Chapter 2. Acceleration – Guiding Our Extraordinary Future

I. Three Views of Change

Our next two chapters are about universal foresight. They discuss topics like change, purpose, and the future from the biggest perspective humanity can take—our universe as a special system that has generated us. We will consider our universe from the perspective of both science and systems theory (testable philosophy), and see what that Big Picture view can tell us about not only our universe, but also our species, our societies, and ourselves. As you’ll see, there’s much to be gained from this view, and a lot still to be discovered.

This chapter will introduce you to the biggest megatrend driving our future–accelerating change. Something really curious is happening in our universe, to life, and to human society. Certain things are always going faster every year. Understanding why that is, and what we can expect next, can be called acceleration studies, an academic discipline that doesn’t yet exist, but should.

In 2003, I co-founded a small nonprofit, the Acceleration Studies Foundation, to try to attract attention and funding to this still-neglected but very future-important topic. In 2008, I co-founded a small academic research community, Evo Devo Universe, to attract scholars to the topic of understanding the intrinsically unpredictable and predictable aspects of universal change.

The next two chapters will offer my best general thinking on what will continue to accelerate in human society, and why, and how we can learn to see acceleration, and guide it in ways that create better individuals, teams, organizations, and societies. But before we go there, we need to look at three useful ways we can view change itself. These are three hats we can all wear, at different times, when we think about and adapt to change. As we’ll see, the first of the hats is an optimistic one, the second a defensive one, and the third a particularly (I think) comprehensive one.  The faster things change, the more we’re going to need to use all three of these hats, in different contexts, and help others do the same.

We occasionally use acronyms in the Guide to help you remember future-important things. We’ve made acronyms for each of these three hats, as you’ll now see. If you think we’re missing an important concept, or have too many in each acronym, let us know. I hope you find value in all three of these views of change in your journey to becoming a better manager and leader.