Unconscious suffering…

This is a reflective post – drawing on my own journey of self discovery …

We’re all suffering. I know that I’ve suffered.

Some people have found a way through or perhaps a cure if you like, but many, many people are suffering – maybe consciously but my assumption is people are unconsciously suffering.

We are suffering from ignorance – ignorance is the lack of knowledge or information.

We continue to unconsciously suffer as we choose ignorance through our collective divisive behaviours and whilst we may hold a belief that, our current views will keep us safe, we are all increasing the ignorance that leads to developing our fears, creates more instability and injustice and erodes the safety and human connection we all desire and crave in these times of distraction.

Until we tackle the root causes of our collective suffering the planet we call home and importantly all life including human life is at risk of ending and that is a tragedy

Our collective actions hold us all back from reaching our human potential and delivering the future everyone seeks and yearns for.

No single person can be blamed, for we all share and hold accountability through our collusion and complicity in all events we choose to participate in or ignore.

If we wish to see change from whatever perspectives we hold as our individual truth, we must first lean into and accept that for those changes to occur we must first change ourselves.

This is the single biggest challenge facing human kind – our denial of human development and growth.

This is the path open to everyone that leads us towards ending the suffering.

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Children are the best teachers…

One of the many joys of having young children is that they can teach you so much – how to enjoy simple moments, how to express yourself through dance and how to skip along to just about anything. One of the most interesting areas my children teach me most in is about how human behaviour has changed around the use of technology.

The look on my sons (7 & 5) faces tells me so much when I try to explain that when I was their age, or even a bit older – I had to wait over an hour to “hopefully” load a computer game called manic miner on the ZX Spectrum.  For them it seems to take “forever” to wait for Angry Birds or in fact any game that shows the words “loading” on the screen before you can play it….Oh and the fact trying to explain that I had to use a “cassette tape” to load the game is even more amazing…You’d think I was almost from another planet.

I personally notice this more when my children interact with my mother – not that my mother is technologically ignorant, but I do notice the difference in the language my children use and the expectation they have around specific devices or situations – e.g. every phone is assumed to have a touch screen and is connected to the internet.

A  recent example of when my children made me laugh as well as taught me a new perspective was when my youngest son Finley, who is 5 years old, came home from school one day and walked up to me as said:

“You know on the computer at school, the screen you go to, to ask questions and find things, that is called google” he then did a little dance and then turned back to me with a big smile and said “google, that is a funny word isn’t it” and continued his little dance accompanied by a very infectious giggle.

One thing I don’t think I’ve ever done is actually think about the word google…listening to my son, got me thinking that actually it is a funny word, but up until then it had only ever meant “search” to me….

Another example was when my oldest son Ewan, who is 7, started telling me some very interesting and quite detailed facts about sharks, whales and other sea creatures.  When I asked him if he had found these out via google or the internet, he replied “No Daddy, I didn’t use the computer, I read it in my Ultimate Book of Knowledge”. This made me chuckle at first, I must never assume anything, also it was naive of me to think that the only place children learn is the internet – books, yes real printed books, play a very important role in the development of children (as my school colleagues and library colleagues would testify)…As a parent, I have to let my children help me understand where the balance is…

Sometimes we have to remember that not everyone see’s the world as we do and that we stand a better chance of communicating with people if we start to appreciate the world as they see it and understand how particular things could play a role in that world.

As I say to my children often, everyday is a school day.

GartnerSym 20:20 Vision

My second session on Wednesday was more about the future, which is the kind of session i like as it gets my brain thinking and buzzing around with ideas and opportunities. The Session was called 20:20 vision  and the Gartner Analyst was Steve Prentice.

The format of this session was to look at where we are how we got here and then instead of making forecasts or predictions – Steve was going to suggest some projections.

These notes bounce around a bit as it wasn’t a standard session it was intended to stimulate thought and suggest a potential future.

The life cycle of a revolution

In the 1920s Russian economist Nikolai Kondratiev described 1920s, the regular “S-shaped” cycles of technological innovation (each lasting 50 to 60 years) that drive the world economy – In 2003 Carlota Perez in 2004 produced “Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital” and built upon Kondratiev’s model and introduced 4 stages:

  1. eruption
  2. frenzy
    (1 & 2 are supply side innovation)
  3. synergy
  4. maturity
    (3 & 4 are demand side innovation)

Some key dates of our current revolution:

  • 15th November 1971 – Intel launches 4004 microprocessor
  • 12th August 1981 – IBM introduce the 5150 the IBM PC
  • 6 August 1991 – Web made available to the public
  • 10th January 2001  – wikipedia is created
  • August 2003 – Myspace goes live
  • 4 February 2004  – Facebook goes live
  • August 2004 – Google goes live with expanded offering
  • 23 April 2005 – you tube goes live
  • 21 March 2006 – twitter goes live

Projection – We won’t see any new technologies over the next 15 years – but we will see an increase in applications built upon existing technology that enable people to consume information and engage with stuff better and more efficiently

More stats

  • global ip traffic is doubling every 2 years
  • mobile traffic is doubling every year (games consoles, digital photo frames, tv’s fridges etc)
  • currently 60 billion smart devices

The internet is big and getting bigger – It is very hard to explain to people how big the web is – a trillion web pages – 250 million websites

Projection – It will take 8 years to get the remaining population of the world connected to the internet.  This is SO SIGNIFICANT you need to pause and consider your business model in this new context?

