It happened during a facilitation I was leading for one of my clients in the telecommunications industry. It was a flash of neural activity that sparked an AHA! moment that has stuck with me ever since. The team that was in the room was discussing the latest revisions and upgrades as well as pondering the next evolution of certain products and processes. Then someone mentioned this thing called Web 2.0, the next evolution in the trends and use of the World Wide Web. I just listened. By the end of the meeting I was aware of some remote thought that was taking shape and making its way to the front of my mind. On the way home, I was thinking, “Wow, all this energy, time, and money has been invested into awesome applications on the web. Useful? Yes. At times, troubling and dangerous? Yes. Yet, we continue to invest in imagining, discussing and defining the next evolution of this thing called Web 2.0.”
And that’s when it hit me: Are we thinking about our own human evolution? Is the way we think and approach our lives keeping pace with the advances we’ve created and the changes happening in fabric of our global society so that we make the best of it going forward?
Are we investing enough time imagining and talking about Human 2.0?
I believe as Einstein said, that “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Not that knowledge isn’t important. I believe imagination takes knowledge to another level in the sense that it breaks past the boundaries that create the limits of knowledge. Boundaries of thinking and frameworks that we use to make sense of the world can confine the endless realm of possibilities. These frameworks can sometimes silence the voice of “what if”, “why not” and “what could be.”
As leaders, how you come out on this topic is significant since you will be the ones navigating the people in your organization toward a future vision with all the milestones that need to be accomplished along the way. The components of Human 2.0 will be many and at the core will be how we think and make decisions and incorporate our chosen values. One of the most crucial decisions, in my opinion, will be where leaders stand in terms of their ethical code and their ability to stand by it. One of the key missing elements that brought down the mortgage banking industry was a breach of ethical decision-making by players all along the spectrum from the consumers to Wall Street to Congress. It's not that certain people didn't know the right thing to do...They just chose not to do it. There’s a saying: “Evil relies on good people doing nothing.” We tend to create justifications to make us feel that what we’re doing is okay even when we know we’re not doing what we know we should do. We need to evolve. This is a page we have to turn in the story of how we exist in the world. We need to develop in a way that doesn’t have us repeating history. Einstein also said: “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”
The eventual success of what I call Human 2.0 will depend more on our wisdom than our knowledge; our courage, not our fear; our vulnerability, not our arrogance; our willingness to share our collective abundance; not our self-protective, hoarding acts driven by fear and scarcity. We need to defend our country and the core principals that continue to make it a destination for many in this world to not just visit but to live and build a life. We need to reawaken the courage and wisdom to make the tough calls that may not be popular or easy to live by in the short term but will lead us forward to the next evolution of freedom and abundance.
For us to evolve alongside our advances in technology, medicine, science, etc., we must re-examine how we engage with this world to align with what we humans have created so far. We need to take stock. What does being a citizen of this world mean? How does our thinking need to shift? What should we hold onto? What should we shed? What should we build on? How can we innovate around the opportunities that our globally connected community offers in the way of collective intelligence and insight? There is always a cost to doing things differently. I submit to you that there is also a cost to doing nothing differently. Of the two, the latter can often be the greater price to pay.
I’ll challenge you with two questions. Ask yourself:
1-Are the assumptions and beliefs upon which I base my thinking and choices
2-Is the way I currently think and connect the dots about myself, others and
what is going on in my world as well as the global one moving me forward or
holding me back?”
What are your thoughts about Human 2.0?
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