Opinion | Progress is our creation | Christina Gerakiteys

IT'S IN OUR REACH: "Do we succumb to the fear of the unknown or do we embrace what is happening and create a better future?"
IT'S IN OUR REACH: "Do we succumb to the fear of the unknown or do we embrace what is happening and create a better future?"

Passion and purpose, Bitcoin, democratisation, universal basic wage, artificial intelligence and leading from behind are concepts that were considered fluffy. Until recently. Today, many experts are making predictions and assumptions about the roles they do and will play in our lives.

Fifty years ago we didn’t have mobile phones, computers, ATMs, mapping of the human genome, non-military use of the GPS or DNA fingerprinting. Now we use these technologies every day. 

Notice the former are primarily concepts and the latter tangible products.

There is a movement happening, amid the redundancies and job losses, where people are using the problem of unemployment to create a grab for opportunity to pursue new directions. The words ‘passion and purpose’ and ‘do what you love’ are the inspiration and motivation for many to start businesses or work for organisations who do more than just turn a dollar. Conscious Capitalism, Impact Hub and other organisations are solidifying the movement for a social bottom line. 

I am fortunate to work with Simon Sinek’s Start With Why team in Canada and the US. The movement isn’t slowing, in fact it’s gaining momentum and the difference it makes to the collective soul of an organisation is transformational. Find the purpose behind your beliefs and you feel that you are contributing and that appeals to our primal instincts.

Growing up I wondered when the increasing value of ‘things’ would outstrip the dollars available. As an adult, I am still wondering. Enter Bitcoin and Blockchain and the precipice we are dangling on with new financial structures and systems. Bartering came and went but cryptocurrency is growing. Heard of Ethereum and Litecoin? They are Bitcoin competitors. And on August 14, Bitcoin hit $4400 on the stock exchange.

Democratisation, which is affecting every sphere of business and industry, is revolutionising small and medium enterprises. Information that was once only available to the few can now be openly sourced. Accommodation (hotel chains versus Airbnb) and transport (taxis versus Uber) are the traditional examples used to exemplify the disruption to existing industries.

Artificial intelligence is embedded into our futures. From industry to health, to service and transport, we can no longer imagine the boundaries of its use. Whether we use AI to make our lives easier or give our lives over altogether is a decision waiting in the wings. Rumour has it soon our smart phones will be replaced by personal robots. 

How do we lead ourselves and others through these exponential changes? Do we succumb to the fear of the unknown or do we embrace what is happening and create a better future?

A Utopia, where we all contribute to our communities doing something that we love, where money is no longer the currency, where everything is in everyone’s reach, and where AI supports us, is one vision for the future.

Progress is ours to create. It always has been.

Christina Gerakiteys is a Creativity and Innovation expert. She is founder of Ideation At Work and writes and facilitates the Rippler Effect Innovation Program.