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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.


The latest news from the Shift Age

Monday, January 07, 2013

by David Houle

Since the beginning of the Transformation Decade in 2010, I have been saying that education at all levels will undergo transformation by 2020.  The book I wrote with Jeff Cobb, Shift Ed: A Call to Action for Transforming K-12, published in early 2011, called for nothing less than transformation.  Reform is an outdated word and is now not enough to make the necessary changes in American education.

Last week I wrote a guest column for CNN.com titled “Predictions for the Next Decade of Education”.  It provoked a number of responses to my inbox and many on-line as well.  The first thing that struck me about the comments is how emotional many of the responses were.  There was a lot of passion and a lot of anger, and both strong pro-technology and strong anti-technology comments. People think that they know the answer and everyone else doesn’t.  A teacher assumed that since I wasn’t one as well, my ideas should be questioned.  Well, to write Shift Ed and now a mini-eBook  “Education” which is a part of my new book Entering the Shift Age, I not only spoke to many teachers, principals and superintendents, I have delivered speeches to and interacted with thousands of them across the country.

In addition to the rants and to some well-presented comments and emails, there were surprisingly different responses.  One in particular is worth mentioning.  A Boston University student sent me a link to a spoof video he and friends, some new graduates, did about how having a college degree means nothing in this depressed economy.  They parodied and used a song from Les Miserables. The video is brilliant as it deals with what is a major problem and reality today.  Students who went to college thinking it the first step toward the American Dream are now living a debt-burdened nightmare of underemployment.

A Millennial who graduated from college since 2009 has basically entered into the worst employment market since the Great Depression.  As I have said to Baby Boomers across America who think the Millennials are entitled: Uh, this great recession or global financial meltdown was largely due to Baby Boomers, so why should they show respect if this is what you have wrought?  Think of the ages of all those bankers or CEOs of financial institutions that have been in the news these past five years.  Are there any Millennials among them?

(To get a deeper view on the coming generational shift, feel free to take a look at The Shift Age Generations mini-eBook.)

Part of the unfortunate reality that Millennials like the BU students are facing is due to the simple fact that Higher Education is the next “bubble”.  First, there was the “Tech Bubble”, then the “Real Estate Bubble”.  Now it is the “Higher Ed bubble”.

Unprecedented student debt and college and university costs have increased almost 400% more than inflation and 200% more than health care this century, within old, tradition-bound institutions that are too bureaucratic and inefficient.   

 As I wrote in the Future of Education mini-eBook when describing higher education: ‘The economics are unsustainable, the outcomes are questionable, and the insularity and inefficiencies intolerable. Higher education will undergo transformation between now and 2020.  The 500-year-old university model will change more in the next ten years than it has in the last 100.”

The death of legacy thinking and widespread creative destruction is now at hand for all levels of education.

 

David Houle

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

by David Houle

Almost three years ago, on 01-01-10 I wrote a column called “The Transformation Decade”. On this digital date, I suggested that this decade would be shaped by massive transformation. The dictionary definition of transformation is “a change in nature, shape, form or character”. This means that this ten-year period will be a decade when most of humanity’s institutions will do exactly that.

 Since that date, in columns and speeches around the world, I have found that not only was this forecast correct, but that this definition helps people to better contextually understand the ever greater amount and accelerating speed of change.

Companies understand that if they are not changing to some degree the nature, shape or character of their businesses that they will not only fall behind marketplace changes, competitive changes and customer changes, they may not be in business in 2020. Many CEOs and others who have heard me speak about this Transformation Decade have requested that I write more in-depth about it. Well, now I have. In my new book Entering the Shift Age, Part Three is all about this amazing ten-year period. It is available by itself as an inexpensive mini-eBook.

The Collapse of Legacy Thinking

Humanity has largely powered into the 21st century thinking 20th century thoughts. Similar to McLuhan’s statement that most people drive down the freeway of life looking in the rear-view mirror, most people have been looking back to the way things were or worked in the 20th century. No wonder we can’t seem to solve the new global problems! We are looking at them through the filter of old conceptual constructs.

We all suffer from seeing the present–possible futures–through the filter of legacy thinking. Your mentor taught you something in the 1990s, your father told you about reality, you read a great business book in the 1980s and then these “truths” became locked down in your mind, and therefore strongly shaped your views on most subjects. It is as though you are seeing the future through windows of a house that was built in the past. In the Shift Age and in the 21st century, we must all take a look at the thoughts we think and ask ourselves when we first thought them. If our perceptions of the world were formed in the last 25 years of the 20th century, they might not all be relevant here at the end of 2012.

