A friend recently introduced me to Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind. It’s a profound and exciting book and I couldn’t recommend it more. So I’m writing a series of blog posts to share his ideas and apply them to the world we live in – that of the CEO and marketer in a small-to-midsize company.
And now his premise: The last few decades have belonged to left-brained thinkers – computer programmers, lawyers, MBAs, accountants. Linear, logical, sequential, analytical thinkers.
But that time is over. We’ve moved beyond that Information Age into an era he calls the Conceptual Age. And in the Conceptual Age, people and companies will succeed or fail thanks to right-brained skills like inventiveness, empathy, joyfulness and big-picture thinking.
In this era, skills that may once have been considered frivolous are now a competitive necessity for companies. Logical and linear is now in the passenger seat and creative, high-concept thinking is behind the wheel.
To say his idea is big would be an understatement. And Dan lays out a very convincing argument. He points to these three root causes for the shift from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age:
1. Abundance. We have everything we need. Now we have an opportunity to focus on adding meaning to our lives.
2. Asia. There are more highly-skilled and trained workers in Asia than the entire population of the U.S. And they can perform highly-skilled, linear, logical work for 10-20% of the cost.
3. Automation. Computers can automate almost any repetitive task and do it more quickly than a human could ever dream.
U.S. workers and companies who want to thrive in this next economy should ask themselves three tough questions:
1. Can someone overseas do it more cheaply than I can?
2. Can a computer do it faster than I can?
3. Is what I’m offering in demand in an age of abundance?
If our skills, products or services can’t stand up to these three questions, then we’ll suffer in the Conceptual Age.
The good news is that companies and individuals can increase our focus on right-brained aptitudes. In my next post, I’ll write about the 6 aptitudes that Dan thinks will increasingly guide our lives and careers in the Conceptual Age. Then I’ll talk about how to apply those aptitudes in your company.
If you’ve read Pink’s book, what did you think of his arguments? And have you applied any of his principles to your business? Please share your thoughts, questions and ideas with our readers!
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