“We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before.” -Klaus Schwab via The Fourth Industrial Revolution
The level of disruption we are facing as a society is enormous in its entirety and possibility. When we begin to consider the actual worker displacement and economic upheaval that we may be facing, on a national, let alone global proportions, we become much more concerned about what may lay on the horizon.
In many ways, technology has ignited this explosive level of innovation that is kindling these fires of disruption. A whole new world of previously inconceivable potential is being opened up right before our eyes. The predictions of what is to come is almost unfathomable in the possibilities that lie around the corner.
If it can be imagined, it is being contemplated and considered. From a neuroscientist who has “found a way to transmit visual code directly to the brain” (via BBC: The Genius Behind) to help the blind see again to robots that can learn. Technology has continued to push society along at an exponential clip.
Realization of what these shifts will provide, both in a positive and negative way, will allow us to better prepare our children, ourselves and our organizations for what may be a very unpredictable future. At least, one that is very unlike the future that we conceive to currently exist.
In many ways, we have this belief that the speed of this change will de-accelerate and eventually plateau, but so did mammoth organizations such as Blockbuster. We keep waiting for things to get back to the way they used to be. We keep waiting for a past that no longer exists.
We can only hide our heads for so long before the rug is eventually pulled out from under our feet. At which point it is too late to pivot and adapt. The damage is done and the only thing left to determine at that point, is how long the drift into irrelevance and obsolescence will actually take.
Those organizations that will remain relevant will have to shift from a focus on sustainability, to one of adaptability. In today’s exponentially shifting world, we will have to be able to move past a focus on replicating ‘best’ practice, to one of seeing ‘around the corner’ to ‘next’ practice.
We are going to need to be much more aware of the shifts that are transforming our world in both subtle and explosive ways.
Realizing that technology and innovation brings both promise and peril allows us to be better prepared for the unpredictability of a different and disrupted future that we are soon to face.
It is in our awareness that we often are able to fulfill the promise, while peril often lies in wait for those who remain unaware.
There is a wide chasm that exists between a focus on sustainability, and creating an organizational foundation that allows for agility and adaptability.