The Transformation Decade is and will be a time when vast amounts of legacy thinking will fall away. This is preparation for what Whitehead called “creative destruction”.

The First Decade of 21st Century Thought

In part due to the collapse of legacy thinking, 2010-2020 will be looked back upon as the first decade of 20th century thought. Future historians in, say, 2100 will look back and point to the 2010-2020 decade as the first decade when humanity started to clearly think 21st century thoughts and started to therefore shape the remainder of the century.

Think on the phrase “20th century”. Whatever comes to mind—the century of science, the American Century, the century of world wars—all began 1914-1918. This was WWI, the Russian revolution was 1917-18, the General Theory of Relativity was published in 1916, and the maps of Europe and the Middle East were largely shaped at this time. Prior to WWI, America was an isolationist, largely agricultural country. After 1918 the country was one of the supreme nation states on the global stage.

This is one of the main reasons that 2010-2020 is so exciting and disorienting. The Transformation Decade is the time that an entire new century of thought is beginning.

General Trends and Forecasts

There is not enough space here to write about the major trends and my forecasts for the rest of this decade, so I will just list them here. Some are obvious; others perhaps not yet clear to you.

  • The Concept of Place continues to be eviscerated
  • A major generation shift takes root
  • Biology and Technology merge ever more
  • Spaceship Earth becomes a more widely held mindset
  • Creativity is a dominant value
  • Globalism ascends, nationalism declines
  • Governments shake loose many of their Industrial Age structures
  • Energy moves into its systemic stage

These dynamic trends, and many others, will largely shape new thoughts, ideas, solutions, conflicts and businesses here in the Transformation Decade.

To learn more about the mini-eBook “The Transformation Decade: 2010-2020 please visit How to Purchase: The Agile Way.

 

David Houle

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

by David Houle

We have left the Information Age and entered the Shift Age.  This new age is an era of transformation unparalleled in terms of the amount of change that will occur in the next 20-30 years.

As long time readers of this column know, I have been writing and speaking about the Shift Age since 2007 and my first book of that name was published exactly 5 years ago this month.  In serendipitous celebration of that anniversary, my biggest and best book about the future of humanity is being published on January 1, 2013.  Parts One and Two of that book, Entering the Shift Age are now available as a mini-eBook, Welcome to the Shift Age where I look at the new age, the twenty year period 1985-2005 and the three forces of the Shift Age.

The Threshold Decades – 1985-2005

A threshold is a place of entering or beginning.  It is also a place between two rooms.  The Threshold Decades is the 20-year period between the room of what was and the room of what will be. This 20-year period was a time of incredible change, a time when our worldview, our accepted economic models and how we thought about almost everything changed.  Just think all that came into being and then was spread around the world:  personal computers, cable television, fax machines, cell phones, laptops and of course the early stages of the Internet.  This 20-year period was the time when most of the world moved from analogue to digital with incredible consequences particularly relative to computing, media and all forms of content.

Historians will look back on this 20-year period as a clear demarcation between the past and the future, a significant time bridge from the wonders and inventions of the 20th century and the incredible alterations for humanity in the 21st century.  It was a time when the Three Forces of the Shift Age took shape and took off.

The Three Forces of the Shift Age

There are many forces at play in the world today.  That said there are three dominant forces that upon reflection are the source of most of the transformative, disruptive and sometime overwhelming changes we are now experiencing.

The Flow to Global

The Flow to Global is far more than just the 15-20 year old global economy.  Humanity is being reorganized around the global construct.  We are entering the global stage of human evolution, nothing less.  This means that the word “globalization” is no longer an economic term.  It is a term that describes what is and will be occurring in most areas of human society now through the next 15-20 years.  We are getting reorganized around all of us.  This is truly the evolutionary next step for humanity.

The Flow to the Individual

The Flow to the Individual had its roots in the Threshold Decade, when, in the developed countries there was an explosion of choice.  Television channels, radio stations, books published, web sites, even brands of toothpaste exploded in number.  This meant that the power moved from the producer to the consumer, from the institution to the individual.  We as individuals have more power than individuals have ever had before.

So, at the same time that we are flowing to a global reorganization we are becoming ever more powerful as individuals.  This flow of power and shape to all of us and each of us has of course created extreme disruption to many of the institutional constructs that have been in place for the last 100 years.

