NOTE: The column below was published on January 1, 2010, or 01-01-10, a very interesting digital date. I am republishing it for several reasons. First, it has become a very powerful metaphor when giving speeches or leading corporate and government retreats. The concept of transformational change as described below makes change, large and small, more palatable for leaders and people in general. Second the forecasts made more than five years ago have proven to be accurate. Third, it has become apparent to me that, though we are now half way through the decade chronologically, we may well be only one third of the way through the total amount of change that will occur during the decade. So the amount of change in the second half of this decade will be twice the amount of the first half. This will be somewhat disorienting for many people as the amount of change of the last five years has been almost unparalleled in history.
This new decade, 2010-2020, will be known as the Transformation Decade. The definitions of transformation are several: the act or process of transforming, the state of being transformed, change in form, appearance, nature, or character.
Don’t those definitions feel like what has been already going on in your life and the world? Many of us have already been living in this state. Many of us have only recently felt the impending alterations, disruptions and reorganizations that have begun. Everything seems to be in a transforming state of shift.
We are entering the first full decade of the Shift Age, even though it has already taken root in the last 4 years. This new age has launched incredible shift and upheaval already. This current Great Recession can only be fully understood when seen as the reorganizational recession between two ages, the Information Age and the Shift Age. It is not unlike the recessions of the 1970s, which was the decade of transition between the Industrial and Information Ages. Almost everything is in a state of shift, in a state of being transformed.
Think about all that is going on in your life and in the world. The way we communicate has and will continue to change in form, appearance (our gadgets are vastly different than even five years ago) and character (how many of you text or tweet regularly versus even three years ago). The shape of our relationships is changing. The shape of how we work, how we live and how and in what we travel are all changing. The economy and the workplace are changing and being reshaped.
In the next ten years there will be a level of transformation probably unmatched in human history:
– Humanity’s relationship to communication technology is rapidly changing and will bring on-going transformation socially, culturally and economically.
– Media will be completely different that it is today. We are only at the initial creative destruction phase of it now.
– Economic metrics will need to be transformed, both on national and global levels
– How countries define defense will be transformed given the shape changing nature of our enemies and the threats that face us.
-Energy and energy use will be transformed from the 20th century ways we look at it and use it still today. Alternative and renewable energy development and use will create great new wealth and will transform landscapes and how we live.
-Education is no longer serving the needs of people and society; it will be transformed. K-12 education will be dramatically transformed in the next ten years. For a large part of the population it will become K-14.
– The medical breakthroughs around the corner will make 2010-2020 the most transformative decade in medical history. This is not just due to the actual discoveries, but to what they will make us face and the moral decisions we will confront for the first time. We will all have the affordable ability to know our unique complete genetic map. We will move into the age of personalized medicine as a result. We will have fore knowledge of probable personal health conditions in the future. That will transform how we live. The concept of pre-existing conditions will largely go away as we were born with them genetically. Do you get married if you and your intended partner’s respective genetic maps are not a good match? Does knowledge trump love? Who gets to make the decision as to who gets to live forever in an over crowded world? We will have the capability to make such decisions. How do we develop the ability to do so? There will be transformation across the board in health care and medicine.
-We will undergo personal transformation as well. Our consciousness will change in dynamic ways. Our relationships, our work place, our view of life and even the definition of life itself will be transformed
-The workplace will be transformed as the place part becomes less and less relevant. Human beings will only need to be in the same place to collaborate, as work is increasingly defined as collaborative.
– The Internet and our rapid fire use of mobile digital devices to access it has created a pulsing, synaptic place of unprecedented interactivity that on a global scale is starting to feel like a global brain. It is a live, morphing place called the Neurosphere that is not only transforming us now, but could well be the technological model for a new level of human consciousness in 10-20 years. That is an evolutionary level of transformation. An Evolutionshift. It may be hard for you to envision, but we are rapidly moving in that direction.
The list could go on and on as to what will be transformed. Take a snapshot look at your life now with all your relationships, ways of thinking, ways of living and ways of looking at the world I promise you that when you take the same snapshot in ten years you will astounded as to the transformation that will have occurred. The speed of change is now both constantly accelerating and environmental. It may feel uncomfortable as familiar things and ways of living are disintegrating. Transformation, to varying degrees, is always uncomfortable. We are and will be transformed in the next ten years.
We have entered the Transformation Decade.