Columbus Day & the Voyage of Human Progress


Columbus Day in the US is a celebration of Christopher Columbus. As an existential philosopher I think this a wonderful opportunity to #pause and celebrate globalization and human progress at large.

1) I have many friends who live between airports, hotels and the internet so I begin with

Ode to A Traveler:

May you travel safely, arrive refreshed,
And live your time away to its fullest;
Return home more enriched, and free
To balance the gift of days which call you.

John O’Donohue

2) I have a commitment to take my family on a trip once a year to a new country. Besides a book, travel is the next most mind expansive tool. Just in case you’d like some ideas New York Times is a great resource for bucket list design. Here are 52 suggested places to visit.

3) Ideas do not care about passports. They land where individuals have quiet time and environments rich in collaboration. If you want to get the innovation virus perhaps these countries are when you want to visit. Here are the top 10 most innovative countries.

4) In addition to where to travel it is important to address the mindset of the traveler. Articulate Alexandra Levit reminds us to see the world as a stage and gives us a nudge to expand our global mindset and fine-tune our global competence:

“If you’re employed by a decent-size company, ask to spend a few days in a foreign office, or for an assignment that involves close business dealings with other countries. Read foreign newspapers to gain insights into the daily goings-on of a particular country. Hop onto Skype and interview international colleagues to learn how your industry operates abroad.”

5) Complexity in the macro, requires simplicity in the micro. To navigate such significant shifts in how we work and where we work, it is more important than ever to hold onto your core. I find Gianpiero Petriglieri poignant as he urges the importance of moving around without loosing your roots.

6) Ensuring your person relevance in the rough water of macro change it is vital that you keep your pulse on the Capernican revolution in management as Steve Denning @stevedenning :

“Just as the Copernican Revolution in astronomy helped put in question social arrangements in which kings and priests and their retinues were in charge of society by Divine Right, so the Copernican Revolution in management is putting in question the social arrangements of the large bureaucracies that currently rule modern society. In the emerging organization, there is little need for “bosses” and “administrators of the status quo” and “paper shufflers”, along with a pressing need for managers who can inspire self-organizing teams, networks and ecosystems to respond to the shifting needs of customers.”

7) The world is becoming more and more “multi=polar” which means there are significant changes in both emerging market landscape and the workforce at large.Accenture has the most robust report on how this changes organizations. The Lisbon Council has given us a treasure trove of how these emerging market shifts changes the labor force.

8) Now it seems the blue ocean that we are swimming consists of droplets of 1’s and 0’s as data artists take the stage. As an example Aaron Koblin suggests:

“Numbers can humanize us. You can use data to discover the patterns we make as a collective whole, so that we can better understand society and ourselves.”

9) In this era of big data I am reminded of the wisdom of Alfred Korzybski and his profound statement: the map is not the territory. There are limits to big data asMichael Schrage has great faith that human begins are still the killer app “the more data and facts one has, and the more predictions matter, the more important human judgment becomes.”

10) Heinz Pagals says, “science has explored the microcosmos and the macrocosmos; we have a good sense of the lay of the land. The great unexplored frontier is complexity.” So I shall close my Columbus Day celebration in anticipation of our next frontier: Chaos, Complexity & Entropy.

I wish you safe travels in mind, body and spirit.

♫ Listening to Edward Sharpe – Home