Embrace the change

Embracing the change has easily been one of the most repeated mottos of the last decade or two.

Those of us who work in a corporate world have seen all sorts of motivational posters, trainings and meetings aiming to teach us one important lesson: Change is Good.

While the focus finally fades away from this mantra, it is worth noting one thing: Change is Change.
It isn’t good, nor bad… it is a device like the internet and knives. And how we use it, is entirely on us.

What is curious here, and incidentally is also the reason why I am writing this short post, is that change may very well be the word of the decade… it may be difficult to see it now, but it was so embedded in the culture of large companies -and most specifically of tech companies- that it became a value in and of itself, creating tools that would foster change.

Think of Facebook, probably the most culturali pervasive corporate of this decade: changing your profile picture, your status, your wall, adding posts to update your profile are the key to any “successful” account in a world where success is unequivocally measured in the number of likes and reactions.

This is but an example: other companies went even further inventing products where your posts would automatically disappear after a day, effectively forcing you to have something new to say, or resign to invisibility.

Did  this culture -here we finally get to the point- unintendedly generated the hummus for the current political fluidity to thrive?
It is not the case of giving a one-stop answer to the question “how did we end up here?”, but it definitely seems like one factor that was rowing in that direction, and I would argue that it was an important one too.

The other aspect, more subtle, of this embracement was the implicit empowerment that it underlay: “Embrace the change” was not there to tell us to “follow the change”, or “obey the change”, but to understand it and express affection towards it, to the point of becoming a promoter.
It was the implicit acknowledgement of the importance of individual opinions and feelings: obedience wouldn’t cut it anymore, embracement was key.

Individual empowerment is so central to our time that the National Intelligence College of the USA, listed it in 2012 as first of the four most important megatrends for the decades to come.

Whether “embrace the change” was a successful motto because it was quick to hint at the rising trend of individual empowerment, or it was so endemic in the corporate world as to eventually spilled out of it and became a self standing phenomenon is impossible to say, but this is really the other interesting point of my reasoning: one way or another, this motto shaped the tools those companies invented and those tools shaped the world and culture we live in.

What’s most important: those tools and culture, are still shaping the world of tomorrow, and influencing where we are going.

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