Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Two Conferences Seen Through One Digital Hole

The world is a continuum, circling around itself, and around the sun and we as individuals have often the feeling being stuck in one single place.

Certainly that has been the case for centuries when we in our small villages seldom got notice about what happened such outside our hunting area. Inventions like the wheel, telegraph, telephone and lately the World Wide Web have changed that world view immensely. Not that we as a species have adapted to it yet fully. Of course place still matters, and small communities where we feel a kind of safety, and common understanding.


However what would you do if you'd year in two "global villages" there would something happening some thousand kilometers away, 9 time zones apart and where you perhaps don't even know a single person, and you even can't visit the one merely a 120 km away due to other restrictions?

Would you go?

Just imagine for a minute you'd be in the year 2020.  Technology would be so advanced that on your room wall there would be an oversized OLED flat-foil-screen that would instantly connect with the conversations happening in both locations. You could follow what is being talked about, learn to know new people by sheer serendipity (as something catches your eye, and an instant later connects with some thoughts on your mind, or another occasion you'd talked about this topic months before).

Utopia?

Not quite. The world we live in seems to be in a lot of turmoil, and yet something is slowly emerging. The first time this caught probably everybody was in late 2008 when the global economy was hit by the financial crisis. The disconnect between real value creation, and what the banking sector (at large, including hedge fonds) was setting the bets on in order to grow the global economy in ways that seemed outrageous at this time. This is now almost to the date six years ago. Still it seems it is all about making more money, more profit for the sake of it.

No, two conferences at quite diverse locations - one in Silicon Valley right in San Francisco, and the other one not far from so-called "Silicon Saxony" in Leipzig - deal with on how to invest, and do good at the same time building up a sustainable social capital (SOCAP14), and the other tackling the questions in order to change the economic growth to rather a degrowth (Degrowth14).

The most precious resources we as humans own is the time of life, and so there is a trade-off every time we have to decide to go to one or the other conference (in general between several activities that give value back to us).

So perhaps the best of our times in terms to engage with two conferences at the same time are the boundary objects that social networks enable us to create in order to facilitate, and ease the conversation across disciplines, in time & space, and accelerate the knowledge flow allowing us to create the serendipity bumps that often are the most memorable moments in life, where we have learned more than we could have imagined before they had happened.

To give an idea what it could be like see for #SOCAP14 and #Degrowth14 just now on your screen.

1 comment:

Ralf Lippold said...

Prof. John D. Sterman, MT Sloan School Management on cultural changes that need to shift for a sustainable world to become reality:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c891j7lnaYk&t=576s
(abstract: http://scorai.org/wp-content/uploads/wordpress/John-Sterman-Abstract.pdf)

A longer paper with several co-authors can be found here: http://jsterman.scripts.mit.edu/docs/Sterman%20Stumbling%20towards%20sustainability%20131207.pdf

Especially with President Trump's decision to pull the USA out of the Paris Agreement last week new leverage points to societal change (for the positive) open up, and we all can play a relevant role in it.