During my travels and activities I have met a number of smart, well-rounded young professionals eager to make a contribution. It has been my privilege to serve in a couple of capacities to help students launch into the world of work. As I was making plans to have a steady stream of posts during my travels to Italy at Christmas and New Year's, I thought of going back to a conversation we started here. Picking up the threads and carrying them forward is a group of young bloggers who I have come to admire and respect.
Every year, The Institute for the Future puts out a map of the future. To create it, they consider several trends through stories.
The Map for 2007 and representing the next ten years, as extracted from the brilliant book Get There Early by Bob Johansen, talks about:
personal empowerment from consumption to customization -- consumers are no longer content to receive mass messaging and employees won't conform to traditional top-down norms. Now, amplified by new interactive media and conscious of their economic and social power, individuals will expect to be part of the decision-making process. The engaged citizen is a force to be reckoned with at work and at home.
grass roots economics from economies of scale to economies of organization -- economic and social ecologies, in which self-empowered individuals cooperate for mutual benefit, will challenge centralized industries. Expect a blurring of the boundaries between buyers, sellers, producers, consumers, companies, and individuals. Think amplified eBay.
smart networking from individual to social network -- pervasive computing connects self-organizing aggregations of people, whose network flexibility and collective power can alter markets, politics, and societies -or anything else that draws them together.
polarizing extremes from fringe to front-and-center -- strong opinions meet strong social networks to create intense feedback loops. You can already find, connect with, and collaborate with anyone who shares your beliefs -no matter how extreme you are. Dark innovation will thrive -but so will dynamic new forms of cooperation that attempt to bridge the extremes.
health insecurity from health care to health economy -- as the world grows more connected, challenges like pandemics will get close and personal. Anxieties about health, hunger, longevity will grow, and the intersection between environment, health, and lifestyle will receive increasing attention.
The underlying dangers in these trends are also opportunities. Described by the author as VUCA = volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity on the danger side, these present opportunities to share and create vision, understanding, clarity and agility.
A week from today, you will read about the future of branding, marketing trends, what happens to social networks, leadership, communications, connections, and global user experience from the voices of the generation that is entering the work force. I will be logging on as much as possible to join the conversation -- and reporting from Italy. This blog will not close for the holidays. Instead, there will be opportunities to meet young enterprising individuals who are already making a difference. I won't give anything away, I can promise that there will be indeed great conversations.