I had the pleasure of presenting at a recent function sponsored by Harness All Possibilities (HAP). The organization Founder – Rhonda Eldridge – has embarked on the following mission:
The fast pace of innovation, technology, geopolitics, socio-economics and demographic factors is driving disruption in industry – for both the employer and the employee. HAP’s purpose is to build a sense of connectedness while you embrace a transformational shift of your awareness and skill sets to prepare for 21st century engagement.
I was very impressed with both the organization and their noble mission. Given the life-long and continuous learning required to succeed in the 21st century, HAP is a valuable resource for both employers and employees. My favorite quote from all of my content is this:
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those that can’t read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn” Alvin Tofler: Rethinking the Future
Seeing our emerging future is a critical first step on this journey; and I had the pleasure of providing a small glimpse into that future. Rhonda shared several short videos from the session, which I have included below.
Science and Technology Foundation
5 thoughts on “Harness All Possibilities”
Rhonda Eldridge said, “The fast pace of innovation, technology, geopolitics, socio-economics and demographic factors is driving disruption in industry – for both the employer and the employee.”
So far, so good, this is surely true.
She goes on to say, “HAP’s purpose is to build a sense of connectedness while you embrace a transformational shift of your awareness and skill sets to prepare for 21st century engagement.”
This somewhat vague declaration about “building, embracing, preparing” appears to be the usual passive adaptive relationship with the accelerating pace of knowledge development. The underlying unexamined assumption seems to be that we can successfully adapt to any rate of change, thus we don’t need to be talking about taking control of the rate of change.
Do futurists not grasp the concept of acceleration? Do they not understand that if the knowledge explosion is unfolding at 50mph now, acceleration means the rate of change will then become 500mph, 5,000mph? Are futurists really saying that human culture can successfully adapt to ANY rate of change?? If not, then when does a conversation about controlling the rate of change begin?
Alvin Toffler said, ““The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those that can’t read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
The illiterate of the 21st century are those who are unable or unwilling to unlearn the “more is better” relationship with knowledge which has characterized our past, that is, pretty much our entire culture. But we won’t be illiterate for long, because nature has an effective mechanism for managing those who fail to adapt.
Anyone wishing to be a leader will be required to look beyond the memorized slogans of the futurist community group consensus. If the audience is nodding and smiling and patting us on the back while they politely applaud, we aren’t leading, we’re following.
Here’s a food for thought rhetorical question. I’m not requesting a public answer, though would be happy to receive one.
In your futurist work, is your bottom line a business agenda, or an intellectual agenda? Perhaps you could pretend for a moment that you have to choose between these priorities, which to at least some degree is probably true.
In any endeavor (not just futurism) a business agenda would involve challenging the audience enough to entertain them, but not so much as to upset them. Most members of the audience want the stimulation of challenging thoughts, but they don’t want have to work too hard, nor do they wish to leave the event in despair. A business speaker can explore the boundaries of the group consensus, but they can’t explore too far beyond the group consensus or they will no longer be welcomed in the group, which is bad for business.
An intellectual agenda concerns itself with ideas, with the truth, to the degree that is possible. The job of an intellectual would seem to be, almost by definition, to explore beyond the group consensus. We don’t need intellectuals if they content themselves with echoing what everyone else is already saying.
For any futurist, which is most important? Being accepted as a member of the group, or following the evidence where ever it leads?
If the later is chosen, it is proposed the evidence reveals the following…
QUESTION: Can human cultures successfully adapt (ie. avoid civilization collapse) to ANY rate of change?
If we answer no, some inconvenient conclusions would seem to follow, such as…
If we don’t succeed in doing what the group consensus declares to be impossible, control the rate of knowledge driven change…
1)) Most of what futurists are talking about is probably never going to happen.
2) And if that’s true, futurism is a largely irrelevant enterprise.
Phil, first thanks for your comments and insights. Sincerely appreciated and I welcome a conversation to expand my mindset and knowledge….to explore further what I don’t know (yet).
I have felt the pain of disruption in work, personally, and from those I have met over the past 10 years. It is deeply concerning especially for those who become stuck and disconnected from work, either in their current jobs or while being time-full. We all want to have a better understanding of how we can slow or be part of the change. I felt inspired to build a community, have a conversation, collaborate with others of the same mindset on disruption in work and with your comments wish to learn from you, be challenged so our community is more aware and expand their thinking, explore all possibilities for work, reskills, retrain. I am no futurist but someone who wants to support those who are stuck. We are currently updating our website (which is indeed general and needs tweaking) and other material so let’s connect. I am sure we both can learn from each other based on our respective experiences.
My email is: HelloHap@harnessap.org and again thank you for your comments.
With gratitude, Rhonda Eldridge
Ok, I understand your focus better now, thanks. In my personal case both my biggest career success, and failure, arose out of the pace of knowledge driven change so I can relate to the mission of your project.
Admittedly, my comments above and across the blog will be of little use to anyone trying to deal with the pace of change right now in their personal situation. While my focus is more big picture and longer term, it’s good that there are people like you dealing with the real life situations people are experiencing right now.
As perhaps you can see better than than rest of us, there is a limit to how much social change human beings can successfully manage. What exactly those limits are is unknown, but it seems beyond obvious that our ability to adapt to change is not infinite. Thus, there is a collision coming between the exponential rate of knowledge development and the incremental ability of humans to adapt to the social change generated by the knowledge explosion.
What concerns me is that when a critical mass of people fail to keep up they then present a threat to the entire system. Symptoms of this seem to be appearing everywhere already. Islamic terror may be an example, the election of President Dumpster another. We can’t count on those who are falling behind to quietly lay down and die to make way for the next era.
Civilization is a highly complex thin veneer which can be easily punctured. The whole thing is built upon faith in the future, and if that faith is undermined in enough people, that which looks so sturdy to us now can unravel with breath taking speed. This almost happened with the 2008 financial crisis, a near miss.
In any case, good luck to you and your project!
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Thank you again for your kind words. Encouraged by your perspective and our having empathy for the human being amidst it all. Change is constant so we all are encouraged to be the change we want to see and then help others by how we be in that change.
Best wishes for the remainder of 2017 and I do hope we can connect and chat in 2018. That would be awesome.
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