world?
To learn more about FIRST, visit www.usfirst.org . To learn more about Christie Walters, visit http://