Read Part 1
A crisis as life-altering as the coronavirus pandemic naturally inspires speculation about how it will change everything. These are days definitely to be silent, keep quiet and introspect. Let us understand ourselves. We also got to learn that human desire to overpower, avariciousness to dominate people and land, desire to rule the universe comes to nothing in front of a nano-virus which stealthily takes just seconds to vanquish the whole humanity!
It has been observed that the technologies developed by human beings in the last 2-3 centuries have had a major impact on the earth’s climate and our nature’s equilibrium. Some believe that we have reached a point of no return. This can have a huge impact on life on earth, especially on the human species. However, while technology has been responsible for most of it, technology also seems to have a solution for it.
Disruption – the New Normal… “PeaceMaker”, the ironically named advanced nuclear missile that emerged from the US’ arsenal during the cold war, with the ability to carry 10 independent payloads, each of which was 20 times more powerful that the first nuke dropped on Hiroshima, changed the future of warfare forever. This incident indeed created the worst carnage known to mankind and made every weapon used until then obsolete. It changed the fundamental principles of warfare and is to date deterring humanity from plunging headfast into another World War. Likewise, this pandemic is going to have profound and everlasting impact on how the human race evolves in the post covid-19 era.
Today, management of large organizations, startups and Governments alike, face the same challenge that Roosevelt did during the Cold War. Will your organization today approve a radical idea, allocate funds and be the early adopter amidst a crisis? Or, will it stay stuck in the labyrinth of your legacy and perish? The global business dynamics is going to witness a sea of change in the coming times.
As Prof. Clayton M. Christensen, the scholar who introduced the Disruptive Innovation theory says: Disruption is a process, NOT an event… and Innovation can only be disruptive relative to something else…
Are you going to be an Innovator, Early Adopter or a Laggard?
Most are confident of a V-Shape recovery model since there is no damage to the infrastructure. However, only time shall tell whether the recovery from this unprecedented disaster takes a V or W shape or multiples thereof, depending on the core foundation of each. Businesses, governments, and institutions have always leveraged Technology to improve the efficiency, but the new Normal clearly brings to fore the need to focus on Resilience even if it comes at the cost of some efficiency. Organizations with comprehensive resilience shall only be able to absorb the shocks of crises like this pandemic and come out unscathed in spite of massive disruption that mankind is witnessing today.
However, this time the disruption has gone beyond the business and economy. It has disrupted the contemporary foundational ethos of the society rather the civilization and given the mankind a good hard jolt…
Civilization 6.0! Moving beyond Society 4.0 & 5.0… While the society was still in the very initial phase of transitioning from Society 4.0 – the Information Society to Society 5.0 – “A human-centred society that balances economic advancement with the resolution of social problems by a system that highly integrates cyberspace and physical space” (proposed by Japan as future society to aspire for); this pandemic has brought to fore the short sightedness of the mankind in pursuit of technology with paradigms like Web 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 or 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G or Industry 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 etc. In this over zealot mood of turning human into a cyborg or a humanoid, we totally missed including Mother Nature in our perspective, our scheme of things and our vision of the new Societal evolution.
With the unprecedented success in the Science & Technology, mankind started thinking of itself as living in the fictional era of Avengers Superheroes. But, the mother nature has jolted the mankind from its stupor and given a reality check of its frailties… The Coronavirus’s vast spread has proved that all our scientific & technological advancements have NOT been able to save 3.5 million plus persons from getting infected and losing 250,000 plus human lives.
We may not yet know how this story ends, but we already know for sure that this pandemic has brought the greatest reversal of our times, turning the world along with its wisdom on its head… This is our freak chance to unlearn and learn. Let’s not blow it. So, why not re-visit our history and re-learn. Maybe we shall get an opportunity to re-calibrate our approach for defining and developing our future ways of leading lives…
Life on Earth… Living organisms have evolved well-adapted structures and materials over geological time through natural selection. Biomimetics has given rise to new technologies inspired by biological solutions at macro and nanoscales. Humans have looked at nature for answers to problems throughout our existence. Nature has solved engineering problems such as self-healing abilities, environmental exposure tolerance and resistance, hydrophobicity, self-assembly, and harnessing solar energy.
However, the paradigms of Bio-Mimicry, Sustainability, Carbon Neutral, Resilience, Circular Economy etc. have been exploited by all businesses, nations and global initiatives as only buzz words to enhance their respective credibility in the ecosystem. There is no real evidence of genuine practices of these tenets.
Be it a drop in pollution & GHG emission or self-healing of the Ozone layer; the last one month has amply demonstrated the resilience of Mother Nature by reversing the damage mankind has done to the planet’s climate in last many decades due to sheer arrogance and complacence. I believe that the widespread adoption of nature-inspired solutions will catalyse a new era in design and business that benefits both people and the planet. Let’s make the act of asking nature’s advice a normal part of everyday inventing. We can create solutions inspired by nature that even address the United Nations ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs).
We need to develop sustainable solutions for a balanced ecosystem by empowering people to learn and apply nature-inspired strategies in design. We need to develop repositories of resources and launch design challenges where people learn by practicing, provide comprehensive support for bringing solutions to market, and create a conducive environment & platform for a global network of innovators. In short, together, we need to learn about, teach, and practice a radically different way to build our world.
The final Imperative – Civilization 6.0: “A Nature-aware society that balances societal, economic & technological advancement with the climate and nature’s equilibrium making our planet Carbon Neutral, by leveraging Nature-inspired technology solutions to practice the tenet of Circular Economy”.
The real question is – has mankind learned enough from this catastrophe to embrace the paradigm of Civilization 6.0?