According to the World Economic Forum, Cognitive Flexibility (CF) is among the top ten skills that will be needed in the workplace of the future are the ‘soft’ skills, the innate human skills that simply cannot, at this point, be replaced by artificial intelligence or technology in general.
Understanding and ability to recognise, what is cognitive flexibility, and what it is not for that matter, is the key to being able to develop this crucial skill, hence the largest part of the module is devoted to defining, characterising and discussion of the concept.
Cognitive flexibility is defined as the ability to transition our thoughts between multiple concepts or perspectives. Or, as defined by Canas (2003): “Cognitive flexibility is the human ability to adapt the cognitive processing strategies to face new and unexpected conditions in the environment”.
CF as a concept consists of two parts:
- Cognitive, referring to such brain functions as solving problems, thinking citically, connecting ideas and synthesizing information; and
- Flexibility, a quality associated with bending, twisting, thinking about things differently and changing approaches when needed.
Hence, the concept, in popular language, can be thought of as “flexible brain” or “brain that twists easily”.