Today, insurers need to move quickly to equip their workforces with the ‘missing middle’ skills they need for human-machine collaboration. Accenture’s research offers insight and a practical guide to help insurers plan workforce and individual training, and form teams with the right skills.

Today, 61 percent of activities in the missing middle require employees
to do different things, and to do things differently. That means reimagining processes and committing to lifelong learning.

Skills and intelligence matrix

To make the most effective use of AI, workers need to develop different, deeper skill sets. Already, 61 percent of activities in the ‘missing middle’ require employees to do different things, and to do things differently. For insurers it means reimagining processes, gaining an understanding of the skills needed, and providing the right training. For workers it means committing to lifelong learning.

So, what ‘missing middle’ skills are needed for human-machine collaboration and how can they be acquired? To create a skills and intelligence matrix that would help define what skills are needed, Accenture identified core intelligences critical to the future workforce in the age of human-machine collaboration.

Fusion skills are described by Accenture’s Paul Daugherty and James H. Wilson in their book  ‘Human+Machine’ as skills that combine human and machine capabilities to deliver better outcomes than either could achieve alone.

Fusion skills include:

  • Re-humanising time. The ability to increase the time available for distinctly human tasks, like interpersonal interactions, creativity, and decision-making.
  • Judgment integration. The ability to decide a course of action when a machine is uncertain.
  • Intelligent interrogation. Knowing how best to ask questions of AI, across levels of abstraction, to get the insights you need.
  • Bot-based empowerment. Working well with AI agents to extend your capabilities.
  • Relentless reimagining. The rigorous discipline of creating new processes and business models from scratch, rather than simply automating old processes.

Accenture identified 10 core intelligences that underpin these fusion skills. They include embodied or extended cognition, strategic intelligence, inter- and intra-personal intelligences, moral intelligence and a growth mindset.

Placed into a matrix with fusion skills, these intelligences provide a broad guideline for business leaders directing workforce training efforts and forming teams to work in environments where different types of human-machine interaction are required to achieve objectives.

So, how can this matrix be applied and how do insurers create the environment, culture and platforms needed for the workforce to acquire these skills?

While three-quarters of workers we polled in our 2018 Future Workforce Study of senior insurance executives and workers are keen to acquire skills that will enable them to work alongside machines, many feel companies could do more to help. They cite lack of time (48 percent), lack of sponsorship (37 percent) and lack of resources (36 percent) as the biggest barriers to developing new skills.

To develop the right skills and intelligences I believe three dimensions are essential: mutual readiness, shared value and accelerated ability (the use of smart technologies to accelerate learning and tap latent intelligences).

Join me next week as I drill down into each of these dimensions and look at companies that are getting it right.

Meantime, click through to Accenture’s research for more on the impact of AI on the workforce and the skills needed to thrive in a digital era.

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