Skills Stocks

Superskills are the the highest-yield natural resources in every economy. These skills stocks are hidden everywhere, in every community, city, and country.

To extract this value, these stocks need to be discovered, developed, and deployed in the economy.

In many countries, communities and companies, though, skills stocks remain undiscovered and their value goes completely unrealized.

Even though for-profit companies stand to gain the most, they simply fail to capture the business value of their hidden skills stocks and the strategic advantage that a programmatic capacity to surface them will produce. As it turns out, the degree of digital transformation is the critical factor.

Significant “extraction” differences exist even within communities and cities across the United States, as New York Times data maps show. Palo Alto, for example, has far greater capacity to discover and develop the skills stocks of its kids and youth compared with Oakland—even though they are only 35 miles apart.

Developed and developing economies also diverge vastly in their capacity to discover and develop their natural skills deposits. This is key reason why the economic gaps continue to grow, as in “richer gets richer, poorer gets poorer.”

Consider India.

As this chart shows, India’s stock of R&D professionals (ie, people engaged in creating ideas, knowledge, innovations, products, systems) lags behind the US by more than 40X.

Yet advances in web-scale skills discovery and development mean that the trends in this chart can be altered, significantly and quickly.

Once India reaches the US levels, it will have 4X more R&D professionals than the US!

That’s mind-blowing. And a geostrategic game-changer to boot.

Like India, countries in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America face an unprecedented opportunity to become the highly-skilled, knowledge-generating economic powerhouses of the future.

We all lose out when skills stocks remain hidden in plain sight.


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