By Parham Shafti
The rules have changed. While the world is facing some of its greatest challenges, be it irreversible effects of climate change, political discordances, social inequality, or racial conflicts taking on new proportions, massive shifts in the boundaries of possibility have also been taking place. We are speaking about the phenomenon of digitalisation, where many domains of social life are getting restructured around digital communication, fundamentally changing how businesses and people connect. Unfortunately, with a hidden cost, which we want to shed some light on.
To say that that we live in a time of turmoil is not an exaggeration. The world is in constant motion, simultaneously shrinking and expanding. We are growing closer and at the same time moving farther apart, at a pace of change that has made outcomes become less predictable or unstable, making what might have made sense today to not make much sense tomorrow. Situations and conditions that are tearing people between states of endless possibilities and moments of despair.
In the midst of this individuals with an entrepreneurial mind and a heart full of passion are stepping up and accepting the challenge to act on the problems of the world, making way for new disruptive ideas to emerge, as well as new business models and technological innovations that substantially improves our lives. Framework and systemic changes that have given rise to the globalisation and the expansion of the economy beyond national borders, that have subsequently eroded national sovereignty, reshaped the conceptions of materiality and place and facilitated new circulations of culture, capital, commodities, and people.
However, by the same token, the speed of the so-called digital transformation has adversely created a breeding ground for another of today’s problems. Instead of recognising the unfolding potential inherent in the scale of the online community and focusing on the values-based, transformative and authentic narrative that could catapult the world to a better future, businesses that do not understand why they should make the effort to do something paramount, or simply do not know how to, lose the courage to take the risk, and instead push for expedient short-term gains.
The result is often that these businesses cling to an antiquated view of how to make money, or sales and marketing departments to mix up their objectives and become stuck in what we like to call, the digitalisation limbo, gazing blindly after projects that are premised on the use of data and analytics. In both cases, the honest voice that could introduce trust and bring connection to the table becomes lost in translation, and replaced with faceless mechanisms that practically sees humans as numbers. Everyone loses.
“The speed of the so-called digital transformation has adversely created a breeding ground for another of today’s problems”
At the core of this dilemma, we find suffocating notions of what really matters, the perception of humanity, attitudes to wealth, and the way our society prioritises money and the accumulation of worldly possessions. And this is what brings us to the emerging dilemma, and the inevitable need for a shift in which we recognise our interconnectedness and the need to change midstream. From focusing on introspection and self-interest to a more caring mindset. We believe that we need to revert to our true collaborative nature and build on the capacity that nurtures and expands the abilities needed for meaningful participation in society. It’s time to move to the Age of Outrospection.
By Outrospection, we mean engaging in discovering who we are and what to do with our lives by observing what is outside ourselves, in other words discovering the lifestyles and needs of other people and other cultures, and allowing the development of a healthy, healing, environment, both our own and other people’s, in physical and digital realities, become the new metrics of progress. For now, let’s call it the humanisation.
“In both cases, the honest voice that could introduce trust and bring connection to the table becomes lost in translation, and replaced with faceless mechanisms that practically sees humans as numbers. Everyone loses. “
And this is where we come in, urging you to bring your inner work into play, and ensuring that the ultimate art form of the Age of Outrospection, empathy, becomes your preferred tool. Creating stories, conditions, and solutions that are right for human beings, and emphasising the emotional bonds that make life worth living. More than that, using empathy to bring out the vital and beneficial. A revolution of human relationships that would help to infuse a community spirit into the global perspective, and impact positively on people’s lives and identities.
We are talking about cultivating the curiosity that develops new friendships and transforms hearts to love strangers. In everyday social life, but also in and through our businesses. One that would help people move to see beyond labels and open up to uniqueness, to embrace individuality by challenging prejudices, and to discover commonalities by expanding universes. And as a result, motivate people to engage in altruistic acts that will ultimately connect all of the humanity.
To sum up, we believe that we need to start putting ourselves in other people’s shoes and in the shoes of future generations. To expand our imaginations forwards through time as well as across space, in order to imagine the promise and the potential this change could bring. A purposeful future giving people the capacity to value inclusion and oneness. One in which we are all authentically connected. Where roads meet and become intertwined into one, beyond the personal to a sense of connection.