21st Century Thinking – Connectivity and Engagement

So in our thread so far, we have focused on the social dimension of acquiring new knowledge, and things that will affect our connections in the 21st century. I have talked a bit about certain challenges that we are likely to face (1) the all to easy escapes that we connect with via media (2) over reliance on membership for safety in groups.

But aside form meeting challenges, will we focus on things that unlock potential? I think so. One of the more interesting trends that has emerged over the last decade or so is the engagement movement. What is that? Engagement is a state of mind that describes our intense focus on a single thing. One thinks of the artist in his studio or the athlete competing. Time disappears for the engaged person. He is one with what he is doing (ditto or she).

We are starting understand the power of engagement and we are starting to understand how to nurture it. It is different than bliss (the way Joe Campbell used the word) because it is active. It is doing stuff. And we know that we enhance our creativity by doing things. How do we find engagement? Well, first we need a bit of motivation. We do not engage for nothing. Dan Pink identified the three great motivators to become more creative (1) great meaning (saving the world) (2) achieving mastery (the kung fu or zen guy) (3) finding autonomy (more control over decision making), The key will be to unleash engagement in the pursuit of mastering domains. Ken Robinson talks about that in his book “The Element”. How do we do it? Via the right attitude and practice (think John Wooden). And what do we get? We get the opportunity to level up. We can level up on a personal level (Csikszentmihaly9, in Flow) on a group level (Dave Logan), and in competitive capacity (Lafley & Martin).

If we learn how to incorporate the above ideas into our institutions and culture, we will see a radical transformation that will produce results that are impossible to predict.



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