The Ideas Economy and Information Age

Two of the most important concepts being thrown around dinner table and boardroom conversations at the moment are those of The Ideas Economy and The Information Age.

Both presuppose some important shifts in how we as humans live and work. Both have a lot to do with technology. And both have need of change in the way that we think and act in our world.

You will have heard that, in the future, all jobs that can be automated or robotosized, will be. This means that many, many categories of work now open to humans will no longer be. This leaves humans open to pursuing work which machines cannot do better… and what is that exactly?

It seems the most common answer is: Ideas. Coming up with stuff, intuitive problem solving, following your gut. In short: being creative.

Of course, this is where legions of people cry out in terror: “But I am not creative!”

Well, luckily, you are wrong. You are. Everyone is creative. It’s just the current understanding of what creativity IS that is currently flawed.

But this blog isn’t about that, it’s about WHY creativity is so important in this new phase of human civilisation.

Creativity both requires and brings key factors that improve the human experience and our productivity in all areas:

* Autonomy
Creativity requires autonomy. You need to be free to make snap judgements and break rules in order to be able to see past ‘the way it has always been done’ to possible improvements. The act of monitoring performance, policing every second of every day and requiring rigid control over employees only gets in the way of the autonomy required for creativity.

The good news is that increased autonomy brings with it a greater sense of purpose and commitment, which makes for better employees, neighbours and friends.

* Competence
When you have the autonomy to try things out, do things your own way and actually MAKE new things, you get a sense of competence, a confidence in what you do and how you do it.

This is essential for freeing the mind from the restrictions of micro-management and bean counting.

* Freedom
Nothing to do with Braveheart of being an anarchist. But rather an attitude that says no cows are sacred. All ideas can and should be tested. If we are not prepared to sacrifice old ideas, how will we ever build a better world?

* Fulfilment
Anyone who enjoys a sense of purpose, happiness, autonomy and competence will tell you that also experience fulfilment. More than any bonus payment or cash pay-out, fulfilment is the reward of the information age.: knowing that you have been part of a new creation and its purpose.

* Expansion instead of reduction
Preserving the status quo (staying with oil, insisting on cities, persevering with factories and full-time jobs) just uses up more of our already limited natural resources. Creativity, on the other hand, is focused on expansion: new ideas, new solutions, new ways of working with the material s we already have. Instead of worrying about the jobs we will lose, let’s look at the jobs we will gain.

* Problem-solving
True creatives are essentially problem solvers: Analysing what they see observe and experiences, breaking, bending and blending it to come up with new ways of resolving situations. It’s how we got out of the sea, the caves, the dark ages and the industrial age. And its how we’ll get out of this jam too… if we allow it!

Get on board the train if you want to reach the next station!

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