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Janet Foutty on Competing in the Next Economy

Janet Foutty

Business Vice Chair Emeritus, Council on Competitiveness

Members of the Council on Competitiveness Board and Executive Committee, and Commissioners and Advisors from the National Commission on Innovation and Competitiveness Frontiers came together this summer at Gallup World Headquarters to take stock of the Council’s work and explore the challenges and opportunities driving Phase 2 of the National Commission’s work.

During the meeting, Janet Foutty, Business Vice Chair Emeritus of the Council on Competitiveness, shared her experienced perspective on preparing current workers to thrive in the future workplace that requires comfort and knowledge of advanced technology.  Ms. Foutty was concerned that many current workers, even younger workers, are not as prepared as they could be, offering an anecdote that she was recently with about a group of ten 25-to-35-year-old workers and only a very small minority said that they had experimented with Generative AI systems such as ChatGPT.

Ms. Foutty is confident that the university system will prepare their students for the technologies emerging today, but what about the existing workforce? Are existing workers engaged in the work of today thinking about the work of tomorrow? Her experience with these 10 early career workers suggests, further exploration may be required.

Ms. Foutty believes it’s important to think about the current workforce and emerging technologies, and get workers excited and interested in engaging, learning, and growing. She asks important questions for the National Commission to consider: Within our workforce, how do we get everyone comfortable and confident with AI who is not today? And what is our collective responsibility to bring the entire workforce into the conversation, not just those who are currently in the education system?

Preparing leaders in business for a future of disruptive technology. How do you think about executive leadership teams and boards? How do we raise the technological understanding and capability of business leadership? Ms. Foutty argues that this training can’t be a one-time seminar, but there needs to be a commitment to create a level of sophistication in C-suites and boardrooms around emerging technologies, so we have the right leadership team to help us navigate through the competitiveness and market challenges in front of us.

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