In the last months some concerns were expressed about the ‘robot evolution’. This concept refers to the increasing automation that would lead to a take-over of numerous jobs by robots. Frey and Osborne, two researchers from Oxford University, have studied the chance for 702 professions to disappear in the future. A few weeks ago a similar study has been done in Belgium by ING. The bank looked at a list of 426 jobs and concluded that there are plenty of jobs that will be in danger in the next twenty years.
The study evaluated all jobs on three dimensions: creativity, social intelligence and non-routine tasks such as perception and manipulation. According to the researchers, robots will not be able to take over jobs that contain these dimensions. Based on our scientific research together with Ghent University on what innovation is, we can conclude that innovators are safe. To be innovative in an organization you need to apply a diverse skillset during the three different innovation phases, that includes these specific dimensions.
The first phase of innovation is the Ideation phase. In this phase the innovator needs a high level of creativity to come to good ideas, insights in the strategy of the organization and the right perception of the market to be able to make a selection of the best and most profitable idea.
The second phase is the Championing phase whereby the innovator needs to sell the selected idea to the stakeholders and needs to gather the necessary resources (team, money, time, etc.). The innovator needs to have a good basis of social intelligence and should be able to negotiate, convince others and gain everyone’s attention and support.
During the last phase, the Implementation phase, the innovator will take his or her idea further until (s)he has a real product to put on the market.
All these tasks have anything but routine and ask for the right judgments to make good decisions. It must be obvious that people working in innovation are safe for the invasion of the robots.
At least for now.