The Future by Al Gore: Paradigm Cracker. Why our creativity is important now.

If you are considering what might be next and are open to stretching your thinking a bit, this blog post is for you.

I’m reading The Future by Al Gore and am wowed by the synthesis of factors he presents and how they interact in ways we never imagined, nor experienced.  It provides fodder for using creativity thinking and creative problem solving in businesses, schools, communities and the home.  New ideas, new decisions, new actions.

The introduction, for example, is compelling for its revelations; how we view the past influences our attitude toward the future, is one. Different cultures perceive the past, hence the future, uniquely. Reconsider the past and a new future emerges. What we expect may happen may not.

Does what worked in the past work now?  Why are so many businesses transforming their business models? To what effect? We are living through these confusing experiences now. Here it is, from the man.

We need new thinking, today’s changes are converging like a perfect storm and people need resilience to stay afloat. This book is a paradigm cracker that can inspire action, training and support to enable desirable futures to emerge (instead of the opposite).

 

Below is Gore’s PBS interview about the book and great topline book review from newbooksinbrief dot com.

To check out this book on Amazon.ca or purchase it, please click here: The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change

 

Topline review of Al Gore’s The Future from newbooksinbrief dot com.

Our world is becoming increasingly integrated and complex, and changing faster and faster.

Out of the morass of elements involved, Al Gore identifies 6 themes or factors that are emerging as the major drivers of change. The factors are

  1. Work: the movement of labor from West to East (outsourcing); and, at the same time, a shift towards much more automation (robosourcing);
  2. Communications: the rise of the internet that has led to a wild proliferation of information, and the ability of the world’s population to instantly connect with one another for a host of purposes–and the increasing reach of the internet from the developed to the developing world
  3. Power: the shifting of power from West to East; and, at the same time, the shifting of power from national governments to smaller players, such as businesses and corporations, but also rogue players, such as guerrilla and terror organizations
  4. Demographics: the enormous increase in the world’s population, and the movement of peoples both within and across national borders (as the result of numerous factors)
  5. Biotechnology: the increasing manipulation of DNA to produce not only new organisms with novel features, but new materials and fuels as wel
  6. Climate Change: the increase in world temperatures caused by the continuing build-up of CO2, as well as the numerous other climate effects that this entails.

While several of these drivers of change have the potential to bring great benefits to the world’s people, all are fraught with potential dangers, and it is this that is Gore’s focus in the book. This, as well as Gore’s own advice as to how best to deal with the potential dangers.

When it comes to work, Gore argues that the major danger is that the increasing robosourcing of labour (and even services) threatens to deprive a large portion of the world’s population of gainful employment. The major solution is to increasingly redistribute wealth from the few who earn the bulk of wealth to public services provided by government.

When it comes to communications, the major threat is the vulnerability of people’s personal information (and organizations’ operational information) of being collected (or stolen) by numerous players (including corporations, governments and criminal organizations) and used for nefarious purposes. The major solution is to introduce new measures to ensure that information is protected, and people’s privacy preserved.

When it comes to power, the major danger is that the private interests of groups that are gaining power (especially multi-national corporations) will increasingly run up against the interests and values of private citizens. The major solution is to reform our democracies to ensure that the interests of corporations do not continue to outbalance the interests of citizens.

When it comes to demographics, the major danger is that the continuing rise in the world’s population will place an overbearing amount of stress on the world’s natural resources, and that this will ultimately lead to the depletion of said resources. The major solution is to continue efforts to curb global population, and to introduce efforts to reduce consumption to sustainable levels.

When it comes to biotechnology, the major danger is that the discoveries and innovations that are being made here are being introduced faster than we are able to consider their ethical implications and potential negative consequences. The major solution is to ensure that we subject these innovations to full inquiry and public debate, in order that we may decide deliberately just what we want to allow, and what we do not.

When it comes to climate change, the major danger is that the world will experience irreversible climate effects, and that these effects will compromise the world’s arable land and water sources to the point where we will not be able to meet our needs. The major solution is for the governments of the world to take action now to reduce CO2 emissions, by way of such measures as taxing CO2, and introducing a cap and trade system.

Gore’s book does contain a lot of very interesting information about the world today, and the forces that are guiding change. It should be noted, though, that Gore is very single-minded (unduly, I believe) in what he believes are the solutions to the world’s problems. They virtually always involve government interference and regulation. In other words, they are fully top-down. Gore gives very short shrift to the potential of bottom-up solutions (and is rather black and white in his thinking), which, I believe, is a major shortcoming of the book.

A full executive summary of this book is  available at newbooksinbrief dot com.

To check out this book on Amazon.ca or purchase it, please click here: The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change

 

Marci Segal, MS. Creativity and Change Leadership, Freeing leaders’ thinking so they can create new futures.

What Al Gore Predicts for the Future (inc magazine)

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