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Agile Publishing Model.

Futurist David Houle

Welcome to the future!  The future of humanity and the future of publishing.

I am very excited about my new book Entering the Shift Age and the new model of publishing Sourcebooks has created, the Agile Publishing Model (APM). The APM is an innovative platform that allows authors to make their content available faster and in a more flexible format. For example, to suit your needs and interests as readers, Sourcebooks offers a variety of ways to purchase the content of Entering the Shift Age, either in individual parts (“mini eBooks”) or as a whole. (Check out “How to Purchase: The Agile Way”.) You can learn more about the APM by watching the video below.

This is part of the future of publishing. Now let’s turn toward our own future, the future of humanity.

We now live in the Shift Age, a time of transformation that will be regarded by future historians as one of the most significant periods in human history. The Shift Age is one of those inflection points or times when much of humanity will change how we live, how we think, how we interact with each other and what we do.


If, by 2040 the Spaceship Earth mentality has not initiated a profound change in how we think about our relationship to Earth, then the ultimate cure for over population may well become a human mandate: procreate once. If, over a generation or two at the most, the population of the planet could be halved if it was mandated that every woman could only procreate once.

The Shift Age then is when we will move toward a constant population and view this population as global. As will be discussed in the Mass Migration chapter, we will increasingly move around the planet, moving ever more toward global citizenry and this global view will alter how we view the human population of the planet.

Finally, the fact that IP is the wealth of the Shift Age, that we are moving toward an evolutionary new level of consciousness the on-going move toward urbanization and that the concept of place is changing all will influence the stabilization of the population.

Cities and Urbanization

In 2012 humanity crossed the threshold of 50% of us now living in cities. Some time around 2040 that number will be around 70%. This will trigger many trends.

  • It will be imperative to retrofit the 20th century as most 20th century infrastructures are already at the breaking point and will need to be replaced by 21st century infrastructures.. This will lead to the fundamental redesign of urban space to reflect the realities of this century. Cities will become smart with smart chips everywhere to coordinate the flows and rhythms of the city.
  • Birth rates will decline as women have fewer children in urban areas. This has been true for more than a century as children are no longer looked at as help for the family farm, women tend to work more in urban areas and the amount of living space is smaller.
  • The less is more trend will become accepted reality. The profligate material indulgences of the 20th century will be largely history. As discussed in Part Three and several chapters in Part Four, this trend flows through the contexts of the Earth Century, Spaceship Earth and that digitization has greatly reduced the amount of “stuff” we all have.
  • Small, energy efficient living spaces will become the norm. With all the transformation in technology, ever smaller gadgets with ever more functionality will eliminate the need for things like book shelves, home theaters, and large kitchens.
  • The automobile as we know it will be largely obsolete in 30 years as these megacities of the future will have more personal modes of transport to compliment new forms of public transport. In 2012 we can already see the beginning of this trend with cars much smaller and more energy efficient that a decade ago. In addition cities all around the world are becoming much more bicycle friendly. One person driving a two ton car for simple transport will become a thing of the past.
  • There will be a greater percentage of temporary or rental living spaces as the mass migration of the Shift Age moves people from megacity to megacity with frequency.

Society and economics will largely move to a much more global orientation. Only a few topics were addressed in this chapter. For any not in this chapter, the three fundamental forces of the Shift Age should always be thought of when looking into the social realm of humanity. Simply think about any topic and ponder how the Flow to Global may affect it; that we have entered the global stage of human evolution. Think how the Flow to the Individual may change what you are thinking about; that people are more powerful as individuals than they have ever been before. Perhaps first or most easily, consider how the Accelerating Electronic Connectedness of the planet will affect whatever it is you are thinking about. Just looking into any future area through these three lenses will offer insight.

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