BH21C #11 — Work, Collaboration, and Trauma

If you want to subscribe, you can do so here. If you want to see previous newsletters, check my medium.

The world around us is rapidly changing thanks to technological advances. I hope that you’ll join me on the journey of figuring out just what it is that we need to do to realize our full potential, understand our meaning in life, and leave society and the world in a slightly better place than when we got here.

Work, Collaboration, and Trauma

This week I went to a McKinsey Global Institute-NYU event that focused on the Future of Work, and it really made me think of what jobs are going to look like in the future and how the job landscapes are going to change thanks to automation. It’s a frequent occurrence to read articles or reports on how automation is taking away jobs — this week offered Amazon announcing a plan to dominate the shipping industry with almost no people. Shipping and manufacturing, and just about all other industries, are definitely going to change, so what are people going to do? First off, we can’t forget that there are still jobs out there that we need to fill, including such industries as nursing. Then, we have to start working together on educational programs and push ourselves to learn new ideas and skills. Also, new technologies create new jobs. As we hear about Uber and a Google backed venture releasing plans of flying cars, who knows what new industries are coming in the next decade.

I also think that as more rote tasks get automated, especially as there’s a ‘race to build an AI chip for everything,’ we have a lot more room to get creative with new ways of engaging each other’s skills and assets so that we all have the opportunity to find purpose in life. Some may point to differences between creatives folks and how they view the world as opposed to others, but everyone has creative ways of applying what they know or have without having to be musicians or artists. I watched two interesting videos from OuiShare about connected communities and about work in the post-industrial age, both of which talked about how important it is for people to start thinking differently about how life is. In a lot of ways, we’re using technology to go back to more communal structures, both locally and globally. This is quite exciting, especially when coupled with new technologies can result in fascinating projects, such as this one focused on blockchain based energy in Germany. Collaboration and social consciousness are going to offer a lot of opportunity for new businesses and business models, so I’m a big fan of embracing the idea of partnering and working together.

I listened to an interesting podcast about trauma and change, where Sheryl Sandberg talks about losing her husband and the growth that came out of dealing with that. She was joined by Adam Grant and they spoke about how we need to better understand why we learn from trauma and to try to apply that teaching without having to go through a traumatic event. This made me think of the idea of Positive Disintegration, where most of us don’t push ourselves to fulfill our potential until we rebuild after a traumatic event of some sort. I think that we also need to get better about dealing with change on all levels. As there are new scientific findings of new, old fungus and bones that might change certain views of human history, we have to be ready to think of ourselves and our surroundings in different ways. We have to be more accountable for things we can control and more flexible about the things that we don’t. I think it’s horrible that we see rich corporations continuously break rules or laws and not really get in trouble, and as easy as it is to blame others, I know that I still support some of them.

It’s good to know that more and more people, especially the younger generations, are getting creative to find new solutions. Even governments like Japan are getting creative, using Bitcoin to support tourism. Some states are moving to cut college costs by adding open-source textbooks. Even as we face major crises around pollution, in addition to climate change, studying caterpillars that eat plastic to get rid of trash or using UV rays to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air offer potential ways to solving some of the biggest challenges we’re facing today. But the more we resist the changes — because regardless of whether or not we benefit or like all of it, it’s still coming — the more we complicate things, increase the potential for failure, and generally take away from the potential of social collaboration. There are a lot of opportunities, both presently here and coming soon, in terms of rebuilding our society. That is going to take a lot of work; work that will leave us off in a much better places as both individuals and as a society.

Top Three Articles

574: Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant on Resilience — HBR IdeaCast
Ready to Work in the Post-Industrial Era? — OuiShare TV, Esko Kilpi, Tim Leberecht & Nilofer Merchant
How Mickey Mouse Keeps Changing Copyright Law — Orangenius

You can see a full list of content consumed here.

That’s all folks!

Happy learning!