Today’s talents … tomorrow’s industry
Twelve years ago, he dropped out of College to follow his dream. Today he came back as the leader of a company that contributed to changing the communal trends in our societies. On May 25, 2017, Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook, returned to Harvard to receive an honorary doctor of laws degree.
Addressing the graduates of Harvard’s 366th commencement, he said, “Purpose is that feeling that you are part of something bigger than yourself, that you are needed, and that you have something better ahead. Purpose is what creates true happiness.” He added, “The challenge for our generation is to create a world where everyone has a sense of purpose,” suggesting “personalizing education so everyone can learn.”
Today, there is an essential need to increase the awareness about empowering tomorrow’s talents and to develop the creative and innovative potentials of young people all through the education sector.
Helping young people to discover their talents and put themselves on the right track to a better future should be the leading “purpose.” Among young people are potential philosophers, scientists, entrepreneurs, artists, writers, poets, craftspeople; they are every nation’s capital and hope for the future. So, how can we deal with their creative and innovative capacities?
Identifying talents, skills and competences is a top priority. Organized, sustained and intensive actions are essential to notably enhance the creative and innovative capacities of young people.
It is about talent search and empowerment. It is also about discovering and nurturing capacities, which prevent young people from falling into criminality and help in promoting prosperity, stability within society.
A nation is at risk when its gifted children are left behind. Now it is the time to reinvest. By making smart decisions, government, large and small, local and international NGOs can design talent management programs that help innovate for the future.
How do the government and organizations approach talent management programs? What types of efforts are they engaged in? What types of credentials are we encouraging our children to achieve? Do we have the right tools to take their talents to a new level?
It is the appropriate time to take a holistic approach and find new ways to work together to build innovative talent management strategies that will drive our future. As I discussed in my previous article, hope is a strategy, and the best time to nurture talent and innovation is always.
When “redefining” talent management, it is very important to think of all resources toward maximizing the moment. Though talent management has been a buzzword for years now, actively managing talent as a strategic resource has not been achieved yet.
Talent, like all other phenomena, requires managing. In Lebanon, many programs are designed to manage workers’ talents in business and service sectors, but no comprehensive program exists for managing students’ talents in schools.
In 2008, the Education and Higher Education Ministry in Lebanon, under the leadership of former Education Minister Bahia Hariri, managed an initiative to help identify and invest in students’ talents. The ministry, for the first time ever, implemented a survey in all public schools investigating students’ talents. A big process took place to collect and classify the data.
The survey identified a whole range of activities and hobbies that fall under six categories, and asked the students to prioritize their talents namely in: literature and public speaking; crafts and visual arts; sports; technology and computers; performing arts; and music and folklore.
This holistic approach aimed to reinforce protective factors for youth that will lead to better academic achievement, interest in furthering their education, stronger self-image, positive social development and reductions in risk-taking behavior.
In fact, when youth participate in high-quality talent management programs, they are likely to benefit in various ways. According to a study by Lauver, Little, & Weiss (2004), they explore new interests, receive peer support, develop a sense of belonging to a group, develop new friendships, take on challenging leadership roles and build a sense of self-esteem independent of their academic talent.
We ask the Education and Higher Education Ministry today to plan, design and develop a similar program that manages students’ talents and engages them in national activities in order to encourage them to break self-obstacles and show case their talents.
To realize a world where all individuals can live life to the fullest, it is important to seek ways to empower them to live up to their full potential. For people to drive the industry of tomorrow, an environment that fulfills their desire to learn should prevail.
Rubina Abu Zeinab-Chahine is executive director at the Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development.