Blowing In The Wind

Trees move in the wind: they bend, because the alternative is to break. I’m feeling deeply curious about systems at the moment: systems of power, systems of communication, formal and social systems, and so on. Particularly in how they are held, how they are powered, how they change, or how they break.

Old Power

Many of the foundations of the Social Age are increasingly understood: we are becoming used to the devices we hold and the things that they allow us to do, we are spoiled by access to information and connection to community. But as these first-tier effects become normalised, I think we are seeing the emergence of second-tier change: deep-seated shifts in infrastructure and power. This is about the evolution of communication, the breakdown of boundaries between reality and fiction, a change in the sociology itself.

I strongly suspect that discussions of the post truth, and post fact, world are both strangely comforting and almost entirely wrong. Very few people talking about post truth and fact believe that they are the ones who are gullible and deluded: the primary conversation is really about messaging and power, the diminution of old forms of power and power networks, and the disruptive emergence of new.

Types of Power

The challenge is not simply to observe what is happening as the net effect, but rather to adapt both ourselves and our organisations to cope. I believe that this is a fundamental re-engineering. As the ecosystem changes, we must adapt: the false comfort of categorisation may lead to fragility and failure. The rise in new types of power is not simply something to observe, to disapprove of, or to comment upon. It is something to actively embrace.

Trees adapt to the environment they grow within: they reach up for the sun, or they stay low to the ground to avoid the wind: they flex and bend from the internal structure, but under too much pressure, they break. This is our challenge: to grow, but to grow in ways that are fit for the environment.

Old structures of power and control, hierarchies and systems, rules and processes, these all hold us in the current space: only a Socially Dynamic organisation can both change and thrive in change, and only this type of organisation will have the social filtering and sense making capability to learn new forms of truth, to develop new types of power.

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About julianstodd

A learning and development professional specialising in e-learning and learning technology.
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