Although we think we are changing all the time and at high speed, that is an illusion if you look from a distance.
The Industrial Age started in 1760 in Great Britain, and I would argue that we are still in that period as most of our current institutions and beliefs are based on the dominant thinking of that period.
It is clear that we are in a period of time, which is called ‘transition’, the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another. We are coming out of the Industrial Age (characterized by efficiency, repetition and thus standardization – building a ‘system of sameness’ in every aspect of life) into a new age, which some people call the Information Age. I am not sure about that name, Information Age, as I see information as, the enabler, rather than the purpose and intention in itself. I would like to call it the Age of Connection (characterized by creation, contribution and thus participation – building a ‘universe of uniqueness’), to be truly connected with ourselves, with others, animals and with nature.
But we are not there yet; we are really in this no man’s land, this limbo.
Some of the symptoms of this transition are:
  • High levels of stress, burn-out or worse
  • Feelings of uncertainty, anxiety and discontentment
  • 1% of the people own the wealth in the world
  • Ten mega corporations control the output of almost everything you buy; from household products to pet food to jeans
  • Crises in many areas (economic, viruses, climate change, poverty) are not being solved
  • Unemployment, especially for young people
  • Huge distrust in governments and corporations
  • Education not meeting the market’s needs
  • Discrimination (gender, age, race) is still alive
These symptoms indicate that applying the old rules of the Industrial Age to the new game of the Connection Age are not working.
Therefor we need to learn, build and apply the rules of this new game. Instead of focusing what doesn’t work anymore, we need to build new ways of learning, living and working.
Together we need to design and implement new Operating Systems (economic, social, environmental) that support and enable the just functioning of the Connection Age.
That is not easy as we are only used to change in a linear way. Change is focused on improvement, rather than on disruption.
There are two other forces at play. Exponential technology and convergence of changes.
Exponential technology is coming up to speed. Much of the work that is done by humans is getting replaced by A.I., robots and other automation. Many people are ignorant about these emerging technologies and how it impacts all aspects of their life.
Convergence of changes leads to unpredictable outcomes. We are used to having a stovepipe, a silo perspective for basically any problem. This doesn’t work anymore as many of these changes are impacting each other at an unprecedented rate. For example, migration is not an isolated phenomenon caused by for instance wars. There is also the impact of droughts or floods or human rights and Corona.
Yes, there have been and are many change initiatives to tackle global challenges (climate change, biodiversity, poverty, clean water, renewable energy, inequality). But most of them are unsuccessful. For example, The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has been operational since 1994. Despite an incredible amount of work and money, look where we are now with climate change. The global situation is much worse than when the UNFCCC started.
Yes, there is innovation happening. But most innovation is focused on improvement (putting a turn signal in side mirror of cars) rather than on disrupting the Operating Systems. Crypto and Blockchain are moving in that direction though, but they encounter a lot of resistance from the current tech, bank and governmental leaders. Furthermore, innovation is not coordinated at all, meaning that startups could be working on the same problem in various locations and geographies. In this way, there is a lot of waste of precious talent’s time and effort.
Yes, there is education. But the current education system prepares students for the Industrial Age. The focus is on memorizing, conformity and promoting a lack of agency. Life skills are not taught. Key skills like critical thinking and taking initiative are not addressed. Emerging technology (emtech) are not part of the curriculum. When I asked a mid-level vocational school how long it would take to prepare a drone-operator offering, their answer was seven years. By the time students can choose this new offering it is likely that drone operator is by itself a function that is automated.
Our world is rapidly moving into the direction of a collapse or even an apocalypse. The current approaches are not bringing the fast results that we need.
The role of leaders (whether in business or government) is to maintain the status quo. So, it is not in their interest to drive game-changing initiatives.
If we, the people, are not taking responsibility, our future will be bleak, or even black. If we, the people, don’t take back control, we are screwed.
It is up to us to grab the reins. We need integrated and coordinated, global bottom-up initiatives.
Are you contributing or do you prefer to be asleep and be surprised by the collapse of society?
We can Save Our Society (SOS) if we ignore our ego’s, redesign the core Operating Systems (economic, societal, environmental) and fully collaborate in innovation and re-education initiatives.
Our lives and the lives of future generations depend on it.
I have used my own interpretation of the BJ Fogg behavioral model to structure this document:
PAIN: Dissatisfaction with the current state; Current reality; Motivation
GAIN: Have a vision of a better state; End result; Trigger
TRAIN: Have a path to get there; Have a belief that we can reach that better state; Action steps; Ability
Last modified 1yr ago