How Everything Broken Will Be Fixed
Innovation follows a uniform pattern of adoption, because human behavior is remarkably consistent. Once you recognize it, you begin to see it everywhere. And a tsunami is coming.
If you’ve paid close attention, you’ll have noticed that since COVID-19 first arrived three years ago, everything has changed. Or, more accurately, everything has begun to change. I’m referring to where and how we work, live, learn and socialize; what we value and thus invest in and prioritize; how we view ourselves, our communities and the planet at large; and how these perceptions are shifting the ground underfoot across the spectrum of human activity, and will likely result in an effective rewrite of a century (if not twenty) of behaviors.
In the past, I’ve referred to the pandemic as The Great Reset, because human behavior is remarkably consistent and because the path to any “new normal” starts, progresses and ends the same way, every time.
Everett Rogers brilliantly codified this phenomenon as the Diffusion of Innovations, and it looks something like this:
The pandemic acted as the de facto trigger event for a systemic rewrite. It had to, in order to shake things up enough for the cracks to appear to enough people, then disrupt the status quo enough for us to do something about it. That’s because the overwhelming majority of us favor what we know over what we don’t know and are hard-wired to fear.
As H.P. Lovecraft wrote, “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”
Our biological underpinnings predispose us as individuals and groups to favor inertia, to reinforce and protect business as usual while fighting change and challengers, for fear that we’ll be left behind or lose control over resources we’ve amassed to protect that which benefits us. And because our amygdalae fire any time we feel threatened, few of us stop fighting change…