Analyst Dion Chang speaks at UJ: Staying ahead of robots in business

The digital age and its dynamic world of advancing technology, which influence and impact on industries in the modern day, require new skills in order to keep companies responsive, said Dion Chang on Thursday 9 March at the University of Johannesburg (UJ). Mr Chang is one of the most respected trends analysts in South Africa, specialising those disruptive to business.

The title of his talk was ‘The Game of Change: New Industries and the new skills required to drive these industries’, a public lecture at the UJ Kingsway Campus, hosted by the Faculty of Management and facilitated by Prof Gert Roodt, Vice-Dean: Research at the Faculty.

Being a responsive and purpose-driven organisation in the 21st century requires being able to move with the digital change that is taking over, he said. Young people need to keep educating themselves and keep up with necessary skills that are crucial in the digital age.

He emphasized the importance of people renewing their experience and relevant skills in changing industries, where technology is taking over and robotics technology is replacing some tasks done by humans.

Although robots may seem to be replacing services, resulting in traditional jobs being put at risk, this creates different requirements and skills from the traditional and present competencies, he said. Robots need to be operated and maintained by humans, which creates the need for continuous education and skills improvement.

“Traditional jobs are becoming irrelevant. Modification of education, understanding the movement of the industry and continuous upskilling are regarded as core requirements of survival in the digital age and changing industries”, Mr Chang added.

The focal point of the public lecture was the digital trend to do away with traditional skills, such as memorising current information. Instead, businesses encourage employees to modify current information, create new information and innovate from what they learn.

“Not having a degree is no longer a barrier to enter a job. Skills matter – and companies have a number of ways to test compatibility,” he emphasised.

Critical thinking, innovation and problem solving are among the most important skills required to tackle complex problems companies are facing with the digital age, concluded Mr Chang.


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