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Wednesday, July 06, 2016


{**** Long read ****}

Has the world changed more in last 20 years than it changed in previous 20 years? Is the new world after the end of cold war changing much more rapidly compared to the world that was on tight leash by the opposing superpowers? From 1992 to 2012 we definitely have come a long way ahead. One may argue that will always be the case in any 20 years period. Would one say that from 1972 – 1992 world changed much less than it changed from 1992-2012? Or is this question immaterial?

Definitely last twenty years has given us a tremendously fast-paced connected world, some may argue connected dangerously and some may argue pacing dangerously – as some small event in one part may have unprecedented effect on the whole world. The world built on information superstructure that has been in the making for many decades after Second World War, has definitely shaped the world that impacts the whole world in unprecedented ways.

2012 is an Alien Planet for residents of 1992 

Let us assume you are in 1992. You open your eyes and you have come to 2012. What will be the new world that you will experience?
I remember late 1980s and early 1990s students were asked by their parents and teachers to think about their profession in life. Today we hear profession word from the teachers and parents but the students are talking about pursuing their passion not necessarily a defined profession. In 1992 it was all about "competition" - how do I compete? It became "how do I collaborate" - now it is becoming “how we co-create”? In 1992 it was "Me too" today it is "Me only"? One can say Co-create and Me-only how can these two co-exist – this is the beauty of the new world – multiple me-only attitudes can come together to co-create if they seek synergy – there definitely are more conflicts as well. Yet the choices are available to all. In 1992 it was "buying a car" (or buying anything) - it became "selecting a car" today it is "I am demanding my car". In 1992 it was all about "consuming" today it is shifting towards "embracing". In 1992 it was all about "watching from the sidelines" - today it is all about "immersing in the action". In 1992 it was my street today it is my world – the global village.

Suddenly the world is facing a crisis of freedom.

Freedom is needed from old ways and to the surprise of most of us it is available for all of us. The world suddenly has started demanding less control more creation, less management more on-its-own, less of post-facto data analysis, more of empiricism and experimentation, less of hierarchies more of networks, less of pyramidal thinking more of all-inclusive thinking; It’s a tough ask for people who are tuned to last century work ethics - the control freaks need to wake up - world is self-organizing. World wants itself to be free from hierarchy. The death of the organization charts in the enterprises built-in earlier world is imminent if not already buried. Whether the world has flattened on not – jury is still out – but enterprises need to be flattened otherwise they are in for death sentence.
World produce enough food to feed twice the world population and yet almost 1 Billion people are chronically hungry. Can the forces shaping globalization make it happen - the harmonious distribution of food? Can technology help? More than technology, I think it is the people's will to act. Can the powerful shift their focus from summarily starting regime changes in resource rich countries to solving the real problems? We are moving towards a new form and structure of the world and just like no one planned the world after cold-war – the new world cannot be planned by control freaks.

We need to globalize to remove hunger - not to aggravate it.

Amy Chuha in her book “World on Fire” describes "globalization has created a volatile concoction of free markets and democracy that has incited economic devastation, ethnic hatred and genocidal violence throughout the developing world." This is really the other side - the connected in the globalizing world becomes haves and stronger haves, leaving the unconnected as have-nots. This is potentially a dangerous disparity that can kill the very roots of globalization. Borders and cultures still matter greatly. This is the identity that individuals and individual communities want to protect at huge costs. There in lie the nemesis of standardization through technology enabled globalization.
Complexity is the basis and result of Globalization

The first market crash after the word Globalization became a commodity was clear indication of how complex the world that we have has become. Complicated new financial tools outpaced the comprehension of regulators, bankers or customers. In fact, comprehension has gone for a toss – although we are free but we are swamped with unprecedented choices – the explosion of choice is not what human mind is able to absorb easily. This is the danger of complexity. When Globalization is the focus - complexity increases without warning and it engulfs the world in dimensions not even comprehensible. How to design globalization taking care of complexity is what Innovation should be focusing on - therein is the play - the globalization, complexity and innovation as three pronged world dimensions need to be taken care of, simultaneously.

When Doors are opened - Traffic is both ways

When western countries (read US) forced Indian and other Asian economies to open their markets in late 1980s and early 1990s, west believed that they will get large markets for their products as well as cheap labor to work for their leisure and pleasure. They forced economies to open through multiple thrusts and forces that the so called poor protected economies had no means to push back. The poor relented. In 1990s opening of Indian economy by current Prime Minister, who was then finance minister of India was criticized and generated a feeling of fear of new products coming in India thus ending the so called monopoly of existing players in protected economy.
Well, two decades later, the story has been turned on its head. It is the hunter who is feeling hunted now. The Asian industries due to the strong innovation capability in a constrained environment that they are used to, have created a much bigger impact due to spreading globalization - for the simple reason that their people, are more used to ingenuity in adapting to change. And the change is what has exploded due to globalization spread. In the Connected Age, the early adapters will thrive. The era of lazy, leisure seeking, materialistic, automation dependent humans - in any society - either in US, Europe or Asia is ending. We have entered the age of continuous creative work - that will lead to the future - under constraints of living as per existing parameters of consuming natural resources. Some years back an article in New Yorker noticed, “When we persuaded developing countries to open their doors to us, we also opened our doors to them. Now they’re walking through." Well, when doors are opened, traffic is both ways.

Innovation to continuous co-creation – the lenses of 2012

The age of ideas is the new world. Ideas are essential for innovation. There is no other way but to understand that idea will survive and thrive only when attitudes are open and ideas themselves are valued not the source and all the mechanisms of control that our systems have been designed are eliminated in a radical shift towards embracing the self-organizing world and world is embracing the freedom of choice.
World will be integrating across economic, technological, personal, political and social dimensions. This is where globalization anyway is leading us. The waves of change explosions being seen now will take in its stride all forms of controls structures – be it military, intelligence communities – state actors, non-state actors or even terror creating structures. This change will create churn – upheavals that the residents of 1972 or 1992 cannot digest. We are in planet 2012 which is markedly different – fundamentally different than the planet 1972 or planet 1992.

New ideas are needed to solve the new problems. These ideas perhaps need to be applied in new ways may be in new contexts. These ideas are needed as new are seeking new results, new structures, new systems, new ways to understand, new ways to create and may be thrive in the world demands freedom to choose to create the new world. Mankind has survived, thrived and sustained through ingenuity, adaptation and innovation. However, the challenges of the Globalizing Innovation Complexity (GIX) are to be met – if at all we have to meet these – through continuous co-creation. A model of working where minds put together their individual unique capabilities and identities to create a solution that will solve real tough problems that we are going to face in planet 2012.
We have the minds, the models the means – what is needed is a lens to view planet 2012 not from lenses of planet 1992 or planet 1972 but the new lenses that we have. With these lenses, the globalization will lead to changes for making the world a hunger free planet, not exercising military actions or regime changes on some whims of mere thought of nuclear weapons. Hope the residents of 1992 wake up to the planet of 2012 and are given the lenses of planet 2012.

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