Welcome to Generation V
There is a journey ideas take from hype to fad to trend, with a short pit-stop at cliché, on their way to becoming part of life. I believe visualization (Not the Deepak Chopra kind, but the Dan Roam kind) is on that journey. As evidence, I point to exhibit A, from Marc at Weinot.
I like it. It’s simple and gets the job done. I think it also points to a larger trend. Let me explain.
Four macro trends are changing the way we communicate and work, and that’s a good thing. First, the rise in volume of information. That’s been well documented*. Global IP traffic reaching a Zetabyte at the end of 2o15, a number we hadn’t heard of and couldn’t make sense of without Google, Wikipedia or Wolfram Alpha. There’s a sea of noise out there, with thousands of tweets per second, hours of video uploaded per minute, and millions of posts and new content pages daily only adding to the din.
Second, the accessibility of creation tools and technology, from iphones and Instagram to Adobe suite and facebook, have lowered the entry barrier for people to create, re-create and remix content. Practically anyone with a computer or a cellphone can contribute to the diaspora (yes that’s a word I had to look up) of information and content. It doesn’t mean there are more Mona Lisa’s or Grapes of Wrath out there, but there are unquestionably more people with access to a paintbrush or a typewriter. The tools are more versatile, and put increasing capability in less skilled hands.
Distribution becomes easier. Email, twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest … Anyone can write, tweet, friend, like, pin and tumble anything to anyone else, connecting to each other through a social web that has created interconnected social islands. The world I grew up in, with a few national newspapers, local libraries where we borrowed books rather than downloaded, and sat down to watch TV instead of time-shifting it, has gone.
What does this have to do with visualization? and how does this effect business?
Less than twenty years ago, the prototypical corporate climber was left-brained, analytical, (an MBA helped) could write a great white paper or stinging memo, had a “phone” voice and a network carefully built from prep school. That is changing. There is a premium on ideas and the ability to express those ideas to drive innovation. Creativity coupled with logic makes ideas and messages stand out. As Dan Pink argues in A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age, the future belongs to the right and left-brainers.
That’s a good thing. We will have to learn things in business school, and then unlearn them to put the whole mind to work. We will have to understand corporate pig-latin, but speak human. We’ll have to analyze, and doodle. We will have to re-acquire the skills we had in Kindergarten. Welcome to Generation V.
Generation V isn’t the one that comes after Y. Its open and spans generations. It’s made up of boomers, X’ers, and it’s chock full of Millennials. In a world awash with information, we will see a premium placed on being able to stand-up, stand-out and get the message through. Marc is part of Generation V. For anyone still putting bullets on a slide, this is a last boarding call.
*The quantity of information in the world is soaring. According to one estimate, mankind created 150 exabytes (billion gigabytes) of data in 2005. This year, it will create 1,200 exabytes – the Economist