How Will Things Change?

by Jay Deragon on 09/21/2008

A Business Week article states : In a new book, Here Comes Everybody, author and academic Clay Shirky argues the future is here; it’s time to get on with it

For many companies, adoption of social tools remains the domain of one department (often marketing or advertising) rather than a goal of the enterprise at large. The book does give tantalizing glimpses of the challenges and changes ahead, along with an analysis of the ongoing tension between commercial and noncommercial.

For most companies, and for many of the world’s citizens, such anarchy is unthinkable. In the book’s final pages Shirky does not shy away from asking whether the vast changes created by the emergence of new socially connected tools are—on balance—good or bad. He’s a self-confessed optimist, but also a pragmatist, arguing that the rise of groups of which the majority might not approve is not just a by-product of the tools; it’s the product, too.

Shirky calls for readers to acknowledge the new reality and look to the future. “The important questions aren’t about whether these tools will spread or reshape society but rather how they do so.” His book is a compendium of smartly analyzed, real-world examples of just that, and it provides a good foundation for those looking to get a handle on the new ways of the world

So the Big Question is How?

Notice Shirky;s emphasis is on how things will change not whether they will change. Now Shirky and others such as Doc Searls, Seth Godin and a host of thought leaders all agree that the emergence of a social world fueled by technology will change everything for businesses and individual alike. The issue is what further changes will be fueled by the initial changes we are witnessing today.

The question How is the fuel that drives creativity. The social tools of today are fueling creative forces against traditional business models, processes and individual mindsets. By simply asking the How question against the basic understanding of the current dynamics one finds the answers that in turn fuel further creativity.

The cycle of asking “how” is similar to a child asking “Why. How is a fundamental question driven by curiosity. Curiosity leads to discovery which begets learning.

Just maybe the emergence of social technologies is actually helping us all rediscover “how” to learn all over again. We can learn “how” things will change together and collectively find Socialutions to many of today’s perplexing problems. While we face significant economic, political and environmental problems the solutions are up to us to find.  Not our governments, our politicians or corporation.  The solutions are up to us. And that is a good thing.

What say you?

{ 1 comment }

Dan Robles May 22, 2008 at 11:10 pm


Great article. There is no shortage of people who can see the headlights coming but very few can tell you exactly what is coming, how to create it, and what the implications will be.

I have published a paper at which accomplished this.

“Innovation Economics; A Knowledge Worker’s Guide to Outsourcing Management”

Despite the tougue in cheek title, this paper is a blueprint for the next level of human development must be constructed with the tools that lay strewn before us today.

In short; The innovation economy has factors of production: Social Capital, Creative Capital, and Intellectual Capital + entrepreneurs. Next, everything that we know about innovation is mashed with the science of finance. Web 2.0 will converge to Web 3.0; a state in which knowledge becomes tangible financial instrument outside the constructs of the corporation. The implications are vast.

Take a look at this work and let me know what you think. I look forward to some great feedback from the folks reading the Relationship Economy!!!

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