Wisdom or Love? Exploring post-industrial platforms

By | May 15, 2010

Fact, Forces, Fog by The Doblin Group

This spread is the centerfold of an interesting little PDF called Fact, Forces, Fog:: Reckless guesses in a time of change by The Doblin Group of Chicago.  I was first introduced to it in the Fall (Autumn) semester of 2003 when I took Larry Keeley‘s class “Design Planning” (or whatever its being called now) at the Institute of Design-IIT. It captured my imagination, and to be honest, hasn’t let go since then.

I bring it up in order to introduce the basic concept of a “post-industrial platform”, from a post written some three years ago, here is my snippet:

What do we see when we look at the PDF centrefold?

Keeley shared that if we look at the way things were – the greyed out section on the left hand side titled Industries gave rise to material goods & services then look at how things are ‘now’ [approximately 2002/2003] Digital systems and connections amplify trends, using Doblin’s methods they were able to forecast the future direction of way things were going to be evolving.

The essence of the evolution if you look at the clusters closely is that business models are evolving away from the capital intensive industrial infrastructure requirements of an Industrial era towards post industrial platforms based on intangible concepts. On the far right hand side is the final section titled Hot fields foster powerful convergence. Doblin’s team identified 11 key areas:

Simplicity – Enlightenment – Talent leverage – Mastery – Travel – Entertainment – Personal Expression – Relationships – Financial health – Health & Environment – Political Freedom

Now, at first glance, comparing these words, with those I’d extracted in yesterday’s post, it seems as though Wisdom itself is a meta-platform, comprised of the following:

Value –  Understanding –  High Standards –  Curiosity –  Love –  Uncompromising vision –  Ennoble – Eternal.

But a closer look at the concepts themselves will show that they are not all capable of becoming platforms in their own right, by virtue of the definition given above.  These are the individual qualities of wisdom, and needs must be taken together in order to embody Wisdom itself.

On the other hand, Love, as a concept, can and does exist outside of wisdom (as any cheesy soap opera will inform us).  And Umair Haque’s articulation from his Wisdom Manifesto (see previous), has it as:

Strategy is the application of force. Wisdom is the application of love. Strategy suppresses, but Wisdom evokes. Its test is the ability to spark new ideas, concepts, and solutions. That is how to be valued by people, communities, and society

Wisdom is the application of love. That is, one discovers, that perhaps wisdom is not a platform per se, but its manifestation, which then can be articulated in the many ways already so discussed.  Therefore, one is left with the point to ponder further, is Love then a post-industrial platform in its own right? And if so, is it repeating any of the concepts that have already been covered by the existing 11 platforms articulated above? The closest seems to be Relationships, so I zoomed in on the clustering of tags shown around it from the PDF.

Interesting. As a platform for business models, the intangible concept of Relationships resembles all the services available online for social networking, matchmaking, dating, sharing media and common interests as well as those which have tried to embody ‘trust’ into their interactions. But there’s no mention of the emotions behind these qualities, the engine or driver of empathy or that indefinable, inexplicable sense of our common humanity.

Perhaps there is, indeed, room for one more post-industrial platform then. But  how would we extrapolate its manifestation, since so much of what we know as “love”  has been commodified into meaninglessness by every pop song or preacher around the world? Although it must be acknowledged that everything we talk about when we look at “doing well by doing good”, or “social impact” or even, the triple bottomline over pure profits, seem to implicitly imply a form of love, perhaps for nothing else but simply that for our own emerging future.

This conversation will undoubtedly continue…

Your thoughts?

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