Note: this was originally published on 4/2/2014.
In most of our work, and particularly for our original research and content, there are one or two key frameworks that help us organize and make sense of the dynamics we (and clients) are observing and experiencing. In the Third Era one such framework is the nested view of political changes (figure 1). This particular construct helps us separate out the various changes in political life that are often lumped together in everyday discourse while also allowing us to consider how things interact across these domains.
The Third Era also incorporates frameworks like the Three Horizons, but the above nested view is probably the most important overall framing right now.
Another framework, this time from our most recent work on learning futures, adapts a socio-technical transitions model to viewing and understanding current and likely changes in education in the United States (figure 2). This framework provides a compelling way of not only understanding education as a system embedded in larger systems and susceptible to developments in the margins, but also for exploring how education will become ever more shaped by technical influences. This lets us explore the issue of education becoming a more typical socio-technical system than it has ever been before.
While there are some other, more minor models at work in our learning futures content right now, the nested view above is by far the most central to our work.
And so, in updating the Infinite Economy, one of the new framings that emerged was that of layered views of economic change dynamics (figure 3). For the Infinite Economy, there are a number of models/theories related to economic change that we like to draw upon, and this layered view, which builds upon the common analogy of the “30,000 foot view,” allows us to incorporate multiple models while (hopefully) not muddying the issue too much. And while Perez’s technological revolutions models is also central to the Infinite Economy framing and forecasts, this layered view is almost more important in the bigger picture (ha, ha) because it allows us to capture in one view some many of the different issues and changes people are confronting.
The ability to organize the many conflicting and contending signals we are receiving today about our economic futures is, to us, a critical ability if one wants to usefully talk about the futures of economic life.