In his most ambitious work to date, Thomas Friedman shows that we have entered an age of dizzying acceleration. He quotes Ray Kurzweil at Google: “The 21st century will be equivalent to 20,000 years of progress in the past.”
Technology itself isn’t just a single accelerating force - all five components of a computer are enjoying nonlinear change – integrated circuits, memory, networking systems, software, and sensors mimicking human functions and senses – thinking, seeing, hearing, speaking, and moving things. Humans have become a force of nature through a supernova of connectivity and information flows combined with our ease of handling complexity via mobile devices, broadband transmission, and the cloud. We have globalized digital flows of ideas, trade, finance, news, friendships and marriages, and gossip.
Population growth and improvements in prosperity add more demands on the earth’s declining resources. We have pushed nature’s systems to and maybe beyond the bounds of safe operating boundaries in a runaway mode for humans and all life on earth. Breach of the main boundaries beyond what is safe – climate, biodiversity, deforestation, chemical flows, and ocean acidification, is approaching in this century.
What’s called upon is innovation, in fact compounding innovation, in everything other than technology – redesigning workplaces to focus humans on what humans do better than machines, redesigning politics to reduce polarization and increase adaptability and resilience, redesigning communities to be healthier and happier while consuming fewer planetary resources, and redesigning moral values to put human well-being first and technological advances second.
The skills and techniques of coaching, facilitating human change and growing beyond what was previously thought possible, have found their calling. It’s time for coaches to scale up our impact and help accelerate human change.
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