By David Houle
We introduce our first guest blogger of our new monthly series on the 25th of every month, in celebration of our 25th anniversary.
David Houle, author of The Shift Age is one of the top futurists in the country and a much-sought after speaker. Houle spent more than 20 years in media and entertainment having worked at NBC, CBS and a member of the senior executive team that created and launched MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1 and CNN Headline News.
This new decade, 2010-2020, will be known as the Transformation Decade. The definitions of transformation are several: the act or process of transforming, the state of being transformed, change in form, appearance, nature, or character.
Don’t those definitions feel like what has been already going on in your life and the world? Many of us have already been living in this state. Many of us have only recently felt the impending alterations, disruptions and reorganizations that have begun. Everything seems to be in a transforming state of shift.
We are entering the first full decade of the Shift Age, even though it has already taken root in the last 4 years. This new age has launched incredible shift and upheaval already. This current Great Recession can only be fully understood when seen as the reorganizational recession between two ages, the Information Age and the Shift Age. It is not unlike the recessions of the 1970s, which was the decade of transition between the Industrial and Information Ages. Almost everything is in a state of shift, in a state of being transformed.
To those that may think we are still in the Information Age let me ask you a question I often ask audiences: raise your hand if you don’t have enough information in your life? Of course no one raises their hand. Value, to some degree, is base upon scarcity. If there is too much information, it no longer has value. What will have value in the Shift Age and this new Transformation Decade is attention. The information you put your attention on is what becomes valuable. The question PR professionals must dynamically answer is how can you create attention that therefore creates value?
Think about all that is going on in your life and in the world. The way we communicate has and will continue to change in form, appearance (our gadgets are vastly different that even five years ago) and character (how many of you text or tweet regularly versus even three years ago). The shape of our relationships is changing. The shape of how we work, how we live and how and in what we travel are all changing. The economy and the workplace are changing and being reshaped.
In the next ten years there will be a level of transformation probably unmatched in human history. Just take a look at some disruptions that will transform the PR business:
- Humanity’s relationship to communication technology is rapidly changing and will bring on-going transformation socially, culturally and economically.
- Media will be completely different than it is today. We are only at the initial creative destruction phase of it now
- The workplace will be transformed as the place part becomes less and less relevant. Human beings will only need to be in the same place to collaborate, as work is increasingly defined as collaborative.
- The Internet and our rapid fire use of mobile digital devices to access it has created a pulsing, synaptic place of unprecedented interactivity that on a global scale is starting to feel like a global brain. It is a live, morphing place called the Neurosphere that is not only transforming us now, but could well be the technological model for a new level of human consciousness in 10-20 years. That is an evolutionary level of transformation. An evolution shift of transformative effect.. It may be hard for you to envision, but we are rapidly moving in that direction.
The list could go on and on as to what will be transformed. Take a snapshot look at your life now with all your relationships, ways of thinking, ways of living and ways of looking at the world I promise you that when you take the same snapshot in ten years you will astounded as to the transformation that will have occurred. The speed of change is now both constantly accelerating and environmental. It may feel uncomfortable as familiar things and ways of living are disintegrating. Transformation, to varying degrees, is always uncomfortable. We are and will be transformed in the next ten years.
We have entered the Transformation Decade.