In 1967, The Young Rascals sang, “How can I be sure in a world that’s constantly changing?” At that point in time, the world was attempting to shake off the conformity to standards that prevailed as a result of the Industrial Age. Although standardizing mass production in industry elevated the middle class, social conformity was loosing its appeal to the youth. The social change that emerged was referred to as a “Generation Gap” between younger people and their elders, particularly their parents. The unprecedented size of the 60’s Baby Boomer generation (half of the American population was under 25) likely attributed to its ability to shun convention and amass the rapid cultural change that ensued.
Just shy of 50 years later, constant change now takes shape in an interconnected, volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world. We moved from the Industrial Age to the Information Age (late 1970s to 2015) and are poised to enter the Innovation Age whose tipping point will be catalyzed by 50% of humanity having access to the internet. With such global connection just around the corner, the complexity of the Innovation Age is evident in its reach, which will include not only cultural change but also economic, environmental, political and spiritual change.
Let’s assume for a moment that shifting paradigms such as moving from the Industrial to the Innovation Age reflect the shifting values listed below.
When we compare the values necessary to enable innovation to those of our existing global conditions, it becomes evident we are standing with one foot firmly rooted in the Industrial Era and the other just stepping into the Innovation Era. A very recent example of this discrepancy is Russia’s post-Olympic invasion of the Ukraine where power, discipline and competition are being both challenged and asserted.
Another sure sign of being in the midst of shifting paradigms is the discovery of new perspectives and new language to expand old views and beliefs. An Upworthy video illustrates our shifting view of government ‘hand-outs’ to the poor (welfare) and to the wealthy (enticements and entitlements).
What could be a wonderful illustration of the emerging Innovation Age’s values is being played out within the European Union (EU). The European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee has demanded the EU develop a homelessness strategy as its priority. The Guardian reveals there are twice as many empty houses in Europe than people who are homeless. A bold act of humanity, creativity and generosity would be to fill those homes with the homeless.
We may feel as though we have come a long way from the Industrial Age’s power-based and wealth-driven economy, but as the scenarios described above indicate, we are not all on the same wavelength. Let’s suppose the ‘values’ of the Innovation Age are held by the 99%, what of the 1% that still carries the lion-share of wealth and power and continues to cling to the old paradigm?
Have no fear, inter-connected people can now do what only organizations could do in the Industrial Age. In fact, they can do it better, faster and more humanely. I trust the tipping point we are fast approaching will fully plant both of our feet into the Innovation Age. As in the 1960s, when we accrue critical mass and hear similar messages emerging from multiple sectors (economic, political, spiritual), there is greater certainty that what we are seeing and hearing is the truth.
The era of choosing for others, persuading others, convincing others, and
converting others has been replaced by a new era in which those same
endeavors are profoundly counterproductive. They backfire in big ways.
The new era requires distinguishing love from fear in yourself, choosing
between them for yourself, and assuming responsibility for the consequences
that your choices create. The era of telling others what is best for them and
coercing others into what is best for them is over. The era of consulting your
intuition and allowing others to consult theirs has arrived. The era of holy
righteousness, justifiable outrage, entitlement, and disregard for the
processes of others is over.
Gary Zukav, Spiritual Partnership: The Journey to Authentic Power
What bold act of humanity, creativity and generosity are you bringing forth today?
For more on happy, healthy, humane and innovative processes to connect people, click here.