Understanding the trends and forces that are transforming our world and igniting the need for readaptation.
Every species must adapt to their ecosystem in order to survive, and we as humans are no different. From our physical body to our behavioral and professional traits, learning to walk, talk, study and work are all adjustment we make in order to continuously overcome the challenges presented by our surroundings. Such adaptation has occurred to us as a species throughout our evolution, as societies throughout our history and continues as individuals in our day to day lives.
In order to adapt, however, there must be a compatibility between the nature and speed of change in our surroundings and our capacity to learn and adjust. Evolutionary history is filled with stories os species – including Homo Erectus, Neanderthals and at least four other homo species – that disappeared precisely because they were unable to keep up with the demands presented by their surrounding environment, and the same is true for empires and corporations. Luckily, homo sapiens are resilient and extremely ingenious and in our modern society we’ve done a great job of adapting so far. But our challenges are far from over.
To say that our surrounding environment is now changing at accelerating pace scarcely conveys the intensity of the transformation. Besides the disconcerting speed and growing pervasiveness of our current tech-based transformation, it is further morphing into new mediums (digital, virtual, biological) creating new organizational structures (decentralized, distributed, autonomous) reaching new scales (nanotechnology, celular) integrating into physical realms (with IoT, robotics, cognification and 3D printing) and birthing the perplexing creation of an entirely new form of genetic engineering and artificial intelligence. These multiple development are now expected to enter their market maturity fase in practical overlap, and promise to reinvent entire industries and to accelerate what has been an already revolutionary transformation of our world. To add even more fuel to an already a unimaginable spectrum of future possibilities, these innovations and are happening alongside a series of new discoveries and developments in the frontier of science that seem to be pushing the boundaries of long-standing beliefs, and igniting an appreciation for the true complexity of reality.
Where all this happening inside a controlled laboratory, we could afford playing hit and miss for a few more generations, yet our present situation is quite the opposite. We have entered both the Anthropocene, where humans cause major shifts in the entire planetary biosphere, and the period known as the Great Filter, where we have the capacity to wipe out ourselves and almost all other species on the planet. Indeed the stakes of our action have never been higher. Be it in our growing cultural and geopolitical tensions, the increase in health problems, in drastic ecological effects and a nagging quest for a sense of meaning in ours lives, these spiralling trends all seem to call for a deep reappraisal of our how we deal with ourselves and our surrounding environment.
The posts written under this category aim to clarify the transformations and challenges happening today and why they will test our adaptability to its limits, as individuals, as organizations and as societies. There is no doubt that we have the capacity to deal with the challenges we now face, but this is by no means a given. Doing so will require us to develop a more dynamic, encompassing and high performing skill set, one which will allows us to keep up with the powerful forces we are unleashing and hopefully direct them to a desired output. It will require us, ultimately, to expand our individual and collaborative potential, the subject of our next category.