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Are We Victims of Technology?

November 11, 2017

This month, Stuart Hardy considers the creative leader's need for a hybrid skillset to navigate the growing storm of technological forces.

In Kevin Kelly’s book The Inevitable, he argues the case for twelve dominant ‘tech forces’, as opposed to specific technologies that will dominate business, and indeed life itself, for the next 30 years. The list is long and impactful: Becoming, Cognifying, Flowing, Screening, Accessing, Sharing, Filtering, Remixing, Interacting, Tracking, Questioning, and Beginning. In some respect, these appear to be drivers of technology’s advance – and others, the consequence.

It is, however, the inevitability that is a little daunting to businesses still grappling with Enterprise 1.0, 2.0 and maybe 3.0. And what of us individuals trying to exist or, heaven forbid, lead people in this narcissistic ‘photopia’ as Kelly calls it?

Is this like the Pile of Bricks exhibit in the Tate Gallery – art that only artists can understand and eulogize about? Or does it have sociological, behavioral, and human diligence attached? The ‘inevitability’ in Kelly’s title implies that we will be victims in some way, and therefore only those that understand, and can engage pro-actively, will thrive.

Does this go against human nature that is also driving a revival in artisan manufacturing, the search for simpler pursuits, and a desire to re-connect with humanity and nature? For us as creative leaders, we are artists with a complex palette of social, cultural, and tech forces that are colliding at an ever-increasing rate. The ability the mix these paints to find the right tone with which to paint a successful business canvas is the challenge faced today.

Inherent with the notion of leadership, is the ability to take people on journeys into the future, be they social, political or business. It is vital that modern creative leaders develop the skill-sets that will allow them to navigate where they want to go, and not just be tossed from rock to rock in the storm of technological forces.

At the Berlin School of Leadership, we explore with our students the hybrid skill-sets that allow them conduct these forces to their advantage; like the modern kayaker who journey through rapids that were once a source of danger and confusion to previous generations. Technology must be an Inevitable tool that enables us to achieve greatness and not some divinely guided religion to provide us with false enlightenment.

About the author

Stuart Hardy describes himself as a ‘Human Engineer’, and is Director of Executive Education at the Berlin School. His primary focus is to ensure that the latest thinking and innovations from high performance business are integrated into Berlin School’s creative development programs. Writing from his home in Staffordshire or during a twelve-hour flight to Brazil, Stuart brings us his monthly reflections on leading teams, practicing innovation, and generating value in the changing world of creative business.