When Mangalyaan successfully orbited Mars, it was the finest news of the hour. India was not only, the only country to complete the trip on its maiden attempt; she achieved it at an astonishing three quarters cost of the Oscar winning movie Gravity. This phenomenal feat is perhaps, one of the growing markers of a shifting culture that is poised to expect more from us, as human species. We are expected to do more, create more, sustain more and save us more from more of ourselves.
In other words, "we are the ones we were waiting for".
Today, we are expected to be more creative in problem solving; not, when it comes knocking on our door; but by looking into the far horizon and anticipating it! One of my favorite writers Daniel Burrus says, you need to be pre-active to future known events rather than proactive, which means taking positive action now.
Keep reading and you will get the drift.
It is a compilation of research that I have used for my study and my projects. And, now, I have put it in a way that is hopefully palatable for you. My writings are usually, introduced by a big visual to satisfy the artist in me that more often is in conflict with the designer in me. And, in this case it is no different. But I do say, the content of this article is rich with resources that is sure to enrich your existence in some shape or form. Enjoy!
As our world wide web of connections have grown broader, our interactions have become shallower. We are living in an an age of alienation that would have been unimaginable to our previous generations, and yet we have never been more connected. A society that is consumed by novel modes of socialization, we have less and less of actual society.
"We live in an accelerating contradiction: the more connected we become, the lonelier we are."
Perhaps to combat this, more of us are walking away from the instant gratification of the 'likes' and making more time just to 'be'. This "state of being attentive to and aware of what is taking place in the present” has given rise to (not surprisingly) ethical decision making. As a result the ethical status of the things we do, buy and support are becoming increasingly important. And, ironically this has given rise to "guilt-free" consumerism.
[More] "Guilt-Free" Consumerism
Sure, we are divided by countries, culture and casualties. But, we are united by one factor. We are all merchants of consumerism. There is not two ways about it. We see how it defiles our planet, yet, we are torn apart between the values that we hold and the actions that we take, that run counter to those kind of values. This tension has given rise to a "new kind of consumption: one free from worry (or at least with less worry) about its negative impact, yet that allows continued indulgence."
A recent global study identified 2.5 billion of these 'aspirational consumers' (representing one third of the global consumer class). These consumers are defined by their love of shopping ( 78% ), desire for responsible consumption (92%) and their trust in brands to act in the best interest of society ( 58% ). BBMG, GlobeScan and SustainAbility, October 2013
This guilt-free consumerism has given rise to high status, high priced, high valued cross-sectional creativity. Now, your old pair of jeans may launch a limited edition area rug priced at USD 599, while averting gun violence, all as a part of a day's work.
The 'Internet of Things' has brought about some daring imaginations to life. Any uniquely identifiable embedded computing-like devices can be inter-connected within the existing Internet infrastructure. Due to the ubiquitous nature of connected objects, any number of devices may be connected to the Internet. And once connected – monitoring your health, saving you money, doing your errands or for that matter doing anything extraordinary that ‘connected objects’ can do, will be done for you. Just to give you an idea, machine washable shirts will be able to monitor your breathing and your heart rate, as you walk, play or hike. As you are driving to work, the ECG heart rate monitor that is embedded in your drivers' seat, can help avoid mid-journey driver heart attacks and subsequent accidents.
"The Internet of Things will add USD 1.9 trillion dollars of economic value to the global economy in 2020." Gartner, October 2013
[More] 'Self ' Knowledge
Recently, I have learned a new term MYCHIATRY. A rising trend amongst consumers is to manage ones' mental well being. After all, this is a natural progression of Mindfulness. Now, technology is providing us with that extra little push to combat our daily stress and get to know our true calling.
For example, you have melon – it connects to your phone to help you track and train different mental states, including focus, meditation, and relaxation. Real time tips alert you when you need to take breaks to maintain your focus, relaxation or meditation. Then, you have shadow, that records and remembers your dream. Tracking dream and sleep patterns allows you to make connections between your past and the future. Over time, you will see a pattern emerge that will clue you on the the life that you ought to be living. You have another device called, mico whose sole purpose is to inspire you by playing music that speaks to your sub-conscious.
[More] Doing Good
"The single most-important content marketing opportunity that brands face today is to create moments of inspiration to send people on a journey." Andrew Davis
Pioneering advances in technology and a leap in the creative evolution are now at cross-roads. The result, brands are doing more. More brands are emerging as 'story doing' brands. Powerful stories with different narratives across multiple platforms, allowing the message to drench our sub-conscious, inspiring us to take charge. We are no longer satisfied as passive on-lookers, but active (or passive) participants in the story of the brand. When, Beijing Subway introduced 40 ‘reverse vending machines’, which enable passengers to offset their travel costs by recycling plastic bottles – it set in motion the active participation of the consumers in the folds of it's 'story doing'. And, when Nike’s launched it's concept store in Shanghai, a creative concept in the retail business was born. This store is entirely constructed from trash, including drink cans, water bottles and old CDs and DVDs. The store can be adapted to different retail layouts and the no-glue construction ensures all materials can be re-reused.
We are living in an age of hyper-change and hyper-connectivity. We are becoming global, flatter, local, cosmopolitan and hyper efficient. Above all, we are discovering ever-smarter ways to solve our perennial problem of limited resources. With this growing awareness of limited resource comes imagination and fearless creativity. I say fearless, because we are pushing our ideas to chart new, untapped territories, all because, NOW WE CAN.
Somewhere, along our journey we were led to believe that creativity is only for the chosen few. When in fact, the truth is; somewhere within us resides a poet, a painter or for that matter an aspiring ballerina. It is for us to decode ourselves and find out who we are, why we are here and what is our rightful place in this grand creation?
Image credit: ballerina from etsy.com