Arts, Sciences & Humans
Many writers have published their “2020 in reflection” articles. Most wrote about COVID-19.
For my “2020 in reflection”, I’m not writing about COVID, but instead — about one piece of news that caught my attention: the proposal by The National University of Singapore (“NUS”) to merge her Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and Faculty of Science to form an interdisciplinary College of Humanities and Sciences.
The broad (pun intended) thinking: Singapore students will need more “broad-based” knowledge and skills to do well in our new VUCA world. So we get students to learn about different disciplines that may or may not be related, while diving deep into their core specialty. A “T-shaped” individual, for lack of a better word. Indeed, 7 in 10 Singapore companies sought to hire workers with broader skill sets — a point hammered home by COVID-19’s impact on the workforce.
So NUS’ move was a long time coming. Though better late than never.
NUS’ proposed new college setup is not at all new.
A *few* years ago, I had the privilege to experience such an education. Enrolling in Cornell’s College of Arts & Sciences —pursuing different courses in a myriad of disciplines.
- In ANTHR 303, I learnt about Nepalese culture and did a research paper on the Gurkhas.
- In GEOG 404, I learnt about the ocean and climate change (way before the Paris Accord and Greta Thunberg [hat tip to Greta nonetheless!]).
- In HIST 211, I learnt about Southeast Asian culture & history.
- In COMP 100, I learnt (as best as I could) basic programming.
- In MATH 313 — Linear Algebra, learning about matrices and arrays, which proved useful when founding ArcLab years later.
- In HOTEL 430 — the famed Wines class opened my eyes (and palette) to the world of viniculture and viticulture, not to mention some amazing wines in the process.
- In some other course which I forget, I also did a study of wines and pricing, and was asked by my Professor to present it to class — my conclusion — drink what you like; price (and ratings) doesn’t matter all that much.
And somewhere in those 4 years, I studied enough Economics to earn my Economics degree, which helped prepare for a later Reserve Management career at the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
That was just academics. There was much more.
Internships in Capital One and working as a Teaching Assistant for my Professor gave a semi-realistic entry into the working world.
I also helped out at a Taiwanese-American schoolmate’s 1st-wave Bubble Tea franchise — making (and drinking) enough bubble tea to last me a lifetime. It was hard work but great work. Work that taught some life skills: proper organisation, SOPs, planning ahead, customer service, thinking on one’s feet.
Work that would prove relevant when I co-founded ArcLab years later. That of honing skill through the job, and providing adequate performance support for the workforce that was not tied behind a desk — who we term the Deskless Workforce.
(Just made myself really miss school… )
As our economy evolves and knowledge cycles shorten, learning in the flow of work becomes a much more important component that adds to the front-loaded education in the first 15–20 years of our lives.
In essence, that’s ArcLab’s work — empowering organisations globally to easily create, distribute and track training for the workforce.
Training that is Stackable. Multi-disciplinary. In-the-Flow-of-Work.
Helping organisations to effectively upskill the workforce, providing easily-accessible performance support — digital SOPs, 101s, primers.
So the workforce can effectively discharge responsibilities, and ultimately generate more value for the organisation. Learning & Development that does more for the organisation.
One of the lessons that COVID-19 taught us: L&D is a need. Not a want.
Because great organisations can only be be built with great teams.
And talk to us today.