AOD presents, ‘Extraordinary Minds’ a one of a kind Open House, at its new home—Colombo Innovation Tower

Witness the future talent, education & jobs of tomorrow

AOD’s Extraordinary Minds Open House Weekend on July 20/21 weekend will be held at Colombo’s latest catalyst space CIT. It presents the most progressive education model to come out of Sri Lanka, responding to the demanding new future that young graduates will step into within the next decade. AOD has extended an open invitation to after ALs and OLs students as well as parents to join this educational weekend with inspiring previews to interdisciplinary education within one of Colombo’s most innovation centred spaces.

The pathway to success no longer seems to be a one-way road headed in a single direction. The ideal job candidate now seems to be someone who is great at public speaking, and a social media wiz with a six-thousand minimum follower base, who is also familiar with the art of salesmanship. But that’s not all; isn’t learning coding also essential today? And what’s even the point of a business major right now, if you don’t have big data analysis skills? And where’s the future in a tech degree if it doesn’t link up with creative thinking? The it-candidate in the future of jobs is starting to sound like a potpourri of skills; and that’s exactly the point. The future is interdisciplinary, and success in the next twenty years means being able to excel at more than one discipline or area of expertise. How would this change things for the young Sri Lankan graduates going out into the career markets in the next ten years? What are the challenges they will have to face if they are only equipped with a traditional, single-disciplinary degree? What are the alternatives? Answering these questions, and presenting a promising new set of future-proof prospects for the new generation of after A/Ls and after O/Ls students, AOD recently announced a groundbreaking interdisciplinary model for higher education in Sri Lanka. Dubbed ‘extraordinary minds’ the campaign to introduce this fresh approach to higher education presents an open house weekend coming up in July 20, 21 weekend. It will be held at the Colombo Innovation Tower giving an immersive experience of what interdisciplinary education is all about, and how it ties into the modern business world and the emerging demands of industries in the face of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 

The emerging realities of the future job market

The global shifts that are calling out for interdisciplinary professionals and experts have already started affecting the Sri Lankan career landscape. The realities of the job market for those who graduate in the next five years will be significantly different from today; in the next ten years, the change will be monumental. Shedding some light on what it’s really like out there for big corporations, businesses and organisations hiring talent right now, Managing Director of Design Corp Group of Companies in Sri Lanka, Lin Gong-Deustchmann shared her viewpoints: “When we look for talent, especially for more middle management to senior roles, we need people who can approach problems in new ways, who can see things from new perspectives and feel confident in trying new ideas. This is where we’ve really started to value interdisciplinary skill-sets. We want managers who can think like designers, tech experts who understand the economics of successful products and business brains with the ability to think outside the box and work creatively. This is the future, and we are no longer interested in hiring people who want to be comfortable in their box”. Lin’s thinking echoes what most business leaders are thinking right now; everyone wants an all-rounder. Companies now want employees who can evaluate problems and develop solutions quickly, without supervision and direction. Changes to the workplace will also increase the need for skilled critical thinkers. Traditionally, the workplace involved experienced individuals with one specialty working in one domain, but now, companies want people with diverse skills who can tackle all aspects of an entire problem to develop the best solution. “Basically, can you solve a problem you’ve never seen before? You’ll have to learn—because, the future will be full of these kinds of problems, and the skill-mix to solve them is what your future employer will expect in your resume,” Lin added.

 Lin Gong-Deustchmann - Managing Director of Design Corp Group of Companies

Studying forward: what it means to prepare for jobs in 2025

The degree mix that AOD released in April 2019 was a groundbreaking one with studies in technology, design and business. It responded to the needs of a plethora of industries from apparel, tourism, information technology, retail, FMCG, television and film. It was a proposition to study-forward, instead of studying backwards, preparing for the reality of the job market in 2025. “The idea of ‘studying forward’ is that you basically stop following the same old technology, business and design courses that were relevant for the 1990s and 2000‘s, like most after A/Ls and O/Ls students are still doing. If you don’t study forward, by the time you graduate, your skills will only get you a low or medium level salary and you will have to work very hard to get past that hurdle, and compete with people who have more updated skills,” said Karen MacLeod—the creative director of AOD. 

While the concept of interdisciplinary programmes and future-proof study experiences with different skill mixes sounds interesting, are there real-world advantages to this approach? According to Karen MacLeod, when students gain an understanding of interdisciplinary thinking, and exposure to cross-industry work cultures, they are better prepared, capable and comfortable when collaborating with others, which is essential for someone to function in the modern workplace. “This kind of thinking and way of working is the future, and we think that students who get on board now, will have a serious advantage when this becomes the workplace norm in the next five years. A majority of our students are the ones who will be hired for the special advantages that companies see in both their aesthetic and technical training, as well as their ability to think strategically for business. This means a large number of diverse roles in entrepreneurship, senior management, consultancy, research and policy open up to these graduates. The options available to them become very interesting, and many,” added MacLeod.

Extraordinary Minds: An immersive weekend of interdisciplinary study experiences

AOD’s Extraordinary Minds open house weekend is all about bringing these ideas and realities to the spotlight, and presenting them as an inspiring immersive experience within the Colombo Innovation Tower, which is probably the most inspiring innovation catalyst space in Sri Lanka. The open house weekend allows students and parents alike to walk in freely to Colombo Innovation Tower and to AOD, and join fascinating sessions on career guidance for the interdisciplinary new future, workshops that bridge knowledge in photography, 3D product making, app creation, fashion and styling, branding as well as interesting intersections between education and entertainment like gaming design and fashion show production. The open house weekend will be a rare opportunity to demystify interdisciplinary education, what it means and the careers that it will open up for you in Sri Lanka and abroad. 

Be there! to get in to the league of the extraordinary! at the all new, Colombo Innovation Tower on the 20th and 21st July. For more information on workshop schedule and registrations call 077 572 7772,  follow us on Instagram @aod_design or hit AOD.LK.