Faced with economic meltdown, dismally low levels of public trust in political leadership, growing concerns about the ability of big government to succeed let alone sustain itself, there's an urgent need to "re-imagine, re-invest, and re-invigorate our economy and society." These words of Diane Coyle, editor and facilitator, apply beyond the shores of the little island that formed the focus of yesterday's event...
To provoke debate, the organizers (NESTA) commissioned a series of essays that are well worth reading. I also recommend you bookmark the site as all the presentations will be available shortly and check out #rebootbritain to sense the Twitter pulse.
While the focus was on the public economy, there was plenty of interest to the private sector and associations in all facets of life and business in the UK and elsewhere.
Kudos to Stephen Moore(@stevemoore4good), NESTA and the organizing team for initiating the conversation - even though the format (mostly in the main lecture hall) was surprisingly conventional with limited opportunities for audience participation. Next time, a split screen would enable online participants to see what the speaker was referring to and it would be great if moderators could accept questions from tweeters/bloggers regardless of their location......
It was a rich experience - even from a distance and without the benefit of F2F buzz, but, despite Howard Rheingold's insightful conclusion and optimistic wardrobe, the title left me feeling very uneasy.
While eye and ear catching in its modernity, the concept of ReBoot, is on reflection merely a 2.0 version of "kickstart." It implies an assumption that a traditional economy, which has gone into nosedive, can be brought back to life with a reset button and all will be well. Remember, it comes after the messages: "Abort", "Retry", and "Fail"! But the intent of the conference suggested that it isn't a reboot that's needed but an entirely new operating system, based on a fundamentally different set of operating assumptions and guiding principles - far greater even than a switch from PC to Mac! I notice that some other bloggers came to similar conclusions separately.
The term ReBoot also implies that a new economy (networked, open, lightweight, environmentally responsible, socially just, creative, agile and resilient...) will come about as a result of external intervention when, in fact, it's already emerging because the conditions are right.
Truth is, we're being carried forward by a host of change forces that have generated sufficient pent up energy to cause a tectonic shift in perception regarding who we are as human beings on a finite planet and how we should behave...
Talking about 2.0 versions of government, marketing, journalism, healthcare, leadership, HR and manufacturing is really healthy but will only move beyond talk to action when we can sustain our attention spans long enough to understand these deeper forces and harness their dynamics. It's ironic that here we are a pivotal point in human history when we could become conscious of our own evolution and the technology that binds also shatters our attention into tiny fragments such that we seem to be viewing reality through a kaleidescope rather than a microscope.
One agent of change never shy to use the term Paradigm appropriately and forcefully is Don Tapscott (@dtapscott) who, like David Weinerger and crew (Cluetrain authors), and Tim O' Reilly cut his intellectual teeth on IT problems but has just gets wiser and more insightful with age. For those of us whose time is limited between meetings, tweets, emails, the following 2 minute video clip reminds us that it'll take more than a reBoot to move Britain forward.
Another agent of change, Paul Hawken, recently author of Blessed Unrest also affirms that the ground is already shaking beneath the feet of traditional institutions. Every time I watch the following clip from the Bioneers conference a few years ago, I am reminded why we're living in such an exciting time, so full of opportunity, so filled with consequence.