Few nomadic tribes have written histories let alone any kind of permanent art: Books and statues are heavy.
There is a general sentiment that as a culture, we peaked sometime in the Renaissance, that golden era of art, philosophy, literature and postal delivery up to six times per day in some areas. The band Devo introduced us to the idea that maybe we were de-evolving, a point I'd like to consider in today's post.
In our modern world, we have replaced our hunting and gathering activities with analogs. We travel far from home in search of sustenance (work) -- we are constantly on the move to make sure we have a stream and store of supplies in lean times. If you live paycheck to paycheck you know this better than most. And credit cards only help compound your problem.
Instead of gathering together to share our experiences with our tribe, we become more isolated, replacing story telling with television and other media that has increasingly become mobile. Are we so bored (or boring?) that we need to constantly distract ourselves? I'm sure we all know someone who feels the need to fill every silence with a sound. Does the never ending stream of media serve the same purpose? Could you survive, mentally, if you were shipwrecked on a deserted island?
The science historian James Burke probably best known for his Connections series on BBC was able to show in compelling ways how amazingly interconnected and simultaneously brittle our modern world has become. Take the simple plow for instance (as Burke does in the first episode) -- its invention, he argues, is the trigger effect that allowed us to leap forward out of hunting and gathering.
Fast forward to today. There is little argument that the Internet is as culturally relevant as the plow was thousands of years ago. It has fundamentally transformed inter-personal communications and commerce. As a platform its enabling effects on the Knowledge Worker through so-called Web 2.0 technologies is changing the dynamics of the old business hierarchies and the balance of power. Command-and-control management is rapidly being replaced by a collaborative (and often ad-hoc) Communities of Practice, evolving eventually into Centers of Excellence. The old Guilds are coming into fashion again as a viable means of transferring tacit as well as explicit knowledge.
Corporate America is at tipping point. On insanity:
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results"
Remind you of any company you work for? If it doesn't work for them and you know it, what makes you think it will work for you?
Today's Big Idea: If you feel like you are stuck, stop hunting and gathering. It might just be time to pick up a plow.
Working smarter is possible and it may just be your own personal tipping point.
I agree with your posing thoughts. I attend business meetings where people ask me about innovation and to consult with them about increasing innovation in their companies and they're shocked when I point out that doing the same thing and expecting different results is equal to crazymaking! Also, how to maintain and encourage creative thinking versus critical thinking and/or groupthink is a challenge for today's business leaders.