Young innovators speak out. Skills that will shape the future

Posted by Piotr Marczuk
Governmental Affairs Manager, WSG RG Poland

(Cross-posted from

Global dimensions are changing. To name a few: the shift to a low carbon economy, globalization, technological change, accessible education and an ageing population have all sparked a change in the skills, knowledge base and competencies that the labour market demands. 

We have seen youth embracing some of these exciting new trends during the inspirational 2010 Microsoft Imagine Cup Finals. Indeed, the world’s annual largest entrepreneurial competition in technology took place this year in Poland and brought to the spotlight some of the most innovative ideas that are set to spark job creation and develop human capital in new areas of business.
We heard some interesting predictions directly from the young entrepreneurs themselves in the European Parliament earlier this month at the event ‘’Pushing the boundaries of Innovation’’. The students told us what skills will change the structure of the EU labour market and therefore what competencies EU employees, both present and future, should be embracing:

Finalist Adrien Cayrac, France- bronze medal in the Game Design category:
“First and foremost, I believe that in the future, businesses will require their employees to lean more towards collaborative work (according to U.S studies, this could represent approximately 50% of the efficiency within a company).
According to me, it is also important for tomorrow’s jobs to ask for more transversal skills. Why would that be? Two major advantages: one would be that the employee would work better with colleagues whose jobs are different from his. The other advantage would be that if the employee wants to change his career path, he’d be able to do so more easily. I also believe that it is important to instill a certain balance of human, scientific and technological culture through teaching and training. Technology helps us work differently, thanks to new devices and software.

Workstations with which we work are no longer limited to a sole computer but now include Tablet PCs, videoconferencing cameras (roundtable), smartphones (WP7), interactive whiteboards, mini-PCs…
If these tools are interconnected within a single solution, they constitute unified collaborative communication and foster collective intelligence. We can then exchange information whilst ignoring constraints of location, content, time, media, or availability of one or the other. What better way to improve your skills than through constant learning? None.”

Secondly, we look towards Central and Eastern Europe for more insight from Serbian finalists, Zlatibor Veljkovic and Milan Kojadinovic-silver medalists in Software Design:


"Trend of businesses incorporating technologies to be more competitive and usage of technology in everyday life is constantly on the rise. So in future most jobs will require technological literacy. This will lead to increase in technology education jobs and more technologically oriented jobs.“ – Zlatibor Veljkovic
"Besides being specialized for certain area of interest, first thing that future employee should learn is to be adaptable to new rules. Knowing many modern technologies is good, but if you are not ready to invest in yourself by learning new things you probably won't fit the profile. Today everything changes rapidly, so we should be fast at evolving and adapting too. Being open minded to new things that come, and being ready to accept them really puts you one step ahead of the competition, and for jobs of tomorrow every little step counts! Of course, creative problem solving, which can be developed by time; not being afraid to think differently, to see an opportunity and grab it; and last but not least just to be there by not being afraid to take bold actions that will make world a better place!“ – Milan Kojadinovic

A display of technology solutions to world challenges presented by the young innovators in Parliament were witnessed with keen interest by Rafal Trzaskowski, Member of European Parliament, Mr. Jaroslaw Kochaniak, Deputy Mayor of Warsaw, Mr. Florin Lupescu, Director of “ICT addressing Societal Challenges” in DG  Information Society, European Commission and Federal Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne, Minister for ICT, Telecommunications, Economy and Reform.

‘’Your contribution and exchange of ideas will make Europe a key leader in the field of research”, says Florin Lupescu, Director, ICT Addressing Societal Challenges, DG Information Society.
“A key ingredient in the recipe for boosting innovation policies lies in creating as many connections and interfaces between the business and the education worlds. This is exactly what happens here today thanks to Imagine Cup.” – Rafal Trzaskowski, Member of the European Parliament

These kind of forward looking entrepreneurs must be given the right education platform to flourish. This exact question was discussed at the Education Leaders Forum in Poland  “Economic Competitiveness and Education - A Global Perspective”, organized by Microsoft and taking place simultaneously to the Imagine Cup Finals. Education is the single best way to get people of all ages on the path to achieving their full potential, collaborative public/private projects of scale like the Imagine Cup are testimony to this! There is much that ICT can do to help facilitate education.
For more insight around this inspirational program and the innovative ICT solutions in the pipeline please visit here.  Further information around education leadership can be viewed here.

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