We had an incredible experience last month giving the keynote to over 1200 people at the Public Media Development and Marketing Conference (PMDMC), the annual gathering of the leaders of PBS and NPR stations across the country. Like we do in so many of our other speeches, we set the stage by discussing the profound shift we are living through as a human species.
We outlined our belief that a new paradigm is emerging — one where wholeness, community, and connection reign over separation, heirarchy, and competition. Over the last ten years, our world has changed dramatically and permanently. We are increasingly connected to one another in a global, persistent, and constantly evolving web of information and interaction. Our social circles and networks have expanded exponentially, and more profoundly, our ability to reach out to and mobilize those networks has expanded as well. And, when we mobilize those networks with a click of share, ask, or button, the impact is immediate.
We now live in a peer-to-peer world. Individuals are directly connecting with one another to co-create and implement ideas and solutions, upending the organizations, businesses, and even governments that used to dominate the landscape and mandate the narrative. Community is replacing hierarchy. Competitive models are becoming collaborative, and collaborative ones are becoming co-creative. Silos are no longer sustainable and separation is a mindset of the past.
There is an increasing amount of resources and research about how to thrive in this new paradigm. In her new book, Conscious Evolution, Barbara Marx Hubbard makes the case that we are entering a new phase in human evolution -- one of growth by choice, not chance. She contends we're living in a "positive quantum change -- a metamorphis of humanity." She outlines her belief that we are evolving "beyond the human potential movement into the social potential movement, where social synergy, interconnectivity, and spirit-based compassion for all" become the guideposts for living.
Similary, renowned M.I.T. mathematician Alex Pentland has done fascinating and ground-breaking research on what he calls "social physics." He writes, "We must stop thinking of people as indepdent decision makers, and realize that dynamic social effects are equally important at shaping our ideas and our the driving force behind economic bubbles, political revolutions, and the internet economy." In other words, we are all connected, more than we realize. "When people are working together doing the same thing in syncrony with others, our bodies release endorphins, natural opiates that give a pleasant high for working together." Not only are we more connected than we realize -- we are wired to work together. And when we do, our joy increases.
We can see it all around us. Brands, once the major voice in dictating opinion, are increasingly in the hands of individuals who determine what they mean and what they stand for. Transparency reigns as access to data is ubiquitous. Agility is the order of the day as social networks allow for rapid dissemination of information – and misinformation. In this new paradigm, authenticity is more valuable than ever as our individual and collective hype detectors become more highly tuned. Aligning with our unique blueprint and expressing our truths with courage, kindness, and confidence is the new power influencing positive change.
Over the next few weeks, we'll discuss these themes and how they impact and accelerate the idealism we all want to harness to create a better world. For a more complete view, we invite you to download our e-book on Meridian, our new strategy framework for idealists seeking to create transformation in a changing world.