Discover the 21st century quotient and see how you rank

Find out what the XXIst century quotient is and how you rank

During the XXth century we became accustomed with concepts like the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and Emotional Quotient (EQ). The XXIst century, brings us a new concept: the Digital Quotient (DQ).

In the next paragraphs I’m going to discuss the whereabouts of these pathways of science.

A short history of brain testing

Firstly, the notion of intelligence testing appears around the 1880s for the first time, and continues to evolve ever since. The IQ test was originally designed by the French psychologist Alfred Binet in the early 1900s. He was a psychologist who wanted a more scientific way of evaluating students. He wanted to remove teacher bias and to identify at-risk students who would need help and extra attention to succeed in school. So Binet developed the first intelligence test. Through his research, he identified aspects of thinking that contribute to a student’s ability to do well at the things taught in school.

But how do you define and measure intelligence? The consensus seems to be that you can’t, but the IQ test is the closest we’ve ever come. The downside is that this general intelligence test which had innocent origins in French schools, was later used to support discrimination, eugenics, and genocide. 

Secondly, the history of Emotional Intelligence begins with Edward L. Thorndike in 1920 when he states that the personality reflects social intelligence. In his classic formulation: “By social intelligence is meant the ability to understand and manage men and women, boys and girls — to act wisely in human relations”  .

In short, while the IQ measures the cognitive intelligence — the ability to learn or skilled use of reason –, the EQ measures the emotional intelligence — the ability to use emotions and cognitive skills. Therefore, while the former employs the neocortex, while the latter relays on the limbic part of the brain.

And these two seemed to cover quite completely the brain activity in the final days of humanism.

Then a new day has dawn, and with it the dark clouds of posthumanism and AI takeover scenarios. Therefore we’re getting to the point.

What is the DQ?

The original concept is patented by McKinsey & Company in February of 2015 as a service mark for the Insurance & Financial Service industry.

The definition McKinsey give to DQ is:
“Digital Quotient®  measures an organisation’s performance across four key dimensions of digital maturity: Strategy, Culture, Organisation and Capabilities.“

The context: the World Economic Forum’s Transformation Maps — a constantly refreshed repository of knowledge about global issues, from climate change to the future of work.

The Digital Quotient Framework by McKinsey
The Digital Quotient Framework by McKinsey

Rapidly, the concept grows to encompass all digital education, endeavour put forward by the World Economic Forum via the newly founded (2020) DQ Institute.

The DQ Institute aims to set “the world’s first global standards for digital literacy, digital skills and digital readiness”, helping thus the global education system to prepare skilled workforce for the XXIst century.

DQ Institute Vision & Mission

It is common knowledge that keeping up with the latest technology is central to the success of every organization. Companies worldwide are recognizing that adapting only their business and technology strategies is not enough — they need to build digital talent as part of building a digital organization.

Here’s the problem in a nutshell: the job opportunities that are available today are 21st-century jobs. But the way most people perform these jobs is still stuck in the previous century. As is the way our society is training and educating people.

A short history of work

In the 19th century, with the Industrial Revolution, there was a massive movement of the population from rural to urban areas. The primary and secondary education system was created to train the workforce for the “new world” of manual and clerical work in cities.

In the 20th century, work was dominated by factory jobs. The education system that was built in the previous century was, with some modifications, still suited to training good factory workers and their managers. The early 60s bring about a new industrial revolution — the second. Which made Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World, to argue that by the year 2000, technology and automation would make workers richer and more productive.

Then in the 60s, the rise of the machines. The 70s bring about the rise of the conglomerate — a multi-industry company. Conglomerates are always large and multinational. In the 80s the World Wide Web came online. The 90s see the rise of leading technologies such as cell phones, e-mails, PDAs.

The management focused on a series of tools to optimize this kind of work: operational efficiency, something called Taylorism, and eventually some management philosophies called Six Sigma. Management was mostly done face to face, while health insurance, a social safety net, and other benefits were bundled into inflexible labour contracts.

Then the millenium changed. And the decade of 2000 brings us skype, google, gmail, facebook, twitter, youtube, the iPhone. By 2010 Artificial Intelligence connects everything we do in business, governing and everyday life. The cloud enables workers to store and access huge amounts of data online.

So we’re seeing the rise of new work models such as freelancing and remote work. In the  companies, teams are learning to be more agile, to work with distributed and remote teams, and to scale up and down to adapt to ever-changing conditions.

Therefore, we get to the second part of this article:

How the DQ is measured

According to Business Insider — the Spanish edition — here are the 10 must-have digital skills to be able to work in the 21st century:

In conclusion, we have another Revolution going on — the Fourth Industrial Revolution, characterized by digital transformation in all industries and across societies.

Where do you think it’s leading us? 

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