Among other things, our political and education leaders are constantly telling us that schools must prepare students with the skills they’ll need for 21st century jobs.
Well, you have to admit that Google is certainly one good example of a very successful business here in the 21st century.
So, what skills do they want to see in their potential employees?
At the highest level, we are looking for non-routine problem-solving skills. We expect applicants to be able to solve routine problems as a matter of course. After all, that’s what most education is concerned with. But the non-routine problems offer the opportunity to create competitive advantage, and solving those problems requires creative thought and tenacity.
How do we find these non-routine savants? There are many factors, of course, but we primarily look for …
… analytical reasoning.
… communication skills.
… a willingness to experiment.
… team players.
… passion and leadership.
Obviously, not every one of our graduates is going to work for Google. But that list of factors would pretty much prepare students to work almost anywhere.
Assuming, of course, that we actually fostered those skills while they are in our schools, which, for the most part, we don’t.
Look around most American classrooms and you’ll see very little experimentation or work on non-routine problem-solving.
And, especially when test prep kicks into high gear in the spring, almost no passion or team work.