Jobs can be found in the most interesting places. Think about this, there was no such job as “App Developer” 5 years ago. 10 years ago no one ever heard of the title “Chief Sustainability Officer”. When George Lucas changed film forever with the debut of Star Wars in the 80’s, titles like “CG Engineer” did not exist. Today you see jobs like “LEED Consultant”, “Director of Kinesiology”, and “Vice President of Applied Material Development” becoming part of the mainstream job culture. The key is to position our country to dominate not just the industries that exist today, but to dominate the industries not yet created. Jobs will be created today for industries that will exist tomorrow.
People often ridicule Hollywood because the actors, directors and producers have such dramatic lifestyles. Fame and fortune will always attract characters and Hollywood has an abundance of both. Yet behind all of the glitz is an industry of diverse job creation and technical innovation. Watch your next movie but stay around for the credits afterwards. Not only will you see the names of 20 or so actors, producers and directors, you will see 200 names of the diverse staff required to make the film actually work. This list of credits may only include those positions worthy of mention in the limited space after the film yet there are probably a 1,000 more people actually involved in all aspects of taking that idea of a movie and getting it to you and your popcorn moment. The film industry creates a lot of jobs from location scouts, casting directors, cinematographers, technical writers, etal. There is no limit to the upside potential for job creation in the film industry – an industry America dominates.
If you drill deeper into specific jobs created in the film industry, you will see that technical innovation is a hallmark of the industry. We all know that the transistor radio, manned flight, the harnessing of the fusion reaction, the implementation of the binary system, and the cracking of the DNA code are 5 of the most important technical advances we have experienced. Yet the film industry has created technological leaps in the areas of sound, lighting, video, digital effects, computer generated graphics, language, animation and a host of bleeding-edge concepts never before seen prior to the film industry as their launching pad. There have been comic books and animation artists for centuries, yet the film industry has taken animation artists to a level no artist could have imagined. 3d , 4d and soon to be 5d animation will create a new breed of left and right brained technical artist and those jobs will be well compensated.
I selected the film industry to illustrate how an industry invented in the early 1900’s has beaten the performance of many and continues to thrive by providing a product the public demands …. bigger, smarter, and by utilizing technology, better than ever before. Of course we can argue ” better” but you get my meaning. If you have any doubts, take a trip to the University of Southern California campus in Los Angeles. The single largest college building on campus is the College of Cinema Arts and folks, they are adding a phase 3 to the current building. The folks in LA understand that the future of innovation has a home in the film industry which is also true in the entire entertainment industry.
So, where else can we find interesting future consumer demand that can create jobs? Let’s first acknowledge that one of the most stable structures on earth is a pyramid. Not the scam, the shape. You need only look at a mountain and the visual is simple to understand. In life, a strong base and foundation can support growth. Therefore if you want to participate in the jobs of the future, you need a strong base of education. Tomorrow, you will need a strong skills set in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) however you still need a develop a skill in Arts (STEAM) and Reading/Writing (STREAM). If you can’t write, how in the heck are you going to convey your ideas in order to produce the technical understanding of your product or service? Being smart is awesome yet being an “interesting person” with left and right brained tendencies is even cooler. An educational foundation rooted in STREAM will position you and our nation to take advantage of a prosperous future for jobs and opportunity.
Where are the jobs coming from ?
Auditing and Measurement.
Robotics and Prosthetics
Defense and Security.
Let me take just a few of these by stating the most important source of all future jobs in our country – an explosion in Research and Development will be the greatest source of future jobs … period! We can own this space if we want to. All we have to believe is America has a responsibility to its citizens to find the “bleeding-edge” and always go one inch further, and farther, and faster. If we truly believe our manifest destiny is to reach ever farther, we can dominate industries not yet invented. As a result, we can look at everything we are currently doing in our economy and research better ways to do it. As I said in an earlier post, Alicia Keyes is using the same musical notes in her music as Bach – yet producing a different mood and sound interpretation with her music. Every invention does not have to be completely unique, just ever better.
Smart phones still do the same things humans did 25 years ago they just used cross-technical applications and fused them into one device and an external communications infrastructure. A smartphone might be simplistically considered a significantly advanced telegraph and your personal movie theatre. What’s next? The better way to answer that question is : “What is the next thing you are going to demand.”. If we have the right American’s with the right educational foundation, we will create the next thing that will satisfy and exceed your demands. This is how jobs get created.
