I was recently invited to submit a paper for publishing at EDiNEB (Education Innovation in Economics and Business) Conference, here is a short extract to see if it stimulates some debate!
The pace of change in the 20th century was phenomenal, to some it was even frightening, and it is still accelerating rapidly as we journey into the 21st century. Primarily driven by developments in technology, the impacts are being felt in all areas of our lives from the way we shop and the way we travel, to the way we access entertainment and even memories!
Change is always happening and, although the pace may vary in different aspects of existence, the increase in velocity overall means that we are now living in a time where paradigm shifts are not just possible, they are starting to become expected.
Technological capability in the information age has already affected major changes that empower the individual, most of which are charactarised by visibility, accountability, accessibility and connectivity. The result is a fundamental shift in the way we live, where information is accessed through technology to augment our physical reality continuously, 24/7. The way we communicate, the way we learn, the way we make decisions as well as the way we do business and the way we work.
- We can access various levels of information about individuals (and organisations) across a range of channels as well as their associations and associates, be this in a social or business context
- We can each share layers of data about ourselves and others, managing access across a growing range of direct and broadcast media channels
- We are increasingly held responsible for what we say and do in the various roles we adopt in our working and social lives
The way we learn
- We can get answers to almost any question immediately through the internet, usually free of charge
- We can store our knowledge and even our memories (photos) externally, accessing them and sharing them in an increasing variety of ways
- We can effectively leverage the knowledge across our contact networks learning from our peers and sharing our own insights, and now formal training from top tier academic institutions is starting to become affordable and accessible online via MOOCS (Massive Online Open Courses)
The way we decide
- We can research ideas managing the “media filter” and choosing trusted sources to inform our opinions
- We know with a greater degree of certainty whether companies (and people) are competent and trustworthy
- We can continuously review and refine what holds real meaning for us, from big picture to specific issues, causes and beliefs
The impacts of change on the economic landscape and the world of work are equally compelling. Predictions made by eminent “Futurologist” Dr James Bellini only a couple of years ago are already becoming increasingly evident across the world.
“The [freelance] worker of the future will need to be a self-governing, self-marketing one-person enterprise.”
Dr James Bellini 2010 (From PCG 2010 Report “Freeing Up Potential”)
All of this technological advancement is empowering individuals in completely new ways, inspiring a new “nation of shopkeepers”, a whole ecosystem of lean and agile micro-businesses, natural marketers and collaborators unfettered by the paranoia of competitive capitalism and not bound by endless bureaucracy.
I totally believe that this naturally emerging micro-business economy is an example of (socio-economic) systems ‘self-righting’, in the way technology has returned power to the individual, helping restore balance through collaboration and consensus. It is taking us towards a more sustainable future in terms of employment, commerce, ethics and the environment where individuals leverage the internet as a “tool for conviviality” to define meaning in their own working lives (Ivan Illich in 1972).