One of the challenges for those of us who believe that we are at the beginning of a very significant period of change in how we see ourselves, our societies and our businesses is how to imagine what the future will be like. Having grand schemes and megalomaniac designs seems out of place with something that is in essence personal and intimate.
Part of me believes that we will get somewhere worthwhile if each of us takes the small steps that seem to make sense to us and that in aggregate these small steps will achieve something significant. The other part of me believes that this will confine us to thinking small and achieving less than we could and that without some inspiring, grander and more comprehensive vision we won’t make much difference at all.
This ties in with concerns I have about making things happen in a world where making things happen is associated with old values and ways of thinking. How do you bring about significant change using conversations, influence and sticky ideas rather than command and control and grand plans?
This is something many of us are struggling with especially as we head into an uncertain future. Many many I know and love are facing real and immediate problems with the recession. I’m more fortunate but I do find I’m having to re-think how to get more clients doing research and ethnographies, as work is slow, for the first time in over 10 years of running my own company. It’s also making me re-negotiate my next 10 years especially after meeting the most extraordinary folks from all over the world that I met at the Info-Activism camp and I feel such strong tugs to go in that direction.
As with Euan, I’m conflicted about how to go about all of this. I’m a firm believer in small steps but without imagination and intuition, I fear they may just be limited. Just thinking aloud … can imagination help us frame our grand visions, and perhaps intuition drive us into taking the small steps required to get there? Will each step then provide the momentum for the next one? How does the rational mind cope with these when we are facing the barrel?
Maybe it’s good to just Keep Walking as Manu suggests. And talking, as I did with an ex-colleague and fellow qualitative researcher just last evening. I feel secure enough to do this within the safety of the several networked communities I live in. As does Ken Camp when he says, in the context of Unified communications:
So which is more powerful?
- A network of some major players representing potentially large single points of failure?
- A mesh of small players all connected and intelligently routing around failures?
For me the answer is crystal clear. The power is in the mesh.
Which ties back beautifully into the thought Euan leaves us with:
How do you bring about significant change using conversations, influence and sticky ideas rather than command and control and grand plans?