“It's not the strongest of the species that survives, it is the most adaptable.” –– Charles Darwin
This is yet a another case in which the news finds me via social media.
While checking my RSS feeds this morning, I caught a post of Thomas Friedman's article from the New York Times Sunday Edition titled, A Theory of Everything (Sort of). Then it popped up again from my Flipboard app on my iPad from Steve King over at Small Business Labs. Two reliable nodes in my network were telling me to pay attention, and I hope you agree.
Thomas Friedman started with his insightful opinion piece and Steve added the insight about Darwin.
Turns out we started the future forums for the CPA Horizons 2025 Project with the Darwin quote. Steve's added perspective was like a punch in the gut, an affirmation of what we heard from CPAs all across the country. (By the way, Steve attended the Future Forum in San Francisco and was the researcher of Intuit's Future of Small Business Project 2020).
The key quote for me is Friedman's view of the “single most important trend in the world today”:
“It starts with the fact that globalization and the information technology revolution have gone to a whole new level. Thanks to cloud computing, robotics, 3G wireless connectivity, Skype, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, the iPad, and cheap Internet-enabled smartphones, the world has gone from connected to hyper-connected.”
That's the equivalent of the ice age or a rogue meteor / comet that ushered in the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Steve adds to this by pointing out the impact of this trend on productivity and people. Here's a key quote on what this means for productivity:
“The merger of globalization and IT is driving huge productivity gains, especially in recessionary times, where employers are finding it easier, cheaper and more necessary than ever to replace labor with machines, computers, robots and talented foreign workers.”
Here's another key quote on what these productivity gains mean for people:
“… (T)o get into the middle class now, you have to study harder, work smarter and adapt quicker than ever before. All this technology and globalization are eliminating more and more 'routine' work — the sort of work that once sustained a lot of middle-class lifestyles.”
Steve finishes with this:
“One theme we're constantly struck by in our trends research and analysis is how Darwinian the world of work and small business has become — and how it's likely to become even more Darwinian in the future. Friedman's article captures this trend better than anything else I've read.”
The bad news is that survival is not mandatory. We will have to act to prevent extinction.
So what's it gonna be? Will you give way to Darwin, or seek new opportunities and new ways of adding value and thriving in what is fast becoming the “new normal?”
Some help for dealing with Darwin:
Listen to Bill's interview with Steve King on what business will look like in 2020, then take Bill's advice from his post, Change is constant, action is not negotiable. And buy Friedman's book if you have not already read it: The World Is Flat 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century.
Here's to thriving in the new normal!