Our traditional model of learning and intelligence that involves absorbing information storing it and then being able to use it to act in a predefined manor is becoming increasingly commodities and less valuable as information becomes pervasive and always accessible. This is also working to increase the value of the cognitive capability of being able to generate new ideas, respond to changing environments that present novel circumstance and deal with situations where there is a lack of data and certainty, all of which requires us to be able to see the context and respond to it, in short, the capacity for adaptive thinking.
Many of the jobs that we are teaching people for today do not exist yet and with mass automation and machine learning these jobs will require less routine information processing and a much greater capacity to synthesise information into knowledge, increasingly people will be required to be able to perform the cognitive process of thinking with self-organization and adaptation being a fundamental part of how this process of cognition works. New ideas emerge from the self-organization of many interconnected parts, any given individual neuron in the brain may have up to ten thousand different connections, being able to generate new ideas and adapt to novel environments means having sufficient diversity of perspectives coupled with being able to create the space to take in new information and allow ideas to self-organize into uniquely adapted responses.
But what is adaptation? Adaptation is a behavior or response that is contingent on its environment, maybe the best way to understand it is to contrast it with reacting, we might think of reacting as a predefined response to a given stimulus, like an automatic door opening whenever someone approaches it. Reactive responses cannot change over time or evolve, they stay doing the same thing time after time, always generating the same response and obviously, this is not going to be very effective in changing environments. Adaptation is the capacity to take in information from the environment and then change in response to this information