“Our distributed technology infrastructure, however, is increasingly de-gridding not only our communication but also our social and economic landscapes, with value flowing not through centralized nodes but through many more much smaller nodes; us, individuals.” -Marina Gorbis via The Nature of the Future: Dispatches from the Socialstructed World
And it is disrupting everything.
Or as Gorbis adds in The Nature of the Future, “We are quickly finding out that when we go from a centralized communications infrastructure to a distributed one, when we connect everything and everyone, the result is not just to make things faster, better, and bigger. The social system itself acquires a fundamentally different quality: it becomes more diversified, more emergent, and often unpredictable.”
It is not just the acceleration of change, but the speed of how change is evolving itself that is becoming so disruptive to the world around us. Every day, we are finding our idea of possible being shifted in incremental and exponential ways. It is this constant emergence of the new, and not knowing who or where that shift will arise from, that is causing such volatility, unpredictability, complexity and ambiguity in how we now see and face the future.
It is not just the technologies themselves, but the possibilities they create, that is often unraveling our often static view of the future. And each new possibility arrives with a plethora of AND’s, with both positives AND negatives. Disrupting us professionally AND personally, as individuals AND organizations, internally AND externally. And it is affecting everything.
Amazon Go, Google Deep Mind, IBM Watson, Driverless cars, Mass Personalization, Big Data, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Automation, Augmented Reality, 3D Printing, are just a sampling of how technology is not only changing our world, but how we live and work, from our institutions to our organizations, from government, to health, and education. And it is the speed at which these technologies emerge and evolve, that is not only accelerating this change in our world, but inserting much more volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity into these shifts.
It is this disruptive nature and accelerated pace of change that is going to require our leaders and organizations to not only be much more aware, but more proactive in how we approach the future. Too often we find ourselves and our organizations flat-footed, caught off-guard, and reactionary in our stance to these shifts.
As they say, “we shape our tools, then our tools shape us” is very appropriate for understanding today’s world. However, it is not just us, but our organizations and institutions, as well. And it is changing everything.
The ongoing emergence of the new will require us as individuals, as well as our leaders and organizations, to realize that we have all become beginner’s in this new world. Understanding this shift, tempering our expert mindset, will allow us to fully realize that our greatest asset moving forward, if we are to begin to parallel pace this turbulent pace of change, will be and remain our ability to learn.
It will be our tipping point for transformation.
“Shaped by technologies we are only beginning to deploy, the very underpinnings of our society and institutions – from how we work to how we create value, govern, trade, learn, and innovate – are being reshaped. All the systems built on top of the distributed technology infrastructure – governance, education, manufacturing – are undergoing this transformation.” -Marina Gorbis via The Nature of the Future: Dispatches from the Socialstructed World