there will not be a solution

…for a problem that does not yet exist, if we are bound to the behavior of a free capitalistic economical framework.

Normally the establishment does what the establishment is expected to do; they flood the media with arguments that undermine change by highlighting the yet unresolved problems that that change will bring to the light.

Here we go with all the doubts casted upon the management of battery recycling. Or with the question of where the electric power was generated and at what environmental cost. These two problems, aren’t quite yet problems, and therefore we haven’t yet solutions for them. There is no economical incentive to tackle those problems yet. But this does not mean that they cannot be solved nor that they will not be solved, come the time they need to be solved.

Staying put with internal combustion engines is preventing new problems to endure in the old ones, yet at a high cost. A mortgage for future generations.

Whilst the automotive industry is doing its best to slow down the transition to electrical mobility, other industries, with a smaller financial baggage, face problems head on. Once, a company told us we had a new huge, much bigger that electric vehicles, problem; we all want to have internet in our pockets. And do you know what? They even had a working solution on their way to the shelves!

scaffolding the corporation for the 2030

in still many corporations, young arrivals would, after a time, come to realise that the only way to make a career is to work up the ladder towards management. Yet not everybody can be or ought to be a manager. This is not new hence unfortunately many who today are shouldn’t be.

In the down of AI, many jobs that today still exist and busy thousands of people, (e.g. moving data from one excel sheet to another, from one database to another) will be one day no more. When a text line will suffice for AI to do all we need with data. And those people who have been shifting cells and making graphs for the last fifteen years won’t have it easy to still be able to add value to their organisations. Yet we find them in ageing swarms in our offices nowadays.

At the same time, we loose young talent because they see no ladder other than the management one. But eventually they would see themselves fitting in the role of an specialist, however no career scheme is today set for those.

Come the time of AI, will be those specialists who will be able to add value to their organisations, and will be those we regrettably miss, and even more regrettably we let go of them when we could have kept them, and grow them inside and in time.

Now more urgently than ever it is time to build the scaffolding of what our organisations will be in 2030. Otherwise we will find ourselves where now traditional banks start to find themselves: rapidly rendered inefficient by FinTech.

A career path moving toward specialisation that will grow towards mastery and end in a position not of management, but of organisation core competences, strategic growth and newcomers nurturance for a new generation of mastery.

This builds into an organisation with less people but more specialised and thus expensive people. Yet those organisations who choose to save money on their people and not foster specialisation, will soon have to close entire divisions out of asphyxia and with a high social cost. Still we have time to make a choice for the future, foster talent and be agile.

combinations that never were

For thousands of years, species lived in earth exposed to what nature and evolution did bring to the plate. So many combinations of atoms into molecules populated this planet. Until humankind learned to handle those pesky atoms and started exploring new combinations.

Unimaginable sorts of materials, chemicals, and even living entities started to come out of our laboratories. Combinations than never were, now are.

We only do not know how our bodies, and most importantly our brains work. And how those new combinations will react with our organs. Yet the pace of technological advances and new combinations of atoms that become part of our world grows every day at always faster rate.

We have learned to fear radioactivity, yet radioactivity has been present in our world since the very beginning. We even believe we feel uneasy in the neighborhood of a nuclear power plant. At the same time we embrace new materials, chemicals and drugs. We sit for hours in vehicles made of large bits of plastic that exhude organic components in the air, we use ever more effective pesticides and ingest ever newer drugs with the hope they will make us feel better.

At last all ends up entering our bodies. And the bodies of those other few species that we have not yet wiped out.

the collateral of offer and demand

The underlying mechanism of offer and demand certainly brings to society ever better value for less cost. We tap at the ingenuity of entrepreneurs and engineers to reach ever more efficient ways to produce utility, convenience, and comfort.

By its nature, the offer is usually consolidated in the hands of a few groups, where demand is distributed and not organised. Accordingly, the sole driving force of the demand is to receive more (perceived) value for less cost. In response to this behaviour, the offer has a few ways to produce ever more appealing products and services:

  • first by using ingenuity,
  • secondly by creating a higher perceived value of a not so intrinsically valuable good
  • and thirdly by abusing of surrounding environmental elements.

The first way is basically what I would tag as technological progress. The second, marketing excellence and the third pillage: the surroundings are there for the grabs! And often only protected by the integrity of entrepreneurs and engineers, alas not always.

Once ingenuity reach its limits as per the technological and scientific knowledge base of the present time, and products’ perceived value do not let be inflated any longer, it is only logical that entrepreneurs and engineers will find ways to resource to abusing the surroundings. Surroundings being several possible entities: environment, nature, minority groups, neighbours…

Looking at the newspapers we can see, now and then, portrayed cases of such third way. For instance the recent VW emissions issue or the damaging pesticides for bees.

What it is left for us all to consider is how can we exercise our freedom of choice in a way that keeps the pillagers on check. In our role as demand, yet distributed and uncoordinated, we are responsible of our actions and their consequences; Being able to discern within those products and services that trespass to pillage ought to be our ultimate aim.

SUVs race to the bottom

Driving a SUV increases the energy to be absorbed in a collision—normally in detriment of the lighter vehicle. Also increases the emissions. Noise. And especially in cities, uses up more space  even in the worst case damages the infrastructure. Yet it is in cities where the need to refocus on pedestrians and bicycles, as opposite to automobiles, is the most poignant.

The driver of a SUV is, however, not made accountable for all these negative factors. Only there is a light entry barrier in the purchase price to be overcome—for the solace of the car makers.

And if theory of games tells us one thing, it is that this race to the bottom is predictable and expected, as long as accountability is not added to the rules of the game.

the Krebs Cycle of Creativity

Now and then we stop reading. Struck by a sentence that has so much in itself that we need some moments to read it again, again, and again.

In “Age of Entanglement,” Neri Oxman describes the Krebs Cycle of Creativity. This shows science taking the perception of nature and converting it into knowledge. Engineering takes this knowledge and converts it into utility. Design takes this utility and converts it into meaning, behavior, and societal value. Art takes it and converts it into social perception. And although it’s too rare, this should be in the input into science as well. Our view is that science, engineering, design, and art need to work seamlessly together in order for our creativity to be well expressed.

Source: Joi Ito (Report from Marrakesh)