Cover image for
Metaskills : five talents for the robotic age / Marty Neumeier.
Neumeier, Marty.
United States : New Riders, c2013.
xv, 288 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 24 cm.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 251-272) and index.



Material Type
Call Number
Book HF5386.N493
Book HF5386.N493

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In a sweeping vision for the future of work, Neumeier shows that the massive problems of the 21st century are largely the consequence of a paradigm shift--a shuddering gear-change from the familiar Industrial Age to the unfamiliar "Robotic Age," an era of increasing man-machine collaboration.

This change is creating the "Robot Curve," an accelerating waterfall of obsolescence and opportunity that is currently reshuffling the fortunes of workers, companies, and national economies. It demonstrates how the cost and value of a unit of work go down as it moves from creative to skilled to rote, and, finally, to robotic. While the Robot Curve is dangerous to those with brittle or limited skills, it offers unlimited potential to those with metaskills --master skills that enable other skills.

Neumeier believes that the metaskills we need in a post-industrial economy are feeling (intuition and empathy), seeing (systems thinking), dreaming (applied imagination), making (design), and learning (autodidactics). These are not the skills we were taught in school. Yet they''re the skills we''ll need to harness the curve.

In explaining each of the metaskills, he offers encouragement and concrete advice for mastering their intricacies. At the end of the book he lays out seven changes that education can make to foster these important talents.

This is a rich, exciting book for forward-thinking educators, entrepreneurs, designers, artists, scientists, and future leaders in every field. It comes illustrated with clear diagrams and a 16-page color photo essay. Those who enjoy this book may be interested in its slimmer companion, The 46 Rules of Genius , also by Marty Neumeier.

Things you''ll learn in Metaskills :

- How to stay ahead of the "robot curve"

- How to account for "latency" in your predictions

- The 9 most common traps of systems behavior

- How to distinguish among 4 types of originality

- The 3 key steps in generating innovative solutions

- 6 ways to think like Steve Jobs

- How to recognize the 3 essential qualities of beauty

- 24 aesthetic tools you can apply to any kind of work

- 10 strategies to trigger breakthrough ideas

- Why every team needs an X-shaped person

- How to overcome the 5 forces arrayed against simplicity

- 6 tests for measuring the freshness of a concept

- How to deploy the 5 principles of "uncluding"

- The 10 tests for measuring great work

- How to sell an innovative concept to an organization

- 12 principles for constructing a theory of learning

- How to choose a personal mission for the real world

- The 4 levels of professional achievement

- 7 steps for revolutionizing education

From the back cover

"Help! A robot ate my job!" If you haven''t heard this complaint yet, you will. Today''s widespread unemployment is not a jobs crisis. It''s a talent crisis. Technology is taking every job that doesn''t need a high degree of creativity, humanity, or leadership. The solution? Stay on top of the Robot Curve--a constant waterfall of obsolescence and opportunity fed by competition and innovation. Neumeier presents five metaskills--feeling, seeing, dreaming, making, and learning--that will accelerate your success in the Robotic Age.

Author Notes

Marty Neumeier is a designer, writer, and business adviser whose mission is to bring the principles and processes of creativity to industry. His recent series of "whiteboard" books includes The Designful Company , about the role of design in corporate innovation; Zag , named one of the "top hundred business books of all time" for its insights into radical differentiation; and The Brand Gap , considered by many the foundational text for modern brand-building.

In the 1990s Neumeier was editor and publisher of Critique magazine, the first journal about design thinking. He has also worked closely with innovative companies such as Apple, Netscape, Sun Microsystems, HP, Adobe, Google, and Microsoft to help advance their brands and cultures. Today he serves as Director of Transformation for Liquid Agency in Silicon Valley, and travels extensively as a workshop leader and speaker on the topics of innovation, brand, and design. Between trips, he and his wife spend their time in California and southwest France.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgementsp. xi
Prologuep. xiii
Ten questionsp. xvii
The Mandate
The arc of human talentp. 2
The innovation mandatep. 8
Where are the jobs?p. 12
The Robot Curvep. 15
A crisis of happinessp. 20
The obsolete industrial brainp. 24
Wanted: Metaskillsp. 27
Congratulations, you're a designerp. 30
The future in your handsp. 34
1 Feeling
Brain surgery, self-taughtp. 39
When the right brain goes wrongp. 45
The magical mindp. 49
Leonardo's assistantp. 54
The uses of beautyp. 58
Aesthetics for dummiesp. 64
It's not business-it's personalp. 74
On what do you bias your opinion?p. 84
2 Seeing
The tyranny of orp. 91
Thinking whole thoughtsp. 95
How systems workp. 98
Grandma was rightp. 103
The primacy of purposep. 116
Sin explainedp. 121
The problem with solutionsp. 126
The art is in the framingp. 130
3 Dreaming
Brilliant beyond reasonp. 139
The answer-shaped holep. 143
There be dragons!p. 146
A most unpleasant young manp. 150
The play instinctp. 154
Dreaming togetherp. 163
The bolt upright momentp. 168
Six tests of originalityp. 171
4 Making
Il discorso mentalep. 177
The no-process processp. 179
Every day is Groundhog Dayp. 182
The discipline of uncludingp. 185
The art of simplexityp. 191
A reality checkp. 194
Sell in, not outp. 196
The big to-do listp. 201
5 Learning
Impossible is nothingp. 207
The joy zonep. 209
What's the mission?p. 213
A theory of learningp. 217
Climbing the bridgep. 220
Creativity loves companyp. 224
Unpluggingp. 226
The scenic road to youp. 228
A Modest Proposal
Epiloguep. 233
1 Shut down the factoryp. 233
2 Change the subjectsp. 235
3 Flip the classroomp. 237
4 Stop talking, start makingp. 240
5 Engage the learning drivep. 243
6 Advance beyond degreesp. 245
7 Shape the futurep. 247
Notesp. 251
Indexp. 275