Article: Managing Talent 4.0: Are you up for the new game?

Talent Management

Managing Talent 4.0: Are you up for the new game?

As uncertainty looms over the world of work with COVID-19 pandemic, aspects like imagination, design, exploration, transcendence, cognitive flexibility and self - nudge among the workforce would be more valued than ever.
Managing Talent 4.0: Are you up for the new game?

We live in a world of unprecedented waves of disruptions. Digital intimacy has become the new norm of life. Technology has turned into a ubiquitous commodity such that even a common man uses words like platforms, ecosystems, Machine Learning, AI and Robotics these days. 

With the COVID-19 pandemic nudging most businesses to operate and work remotely, the demand for technology is further rising. But are all companies ready for this change?

A recent global study of more than 25000 Leaders across industries has revealed that only 37 percent of business leaders are prepared to operate in such a Digital environment. In case of HR leaders, the number further fell down to 16%. If Technology lever alone questions our future readiness as leaders, what if it gets quadrupled by adding Talent to the whole equation in building new – age organizations? How Technology is further going to disrupt our day to day work? What does “Talent of the future” look like? What will they do at work? How will it impact organizations?

To answer some of these questions, we closely examined the value of Talent and how it has been influenced by different phases of Industrial revolution. 

For instance, when the first industrial revolution brought mass production with the advent of steam engines and mechanization of textiles in the 18th century, physical strengths and kinesthetic abilities of workers were valued as Talent and we refer to it as Talent 1.0. With the arrival of modern agriculture, Electricity and Internal combustion engines in the early 1900s, also popularly known as the second Industrial revolution, standardization of goods and services became a new norm. Due to this, a combination of both abilities and social skills were valued as Talent 2.0. During the latter half of the 20th century, the world witnessed proliferation of Information and Digital advancements in the form of the third Industrial revolution, individuals and organizations were governed by connected devices and augmented intelligence. This demanded people to display a new set of competencies which has a combination of not only skills and abilities but also knowledge needed to deal with familiar and unfamiliar situations. We call it as Talent 3.0.

The fourth Industrial revolution has begun due to the intersection of IT, Bio and Nano Technologies and its advancements. Studies estimate that 85% of future roles are going to be way too different than the ones that are existing today. Klaus Schwab, Chairman of the world economic forum along with stalwarts from across various faculties such as Business Leaders, Technologists, Parliamentarians and Historians were set to discuss the future of work and its consequences through multiple forums over the last four years. 

Based on our analysis of such conversations and our extensive study on Job predictions of reputed sources, we plotted these future jobs across sectors. Most of these jobs, we heard about for the first time. 

Consider the following terms, Organ Creator, Augment Reality Journey Builder, Rewilder, Human Machine Teaming Manager, Digital currency Advisor etc. They are not science fiction terms but possible jobs of the future. It is quite fascinating to see that such jobs are going to be highly interdisciplinary and requires people to display a new set of X factors to perform their duties at work. These factors, in our view, are going to be unique and distinct from the previous eras of Talent. We therefore call it “Talent of the future” or in our own words which we have coined “Talent 4.0”.

Talent 4.0 – The new factors

Take a case, Organ creators, whose job is to apply a combination of stem cells, molecular biology and synthetic materials to create Human organs. From an industry point of view, the job cuts across Manufacturing to Healthcare to Retail. Another job for example, Bewilders, who would work on turning back concrete jungles into green belts and forests. Once again, it concedes that a single role will disrupt multiple industries such as Manufacturing, Energy, Insurance and Banking. When such roles come in to existence, we anticipate that workers would require a completely different set of Talents to perform such jobs. 

In our assessment, we see more than competencies (knowledge, skills and attributes), aspects like imagination, design, exploration, transcendence, cognitive flexibility and self - nudge would be more valued than ever and they are outlined as below:


Be it an organ creator or a Rewilder, the performance of an individual in most future jobs is highly dependent on imagination. It means forming new ideas with objects when not sensed by the body. It requires a lot of deliberate efforts to tap in to one’s Executive portion of the Brain to visualize new form of organs or jungles or similar such objects. Just imagine, turning a concrete jungle in to a forest!


The next key variable in our view is design which denotes creating plans or prototypes to show a function of an object. It plays a key role in any of these future jobs like Human – Machine Teaming Manager where someone takes charge of Teams where Humans and Robots would be working side by side. In such jobs, it takes so much of design considerations to offer superior experiences to people thus demanding each one to become design conscious in the future.


It means exploring an unknown area. Future Jobs like Cyber city Detective who could detect mysteries in data in Smart cities which demands data exploration in large volumes. Another study predicted jobs such as Digital Tailors who would craft personalized services with a Digital touch by exploring motives and needs of people on one – to – one basis.

Cognitive Flexibility

It represents the ease at which an individual can switch between multiple concepts at a time. Be it juggling between boundaries of multiple specializations or working in a Human – Machine Augmented system, Cognitive flexibility will be a game changer. Once again, it takes a lot of discipline and practice to comfortably navigate between areas yet being mentally alert at the same time.

Self – nudge 

It is another variable which will be demanded in the future. It is needed to constantly alter one’s own behaviors to withstand the momentum of change by tapping in to mental shortcuts and assigning default choices. For instance, a Digital Tailor prioritizes Digital and imagination as autopilot responses than customizing on off - the - shelf solutions.


Upon going through some of the above jobs, you would have got a sense of how important it is to experience the connectedness of everyone and everything that exists in this universe. This leads to the prediction of Transcendence as the next key variable. Any of the above discussed jobs require some degree of transcendence among Humans. 

These six above mentioned factors, we call them as Human Ingenuity Factors (HIFs). As Oxford Dictionary defines ingenuity as the quality of being clever, original and inventive, it cannot be categorized as skills or attributes or competencies. While everyone possesses them, it is difficult to express as and when needed. Further, it is hard to draw a baseline for comparing individuals on a scale, unlike  the previous century definitions of Talent such as abilities, skills and competencies. Therefore, Talent of Future will be a combination of competencies and Human Ingenuity Factors, thus paving way for a new chapter in mankind, the Talent 4.0.

This conception, in our view, is fundamental to unravel many mysteries pertaining to Talent of the future. And more we deep dived, we came out with more questions and we intent to leave at least a couple of them for further inquiry. How are we going to assess, hire and retain Talent 4.0 based on Human Ingenuity Factors? What will their development interventions look like? In the case of Gig workers, how do we engage them? As French novelist Gustave Flaubert famously said “Talent is a long patience, and originality an effort of will and intense observation “, it’s time to lay the foundations to manifest Talent 4.0 or “Talent of future”.

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Topics: Talent Management, #GuestArticle, #COVID-19

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