We are living in an extraordinary time. The wealth of knowledge created by man is available to almost everybody. Shortly it will be available to all humans on the planet. What does this mean to the advancement of the human condition in general? Well, if we don’t take control of our future, it could mean total extinction or catastrophe. However, I’m happy to find many well known researchers and authorities who agree that the future will be bright and prosperous for the human race. Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler wrote a book entitled ”Abundance” in 2012. It takes a wonderfully positive view of what our world can become.
However, we have a serious problem. Our perspective of what the world could be is flawed. The authors point to the effect of the headlines in the news that influence how we see the world. There’s so much negative news surrounding us that it shuts down our ability to take in positive information. The view the authors take in the book involves global issues but they carefully point to this: “ In today’s hyper-linked world, solving problems anywhere, solves problems everywhere.”
Diamandis and Kotler remind us that the possibility of abundance and positive growth seems impossible to the majority of us, but if we take a look at what is actually happening in the world, we’ll see something different. In fact, they tell us “a quick look at history shows that progress continues through the good times and the bad.” These are a few examples they offer :
- Today, even the poorest Americans have access to a telephone, television, and a flush toilet. These are luxuries even the wealthiest didn’t have in the last century.
- Infant mortality has decreased by 90 percent.
- Maternal mortality has decreased by 99 percent.
- Human lifespan has increased by 100 percent.
- Quality of life has improved more in the past century than ever before.
- “Right now a Masai warrior with a cell phone has better mobile phone capabilities than the president of the United States did twenty years ago. And if he’s on a smart phone with access to Goggle, then he has better access to information than the president did just fifteen years ago.”
In “How Not to be Ignorant About the world”, Hans and Ola Rosilng reveal three additional areas of progress:
- The number of deaths from natural disasters decreased to less than half in the last century.
- The number of women over 30 who attended school has increased globally.
- In the last 20 years the number of people in extreme poverty has decreased by half.
Researchers reveal that ignorance about what’s really happening is caused by personal bias, outdated facts being taught in school, news bias and intuition( the illusion of confidence). We can handle this by erring on the side of positivity concerning the progress of the human race then searching for the truth about world affairs. We really are improving and technological advances coupled with individuals desiring prosperity and having access to resources for advancement will speed things up.
Diamandis et. al. founded Singularity University a Silicon Valley think tank that offers educational programs and a business incubator. “Each year, the graduate students are challenged to develop a company, product, or organization that will positively affect the lives of a billion people within ten years.” This is a bold and ambitious goal but they report the achievement of that goal is getting closer. The”sky is the limit” for them and “the sky is the limit” for us.
The idea of abundance frees us to be creative and innovative without limitations. So, join the positive forces shaping our planet and build an exciting 21st century enterprise. Enjoy the unprecedented benefits of our technological revolution. Consider these keys to business success.
Five Keys to Entrepreneurial success in the 21st century:
1.Know the many resources available for entrepreneurs. This is the perfect time to be alive and willing to contribute to the welfare of humanity. You can study in any field and find loopholes and inadequacies that you can fill. Most industries can be improved in one way or another. Just striving toward excellence in an industry will bring you phenomenal success! You can conduct tests to see if your idea will fly. If it doesn’t seem workable, all you have lost is a little time. You can try something else. Nick Hastreiter offered a list of 400 free resources for entrepreneurs. I have also found 200 top level universities offering free online courses. Check them out!
2. Build a business as a force for good. “In this realm of philanthropy and service, one’s actions speak louder than words, and from those actions, better opportunities inevitably flow back to the individual and their business” says Pike Peters, founder of Virtual Tire Kicker. Your business purpose comes from a desire to contribute something. Craig and Snook shared an interesting finding in an article “ From Impact to purpose” explaining: “Business experts make the case that purpose is a key to exceptional performance, while psychologists describe it as the pathway to greater well-being. So a strong Purpose has business and psychological advantages. Doctors have even found that people with purpose in their lives are less prone to disease. Purpose is increasingly being put forth as the key to navigating the complex, volatile, ambiguous world we face today, where strategy is ever changing and few decisions are obviously right or wrong.” Purpose keeps you grounded and moving in the right direction. This is an expanding and timeless phenomenon among entrepreneurs of today.
3.Understand the forces at work in the Innovation Economy as described by James Canton. According to Canton in his book, “The Extreme Future: The Top Trends that will Reshape the World”,“The mantra of the Innovation Economy is ‘free minds, free markets, free enterprise’. This offers the greatest prosperity-creating opportunity in the history of civilization”.”The coming Innovation Economy will herald an age of rapid, dramatic change, one in which ideas that create value, offer solutions, and fulfill needs will thrive, sweeping in to recesses of memory the comparatively primitive ideas, products, services and processes that came before. Innovation will be the prime source of productivity, prosperity, competition, and potentially even peace. Innovation will be recognized as an empowering force that will drive individual prosperity and global competition.”
4. Embrace the importance of Management Skills. “Two decades ago and one computer revolution later, American business has undergone more extreme changes in every aspect in every industry than could have ever been predicted. Many center on technology, collaboration and information, but the solution is not technology. It is not collaboration. It is not information. It is producing results… Management is the specific function, the specific instrument to make institutions capable of producing results. People management and leadership will be the core drivers of tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.” Terence Chatmon, CEO of FCCI
In other words, management is the organization and coordination of the activities of a business in order to achieve defined objectives. You will apply change management skills as you find the need for making the various types of changes to your established strategy and systems. People skills, such as communication and conflict management skills fall under the umbrella of scientific or skill based management. Management skills have been the focus of years of management research. Today we have time-tested and universal management skills available to managers because of this rigorous research. Of course, there will always be improvements in the discipline but basic business management skills will stay relatively the same. The best managers will continuously learn and improve their management skills.
5. As founders, prepare to lead for the long term.Steve Blank offered an interesting directive for 21st century businesses: “To stay in business in the 21st century, startups must do three things their 20th century counterparts didn’t:
- A company is no longer built on a single innovation. It needs to be continuously innovating–and who best to do that? The founders.
- To continually innovate, companies need to operate at startup speed and cycle time much longer their 20th century counterparts did. This requires retaining a startup culture for years–and who best to do that? The founders.
- Continuous innovation requires the imagination and courage to challenge the initial hypotheses of your current business model (channel, cost, customers, products, supply chain, etc.) [from knowledge of the facts and the elimination of information bias]. This might mean competing with and if necessary killing your own products. (Think of the relentless cycle of iPod then iPhone innovation.) Professional CEOs [from outside] who excel at growing existing businesses find this extremely hard. Who best to do that[challenge and change]? The founders.”
The future will be very exciting if we contribute new Purpose-driven enterprises to the economy. The possibilities are endless! We are moving toward abundance! All it takes is a passion for something, persistence and dedication. The resources are at your fingertips.