Novel and Adaptive Thinking: Beyond the Rote or Rule Based
Many of the rote skills jobs that have traditionally been handled by humans are slowly being handed over to machines.
While this has naturally led to concerns about the future of human employees, many leading thinkers and future based organisations reassure us that the uniquely human ability to come up with original ideas and think creatively will always be in demand.
The Institute For The Future’s recent report on Future Works Skills 2020 noted that Novel and Adaptive thinking is already the key to success for many businesses today and it’s a skill that is destined to be even more valuable in the future.
What is Novel and Adaptive thinking?
Novel and Adaptive Thinking is the ability to see things differently, to generate unique ideas and innovate. This skill is defined by Graham Chastney as “Proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based”.
While Novel and Adaptive Thinking is a skill that we see most often in traditionally creative professions like design, art and music, in the future we’ll be seeing a lot more of these skills come into play in the everyday world of business and even in some traditionally non-creative professions.
How can you develop your skills in this area?
Chastney emphasises the importance of environment in fostering novel and adaptive thinking. Over the last few years many organisations have come to realise this and made the effort to deliberately create workspaces that support and encourage more creative thinking in their employees.
While some people seem to be born with a natural inclination to think innovatively and creatively, novel and adaptive thinking is a skill that can be developed like any other.
If you think about where you have been and what’s been going on when ideas have come to you, how often were you sitting at your desk in front of the computer? For most of us, new ideas come when we are doing something out of the ordinary, moving around, spending time in the natural environment or even sitting quietly in a calm space.
Christopher Bergland also suggests that the most innovative organisations today are designing flexible workspaces that encourage novel and adaptive thinking, that are open and light filled, and that have quiet areas where people can get away from the noise and bustle of the office to think.
While they are valued skills right now, with the increase in automation technologies in the workplace, and more and more tasks being outsourced to offshore workers, the ability to embrace novel and adaptive thinking is likely to be highly in demand in the future.
Computers and automation may continue to take over many rote and rule based jobs, but as humans we are with Chastney, we can embrace our unique ability to think independently and creatively both now and in the future.