Sudden change

Posted by on Sep 30, 2008 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Fall-of-rome

Recent events should have dramatically challenged our ideas about how change occurs: we'd like to imagine that slow and steady is the typical pattern, but reality again and again confounds this.

One year ago, few in the apparel business saw the end of the Crocs shoes phenomenon; few the return of hostilities between Russia and the West; few the recent chaos on the markets.

Part of this lack of foresight is our cognitive bias towards how things are – we don't want to see change; another that we find it extremely hard to embrace the complexity that underpins things – complexity that results largely from interacting and copying agents, rather than a machine – and the unpredictability that comes with that complexity.

Every dog has its day; every empire will eventually fall. Are we seeing – as this piece suggests – the end of American domination of business and politics? Or, if not, when the change does come (as it must) how do you think it will come? What will it feel like and how will we know?

2 Comments

  1. Kyle Studstill
    September 30, 2008

    How true, that it’s hard to see massive change when you’re wrapped up right in it. We’re great at developing a historical sense of how things evolve, but have limited cognitive capacity to perceive the same kinds of changes in our own modern day-to-day lives. I was thinking along the same lines when reading the thoughts of Steve Hodson over at Mashable on how American business practices related to online communications are negatively shaping the way the rest of the world does business in relation to the States (http://mashable.com/2008/08/31/is-the-us-becoming-a-part-of-the-internet-backwater/). Potentially a large shift, but hard to follow with such limited perspective. Thanks for the interesting thoughts!

  2. Mark
    September 30, 2008

    Exactly! It’s really hard to see these things from the inside of the system. Great link, also. Thanks,Kyle.