Behold, the Innovation Economy

Our workplace, and our society is changing. It’s time to rewire our ‘Societal Operating System’, and it’s going to take work.

After the enlightenment and the industrial revolution, we reinvented our Societal Operating System to focus on Industry. Quite right. Reading, Writing, Basic Science, Math and processes led to standardized tests and systems — the end goal was to get a manufacturing job. Steady. Dependable. Systematic.

Then, during the 20th century, we became a knowledge economy, where knowledge was prioritized over anything else. Getting into a top university like Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard or Stanford, became the priority and from that people got the best jobs in tertiary industry.

But here’s the twist. Now we are entering an age where limitless computational power is being baked into our Societal OS, where knowledge (Thanks, Google) and computation (Pretty much everybody, including Google) are just going to be standard. An ‘Innovation Economy’. This is about more than just education — it’s the foundation of our society.

Now computation is going to take care of figuring out how to find out the problem to solve, and the solution. We will need to leverage all of this for the better, and accept it as standard to evolve our society, and the way we engage with ‘productivity’ again.

To progress, we’ll need to leverage a different way of thinking: systems thinking, creativity, problem solving and imagination. We need to train leaders who can deal with a set of vague inputs and synthesize from complex decisions matrices. We need to understand how to work together effectively with diverse thinking, backgrounds and mindsets. We need a radical reinvention of our societal operating system in order to move along. We have both an opportunity — and some might say a requirement, to evolve.

Where do we do even begin to change our behaviors as leaders, organizations, as people in society to reflect this?

Whatever tools we might need in the future, whatever behaviors we choose to engage with — should take this into consideration.

This piece is a prototype — expect it to evolve. Special thanks to many, including Mark Suster and Rebecca Kantar for the inspiration to think about this.