The skills of the future

Last month I got to take part in a session around Future Skills in the Islamic Creative Economy at the Global Islamic Economy Summit in Dubai.

What is the Islamic Creative Economy?

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It’s creativity that is led by beliefs and morals from Islam. The Islamic Economy involves a number of different pillars from Islamic Finance to Islamic Fashion, arts and design.

I had the honor of speaking and helping to facilitate a session on what future skills are essential for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

My experience

The session was about future skills so to reflect on the future I decided to look into my past and realised that flexibility and collaboration are key skills that have helped me thrive in my projects.

I started my talk by posing the question of what creativity actually means. For ages I never saw myself as creative, I was never good at art, drawing or making. I just was not creative in the traditional sense.  As I analyse my career journey I’ve come to realise I’ve always been creative from the way I approach problems to the way I do things

Since a young age I’ve had very varied experiences that have allowed me to be adaptable and resilient. Everything from co-founding a startup where I had to -wear many hats to having it fail and learning to bounce back. I’ve gone on to set up a community for Muslims who work in technology and did a fellowship that took me to America, Pakistan and the UAE to explore Muslim women working in technology.

How do we make sure young people also get the opportunity to build these skills?

The skills that have helped me thrive the most are resilience, adaptability, flexibility and collaboration.

Often when we think about businesses helping young people we see it as charity or corporate social responsibility and we don’t see it as a two way way relationship where the business also gains.

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At Reluctantly Brave we have a program called (Young) Braves where we train 16-24 year olds to become strategists. Brands work with us to tap into the mind of a young person. In turn, the young person gets a chance to work on strategy and communication. They are paid for the work they do but, more importantly, they get to build the skills of the future and get access to a network they never had before.

By exposing young people to difference in all capacities--from people to interests--we can help build a growth mindset in young people.

We need to build resilience and the ability to be able to bounce back in all young people as their jobs will constantly keep changing.

According to the World Economic Forum some of the growing skills are creativity, emotional intelligence and problem solving.

If businesses get involved they can future-proof their future workforce. Give and know you will gain business value.


What are your top future skills?




Arfah Farooq