Some weeks ago, i had the opportunity to listen to a fantastic speech by Joshua Cooper Ramo, writer of the book “The Age of the Unthinkable: why the new world disorder constantly surprises us and what we can do about it”.
This is the sort of guy that when he takes the stage, you immediately know you’re in for something special.
Some personal notes on this great speech:
Our world has now more actors, more groupings. The unpredictability is part of the system. It will be a given part of our future. He talks about:
Our world offers more options. We have a spectrum choice between no options –> limited options –> unlimited options. You can’t predict what people are going to do with these unlimited options.
YOU CAN’T PREDICT
Our world is more networked. It also means it is easier to share and spread risk
So far the analysis. How can we manage this unpredictability ?
One eye-opener was a visual showing how differently western and eastern people look at a picture: western people mainly look at the object, eastern people mainly at the surrounding environment of that object. So, understanding of unpredictability has a lot to do with understanding the environment.
It will also require resilience. But not resilience as we know it from messaging networks like SWIFT. More a resilience deeply integrated in the ecosystem, a bit like Hezbollah integrates resilience in every little piece of its organization.
Periods of change are not the exception but the rule.
You have to surf the wave, not try to predict the wave, but
look at how the wave can help you.
It will be ever easier to disrupt. The question is how to empower people to disrupt for the good. This is really about innovation driven by a set of values. Oh boy, how close is all this to the ideas of our Think Tank on Long Term Future.
Innovation in big companies can NOT take the lead. They have NOT been instrumental in the shifts from magazines to online, from Microsoft desktops to web2.0 cloud, from Financial Institutions to… un-banked payment and financial solutions.
The speech was delivered as part of an Oracle conference. So, i found it a bit “cheap” to say that Oracle was innovative and Microsoft not. The rationale being that Oracle “buys and integrates” and Microsoft buys “tons” of innovation but does nothing with it, does not integrate. Was a bit too close to the Oracle conference message of acquire and integrate.
He then went further on the theme of personal responsibility (i am free to smoke) and the balance with a certain set of basic rights (for ex healthcare). And that in the USA, everything is about rights (and maintaining that state) not about personal responsibility and that that has to change.
About maintaining states: Twitter is all about maintaining state in a constant changing environment.
And that there is hope.
FEAR is an easy commodity to sell when
people are confused
during disruptive change. And that in these circumstances simple answers are usually dangerous answers.
Or the closing topic: never invest in people older than 25 years, as they are not used to live in constant change.
The speech was great. The book reads “like a train”.