Developing Growth Mindset in the Era of Automation
Thu, 29 Nov 2018 || By Ahmad Najmi Ramadhani

The advancement of technology prompts phenomenal changes in how work is designed, organized, and managed. Automation has made a more productive work environment by supplanting the exorbitant human labor, reducing errors, and improving quality and speed. Based on a McKinsey Global Institute study in 2017, about 60 percent of all occupations have at least 30 percent of constituent activity that could be automated.[1] Moreover, by 2030, one-third of jobs could be displaced by machine because of automation.[2] The automation will come to the creative industry, too. In 2016, 20th Century Fox released Morgan – a thriller and science fiction movie trailer-- that was created by an artificial intelligence owned by IBM called Watson.[3] This condition, when machines started to replace human jobs, might lead to a rising number of unemployment. Besides, income polarization could continue in the advanced economies like the United States.

era of automation

Exhibit 1 Potential shifts for activities and educational requirements. Source: McKinsey Global Institute.

Regarding the issue mentioned above, education institution must play a big role in preparing students to adapt with the possible shift of workforce composition. The main objective is to find the answer about how humanity will still be relevant to the current job market that will, predictably, be more hegemonized by machine in the future. According the same McKinsey study, there are three work tasks that could be easily displaced by machines which are: processing data, collecting data, and predictable physical activity. However, there are also three work tasks that are still relevant and will become more valuable which are: applying expertise, interacting with stakeholders, and managing and developing people.[4] The education institution should thrive to enhance these three main skills among their students. There are a lot of learning resource nowadays in the form of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) that using technology as their backbone like Khan Academy to Zenius Education. Furthermore, there is also education institution that already elaborates its education curriculum based on the needs of the contemporary technological advancement era like Creative Maieutic School (CMS) in South Korea. However, with the abundance of information and learning resources, the right mindset for each individuals is the basic and very important values to be taught so students can take the upsides of technological advancement optimally.

Phillia Wibowo, the President Director of McKinsey & Company Indonesia, said in her keynote speech on Learning Innovation Summit 2018 held by Pertamina and Ruangguru that ones’ mindset is the most crucial factor that influences the survivability for an individual in the era of technological advancement. This statement is further supported by Thomas L. Friedman in his book, Thank You for Being Late. In his book, Friedman stated that not all nations will get the benefit from the era of digital transformation. There is a prerequisite for a nation before enjoying the benefits of digital advancement. The prerequisite is called lifelong learning attitude. And to have that capacity, a growth mindset is predicted as a must-have mental model.

A fixed mindset assumes that our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static givens which we can’t change in any meaningful way. A growth mindset, on the other hand, thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities.[5] Growth mindset was conceptualized by Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, initially for students in training, and is mostly utilized in the business sector.[6] Business pioneers that receive a growth mindset are receptive to any critics and feedbacks, put high an incentive on learning and develop their own and others' capacities. This attitude is cultivating an open and creative culture at work. There are already numerous human resource department discussions about how human resource management should adapt to the change in the technological advancement era, and employees’ ability to develop a growth mindset is often being pointed out as one of the most important values to have.[7]

We have seen that in the technological advancement era –automation—there will be a lot of jobs replaced by machines. By then, the shifts in the skills needed by the industry, whether we like it or not, will force individuals to adapt very quickly to this transformation. And the key to survive is a proportional mental model –growth mindset-- that could enhance one’s ability to keep learning along the time. It will be very important for teachers and educational institutions to help their students in developing the growth mindset to prepare for any unpredictable changes that might occur in this digital transformation era.

Editor: Treviliana Eka Putri

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[1] McKinsey Global Institute (2017). A Future That Works: Automation, Employment, And Productivity. [online] McKinsey Global Institute, p.5. Available at: [Accessed 14 Nov. 2018].

[2] Ibid.

[3] Heathman, A. (2018). IBM Watson creates the first AI-made film trailer – and it's incredibly creepy. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Nov. 2018].

[4] McKinsey Global Institute (2017). Jobs Lost, Jobs Gained: Workforce Transitions in a Time of Automation. [online] McKinsey Global Institute, p.16. Available at: [Accessed 14 Nov. 2018].

[5] Dweck, C. (2017). Mindset. 1st ed. London: Robinson, p.30.

[6] Sharp, J. (2018). Are you ready for the fourth industrial revolution?. [online] HRD Connect. Available at: [Accessed 16 Nov. 2018].

[7] Ibid.