Following my last post on the ‘digital transformation’ as the cause of the growing upheavals and changes, today I explain my thoughts on what effects for our professional and personal life’s can arise from those.
To start with, a nice visualization by Harvard Innovation Lab on the transformation of our desk:
First, it is important to clarify the dimensions of these effects. It’s no longer just a matter of adapting special tools, rules or laws or to buy the latest iPhone.
The thought pattern of the last decades will not help us to meet the increasing changes. The increasing complexity of the environment requires entirely new levels. Just knowing how to build an aircraft does not make you able to fly to the Moon…
2. Paradigm Shift
The concept of paradigm can help here. As with many definitions, an explanation of this term is not clearly recognized. The following approach however is sufficient for the following explanations.
“A paradigm is a fundamental way of thinking. Since the late 18th century paradigm means a certain kind of belief or a doctrine.
[…] Paradigms reflect a certain generally accepted consensus regarding assumptions and beliefs which allows to provide solutions for a variety of issues.”
Source: Translated from Wikipedia
So, strictly speaking, we are in a phase of a paradigm shift. Interestingly, this concept was, like ‘Moore’s Law’ which I referred to in my last post, already coined in the 60s:
“The term paradigm shift was coined in 1962 by Thomas S. Kuhn and refers to his scientific theoretical and science-historical writings;
change is a basic framework for individual scientific theories standing at the basis of change, eg. Requirements “in terms of concept formation, monitoring and equipment” which Kuhn calls a paradigm.”
Source: Translated from Wikipedia
For all the theory and dramatic sounding future scenarios, according to my observation the new paradigms are not new, but only growing (again) in importance.
At this point, I will not bother the “omniscient” Wikipedia again. Basically, it’s pretty simple. We talk about the congruence, ie conformity of ‘motive & behavior’ of ‘speaking & acting’, etc. I have included ‘thinking’ into my equation. Because, this usually is the point where a lack of congruence often begins.
Now, we know that this equation does not always add up exactly. But I submit that this claim again has become more important. Apparently, this demand has first been expressed as early as the 70s and 80s as you can read on Docupedia:
“Be authentic! – This requirement of the modern self has particularly affected the alternate scene of the 1970s and 1980s and nowadays gets a new meaning in an increasingly medialized and digital world.
[…] Personality culture, which ie counts on authenticity, credibility, sincerity, persuasiveness and on feelings and emotions. Authenticity can in so far be seen as a modern social communication ideal, indicating both a moralization and privatization of communication.”
Big Brother, The Geißens and other formats further mirror this trend. I would even go so far as to claim that social networks – yes, even Facebook – contribute to it. Why? Because if used reflectively, each user, consciously or unconsciously, contributes about what and how much he reveals about his opinions and attitudes in public.
Of course, there are different views on how much one shares of his opinions and feelings with the digital public. But that also belongs to the respective individual authenticity and was no different on the schoolyard, in the clique or the regulars’ table. Also, there were and are “social” reactions which can intervene here correcting individual behaviour – just on a smaller scale and more directly.
This concept is nothing new or revolutionary either. However, the importance has increased immensely. It is not about selfishness, but about the fact that every person is highly individual and every individual feels the need to live out his or her own personal needs and desires.
If we look at the variety of models at Volkswagen and other car manufacturers, one would have not thought this breadth and depth possible a few years ago. The rise of mobile phone ring tones or platforms like Amazon or Spotify also stem from this desire to individualize.
Meanwhile, these assumptions have been scientifically proven. The American professor Dr. Steven Reiss in the 90s studied in a multi-year research project the question of what drives people. He gathered the derived answers and insights in clusters of 16 basic desires. The exciting thing here is the realization that there are not 3, 4 or 5 standard motive drawers, but much more, and especially the combination among themselves is highly diverse and critical for the expression of personality.
What can be gleaned very well from these few real examples, are the diverse motive occurrences. Associated with this are the highly individual ways to achieve satisfaction in life and optimum performance. Also, it points out the potential of conflicts in teams.
To go into detail on the interpretation of these profiles is beyond the scope of this post. If you are interested you can inform yourself via the above-mentioned links on the Reiss Profile or you can contact me.
Who still remembers the Apple event in September this year? A show of superlatives! The new iPhone6 and iPhone 6+, the long awaited Apple Watch and the blast at the end of the show:
The brand new U2 album was given away to all 500 million iTunes users for free. An incredible stunt for both! And they even did one better: The album was being uploaded automatically to any device – isn’t that ‘real American convenient’?!
For many users, No! The last step triggered an unexpected shit storm which prompted Apple to give users complicated tips on how to get the album from their devices.
Source: U2 Facebook Page
When asked by a Facebook user Bono apologized deeply for this step. He had misjudged the reaction.
“Can you please never release an album on iTunes that automatically downloads to people’s playlists ever again? It’s really rude.”
[…]“Oops … I’m sorry about that. I had this beautiful idea … might have gotten carried away with ourselves. Artists are prone to that thing. A drop of megalomania, a touch of generosity, a dash of self-promotion, and deep fear that these songs that we poured our life into over the last few years might not be heard. There’s a lot of noise out there. I guess, we got a little noisy ourselves to get through it.” Source: consequenceofsound.net
What had happened? A large part of Apple customers apparently saw it as an invasion of privacy, that Apple had uploaded something to their device without asking for their approval.
The controversial discussion about privacy protection is in the same vein. It’s not about personal data being stored, but rather what is done with it and whether people are transparent about it and can influence it.
Everyone has probably already observed that people have very different views on the subject. Only one example about what I said in the paragraph about individuality.
More about the implications for organizations in the next post …