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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.

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

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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