I love the theory of cross-technical training. Today we will see biologists, anthropologists and psychologists enhancing their education and becoming structural, aeronautical, and chemical engineers. Why? Because the current airplane only resembles a picture of a bird in flight. Once the biologists can apply their knowledge of the physical being to the field of Applied Sciences, the next generation of flight could be different. Who would have thought the geek with the remote control model airplane would represent the “tip-of-the-spear” in our National Defense apparatus or the Mars rover? Just wait until the psychology of an enemy is programmed into the AI of an on-stage weapons system and it uses some Google application to know where the bad guy is going to be based on his/her social tendencies? I’m not saying this is a good use of our STREAM talents, just giving a contemporary example of what is possible as we meld all technical expertise into one synergistic concept for development.
Instead of focusing on making the specific end-of-chain products in our factories, or focusing on using robotics to replace humans, we can instead still make products, still have humans yet most importantly, we can get on the front-end chain that designs and engineers the robots that make the robots in American factories. Many nations in the world understand that just being a consumer of goods and services is not a sustainable model. You have to research, invent and manufacture in your homeland so you can continue to innovate and export your national product. America has been a little too proud of the status of the largest consumer nation and we have quietly ceded much of the innovation and manufacturing base in favor of importing cheap products. If we innovate, manufacture, export and still consume, sustained job growth is assured.
I know I am going long again so let me conclude with two more items: Energy and On-Site Manufacturing.
I envision a day where you will need a Phillips-head screwdriver but can’t find one in your drawer. Through your integrated voice-recognition system, you will audibly make the request “computer, build a #2 phillips head screwdriver “. 7 minutes later you will go into your garage and retrieve your completed screwdriver from your 3D printer and on-site manufacturing device. Everyday Americans will produce their own products from their own ideas at home or at work. Yes, some jobs will be lost in the shipping industries and retail shops but many more jobs can be created as a result. There will still be items that can’t be manufactured at home and someone will be designing and building the 3d printing and manufacturing machines and the materials that make the products at home. The greatest benefit will be to everyday Americans as these machines will be as common as a microwave and Americans will find ways to be even more efficient and productive.
In the area of energy, because of the advanced future harnessing of reclaimed water, heat, wind and kinetic energy, Americans will turn their homes and neighborhoods into on-site energy production facilities. We are already seeing new devices, equipment and processes being innovated and deployed that drive down specific energy use. From lighting to cooling, any new equipment sold today simply uses less energy than before. As a result, future energy use can be smaller per btu/per function making the size and quantity required for each person or business smaller. This will make the feasibility of regional, neighborhood and individual on-site energy generation more practical and the required footprint much smaller.
We invented hydrogen-fuel cells decades ago for the space program. We have used solar for decades. Your great-grandparents used wind energy to turn the windmills on their farm. We have been composting forever. We have been using landfill methane gas for energy for decades. We are beginning to safely frack and extract natural gas. We have fusion energy. We have coal. We have geothermal. We have mastered the collection of brackish water for the production of algae and are on the cusp of producing algae at a cost competitive to gasoline. We have mastered wave-energy turbines. We have an all-of-the-above energy strategy that is taking place right before our eyes and we can do it all right on our shores. We need to stop assuming these technologies are expensive or worse than other traditional technologies and start using what we have right now. Yes, we still have petroleum and will always have a petro-chemical industry infrastructure but tomorrow that industry can be a part of our strategy but not the largest part. Why? Because we should take advantage of all of our assets, especially those that can be developed and accessed at the individual site level.
Yes, China is a large manufacturer of solar panels. Yes, others are large manufacturers of wind turbines and electric vehicles. Yet, they did not invent the concepts – they just make them. America needs to develop better and smarter energy solutions and not only make them in our country, but use them at home while we also export our products abroad. The future opportunities for our STREAM experts and our US consumers will be ever brighter and we will dominate energy production for a century.
Jobs can be found in the most interesting places in America – we just need to concentrate on making the homeland the best place to develop them. Stop thinking small and remember how our country is most proud when we ask more of ourselves. We live in the land of opportunity – not the land of outsourcing and cheap imports. Our industrial revolution gave Americans great paying jobs and great products while spawning scores of new complimentary industries. We did this by inventing, producing, marketing and distributing our great products and solutions to all Americans and by doing so, we improved the lives of everyone in our great country. We created jobs and great wealth for so many and we can do it again by focusing on doing that which is best for our entire country.
Focus on STREAM and creating jobs in America through innovation and we will see an explosion of opportunity in 2013 and beyond.