Apply the Lessons from “Historical Cycles of Disruptive Innovation”

Mary O'Hara-Devereaux | | Future Trends

Devereaux_End Of The World As We Know It

The current cycle of disruptive innovation began some sixty years ago. Expected to end around 2025, this cycle, like others throughout history, has not only wrought significant change in the world but will ultimately render it virtually unrecognizable. Surges in innovation and new science and technologies have driven the economy at a frenetic speed, transforming the very nature of business and organizational life, and outpacing our ability to respond. It has transformed daily life and caused the demise of most social institutions whose structures, programs and leadership are mismatched to the needs and issues of the times. The vortex of societal issues, technological advances, and economic shifts will propel us into a world that does not resemble the one we are leaving behind.

Navigating OUT the Badlands

For the past 15 years, we have been navigating through the Badlands. As we journey through the early stages of the knowledge economy from the Industrial Era, which has seen the end of our old and now obsolete economic, organizational, and societal paradigms, we are driving hard to realize the full promise of the Information Age. We must now traverse a new craggy landscape which bridges past and future. Every cycle of disruptive innovation segues into this transitional stage, which is characterized by discomfort, bewilderment, anxiety, and pain, as we struggle to create the future into which we must move. We must surrender to its alchemy. It is now time to Navigate OUT of the Badlands. We are entering the far foothills of the future where, like in the Badlands, there is no exact roadway or map.

The organizations and institutions of today, the patterns of behavior and thinking of today, will not serve us tomorrow. We have not yet created those that will; the decisions we make as we navigate OUT of the Badlands will shape the next era. While the rate of change is unprecedented, these cycles of disruptive innovation are not. We have traveled through and OUT of the Badlands before, time and again, finding pathways to survival and the will and drive to thrive.

What We Can Learn From History

Examining disruptors throughout history – from the advent of written language and the invention of the printing press to the Industrial Revolution, development of nuclear weaponry, and implementation of sophisticated information and communications technology – and drawing from the lessons to be gleaned from previous journeys offers a beacon of hope as we make our own way OUT of the Badlands and bring to an end this time of transition and turbulence for this disruptive cycle of innovation.

An Invitation to Dive Deeper

Download the whitepaper, to explore these lessons through the lens of historical disruptors. Our challenges and opportunities are unique – as is the case for any and every period of transition and change. But our ability to learn from the past can help orient us and guide us towards those pathways that will lead us OUT of the Badlands and into the foothills of the future.

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Mary O'Hara-Devereaux

Mary O'Hara-Devereaux

Mary O’Hara-Devereaux, Ph.D, Founder and CEO of Global Foresight, is one of the world’s leading futurists and business forecasters. She has over 25 years of experience advising senior policy makers, Fortune 500 executives, and Blue Chip clients. Mary is a leading expert in future trends, the future of work, and the future of China.
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