WHEN I decided to shift my professional focus to the future in 1989 as a result of my experience with Look Up Gaston in Gaston County, NC from 1983-88, it was with the instinctive feeling that we were entering the grip of historical forces that would no longer be held back by traditional ideology, whether on the right or the left.
Twenty years later, I am only more deeply committed to the idea that we are in a time of historical transformation and that working around the edges of traditional ideas to reform existing ideas and methods will only add to the frustration and sense of spinning our wheels. As a result of the congruence of megatrends that have appeared for the first time, such as climate change, global economic real time integration, peak oil and ecological damage of major order, we are in a transition that will demand bold action and radical ideas.
Those that take this route initially often will be ridiculed and ostracized by those who are threatened by the immense challenges that we face. That is the nature of any truly historical time of transition, for what is considered practical today is, in fact, increasingly obsolete, whether related to economics, governance, social organization or educational methodology. It is with this in mind, that I would like to introduce my evolving ideas on a quarterly basis as a part of Rick's Picks that will be considered by many to be radical. From Webster's definition of radical as someone who thinks there is a need for "significant change," they will be right.
Some years ago I concluded that we needed to develop networks and nodes of people, organizations and communities that would work in collaboration to identify, think though and implement truly new ideas as a part of community research and development. As we dealt with existing issues in the short run, we would need to build parallel efforts to seed capacities for transformation in the longer run ... realizing that true transformation takes time and evolves in ways that cannot be predicted, much less controlled.
This week, I would like to introduce my first quarterly article within the context of this approach that I call "Mobile Governance." This is a new approach that I think will begin to evolve in small and then larger ways as mobile technologies such as smart phones, GPS, and individualize applications software are connected to Transformational Leadership concepts and methods into a system of adaptive system of governance that will be based on deeper collaboration. The Millennials will take the lead. This will occur as we shift from the well designed democratic governance concept of checks and balances that have served us so well for two hundred years ( which is ill designed for a society that is increasing fast-paced, interconnected and complex) to a system yet defined and designed that will take advantage of the opportunities of the new technologies and new leadership concepts.
Realizing that there will be unknown challenges and unintended consequences that will result from such a radical suggestion, I have come to the conclusion that we must move to the next phase of democracy, whatever that may be. My sense is that we have reached the limits of representative democracy and will need to evolve a concept, over time, that I call "mobile governance." My study of history and thinking about the future leads me to believe that if Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Hume, Rush, and other radicals of the 18th century would return today, they would be astounded that we were focused on making a two-hundred year concept of democracy more efficient.
As I read their original thoughts and actions, I think they would challenge us with some type of question such as "why are you trying to work with our structures in a time of such immense change? Don't you realize that we were radicals in our time, searching for how to help humanity reach its potential in a time of political and religious control of individual thinking? You need to be the radicals of your time to develop structures and decision making processes that are appropriate to a totally different type of society that is evolving in your time and that will continue to enhance the potential of the individual in newly connective ways."
I want to conserve the principle of democracy. It is because of this that I believe in the counterintuitive idea that we will have to develop and test radical ideas for us to do so. I hope at least one of the following ideas will cause you to go hmmmm?
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