21st century talent development

Lots of people have different views on how to safeguard the future for future generations. In my opinion one of the key things is to provide young talent access to the best personal development resources and motivation to give it a go.

Here is a list of skills I think are required to have a great time in the 21st century:

  • willingness to learn how to learn
  • evaluating what is true and what is fake news
  • be critical but constructive and positive
  • efficient reading and the ability to digest a lot of information and extracting the content which is relevant to you & your research question
  • financial literacy: simple budgeting, ability to read & compile financial statements
  • basics of investment: how to invest, what different asset classes are there, what is a good/bad investment, when to divest, where to get advice
  • ethics: being true to yourself and being mindful of other people, being a nice human being, don’t do evil
  • understanding and living sustainability: we only have one planet, we better make the best of the one we have and ensure we leave it in a better state than we inherited it from our parents
  • how to find and keep a fulfilling job and making a difference, not just to your bottom line but your enjoyment in life. Try to think about creating new, valuable products & services. Think beyond becoming a well paid accountant, lawyer, doctor. Consider becoming a hardware/ electronics/ software engineer building digital solutions to real problems…
  • decision making: ability to make good decisions, even with limited data & information
  • basic knowledge on how things work including human/ industrial history, physics, biology, chemistry, math, science
  • be aware of your strengths and weaknesses, set on-going improvement goals for yourself.
  • learn how to ask good questions. Often a good question to the right person is better than a lot of studies.
  • Leverage our common pool of knowledge, build on the shoulders of others
  • what characteristics are likely to help you to succeed: leadership, curiosity, initiative (not waiting for others to lead), persistence/ resilience (keep going, even in adversity), grit, adaptability (but standing your ground where it counts), social & cultural awareness
  • life long learning – you are never too old to learn. Think about the 95 year old lady who just received her PhD. She is definitely not thinking about retiring and vegetating from day to day. She is still on a mission to make a difference and share her huge experience with others.
  • hone your skills to innovate and improve yourself every day. Don’t stand still.
  • use quite times to consolidate, breathe through. This is like supercompensation in sports, often your carefully chosen breaks deliver more progress than stressing about
  • combine intellectual work with physical work. Remember that it is not that long ago that we were hunters & gatherers. We were not made to spend time in front of computer, tablet or TV screens. We were made to move around and do real stuff. Let’s not forget that. And keep it going…
  • hone your literacy: read, write, numeracy, basic science, history, culture…
  • read lots of books, write short stories, articles for newspapers/ blogs – stay engaged
  • communication: active listening, good questioning, note taking (mindmaps, drawings, short summaries …), presenting to groups (practice public speaking wherever you can, get out of your comfort zone), share your skills/ knowledge/ insights generously and you are likely to receive more than you give
  • be flexible
  • learn to go through what-if-scenarios, evaluate issues from more than your own angle, be open minded
  • try singing, dancing, play music. When you sing, play music or dance, you rarely are unhappy.
  • work on a growth mindset vs a fixed mind




  • keep learning, trying, failing, recovering and doing more new stuff, sometimes outside your comfort zone


Enjoy your self-discovery journey. Stay safe and look after our planet. We only have got the one.


Fig: computer vision YOLO algorithm to detect and classify objects in an urban scene.




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