The 10 Big Shifts of the 21st Century

From Knowledge To Wisdom

20thC. Information was a rare commodity garnered through years of study, traineeships and working your way up the ladder. It was an IQ economy

21stC. Information is everywhere. Any kid with a tablet has access to information that would have been impossible one generation ago. Knowledge is no longer a deal-breaker, it’s about people and network – and that means relationship. So welcome to the EQ economy where knowledge is not dead, but wisdom, what you do with knowledge, has taken its place.

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad. – Miles Kington

From Functionality To Design

20thC. Big machines costing lots of money meant you could make products no one else can make. It was about functionality and owning a unique product.

21stC. Anyone can design something online, 3D print it and have it built. Money is no longer an entry level requirement. So, it comes down to design and ideas.

From Local & Defined To Global & Converged

20thC. We had friends, phones, e-mail, laptops, home and the office. Everything was neatly segregated and could be managed with on/off buttons and public transport.

21stC. Everything has become combined and connected. Electronic communication takes up at least 2 hours of our day but has not increased productivity. Everything has become one and always on .

From Resources To Access

20thC. Businesses were built and run based on access to capital and fixed resources. You controlled it. You could manage it. It was predictable

21stC. It is your access to talent, technology and information that is the determinate factor. Success is not being at the top of the pile but in the centre of the network.

From Hierarchy To Relationship

20thC. Enforced hierarchy, that 1917 paradigm created by IBM, is no longer optimal. Why? It was based on linear process, knowledge and linear client requests. We now live in social networks.

21stC. If access is key – they key access to access is a network. A group of connected human beings who interact, who know each other and work together through natural laws of the system: purpose, balance, a natural order

From Monochrome To Full Colour

20thC. Men work. Woman help. The greyer the hair you have and the whiter you are – the more senior you are.

21stC. We now have 5 generations in the workplace for the first time in history. 30 is the new 50 and power is getting younger and younger. Diversity is a lot more than race and sex.

From The Saviour To The Team

20thC. Businesses would spend vast sums of money on hiring external help to fix their challenges – the Strategy Saviour who would give them the perfect strategy. The lone saviour. The Lion King – the sole champion who wins the day.

21stC. We have the knowledge in on our teams – we just need the skills to extract it and collaborate. We share. We ask for help. Together we can achieve me. So welcome to the Avengers generation – where together we can overcome anything.

From Profit & Power To  Purpose & Planet

20thC. We raced to the top irrespective of the damage we did to the world around us. People were cost centres that existed to make money from to fund the rise of the business and make the rich richer. Shareholder is king.

21stC. The scope has widened. The winners in the race to the top are judged on what they leave in their wake, the mental & physical health of their employees and the state they leave the planet in. Look after your employees and everyone benefits and makes money. The maturity of the baby-boomers all reaching 60 has thrust Purpose back on to agenda. A lifetime of making money – the richest generation ever and they now have another 20+ years to play with. What do they do? Give back and shift the agenda in doing so.

From Algorithmic To Heuristic

20thC. Everything was clean, logical and simple. We automated everything we could. Factories. Plants. Rotas. Schedules. Human Beings are parts in a machine. They come to work. They perform their task. They go home. Repeat

21stC. Anything that requires left brain, logical and process driven thinking has been farmed out to cheaper locations or AI. It’s Asia or Autonomous. What’s left is right brain, creative, non-sequential, breaking from the past, empathetic thinking. Anything that’s can’t be done by a robot.

From Corporate Polluters to Social Polluters

20thC. The planet we lived in was top of the agenda. The poles were melting. CFC’s. Acid rain. Greenhouse gasses. A whole in the Ozone layer. Cute Polar Bears were dying. And it was all the fault of big business, pumping millions of tons of Carbon Dioxide in to the atmosphere, polluting our water ways, contaminating our landfill sites and genuinely making a screwing up the planet. Today you can’t find a company report that does not contain reference to carbon foot print, green energy and sustainability. Unimaginable 30 years ago.

21stC. But many of these same companies are now guilty of another form of pollution, social pollution. Sick, burnt-out, tired, stressed, emotionally damaged employees are costing billions of dollars to our health care system and more billions of dollars in lost work days. We have looked after the physical well being of people, we have looked after the environmental well being of our planet, the 21st C will be shaped by looking after the mental and emotional well being of our people.

The workplace profoundly affects human health and mortality, and too many workplaces are harmful to people health – people are literally dying for a paycheck – Jefferey Pfeffer