Both the Flow to the Global and the Flow to the Individual have, are, and will be amplified by the single most powerful force at play in the world today, and one of the most powerful forces in history.

The Accelerating Connectedness of Humanity

Humanity has become connected at a level never before experienced.  In 1985, at the beginning of the Threshold Decades, there were approximately 750,000 cell phone users in the world.  During the first few years of the Shift Age, 2006-2010 there were almost twice as many new, first time cell phone users, 1.5 million, being activated every day!

There are now approximately 5.6 billion cell phone users in a global population of 7.1 billion, so we basically have cell phone ubiquity today.  If I call someone 20 feet away from me, cell phone to cell phone, it will probably take about 5 seconds for her phone to ring.  If I were to call someone on another continent 12,000 miles away, it might take an extra 2-3 seconds due to the relay of the signal off a satellite.  So there is no time, distance or place any longer limiting human communication.  That could not be said 5 years ago let alone 25 or 50 years ago.  This has, for the first time altered the concept of place, certainly in human communications.  

 To read more about the Transformation Decades and the Three Forces of the Shift Age please go here to possibly order the inexpensive mini-eBook Welcome to the Shift Age .  

Welcome to the Shift Age!

 

David Houle

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

by David Houle

We know who the President of the United States will be for the next four years. We are about to find out whether or not the world will end with end of the Mayan Calendar on 12/21/12. Meanwhile, we are being inundated with news of the next big crisis, the “fiscal cliff,” which will inevitably be followed by another looming story, in a seemingly endless cycle of bad news. Our media environment keeps us perpetually worried.

It is time to lift up our heads and look around to see what is really going on! We are about to enter 2013. Now what?

That is what my new book Entering the Shift Age is about: the exciting and intimidating new age that humanity has entered. In 2013, it will be time to put aside the short-term futures that media and politicians focus on and obsess about and look at the longer view, the bigger picture, the many forces that are already shaping and will continue to affect the world we live in. As individuals, business people, and members of humanity as a whole, it is time for us to stand in this new millennium, century, age and decade and face our collective and individual futures.

Parts of Entering the Shift Age are now available for sale as mini eBooks, each one a grouping of one to five chapters from the full book. (Check out “About the Mini eBooks” section for more information.) You can sample the content now at Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com and begin to take a look at what lies ahead in 2013 and beyond. Hopefully, reading one or more of these eBooks will make you want to read the entire book when published on January 1, 2013. If not, then just pick the parts that seem of initial interest to you. That is one of the aspects of the Agile Publishing Model (APM) I like: the flexibility to read the content you want in the format that you want!

So take advantage of this new model of publishing and take a quick and inexpensive peek into the future. After all, it will be where you spend at least the next twenty years of your life! I hope you enjoy Entering the Shift Age and that it will trigger a new way for you to look at our world.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

by David Houle

My first book, The Shift Age, was published in 2007. It was simply a short, general statement of the Shift Age, along with a collection of my columns. But then my speaking career suddenly took off. People began to approach me for advice and opinions on how to manage their uncertainty and anxiety about the impending change in our lives, and asking endless questions:

  • What will the economic climate be?
  • How do I be a better parent to my children, who are Millennials and Digital Natives I don’t understand?
  • What is the future of education?
  • How about the future of energy or climate change?  
  • How will Washington and other national governments change, as they seem only to be holding us back?
  • Will future technological developments impact my company and career and if so, how? What is the future of medicine and my health care?
  • What about my children’s health?

It quickly became clear that there was a deep need for a fuller, richer book about the Shift Age and the impact it will bring to our lives on both a micro and macro level. Entering the Shift Age is the best book I have written.

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About Entering the Shift Age

Entering the Shift Age by David Houle

Change is everywhere: in how we communicate, what we do for a living, the values we hold, the way we raise our children, even the way we access information. Thanks to a global economy, the force of the Internet, and the explosion of mobile technology, we have—almost imperceptibly—entered into a new era, the Shift Age, in which change happens so quickly that it’s become the norm. We’re undergoing a major collapse of legacy thinking that is eroding many of the thought structures that defined the last 200 years. What are some of the new forces that will shape our lives in the next 20 years?

  • Remote workplaces
  • The cloud
  • 24/7 culture
  • Speed-of-light connectivity
  • The influence of Millennials and Digital Natives
  • And more!


There is no going back to the way things were before. Reality is changing fast, and Entering the Shift Age is your guide to keeping up.

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