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Blog series: Raising an Agile child – part 1

Feature Image File BH Nov

Blog post update 21 May 2020

As a parent, I find myself frequently trying to predict what the world will be like for my young children when they are ready to enter the job market.

They are growing up surrounded by the kind of ubiquitous, connected and intelligent technology that sounded like science fiction 20 years ago. It fascinates me to imagine how my kids will view the world when they reach adulthood. For instance, how automation and integrated technology will mould their paradigms regarding travel, service, convenience, information, resources, markets, trade and currency.

Was it different for my parents?

Until the turn of the century, parents knew which careers would set their children on the path to financial success by following friends and family whose career choices had made them successful. In many instances this advice was solid – becoming a lawyer, doctor, engineer or ‘something in computers’ would ensure a measure of job security and financial comfort.

Leaping forward to today’s world of machine learning, deep learning and super intelligence –  as parents, we can no longer rely on traditional thinking to help position our children for success. Our world is changing at an unprecedented rate. The era of Artificial Intelligence has been likened to the Cambrian explosion and is predicted to have a greater impact on society than that of electricity and the internet.

It’s now my job to provide the lessons and knowledge that will prepare my children for success in an unpredictable future.

In the face of the relentless advancement in technology, job roles are being invented and eradicated on a daily basis, making the opportunities for humans in the workplace unpredictable. Many of the jobs that our children will fulfill in the future don’t even exist yet.

To further complicate the problem, time is not on our side. We cannot wait for new jobs and opportunities to become clear before considering a path for our children. By the time the picture is clear enough to set a definitive path, the landscape will have changed so much as to render that picture obsolete.

So, how do we guide our children into a worthwhile and promising career when the world is changing underneath our feet?

I don’t have a definitive answer, but I do have an approach that I believe will teach children to cope with whatever job they pursue in the technology-driven future. It’s borrowed from my experience in software development methodologies and I call it ‘Raising an Agile child’.

It involves taking concepts from Agile development and applying them to create learning processes that develop the right skills.

Children are learning all the time, it is natural for them.  And in this age where information abounds, it is important that our children have the ability to discover, filter, integrate, as well as use it to innovate and create things of value. Children have the mental flexibility to quickly turn a vision or idea into something tangible and this is something that has to be encouraged and nurtured. 

I firmly believe that the best gift we can give our children is to teach them techniques that will allow them to succeed in this world of unpredictability.

Look out for my take on this approach in ‘Raising an Agile child’ – part 2.

Brent Haumann

Brent Haumann

Managing Director, Africa

Brent Haumann is the Managing Director at Striata, Africa. He started with the company in 2005 as a Project Manager and went on to head up Platform Development for over 10 years. Prior to Striata, Brent managed large software implementations for Educos and Deloittes.

His current position includes leading Striata’s South Africa and African regions.

Read more of Brent’s blog posts here or connect with him on the following social channels: