Posted: 25 Nov. 2020 5 min. read

Future is purple

Overcoming the digital skills gap with purple people

The future is now. Technology disruptions are the new constant. New realities of work are impacting more than just work. And the future of work seems to rapidly be moving toward a scenario when humans are beginning to work productively and increasingly with technology.

There is no doubt that we are getting propelled into the new normal at a much faster pace than we’d imagined, ode to the ongoing global health situation. And moving toward this new normal has propelled a relook at many elements—whether it be existing ways of doing business, the current skills and capabilities of the workforce, or the current resources and pedagogy available to impart training.

To keep up with the pace of change and the accompanying incoming technological advances, it seems that more than just the existing skills and resources will be required. In an industry 4.0 scenario, the pandemic seems to be raising a question around the need for different skill set—all for the workforce to be more future-ready.

And this is where the term ‘purple people’ becomes relevant. This term was coined to signify human capabilities that will be required in the future of work. These human capabilities, or, ‘purple’ superpowers, can be defined as a combination of technical (red) and business (blue) skills, spanning the spectrum—from creativity, intuition, critical thinking, and resilience to collaboration, inclusive leadership and cultural intelligence among a well-rounded collection of skills.

Through this concept, not only is the importance of learning, and upskilling brought to light, but also how human capabilities are now becoming the new currency of work. To ensure that the skills and human capabilities being developed are more future-ready, a key factor comes into consideration—the need to adopt a digital mindset, which encompasses more than just ‘being digital'.

Given the current state of capabilities, skills, and ways of working, there seems to be a huge gap between the requirement of the future versus what’s available today, i.e. the number of digitally skilled workers in the workforce required in the future are projected at an exponentially higher number than the current estimate.

In this direction, some trends have begun to accelerate as a result of the crisis, such as accelerated digitization, increased virtualization of workforce, and evolving partner systems among the various aspects. These highlight an interesting observation—the pandemic is serving as an opportunity, and a catalyst capable of driving massive changes to the nature of work, the workforce and the workplace. And this is what the discussion focused on during the fourth session of Deans Summit Connected.

While the pandemic comes with its own set of challenges, there are also various opportunities present, especially for the higher education sector in these times—in particular, the opportunity to provide a more future-ready system to cater to the need of the hourovercoming the ‘digital skills’ gap.

Serving as the backbone for the development of market-ready skills, the education system can provide the necessary environment to serve the ever-changing workforce requirements and facilitate remote learning.

And by partnering with industry, and government, the higher education institutions can develop solutions to nurture the much needed ‘purple’ skills by enabling that shift toward a digitally enabled learning network.


Learn more

Explore the in-depth article on Deloitte Insights for insights on how COVID-19 rattled India’s higher education but also opened myriad opportunities.

Future is purple


About Deloitte’s Deans Summit:

Deloitte’s marquee event, Deans Summit by Deloitte India (Offices of the US), shifted gears to keep up with the changing times in 2020. Where virtual connects are the norm now, they became instrumental in supporting us to see what was possible, as we continued to make an impact that matters with our cohort of deans, directors and principals from some of India’s top colleges and universities.


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