Monday, August 30, 2010

To Succeed, It Will Take A Whole New Mind

For the last several months, we have been exploring the economic and social changes of the early 21st century. You may recall my stating that those changes, unsettling as they are, may eventually lead to a better world.

Some readers take exception to that view, which they consider overly optimistic. But I firmly believe that nothing can reverse the course of history, so we might as well try to understand it and make the best of it.

One very helpful book in that endeavor is 
A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel F. Pink.

Pink says that, just as the Agricultural Age gave way to the Industrial Age, the current Information Age is, as we speak, giving way to the "Conceptual Age." This change is in large part due to the triple influences of Abundance (we're used to having virtually unlimited choices at our fingertips), Asia (the outsourcing of what Pink characterizes as "knowledge work"), and Automation (thousands of tasks once performed by humans can be performed better and cheaper by machines).

Those trends are combining to eliminate many jobs that were based on rational, analytical, and logical thinking skills -- thought processes controlled by the left side of the brain.

Pink postulates that, in order to succeed and prosper, American workers and entrepreneurs will need to master and incorporate the six right-brained senses of Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play, and Meaning. These are all intuitive and emotional skills that, when combined with the still-important left-brained skills, will address the emerging needs of consumers (and in our case, clients) as we move steadily into the Conceptual Age.

More importantly, many of the tasks performed using those right-brained skills cannot be done by a computer or sent to a remote worker in India, because they involve human feeling and emotion combined with direct personal interaction.

This brief introduction only scratches the surface; there's a lot in this thought-provoking book to stimulate ideas and discussion. I find that many of the concepts and suggestions can apply to my work with clients, and I'm looking forward to incorporating them as we march forward into an uncertain future.

Enjoy the week!

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