Soft skills are key competences that are no less useful for personal and relational and school and professional life than hard skills. One set does not exclude the other one, but rather one amplifies the value of the other.
If a person is competent, productive, adequately instructed, and is also motivated, is an effective communicator, a good listener, an excellent problem solver, then his or her value will certainly be greater than just the sum of his/her knowledge and know-how.
If by hard skill we mean technical-specialist skills, soft skills are a set of cross skills.
If hard skills are specific to each sector, soft skills are useful for each profession.
If hard skills are learned through study and on-the-job training, soft skills depend on experiential background and individual attitudes.
If hard skills are impersonal and therefore easy to evaluate, soft skills are personal and therefore difficult to measure.
If hard skills say what and how much we know, soft skills show who we are.
In a rapidly changing world and in one where machines will become more and more efficient and will be able to easily perform exceptionally complex activities on behalf of humans, the key to success will lie in the ability to develop soft skills that only humans possess or can learn.
Imperfection and the ability to transform setbacks and unexpected events into new and more creative opportunities will make us unique and irreplaceable. It will be our ability to experiment and imagine that will not be engulfed by technology. It will be our ability to value the uniqueness of a person, the ability to learn from mistakes and failures that will allow organisations to thrive, despite constant change.
Two of the most important soft skills, for us, are: making mistakes and, also, learning from mistakes. However, both skills are culturally opposed. Error is associated with incompetence and lack of skill. Consequently, learning is understood as the acquisition of knowledge gained only and solely from positive experiences.
The outcome of this way of understanding mistakes and learning is that most of the time innovation is purely “cosmetic” and a facade. Because innovation occurs only by experimentation and through trial and error.