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Grass-roots initiatives for fostering Innovation & Creativity

Source | LinkedIn : By Kiran Kumar H S

These days, there’s increasing murmur and chatter about “automation” making several types of jobs redundant in the future – not in the distant future – but in the foreseeable future, something in the 3-5 years horizon, and beyond. More jobs are likely to be automated in the future as a result of the application of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, big data analytics, and the Internet of Things.

While nobody can predict the future accurately, and we have to take all predictions with a pinch-of-salt, there is nevertheless going to be significant change in the job market in the coming years. Traditional jobs that are routine in nature are more likely to be automated by technology, and there is likely to be job losses as a result of automation over the years, though new types of jobs may take the place of old ones.

In India, a large youth population, especially those who are employed in low-skilled and routine jobs could bear the brunt of automation and job losses, if it happens on large scale, though it is likely that the changes will play out gradually over several years.

Jobs in the IT & ITES sectors (BPO, KPO) are already facing automation to a greater extent than before. India’s IT & ITES industry which has traditionally focused on offering low-end IT services to the western markets using head-count as the basis to grow their businesses could be hit harder by automation in the medium term, unless these companies re-focus and re-skill their employees to take advantage of automation.  Future jobs will likely require more complex skills and greater creativity to perform. While some big IT firms have already realized what is going to hit them in the face soon and have started taking re-skilling, re-training and remediation actions among their employee-base, more needs to be done to avoid the inevitable.

At the same time, it is just not possible to add more and more jobs in a short span of a few years to provide employment to our growing youth population, and to those mid-career professionals who might be affected by job losses in the future. As a country, we have to move beyond the mind-set of offering low-end IT / ITES services with larger head-counts to the western markets. Instead, we need to focus on developing an environment and eco-system based on innovation and creativity, both out of necessity, and to be recognized as a leader in the new and emerging world order. In addition, there is a need to create a larger domestic market for IT products & services than ever before. This should spur larger number of entrepreneurs in the coming years. In addition, our formal and informal education system including schools, universities, and private training institutes need to focus on offering innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship related courses to a greater extent and at affordable cost to the masses, instead of offering traditional courses and training programmes targeted at making a student ‘job-ready’.

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