Our ability to predict the future is getting worse by the day. The increasing rate of change means that we can only set our direction and respond to what happens. It may be that this inability for us to predict the future will actually help us focus on developing our vision and making it come true.
1. Planning is Less Important
We've spent a generation (perhaps more) perfecting the art of planning. We spent a huge amount of time and money on it. We're now entering a generation where planning is no longer possible.
When your planning and work cycle span years, you better be pretty confident of the future you'll be meeting when you get there. We don't work like this anymore. We can't.
Our work cycle has collapsed. We don't have separate stages for planning, execution and review of outcomes. We do it in one hyper-vigilant, super-senory step. Why isn't this scary? Because by giving up any hope of predicting the future, we make ourselves more ready and able to thrive there. Our skills here are not yet perfected, but this is where the focus is.
2. We're Going There Together
Collaboration is becoming the norm, rather than the exception. It means that we have nearly limitless access to collective intelligence and resources.
The participatory web has made the internet into a magic bag, where what we need magically appears as we need it. OK, that's not completely true, but if the information we're seeking exists and if we recognize its value, and it can be transmitted in digital form, we can have it in near realtime. In other words, as we go forward, we have the combined expertise and resources of everyone to lean on.
3. Extreme Learning
As learning has become doing, we are raising our expectations. We are eliminating barriers of expertise and linear progress.
We, with the limitless assistance of the internet, do what we can. And that has more to do with vision, dedication and excitement than anything else. The means of (digital) production and distribution have been democratized by the web. Yes, we can. We are. We will.
4. Soylent Green (and Enterprise) *Is* People
People are the only truly valuable asset a company owns (aside from licenses and real estate). People are the focus of work -- not process, not technology, but what people can do, learn, contribute, emote.
We're no longer talking about technology transforming business, but the transformative power of people and collaboration. In other words, the status and contribution of people in the enterprise is improving. That should lead to good things like more usable technology, more collegial environments and more meaningful work.
The Best Is Yet to Come
No matter who you are or what you do, you know the world is different than it was five or 10 years ago. 2011 will be as different from 2010 as 2010 was from 2005.
We are disruption. We make things happen.
When you eliminate the consternation and detail management of trying to predict what will happen, you can focus on designing what you want to happen. Our vision, therefore, is driving the future. We are actively creating it rather than passively waiting for it to arrive.
As the shrill but brilliant Umair Haque will say, we are making it about the pursuit of awesomeness. At least we have the opportunity to make it so. This vision-driven, action-fueled future will be interesting, will be exciting, will be unpredictable, will be better.
It's not just that the future is here, but unevenly distributed, it's that an infinity of futures is here. We're playing a more active role in picking the best one. Every day.