If a $500-a-month accountant in India doesn't swipe your accounting job, TurboTax will. Now that computers can emulate left-hemisphere skills, we'll have to rely ever more on our right hemispheres. - Revenge of the Right Brain, Wired article, February 2005, by Daniel Pink
"It's interesting, reading your blog I wouldn't have ever guessed that you were a geek," says Jon Strande. He's a geek at heart too and applauds my choice for the 100 Bloggers book project, Jon Udell. Udell is one of those been-blogging-forever-bloggers that inspired me to drop the whiny "but I have no time" excuse and get going with my first blog. Just a brief conversation with him at Infoworld's CTO Summit is where I realized the blog wasn't actually part of his InfoWorld responsiblities, he simply made the time and even the whole work/life distinction was murky. That's what passion does for you. (Or is it does to you?)
One of the dozens of reasons I started blogging was to showcase my expertise in foreseeing emerging technology trends to a wider circle than just a few co-worker. If you're a good searcher, you may turn up more geekdom posts on behalf of Pivia's (pre-acquisition) corporate blog.
How did I stray so far off the tech beat? I grew more and more interested in sharing the patterns tying together my eclectic interests and delving into The Intersection where innovation emerges.
In addition, after a while I was tired of getting a phone call after each technology reference. "What... I can't mention Google either?" Those muzzling NDAs (non-disclosure agreements - I'm trying to use less Silicon Valley and blogosphere jargon) from clients turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to my blogging because....
[W]e're progressing yet again - to a society of creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers. - Daniel Pink
Jon Strande continues, "You have obviously been well schooled in eastern thought and write with a wonderful sensibility that showcases your compassion and humanity."
It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. - Epictetus
Thanks, but ummm...it's been much more about about unlearning than about schooling. But that's a subject for another post. Synchronistically, Strande then recommends the Wired article, Revenge of the Right Brain, that I've been sidetracked from mentioning here earlier (and I pointed it to Jory just minutes before Jon's email).
Beneath the nervous clatter of our half-completed decade stirs a slow but seismic shift. The Information Age we all prepared for is ending. Rising in its place is what I call the Conceptual Age, an era in which mastery of abilities that we've often overlooked and undervalued marks the fault line between who gets ahead and who falls behind...
If the Industrial Age was built on people's backs, and the Information Age on people's left hemispheres, the Conceptual Age is being built on people's right hemispheres. We've progressed from a society of farmers to a society of factory workers to a society of knowledge workers. And now we're progressing yet again - to a society of creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers.
But let me be clear: The future is not some Manichaean landscape in which individuals are either left-brained and extinct or right-brained and ecstatic - a land in which millionaire yoga instructors drive BMWs and programmers scrub counters at Chick-fil-A. Logical, linear, analytic thinking remains indispensable. But it's no longer enough.
To flourish in this age, we'll need to supplement our well-developed high tech abilities with aptitudes that are "high concept" and "high touch." High concept involves the ability to create artistic and emotional beauty, to detect patterns and opportunities, to craft a satisfying narrative, and to come up with inventions the world didn't know it was missing. High touch involves the capacity to empathize, to understand the subtleties of human interaction, to find joy in one's self and to elicit it in others, and to stretch beyond the quotidian in pursuit of purpose and meaning. - - Adapted from Daniel Pink's (eagerly, very much anticipated new book), A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age
These days, this is the type of trend forecasting I like writing about most. Note that Pink is not saying any one group of nationality is better at this left and right brain melding. I see talented individuals will form their own networks that transcend national and cultural boundaries. For instance, see if you can spot the pattern in this post about a highly lauded technology book.
I developed my right side and emotional capacities not out of gleefully foreseeing the future competitive landscape spread before me. I was once quite lopsided. There came a point where problems couldn't simply be figured out, calculated, analyzed and sifted. In my own life, "lopsided" was an euphemism for unhappy.
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. - Anais Nin
So if the thought of your livelihood going to India leaves you unfazed and stone cold - perhaps the intriguing thought that happiness is part of the whole mind package might be more up your alley. So, why don't more people bother if it's so rewarding? That's way way beyond the scope of this one teeny post. Short summary: Homeostatis. Commonly known as: Comfort Zone (familiar misery trumps unfamiliar possibility - even if it includes joy). And throw in the Jonah Complex in there too. But enough excuses already.
In times of change, learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists. - Eric Hoffer
It doesn't work to leap a twenty-foot chasm in two ten-foot jumps. - American proverb
The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become. - Charles Dubois