High-tech companies looking to hire people with soft skills for innovation

Emerald Group Publishing and its journal On the Horizon just released our article: “Mechanisms to identify and study the demand for innovation skills in world-renowned organizations

[Excerpt] “Since extensive studies have been carried out to establish the relationship between functional skills, economic performance and workforce this research analyzed the need of soft skills for innovation among world class organizations. A comparative analysis was performed to explore the type and extent of soft skills for innovation that are demanded in recent job vacancies promoted in worldwide recognized organizations”.

Three of the six organizations included in the study are high-tech companies. The  world recognized organizations studied are Greenpeace, World Bank, OECD, Google, Apple and Samsung.

Title: Mechanisms to identify and study the demand for innovation skills in world-renowned organizations
Author(s): Cristobal Cobo, (Oxford Internet Institute)
Citation: Cristobal Cobo, (2012) “Mechanisms to identify and study the demand for innovation skills in world-renowned organizations”, On the Horizon, Vol. 21 Iss: 2
Article type: Research paper
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Abstract: Purpose – This paper explores the interrelationship between the fields of education and workforce in the context of post-industrial societies. We analyzed key challenges associated with the match (and mismatch) of skill supply and demand between education and the work force.

Design/methodology/approach – Using a ‘purposeful sample’, this study provides an evidence-based analysis that explores how and to what extent soft skills are currently required by world recognized organizations such as Greenpeace, World Bank, OECD, Google, Apple and Samsung.

Findings – After a revision of different perspectives to identify and categorize the key skills of the 21st century, this study describes seven non-technical cognitive and social key skills called soft skills for innovation.

Research limitations/implications – After exploring a small sample size on recent job vacancies promoted by six major international organizations, this study analyzes the current demand for soft skills for innovation such as, collaboration, critical thinking, contextual learning, searching, synthesizing and disseminating information, communication, self-direction and creativity. The methodology adopted and the data retrieval process can be replicated with either a larger sample or more focused workforce sectors.

Practical implications – The described ‘skills mismatch’ emphasizes the importance of creating different strategies and tools that facilitate the recognition of skills acquired independently of educational contexts.

Originality/value – Finally, this study provides evidence-based information (data available online) that can contribute to rethinking curriculums and exploring ‘blended’ models that mix real life and teaching contexts stimulating the development of soft skills for innovation.

Here the headlines of the conclusions:

  1. Soft skills are increasingly becoming hard skills.
  2. The commodification of education and flexible delivery.
  3. The ‘Tower-of-Babel’ problem, in which people use identical words but mean different things.
  4. Lifelong and self-learning in a complex world.
  5. A knowledgeable workforce with re-skilling and relearning capacities.
  6. Planning for uncertainty and recognition of soft skills.
  7. Innovation often requires a departure from conventional approaches.