Everyone shouldn’t learn to code.
Everyone should learn to collaborate.
By Joe Coppard
We are becoming cyborgs. There is no doubt about it. Today or palms are practically touchscreens. Tomorrow reality will become virtual the blockchain will secure our every interaction. But aside from the scifi
stuff there is an unlikely twist in the digitisation of humanity that is quite contrary to our dystopian dreams. You and me, as humans in the world, are moving away from our individualistic culture — towards
a participatory one. And that is all about diverse collaboration.
Let’s take hacking for example. Once the niche pastime of the IT nerd to describe speedcoding tech stuff, hacking has now evolved to encompass the augmentation of practically anything. Not just because geek is chic, but because we’ve realised that technology is not a niche matter but the very fabric of our everyday, so why shouldn’t it be played with? We believe it not only should be played with, but for the future of humanity to represent the diverse beauty of people, it must be perspective hacked: facilitated teams of crossdisciplinary specialists from diverse backgrounds working together to solve real world challenges.
The Age of Perspectives
The globe is in a pretty crazy place right now. People, power and nature are shifting before our eyes in increasingly complex and vital ways, whilst the internet is creating a 4th dimension upon which communication becomes omnipotent. From a design perspective this leaves us with a fascinating opportunity. Complex challenges,limitless information and perspectives from across borders and disciplines.
Like all revolutions (oh yes we are amidst a big revolution) there are ups and downs.
But as we see it, the opportunities are far the greatest power.
(Examples of exciting participatory & interdisciplinary projects / movements /initiatives / people.) Open Source / Women In tech
But this is not just about diversity for the sake of it. Business fact is at it’s heart. & McKinsey did the math.
“ Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.”
As Trump rises, ISIS murders and Britain Brexit’s, you could think the world is less collaborative than ever. But look deeper into the trends of our snapchatting youth, the dominance of collaborative corporations like Uber and Airbnb and you understand that the participatory future is ahead of us. And its spokesperson slash supervillain has a message for the opensource
“If we’re all in a ship together and the ship has some holes in it, and we’re sort of bailing water out of it, and we have a great design for a bucket, then even if we’re bailing out way better than everyone else, we should probably still share the bucket design.” Elon Musk
But what is next? From the vantage of Stockholm there is often a crystalline view of the growing Silicon roundabout’s, highways and valleys. On paper Sweden is almost the most open society imaginable. Even the conservatives are more left than Hillary Clinton. But the need for perspective hacking is just as much here as anywhere, which we truly found out when we brought 20 change leaders from across Africa to Prototype Change in 2014. The ideas, excitement and downright ingenuity of our guests illustrated so vibrantly the power of new perspectives. Challenging local ideas, inspiring alternative stories, building unique creations.
But don’t just listen to me. Having travelled the equivalent of 25 times around the globe whilst investigating innovation, Alec Ross, Senior Advisor for Innovation to the US Secretary of State under Hillary Clinton, is in a good position to comment on where we are at, and he has a rather profound insight:
“I’ve come to one sweeping conclusion that is forward looking: Ithink that the principle political binary off the 20th century was left versus right but in the 21st century, in the present day, the principal political binary is open versus closed and the conclusion that i have come to…thinking about the industries of the future…I think that the states and societies that are more open are those that will compete and succeed most effectively in tomorrow’s industries”.
So when you’re next sitting with a challenge that and you imagine what it may look like from someone else’s eyes, try involving them in the process. Try a little perspective hacking .
Joe Coppard is co-founder of Another Tomorrow. This is part of the “Hacker” section of our new series of Hacker, Maker, Teacher, Thief essays. You can buy the book that inspired the series, Hacker, Maker, Teacher, Thief: Advertising’s Next Generation, here.