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A perspective for younger people to break the chains of Covid-19

Slowly we are getting out of the immediate effects of the Covid-19 crisis, but the situation is far from being under control. We are still missing effective medication and vaccination. Also for mid to long-term effects on society, economy and labour markets we still can make informed guesses only.

What we already see is a sharp drop in new job opportunities particularly for younger people. Close to the end or having already finished education, apprentice ship, university they were eager to start a new chapter in life. But companies have stopped hiring and it is not to be foreseen when they will restart.

What to do now? Many younger and older people ask whether they have the right skills and competences for new realities today and even more for the future. Thus, it is helpful to look at a framework of principles developed by Adapt2Digital ( These principles can serve as a great anchor for orientation. They point to where we all should develop skills and competencies that help us for the future.

No surprise that DIGITAL is key! Not everybody can/needs to be a programmer. But everybody must have skills and knowledge about technologies and how they work. Above all how to create better outcomes and more meaningful experiences.

The current situation is a showcase for the need of being ADAPTIVE! There is never one way only to look at things. We are living in times where the „AND“ prevails. Who is able to use a classical/traditional AND a digital approach will be more successful. Resilience is an other key feature we need now, yet, it is not enough! For the future we need resilience AND skills to experiment. We got to improve our competencies that enable us to think big, start small and learn fast.

Staying CONNECTED and OPEN is another area to have a look at. It is about the connection between people and people, people and technology, people and things. For youngsters it seems to be much easier to connect to technology or to the internet of things than for older people (and I am aware of using a stereotype …). But, what’s about the connection to people? Getting information from people in the same social networks only is risky. In times like these nobody can claim to know it all. It is about diversity and collective intelligence. Learning means to get opinions and current knowledge tested, challenged, and adjust it. Being connected, is not enough by itself! It must go along with active sharing and collaboration, being open by default!

In our lives we always have to make decisions! Skills how to take decisions and being aware of the „human mechanics“ that influence this process, are critical. Yet, at the same time it is very important being DATA INFORMED. This means to make decisions on meaningful data. We are living in times of fake news and AI creating images somebody else wants us to see. Thus, it is a must to develop skills to and acquire knowledge how to analyse and validate data and find the true source.

We all to learn from situations in the past. But there are situations like Covid-19 that did not occur in the past. We are not to forget about the past, but to a much bigger extent must have a FUTURE FOCUS. Keeping an eye on what is ahead and having an outward and forward focus should be a better approach. We see the accelerating speed of how technology develops. How things were done in the past gets much less relevant for how things need to be done in the future.

Many younger and older people find themselves in difficult situations. Especially in those it is important to have an AUDIENCE FOCUS. Fight the „natural“ reaction of retreat! Get out and connect to all possible audiences. Let them know about your skills and competencies. Identify your potential customers and their needs in a broad sense. It is critical to connect to our humanity. What was called „soft skills“ in the past, will be „power skills“ in the future. This means communication, interpersonal skills, empathy continue to be important in any setting of human interaction.

With Nestholma’s new strategic direction there will be opportunities to utilize the described framework in the great new entrepreneurship program.  All designed to help young people building their solid basis for an entrepreneurial career.

Rudolf Vogl, Founder/CEO of Smartbird,

About the writer

I have spent my professional live in public service and then in three different types of industries. The last 15 years I was heading the corporate HR function for a big bank. Now with “smartbird” – still in formation – I have started my journey into the digital age. As a “baby boomer” I want to proof that a digital mindset is not matter of age. And with repositioning soft skills into power skills I want to develop managers and organisations for future and return and beyond.

Rudolf Vogl, Smartbird
& Nestholma Mentor