Megan Kwee, Talent Sourcing Lead from Medibank’s Recruitment and Engagement team, recently attended the TedXMelbourne event. Here’s what she learnt….
Last week I attended my first TedX event, held at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre. Like most people, I have been lost in a Ted loop, have downloaded the app for my train commute and been inspired by many speakers along the way. This was an opportunity to experience it in person and soak in the atmosphere that comes from being surrounded by a congregation of change agents.
Adventurous Minds was the theme of the day, and the speakers all brought a sense of innovation and ‘out of the box’ thinking to their talks. But here are the 5 take-homes that I walked away with:
1. There are some amazing young people doing incredible, inspiring things
First cab off the rank was 14-year-old explorer and general teenage extraordinaire Jade Hameister. Earlier this year, this incredible human being became the youngest person in history to ski to the north pole, over 150kms in extreme arctic conditions.
What struck me was not only her determination to succeed on a global scale at such a young age but, her eloquence and maturity in delivering her talk. Her message was that young girls like her are bombarded with messages to be less, in every way (wear less, eat less) and she wants to inspire girls to be more.
Marita Cheng, Young Australian of the Year for 2012 and CEO of a Robotics company that she founded, is a tech visionary and has created an app to assist people with vision impairments to have their surroundings described to them, with the use of special glasses and headphones. From spending time with a vision impaired friend, to creating something tangible that changes the world for people with vision impairments, is simply outstanding.
As Jan Owen mentioned in her talk, “I have never come across a generation of young people more compelled to right what is wrong and make the world a better place”. This gives such hope for the future innovators of problems that are yet to be solved.
2. Resilience alone is not enough – it’s resilience + acceptance that is the answer
Jules Allen, youth advocate and aspiring author, has fostered 31 children in her time and has been looking for the missing piece of the emotional puzzle when it comes to rising from a difficult situation.
We have been taught and are still being taught, (even in the workplace) that resilience is the key. But what Jules discovered is that many young people who carried and displayed strong resilience were still falling short, with suicide being a high killer of young people.
What she found is that resilience plus acceptance is what then provides the ability to rise up and move forward. This concept made so much sense to me and is something I am yet to hear in a work sense. If we are resilient, as well as accepting the circumstances that we have been provided, how might we utilise these truths to propel us from adversity to success?
3. The world is favouring an enterprise skillset over technical skills
This nugget came from Jan Owen’s talk about young pioneers, in which she states some key attributes they display. The first is a Great Digital Curiosity, Empathy and then a Learned Toolset. Today, over 60% of young people are graduating with University Bachelor/Masters degrees, so no longer is a University degree going to set you apart from your peers. It is an Enterprise Skillset (or soft skills, or EQ, or similar term) that businesses are looking for, and hiring on as we move away from Technical Skills. This philosophy was echoed by Dr. Lesley Cheng, a self-confessed curious scientist with communication skills, who said, “In order to solve complex problems, we need to be multi-skilled.”
As the Talent Sourcing Lead for an ASX listed organisation, I can attest to the new breed of skills we are seeking in our employees, that has shifted from the traditional Qualification /Technical model.
4. We need to invest in young people and get out of the way
Another gem from Jan Owen’s talk, and pretty self-explanatory. We need to trust that young people have the right ideas and drive to make things happen. What they do need is support and investment, and the freedom to be allowed to make mistakes and learn from them. As a parent, this suggestion really resonated with me, in how to encourage innovation in children. Jan talked about how the world is profoundly different to what our parents and grandparents experienced, and that we are entering into the “age of imagination.”
5. Technology is nothing without the humans behind it
I loved this insight from Tech heavyweight Steve Vamos (ex-CEO Microsoft AUS/NZ, ex-CEO Ninemsn, Senior Exec for Apple and IBM). In a world where technology is advancing at a rapid rate, and where 40% of the current workforce will one day become automated, there is a genuine fear that robots will take over. Steve brought us back to earth reminding us that “technology doesn’t innovate, people do” and that technology only amplifies the capability of people and without humans, it wouldn’t exist. He prompted us to consider the enormous potential in all of us, and combined with the power of technology, there really is no limit.
So, my first TedX experience was a successful one, stirring my curious and adventurous mind. Thank you to Jon Yeo and the team for putting on such a good show – I look forward to what you bring next year!
P.s. Look who made it to the TEDx Melbourne stage highlighted as a ‘workspace of the future.’