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Our lives are pretty puny right now. We’re trying to keep groceries shopped, grandparents cared for and businesses afloat just like most people. In business talk, we are pivoting. Pivoting – yup, you got it – means turning in place.
But the story we are living in is huge. To me it feels like a huge abyss, the future, we are staring at. The abyss is so wide that it doesn’t make much difference if we leap or turn on our heels.
Working with futurist and AI developers helps us know what is coming.
They say that in the past 50 000 years, the computing power on our planet has grown by 60 orders of magnitude. This century, it will grow by 300 billion orders of magnitude.
Then the pandemic, of course. Or the pandemics.
The September 11th terrorist attack in 2001 was a geopolitical pandemic. The 2009 economic meltdown was a financial pandemic. The 2020 corona crisis is a biological pandemic.
Now we are looking at a climate pandemic.
This is all mind-blowing.
All these crisis are made possible by our social closeness and intertwined systems. Things will spread virally because we are joined at the hip.
Rosabeth Moss-Kanter’s new book Think Outside the Building has some ideas. Buildings, by which she means established institutions, can’t deal with how formlessness today’s challenges are. The problems are messy. They transcend borders. Institutions are timid and rigid.
So, put up tents and campfires outside the building and use new tools and methods. Go into smaller communities and team up with unconventional partners.
This got my thinking going. Why not use the U.S. presidential election on November 3 as a first-class tool to gauge what’s going on. We’ll learn a lot about the politics of sustainability. We can keep an eye on the fossil fuels (and bike sales for that matter) and the consumption of plant-based food.
To get things moving, we will need great story tellers. Sci-fi writers.
Narratives are the only thing a human brain will easily accept and learn from and the accelerated future we are facing will need so major sizing up.
If you become a hero in that sci-fi story, maybe the rest of us will get it, too.
Kristiina Helenius, Director, Nordic West Office