Heather McGowan

Heather McGowan
Future of Work-Future of Learning

Heather McGowan works at the intersection of the Future of Work and the Future of Learning, an emerging field that integrates design strategy, management consulting and education. McGowan uses single frame visuals to help people quickly understand shifting mental maps and contextual references.

She helps executives rethink their business models, teams and organizational structures. In higher education, McGowan advises presidents to develop both expertise and learning agility to prepare graduates for jobs that do not yet exist. McGowan holds a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and an MBA from Babson College. She speaks internationally on accelerated change in education and employment.

The Future of Work is Learning Agility

We have been disrupted. The current rapid cycles of accelerated change require we continually update our mental maps, contextual references, and overall cognitive operating system. Education led to being educated. We were once educated—a linear path to expertise—for known career trajectories. Today we must develop learning agility. Learning is continuous and infinite. Design is a constant pursuit of discovery and, as such, uniquely suited for such a new paradigm. Design lives in the VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous) with a sharp focus on honing the uniquely human skills that cannot be automated. This talk will explain why there has never been a more important time for design, both the design of new artifacts as contextual references morph and new mental models merge as well as the design of interventions, systems, processes, business models, and experiences.