Daniel H. Pink wrote a fascinating book, A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age (New York: Riverhead Books, 2005). I have found the work to be extremely relevant to so much of what is happening in our society today.
Central to the book’s premise is the progression of the last few centuries of human working history. Pink describes a movement from the Agricultural Age (1700s) in which we needed farmers, to the Industrial Age (1800s) in which we needed factory workers, to the Information Age (1900s) in which we needed knowledge workers (the left-brainers), and finally to the Conceptual Age (2000s) in which we need creators and empathizers (the right-brainers). Pink observes that as we have progressed through each of these ages, we have enjoyed a commensurate rise in affluence, technology, and globalization.
Like it or not, we are living in a new age. The affluence, the technology, and the globalization are synergistically creating a new age that places entirely new demands upon us. To look at it any other way is to be the proverbial ostrich with its head in the sand. According to Pink, the bottom line is that as professionals or as business owners, we must ask three key questions about our livelihoods:
“1. Can someone overseas do it cheaper? 2. Can a computer do it faster? 3. Is what I’m offering in demand in an age of abundance?” (p. 51)
As we consider those questions, we come to realize Pink is right. Because he is right, we are moving:
“to a society of creators and empathizers, of pattern recognizers and meaning makers.” (p. 50)
I completely agree. We absolutely must embrace the new age of work and all its ramifications. If you do not want to be involved, then no need exists for you to embrace it. However, I think most serious professionals and business owners want to remain involved. The future is simply too exciting to ignore.