Change is Accelerating

Heraclitus, a 5th Century BC philosopher, focused on the doctrine of change. He put forth the many pearls of wisdom, which in turn were quoted by the likes of Aristotle and Plato. Two of these are:

  • “You could not step twice into the same river”
  • “It is harder to fight against pleasure than against anger”

But the one he is most remembered for is:

  • “The only thing that is constant in life is change”

Think about that. Here we are today in a world full of change, and some bloke from 2,500 years ago agrees. If change was constantly happening back then, how much more is it around us today.

But, change is not linear. It’s not happening at a steady rate. It does seem that new and significant, that trends and shifts, that developments and advances are upon us with increasing rapidity. Think about this. As much as we have seen over the last 75 years, we will see over the next 25.

Now, reflect upon what we have seen over the last 75 years. The invention of penicillin, the achievements of moon landings, and that all pervasive internet. What will we see over the next 25? Driverless cars as standard, over-the-counter individually-tailored gene-based medicines, holographic shopping experiences?

There is a theory that attempts to describe what we are experiencing. Its called “the accelerating change” theory. Its where as we discover new ways of doing things, we learn more, which in turn opens up more improvements, and so on. And as more people become connected and aware of these improvements, even more change will happen.

Think about that self-serve checkout at the supermarket. Someone figured out a way, based on self-serve at the petrol station, to enable customers to do the same with grocery items. And now, given the convenience and speed of this change at supermarkets, we can get in and out quickly.  I dare say you could find many more examples.

Change will always be with us, and the rate of change is increasing. That has a real impact upon you and upon your organization. How will you, how are you navigating a path forward?

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