At the Health Summit in D.C. two weeks ago, I was asked to articulate those things that leaders should consider as they navigate the complexity of our emerging future. The three that always top my list are:
- Resetting our intuition and belief system for a new era – think differently
- Shifting to a hybrid profit and purpose orientation
- Seeking a balance between innovation that enhances society and mitigating the risk of unintended consequences.
This two minute video captures that portion of our panel discussion.
3 thoughts on “Belief Systems, Purpose, and Balance”
Good talk, interesting, thanks.
1) Thinking Differently
A key mind shift that appears necessary is to review and update the simplistic “more is better” relationship with knowledge which has been the foundation of technological culture to date. The “more is better” relationship with knowledge assumes that human beings can successfully manage any amount of power, even as new powers of ever larger scale are brought online at ever faster rates. Such an assumption is no longer reasonable in an era when knowledge and power are exploding, and human maturity is inching forward incrementally at best. Such different thinking is going to be very difficult to achieve, and will probably only begin to truly emerge after extreme pain experiences, for that is how we usually learn, reason alone being a bit of a weak stew.
2) Purpose And Empathy
Will technologies like the Internet build empathy in human populations? This seems a complicated question with no simple answer. Speaking personally, I used to have real world friends before the Internet, and now I spend all my social time online typing with anonymous strangers. I am not alone. It’s a fast paced, easy come / easy go extremely convenient experience with few real permanent connections. Is our empathy being built by such a process? For me at least, it’s probably serving mostly to refine my ability to type about empathy.
Virtual reality seems a black hole which may finish the job of diluting real human experience. Why should I invest time in human connections built upon an ever inconvenient process of compromise and negotiation, when a gorgeous virtual red head who finds my endless typing to be endlessly fascinating can be my endless companion? I think we probably underestimate the degree to which being able to have literally anything we want at the click of a mouse is going to seduce us away from the messy real world.
3) Unintended Consequences And Balance
This seems related to #1 above, because unintended consequences are likely to arrive at a pace set by whatever rate the knowledge explosion is exploding. Balance would seem to involve shifting our focus from the outdated “more is better” paradigm, to a relationship with knowledge that is more management based. As example, now that food is plentiful in many parts of the world, and obesity related diseases outstrip starvation as a threat, we’ve evolved our relationship with food from the ancient “more is better” perspective, to a relationship built around intelligently managing food intake. Some food is essential, more is not automatically better.
It’s the same with knowledge. As we’d better figure out without much more delay.
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