Change the World… To What?

The inane, though of course superficially appealing, desire to change the world. The question in response is to what? After all, some changes are either inconsequential, or worse, complete disasters, through unintended consequences. It is no comfort that the particular change might be unavoidable or done by someone else in any case. For the one changing the world, what a waste of time and effort to have both invented gunpowder and a highly politicized prize. After all, these two do not cancel each other out, they are sort of more of the same...

Future City

Search for a Method

We must search for a method, an approach to understand change. We must have a conversation, though not a conversation only (we leave that to professional futurologists), but get into the habit of change in the present moment. Still, something is needed previous to this, for which the past three years I have been groping in the dark. Now into the light...

Whence Change

The siren call of the city and the triumphalism of the urban landscape as the place for innovation leaves out, significantly, any kind of change which is not urban in nature. I myself made this mistake in the past, thinking that Bangkok would be the locus for the kind of change we should seek, rather than Chiang Mai (even though I live in Chiang Mai). TKS has disabused me of that notion.

Corrected Vision

We need to correct the twin myopias of quarterly growth and change for the sake of change. At what resolution then would be appropriate? In the past I provided nine time horizons to give some set of different scales on which to think. Time is not singular, but there are time-spans or horizons which can help make sense. Our intuition is not good at this so we need to develop it.

Ten Years

Ten years is a nice time scale. Trends can be spotted and explored, such as these twenty trends for ten years that still have some relevance three years after they were posted in July, 2008.

However, ten years is not enough to create a suitable vision for change in the sense that change the world implies. In fact, ten years is more about areas in which the world is already changing. Changing the world in this sense is kind of about luck, opportunity and coattails.

One Hundred Years

At one hundred years, now we are talking something interesting. We can begin to see what might matter, and since it is beyond the average human lifespan, we take into account what will be after we are no longer. What will we have left behind, and how we may have helped guide those who will follow.

This is how we can begin, by systematically understanding this time horizon of 200 years. Initial thoughts:

  • Time horizon of 200 years, 100 in the past and 100 to come
  • By industry and activity, e.g., transportation over the past 100 years and into the future
  • Impacts on people and the planet, positive, neutral, negative
  • Technology as well as social and behavioral innovations (diffusion of innovation, technology adoption)
  • Populations, resources, political realities
  • etc.

More to follow...