Today’s post will require a tiny bit of pre-work.
Earlier this year, Fast Company published a fascinating article called This Is Generation Flux: Meet The Pioneers Of The New (And Chaotic) Frontier Of Business. Overall, it’s a fantastic piece and I’d highly recommend reading it.
The other reason I want you to read it, however, is because I’m going to be rebutting a couple of points from the article below. (You can read the article online here or download a free PDF of it here.)
Before I get into that, I wanted to highlight a few really poignant quotes from the feature. There are a lot of great ones…
Big Important Points:
- “The business climate, it turns out, is a lot like the weather. And we’ve entered a next-two-hours era [where we can’t predict anything beyond that.]”
- “Any business that ignores these transformations does so at its own peril.”
- “We need to systematize change.”
- “Most big organizations are… absolutely horrible at solving ambiguous problems–when you don’t know what you don’t know.”
- “Do we really want to return to a world of just three broadcast channels?”
- “Flexibility of skills leads to flexibility of options. To see what you can’t see coming, you’ve got to embrace larger principles.”
- “The key is to be clear about your business mission. In a world of flux, this becomes more important than ever.”
Next, my two rebuttals…
Missing The Mark #1:
The article’s author states that there is no credible long-term picture for what will define the next era, saying: “If there is a pattern to all this, it is that there is no pattern.” I wholeheartedly disagree, and actually find this perspective to be quite unhelpful.
It turns out, people scattered across many disciplines and industries are talking about this shift, and about what humanity can and is becoming. The challenge is that these futurists are often so dispersed that it’s hard to hear the narrative.
This is one of the primary reasons I wrote Igniting the Invisible Tribe in the manner I did: I wanted to capture these scattered visions and pull them together in a single, cohesive, and compelling account that could help everyday folks like me make sense of all the changes. There are patterns — and, frankly, they are incredibly exciting.
Missing The Mark #2:
There’s a quote in the article that says the work revolution we are experiencing has “come to technology first, but will reach every industry.” The last part of this sentence is very, very true. The first part, though… notsomuch.
We’ve become comfortable with viewing technology as an industry unto itself, but it is not. Technology is simply an extension of mentality, led by early adopters and cultural pioneers. Technology is a tool we use to make whatever we’re really doing easier (hopefully).
This is an important distinction, because what the new economy is actually demanding is work that is more connected, human, and meaningful than it used to be. These are all things that technology can promote… or erode. Technology is value-neutral. Its effects can be very bad or they can be very good. What makes the difference is what we choose to do with it. (I will say this point does get a limited mention towards the end of the report.)
What did you think of the article? Leave a comment below!
The Reinvention Of Work (Our Mission) by Josh Allan Dykstra on October 5th, 2010
Capitalism: A Love Story? by Josh Allan Dykstra on October 14th, 2009
We Are What We Choose (2010 Princeton Baccalaureate Remarks by Jeff Bezos) by Josh Allan Dykstra on June 20th, 2010