This Protagion post focuses on a TEDx talk given by Dorie Clark at an event titled “Professions of the Future” in Switzerland in September 2017. The talk explores portfolio careers, a topic we briefly touched on in a previous Halloween-themed post about slashers: people who do different concurrent jobs.
Dorie herself has “consciously and deliberately worked to cultivate multiple income streams”. The New York Times describes her as an “expert at self-reinvention”, and her roles include:
Through that process [of building a portfolio career], it’s done a lot of things: it’s brought in more revenue for me, it’s mitigated my risk, it’s introduced me to new people and new experiences, it’s helped me develop new skills. And it’s my hope for you, whether you work for yourself, or if you have a day job that you love and want to keep, that if you cultivate a portfolio career, that it could do the same for you.”
Her talks often use personal stories of people she’s interviewed to illustrate her suggestions, which makes them relatable and easier to remember. Read more to view the video, some takeaways, and additional insights from Dorie.
We recently collaborated with actuartech.com on an article exploring the impact of technology evolution on training and active career management. Written with fellow actuaries Valerie du Preez and Michael Jordan, it also shared our thoughts on the future.
Some of the ActuarTech article echoed my presentation in November 2018 at the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ “Lifelong Learning: Fit for the Future” event, which covered career evolution, reinvention, and suggestions from Protagion for managing our careers and developing into new roles (for individuals, managers and organisations). One of these suggestions was about learning how to learn by practising doing things you’ve never done, using your transferable skillset to make the shift. I also referenced the importance of emotional support and resilience-building in this process.
In this post, we expand on this, reiterating Protagion’s suggestions (for all professionals) for staying abreast of the changing technological landscape, recognising the importance of keeping up-to-date and taking inspiration from change.
As the world changes at speed and continues to get more complex, we’ve seen the rise of concepts like agile (initially in a technology context and now more broadly) and multi-disciplinary teams. We’re all working to become more responsive and more connected, keep up with and capitalise on digital advancements, and thrive in this dynamic and collaborative world.
These themes have been explored further in two different formats we’ve come across which this post shares with you: a TED talk by Martin Danoesastro and a book by Rod Collins. Both reference the example of a flock of birds to illustrate how a collective can be fast and flexible because each member makes autonomous decisions based on a set of simple rules. They argue that this leads to far more adaptability than a centrally coordinated approach would allow.
In the insurance world, we’ve seen these challenges commonly faced when established organisations set up digital garages to encourage innovation across their wider organisation. Given the radically different cultures (and definitions of success) between the innovator and the established, integrating them (or even learning from each other) can be fraught with difficulty. Martin alludes to this with: "we felt like strangers in a strange land, surrounded by beanbags and hoodies and lots of smart, creative employees".