Globally, the economy is in a precarious place. The traditional models of wealth generation and circulation are proving unsustainable at all levels. People on both ends of the increasingly polarized social spectrum need to take a hard look at what they value, what they feel they deserve and what their commitment to society should be on the macro and mirco levels.
There’s a mental health crisis that’s been recognized internationally, too – suicides, anxiety and depression, increased awareness of and empathy for those suffering from conditions ranging from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia to ADHD and post-partum depression.
Social media is connecting the world in hyper-kinetic ways. As of right now, we really do have a networked intelligence – the question is, how consciously and effectively can we harness it? How well are we leveraging our global information transfer network?
Everyone is talking about the challenges and need for significant change in our economic, political and social institutions. The classes that have led the Capitalist system through boom and bust are trapped in models of yore, uncertain what to do next.
They are turning to social entrepreneurs (the creative types who see money as a base-line for sustainable living and are more interested in creating social meaning with their work) for solutions.
The models that are successfully empowering and promoting social entrepreneurs (Google, CSI) take an active approach to workplace wellness and cognitive workplace design – there’s a whole emerging field just starting to crackle that will combine psychology, kinesiology and interior design in developing the cognitive workplace, spaces designed to enhance creativity and productivity.
Globally, the increasingly focused (and centrally coordinated) efforts to address mental illness are going to collide with the economic and social challenges in ways that might be surprising. Poor work design and an education system that focuses on mass-produced rote-learning actually foster anxiety and depression, while not developing the practical skills needed for success in tomorrow’s economy. At the same time, we are still feeling our way through alternative cognitive ability diagnoses and accommodations, with a long way to go before we get it right. We can’t afford to be losing productivity and having so many people reliant on the healthcare system.
What we need to start doing is tap into these potentials effectively; we can no longer afford to have the future Steve Jobs’, Albert Einsteins and Winston Churchills succeed by luck of timing or geography – we need everyone to reach and harness their full cognitive potential.
Society is being forced to change the way we view work and education to support the latent talents that will fuel the Knowledge Economy. The natural source of inspiration and ideation for this cognitive revolution will be the social entrepreneurs – people who on the whole are concerned about the environment and looking at sustainable practices that also create business opportunities:
- Increased integration through social media
- A shift towards shared, networked-learning that encourages students (and employees) to be active participants in planning and executing their education
- Increased critical thinking in politics, vs model-based partisan loyalties
- A growing reliance on social entrepreneurs and horizontally integrated idea-sharing as a vehicle for growth and policy directions
- Mental health care begins to become more proactive, with appropriate accommodative measures built into work, education, etc.
- The Cognitive Revolution, like the Industrial Revolution before it, will reshape our society around a more conscious Capitalism.