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OP-ED: The future fit

  • Published at 11:24 pm June 19th, 2021
Technical education
Identifying opportunities to become entrepreneurs is the keys to success Dhaka Tribune

Creating possibilities to deliver on the ambitions of Bangladesh

Disruptive technologies have become the new normal these days. As an example, we can take a look at how drones have simplified aerial photography.  

Just switch on your toy-some drone, take control over the joystick, fly it, capture your desired photo or video! 

Gladly, gone are those days where aerial photography was a big and expensive affair – hire chopper, get camera and cameraman, tele lens and whatnot.

Aerial photography is one of the many disruptive technologies that has evolved rapidly over the past few decades and made things simple. 

We have many other examples of disruptive technologies where newbies eat up big market players. 

Quick adaptors, go-getters and innovators stand a bigger chance to sustain this pattern of change. 

When this pattern of change is a reality, it is also universal how customers respond to this change or how we respond to our customers' behaviour change. 

Let's reflect on 2020, which was an unprecedented year for all of us. Covid-19 struck us hard and fundamentally changed our lives; we leapfrogged digitally and adopted many technological advancements that were supposed to happen a lot later. 

This is also demonstrated by the ever-changing expectations customers have from technology service providers all across the world. 

Going back to my earlier analogy, drone photography has changed the definition of aerial photography, offering efficiency, ease and evolution. 

Traditional photographic skills and methods are gradually fading away, provoking thoughts around traditional skills and future skills. Is it a wake-up call for us? 

Do we have what it takes to understand our customer's behaviour and skill to address them?  

Overcoming the skill gap has been in many discussions lately. We have celebrated 50 years of Bangladesh and completed LDC graduation with many success indicators. 

In the coming days, our next mission is to become a self-sustained developed nation. This ambition requires an overall change in our approach. 

Our population dividend in a labour-intensive market already played a pivotal role in delivering strong GDP growth. 

For unleashing the potential of digitalization further, we need a digitally skilled workforce, a better collaborative public-private sector partnership and multifold innovation efforts.     

Now people from all walks of life can access high-speed internet in every corner of Bangladesh, resulting in significant digital inclusion.   

The overall digitalization agenda has fast-forwarded us into becoming a digitally connected society that will significantly impact our socio-economic reality. 

For instance, think about how quickly and efficiently we managed the vaccination process in Bangladesh. 

Digital enrollment through the online portal to vaccination certificate happened so fast. Local coders and developers made this happen. 

However, we need more relevant skills to address our needs locally to reaping the benefits of digitization. 

These early signs of access democratization and digitalization boost our confidence and validate our digitalization ambition. 

We have been rapidly entering into the era of the fourth industrial revolution. 

Building future capabilities and adopting new technologies will be the cornerstone for leveraging the 4IR. 

To tap into opportunities of 4IR, we must build future-fit abilities to grasp artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, big data, cloud computing, and digital marketing. 

Even before Covid-19, the rise of automation and digitization were transforming global job markets, resulting in the very urgent need for large-scale upskilling and reskilling. 

Now, this need has become even more critical. Upskilling is key to stimulating the economic recovery from Covid-19 and creating more inclusive and sustainable economies. 

Covid-19 pandemic has changed how we make business and the demands for goods and services in a digitalized landscape. 

The advent of technology will open up jobs and areas of work that do not exist yet. Today's skills will not match the jobs of tomorrow, and newly acquired skills may quickly become obsolete. 

Accelerating human capital development would ensure that our youth have the proper understanding and skillset needed for the jobs created by the fourth industrial revolution. 

This is a prerequisite for our transition to a knowledge-based economy. 

Otherwise, the diffusion of new technologies may exacerbate inequalities or displace workers if not accompanied by acquiring relevant skills.

Companies that broke free from their conventional norms are now reaping the gains of this techno-commercial revolution. 

The country needs to create leaders in every sphere of society and build institutional capacity for leadership development in the Bangladeshi way. 

We are also trying to equip our youth to take on future challenges and opportunities by embracing new technology and skillsets through GP Explorer, Platform SHE and Digital Ninja initiatives. 

GP Accelerator program empowers early-stage tech startups with the resources they need to build, grow, and Go Beyond. 

Since the independence, Bangladesh has shown incredible resilience by overcoming national barriers such as poverty, malnutrition, gender gap, illiteracy, etc. 

Bangladesh is at the crossroad to transform itself into a high productivity growth economy, and human capital development will play an essential role in enabling the transition. 

As an optimistic person, I always try to see the brighter sides of any scenario. 

With Vision 2041 as our NorthStar, my professional experience gives me the confidence to say that our market is transforming towards welcoming such a future. 

The future is around the corner, and our time is now. 

 

The author is chief human resources officer of Grameenphone

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