Device and Data Proliferation will be significant

15 petabytes of information every day – This is huge, in fact i can’t really imagine what all this data looks like, however some common references say that we produce more information in a day 1500 time greater than the contents of the library of congress which has 32 million books on 650 miles of bookshelves. again we produce more than that every day?

Just to give some context Steve said:

A book is a printed kindle  –  A library is a like a physical media centre

This did put a smile on my face, but also made me think that one day i’m sure we will actually have to explain stuff in this way!!

To get a sense of where we are going we need to understand the drivers:

Social
Simply put we are naturally social creatures:

  • 74% of people visit social networking site and remain on their for an average of 6 hours a month
  • 50% of facebook users logon everyday
  • 22% of online time is in social networks
  • 1 billion users across all social media

Practically no one makes a purchase decision without referencing either google or social networks very pervasive

We can now, as individuals build our own infrastructure online and pretty much for free.

Knowledge
The younger minded people of today (notice i write “minded”) often say “why do i need to know something if i can just ask google”  – however people have a naive assumption that what appears in google is the “truth”. Search results are also available in “klingon”!!

Entertainment and Recreation
Gaming is bigger than the movie industry
Average online gamers are 34 years old and core gamers play 48 hours per week?
Social gaming – farmville has more than 60 million active users – 100 million dollar business

What is interesting about this is almost at the same time i was in this session Gartner analyst Andrea DiMaio tweeted the following:

http://twitter.com/#!/AndreaDiMaio/status/2304046811578370

It is already starting to show in people’s thinking about Government and I’ve already posted some thoughts on gaming and government in my World of Govcraft posts:

Mobile

  • SMS 6.3 billion messages a day
  • 150 million mobile facebook users
  • more than 100% penetration in some countries
  • “to text” is now a verb
  • mobile data traffic is rising
  • for the first time in september 2010 mobile data traffic exceeded mobile voice traffic

Commerce
online transactions are growing
social gaming is a huge industry

is access to the web a basic human right and should it be free?

Net neutrality (wikipedia definition)
the power to control what a user can do on the internet

Interestingly Hollywood and China had shared agendas about controlling the web?

Looking forward – the dark side
The web is full of opinion, not facts
Can you distinguish the fact from fiction (if users are influenced by peers, maybe this will be an important issue to consider)
Do a search of your “company name” and the word “I hate” and see the results?

Looking forward- context and cloud

Taking advantage of location and time
Cloud is inevitable but not without risks

Resistance is futile – you WILL be assimilated, i’ve heard this before, but considering this was a future session, it really will be the future.

Enterprises are losing control – the outside is coming in – the walls are tumbling – consumers have choices and they are bringing them with them…wherever they go.

Questions

  • what new institutions will arise – what does a company look like?
  • what new business models will emerge
  • working practices – what does a career look like? portfolio working
  • social integration or tribalism
  • social innovation or technology innovation – how can we manage this effectively
  • does technology free us or enslave us –  we need downtime and we need to disconnect to get balance  “off the web is off life”
  • what is the role of government?
  • will the internet break apart and become the splinternet

Societal change despite constraints
issues – people, resources, geography
by 2025

  • 2.7 billion will face water shortages
  • 60% live in urban areas
  • 24% is over 65

Question: how will tech best serve a global population that is growing, aging and urbanised to levels never seen before?

People need to understand anthropology, social sciences, behavioural psychology to address the societal changes.

The session ended on a slide which spoke about TRUST,  a number of questions relating to this and how we should be considering these from a personal and business perspective. We all need to think about this question in a future which will clearly be very VERY different to what we see today.


Are we ready to catch the social media train?

From what i can tell the people who understand social media, understand that it isn’t a community itself, although the people around it create a community of interest, but social media enables communities to connect, collaborate, communicate and empower action among other things as well.

So if that is the case, then from a public sector perspective the technology is irrelevant and only a means by which we engage. On that basis i can see why social media is placed at the back or to the side, because my perception is that public sector organisations don’t understand the communities who are using these tools yet (well not across the whole sector anyway).

So my challenge isn’t just getting my organisation on the social media train, it is in fact getting it to the station first?

Interesting, i have started getting parts of the organisation on the train, but i need to get the whole thing there so projects become easier….

I am working with our Youth Service, as previously mentioned on this blog, about youth participation via social networking sites, the easiest part of this was actually getting them to appreciate that this is where young people are, the hardest thing is to explain what our engagement in that environment looks like and how we will manage it.

We will be running a consultation event at a local youth service organised festival, where we aim to consult on 2 main areas, with the help of Tim Davies.

  1. Code of conduct (complaints, confidently & privacy)
  2. Engagement approach

The other area which i am working on, and for me this is far more significant from the organisational perspective is getting a corporate policy agreed at our corporate management board which allows all staff to formally access social networking sites in work time. This naturally presents many challenges to us in terms of managing risk, but not as risky as ignoring it and pretending it doesn’t exist.  I will keep you posted on the progress in this area as we move forward.

But back to the train in the station. One of the main challenges I face, is getting a greater understanding of all aspects of the business, so that I can then become a “Service Shepherd” who herds (i would prefer to say Lead here!) the service areas into the station and onto the train.

It will then be a challenge to co-ordinate the activities so that we ensure we benefit the communities we engage with or just simply listen to, as well as adding value and knowledge to the organisation in terms of understanding our many communities.