2011: The Shift Age is Clearly Here
01/01/11 is the second digital New Year’s Day in a row. A year ago it was 01/01/10, also zeros and ones, the two digits of the Information Age of computers. That column, called “The Transformation Decade” seemed to resonate immediately as it was widely sourced in the blogosphere and retweeted globally on Twitter. I created a presentation, “The Transformation Decade: 2010-2020” that was widely requested and delivered around the world this past year.
The definition of ‘transformation’ is ‘a change in nature, shape, character and form’. The Transformation Decade therefore will be the ten years when most of humanity and its’ institutions will change nature, shape, character and form. This transformative force will sweep most along with a palpable sense of acceleration and change. In advising companies for example, I have said that old management theories that applied in the 20th century are no longer sufficient, that only leading from a place of transformation will keep companies current with the world around them. To not operate with a dynamic sense of the definition of the word transformation will risk decline and obsolescence.
In the past four years, and in the three years since my book “The Shift Age” was published, I have said two things. First, that the Great Recession of 2007-2010 is a reorganizational recession as it is the economic transition between two ages, the Information Age and the Shift Age. Second, that we are already in the Shift Age but that the perception and acceptance of a new age in the general population always lags behind the true beginning of that age.
The Information Age is generally thought to have begun in the mid-1970s but it wasn’t until the 1980s, with the widespread introduction of personal computers, fax machines, cable television, communications satellites and cell phones that humanity perceived and accepted that a new age had begun. I think that the Shift Age has already begun and that 2011 will be the year when an ever increasing percentage of humanity will in fact, sense that a new age has begun.
Marshall McLuhan famously said that most people drive on the freeway of life, looking in the rear view mirror. Everyone can speak to their past, their stories, their viewpoints which are all part of their past/present context. This New Year will pull an ever increasing number of people into the present acceptance of the change that a new age initiates.
The pace has quickened, the rules are rapidly changing, our electronic connectedness has not only recast how we communicate but is both a force of transformation and a new environment in which we now live.
We are moving into a new age where:
– Our hand held devices are becoming appendages and portals to our selective and connected worlds. The devices we carry in our pockets and hands trump the computing power of all the Mercury and Apollo spacecrafts.
– The words “job” and “employment” are undergoing transformation as significant as the transition from the Agricultural Age to the Industrial Age. We are moving back toward being individual artisans, similar to where we were prior to the centralization of the Industrial Age employment model. (This is a topic I will address extensively in 2011) .
– The global stage of human evolution has begun. Nation states and the major structures of nations are giving way to an accelerating interconnectivity of global entities and collective thinking.
– Human migration will be greater than in any other time in human history, both in total numbers and percentages
– The speed of change has become environmental. We now live in an environment of change.
– The synaptic cyberspace of the Neurosphere is becoming a technologically connected model for a probable evolutionary step up to a new level of consciousness
We have entered the Shift Age. More of us will see this every day. We have entered the Transformation Decade. More of us will feel this transformative energy than ever before. The first two decades of this decade are digital years in that, on a six digit writing there are many dates of just zeros and ones. While that in and of itself is not important, 2011 is the last year until 2100 that will be digital in this manner. This numerological fact points to the significance of the time we are in. It will be 90 years until this happens again. Future historians will look at the next ten years as when the shaping of the 21st century truly began.
Welcome to 2011! Happy New Year! Happy New Decade! Happy New Age!