TUM Learning Festival Event „Zukunft³“: Technology and people in focus

What does the future of leadership, work and learning look like? Three renowned experts from the Technical University of Munich discussed these questions at the “Zukunft³” event on May 3, 2021, as part of the year-long TUM Learning Festival 2021.

Each of the scientists brought three theses to the event that was moderated by Dr. Kristin Knipfer, Executive Director TUM Institute for LifeLong Learning. “Our panelists drew exciting and lively pictures of what collaboration and togetherness could look like in the future,” Kristin Knipfer sums up. “I find it particularly important to point out that, despite technological progress, the focus is on people: What are their basic needs? How can I properly consider these as a manager in a digital working environment? How do we prepare young people for a working world in which algorithms perform important management tasks? Fundamental here is a willingness to engage in lifelong learning.”

Technological change in the world of work requires value-based leadership

Prof. Dr. Helmut Krcmar addressed the question of how the digital transformation is changing our working world, in his three theses. “New ways of working” require, according to the expert, a so-called “design mindset”: The competence and desire to actively shape the future. “In many areas of work, we are no longer capable of working without the use of artificial intelligence,” he argues. Yet the human factor remains relevant, because “nothing actually changes, only the framework conditions do. Even in a digital workplace, human needs such as a sense of belonging remain – and leaders must respond to them.”

Prof. Dr. Claudia Peus, Founding Director of the TUM Institute for LifeLong Learning, brought with her three theses on the future of leadership:

  • Leaders need technological knowledge. They have to master the ABCs of technology trends and be able to assess what they imply for business models and processes. Continuous, research-based training is therefore essential for decision-makers.
  • Despite all technological change: Leaders must take into account basic human needs such as fairness or recognition – even more so when teams work together in a digital way. Creating a positive and appreciative atmosphere in which clear rules of the game apply is essential in successful (digital) employee management.
  • Leadership of the future must be ever more oriented toward values. This requires continuous and critical self-reflection and examination of one’s own moral standards.

Technology and learning professionals support learners of tomorrow

Prof. Dr. Tina Seidel looked at the future of learning. Teachers are no longer the only ones who provide access to knowledge, but as experts, they are important supporters who motivate, structure and professionally plan learning. “Teachers must act as digital conductors, organizing knowledge and digital tools into a well-functioning orchestra.” One important conclusion is that the criteria for good teaching are not changing due to of digitization, but the conditions are indeed. This is because educational technologies will play a major role as learning facilitators of the future.

“2050 is closer than 1990, the future is closer to us than the past.” Kristin Knipfer closed the discussion with this thought provoking statement, once again emphasizing the role of research: “Science must not only comment or criticize, it must also be visionary. Let’s actively shape the future with lifelong learning!”

More about the events of the TUM Learning Festival 2021 can be found here.

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