We grew up in an era where we looked to leaders in those Ivory towers: the big institutions, whether it was academia or corporate or government. We thought they were responsible for driving the change. I’ve come to believe that the change is not likely to happen that way. I mean if we’re waiting for existing institutional leaders that have responsibility for the current models, to come up with the models for tomorrow, and move us there, they’re not going to do it. It’s not in their interest to do it. There are some exceptions to that, but by in large most leaders are incented to strengthen their existing models and their existing positions. I think what’s really exciting is what I call self organized purposeful networks. This messy thing that we see emerging where people are using new technologies like social media to connect and share information to exchange ideas, like you and I are doing here today, and I think we’ve got the exchange of ideas, done pretty well. We’ve learned how to connect with each other. I call it colliding with the unusual suspects to figure out what’s interesting in the grey area between us. I think the thing that’s starting to happen that’s going to happen more tomorrow, is we’re going to figure out not only how to exchange ideas, but we’re going to figure out how to create purposeful networks, combine our capability set to have an influence to actually put pressure on and to change these models and systems.
And I think it’s that pressure from that happens organically from the bottom up, combined with a subset of leaders in existing institutions, not all of them, in fact probably not most of them. But a select few, that are going to realize that they have the capability set to invent the future and it’s in their best interest to play a leadership role in creating the future. And those two forces are going to put allow us to reach an inflection point, where everyone else is going to have come along for the ride. But it’s a big shift because we used to wait for the institutional leaders to drive the change and I don’t think that’s going to happen.