Sometimes people say that the world is changing more than ever before. Personally, I think that the biggest change in history occurred with the invention of the steam engine, that led to the massive urbanization that we still see happening. What we see happening in the 21st century is the fastest change in history:
Bill Gates (Microsoft), Steve Jobs (Apple) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), but also Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google) built the fundaments of the new society that just became aware of globalization after the industrialization.
In this new society, individuals are becoming increasingly more dependent on technology for their day-to-day lives and in their work. The winners of this change are companies that are able to build a lean, data-driven platform. Companies that don’t succeed to do this, are becoming increasingly dependent on companies that are able to do so. Companies, especially market leaders, need to adapt quicker, faster and more radical than ever before, because competition arises from every direction and more and more often, startups pop up like daisies and disrupt industries.
All these things happen in a shifting society: there are more of us here now than ever before. We are tearing down national borders and language barriers; information, knowledge and ideas are now stored forever. We live to be older, maybe even wiser, and thanks to social media, we can be part of it from a very young age on: nobody needs to hold your hand any more before you’re allowed and able to have all the world at your feet.
The educational system has a great challenge: how to prepare nowadays students for tomorrows world, while not even knowing how this world will look like? And how can large, existing organizations stay in the lead of developments within their industry?
The answer seems to be: entrepreneurship. Teaching students how to become autonomous, self-taught — so they can renew themselves in their future life — and prepare organizations for their arrival, give existing employees space to innovate and set-up their own projects, help them to become intrapreneurs. But which characteristics are important to develop? And how to innovate — become a speed boat — as a large organization?
And what are the limits of innovation, should we automate and digitalize everything? If we continue automating and digitalising with no foresight, then in the long run we could technologise away every conceivable profession, save the one of the programming engineer. But is that what we would want the world to be like? Robots with artificial intelligence are ready to take over the world, but which jobs will remain?
Organisations should not wait, but take the lead.