I am very conscious that my previous article on the future of biotechnology was pretty heavy going, and I also noted the absence of any discussion of consciousness. This potentially is a slightly vacuous term, but I was delighted today to watch a very excellent presentation by Gunther Sonnenfeld, a person who is quite hard to describe (and I think he prefers it that way). Gunther has been involved in many innovative projects relating to the media and publishing, and is a visionary thinker for what the future will unfold and emerge. Like me he is interested in understanding how we look at the world and how we process information.
In relation to his work on product and service development, he has created an innovative process based on the Hero’s Journey of Joseph Campbell. The aim of this is to lead to the development of products and services which are developed in service to others, an outcome which can only come about after people in the organisation have been on their own transformative journeys.
In this talk, which was a presentation he gave recently to USC Annenberg Innovation Lab, he begins with a quote from Bill Moyes who observed that “the big problem today is telling the difference between what is immediate and what is important.” Gunther points out that Microsoft, Google, Bing, Facebook etc all have search algorithms which are no longer scalable. In this case, if information presented to us no longer is personalised, what role will serendipity and discovery play?
Gunther explores four different meta-narratives, starting with the one of fear which our governments and media often seem to be so stuck in. The final one is a transcendental narrative where “cognition and resonance are aligned and we have an unconditional responsibility to create altruistically because we are mindful of the whole.”
This for me is a beautiful articulation of conscious innovation, one which is not reliant on the analytical mind, but on the intuitive mind as well to comprehend “the whole”. Gunther’s talk is penetrating, wide ranging and inspiring, and I am grateful to USC Annenberg Innovation Lab for their generosity in making it available for us all to watch.
Gunther Sonnenfeld: Some Truth About ‘Big Data’, Agnostic Storytelling and Journalism