The Transformation Decade: 2010-2020

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Almost three years ago, on 01-01-10 I wrote a column called " The Transformation Decade" On this digital date I suggested that this decade would be shaped by massive transformation. The dictionary definition of transformation is "a change in nature, shape, form or character". This means that this ten-year period will be a decade when most of humanity's institutions will do exactly that.

Since that date, in columns and speeches around the world I have found that not only was this forecast correct, but that this definition helps people to better contextually understand the ever greater amount and accelerating speed of change.

Companies understand that if they are not changing to some degree the nature, shape or character of their businesses that they will not only fall behind marketplace changes, competitive changes and customer changes, they may not be in business in 2020. Many CEOs and others who have heard me speak about this Transformation Decade have requested that I write more in-depth about it. Well, now I have. In my new book " Entering the Shift Age " Part Three is all about this amazing ten year period. It is available by itself as an inexpensive mini-eBook .

The Collapse of Legacy Thinking

Humanity has largely powered into the 21st century thinking 20th century thoughts. Similar to McLuhan's statement that most people drive down the freeway of life looking in the rear-view mirror, most people have been looking back to the way things were or worked in the 20th century. No wonder we can't seem to solve the new global problems! We are looking at them through the filter of old conceptual constructs.

We all suffer from seeing the present – and possible futures- through the filter of legacy thinking. Your mentor taught you something in the 1990s, your father told you about reality, you read a great business book in the 1980s and then these "truths" became locked down in your mind and therefore strongly shaped your views on most subjects. It is as though you are seeing the future through windows of a house that was built in the past. In the Shift Age and in the 21st century we must all take a look at the thoughts we think and ask ourselves when we first thought them. If our perceptions of the world were formed in the last 25 years of the 20th century, they might not all be relevant here at the end of 2012.

The Transformation Decade is and will be a time when vast amounts of legacy thinking will fall away. This is preparation for what Whitehead called "creative destruction".

The First Decade of 21st Century Thought


In part due to the collapse of legacy thinking, 2010-2020 will be looked back upon as the first decade of 20th century thought. Future historians in say 2100 will look back and point to the 2010-2020 decade as the first decade when humanity started to clearly think 21st century thoughts and started to therefore shape the remainder of the century.

Think on the phrase "20th century". Whatever comes to mind; the century of science, the American Century, the century of world wars, all began 1914-1918. This was WWI, the Russian revolution was 1917-18, the General Theory of Relativity was published in 1916 and the maps of Europe and the Middle East were largely shaped at this time. Prior to WWI, America was an isolationist, largely agricultural country. After 1918 the country was one of the supreme nation states on the global stage.

This is one of the main reasons that 2010-2020 is so exciting and disorienting. The Transformation Decade is the time that an entire new century of thought is beginning.

General Trends and Forecasts


There is not enough space here to write about the major trends and my forecasts for the rest of this decade, so I will just list them here. Some are obvious; others perhaps not yet clear to you.

- The Concept of Place continues to be eviscerated

- A major generation shift takes root

- Biology and Technology merge ever more

- Spaceship Earth becomes a more widely held mindset

- Creativity is a dominant value

- Globalism ascends, nationalism declines

- Governments shake loose many of their Industrial Age structures

- Energy moves into its systemic stage

These dynamic trends, and many others, will largely shape new thoughts, ideas, solutions, conflicts and businesses here in the Transformation Decade.

To learn more about the mini-eBook "The Transformation Decade: 2010-2020 please go here.

David Houle is a futurist, strategist and speaker. He has always been slightly ahead of the curve. Houle spent more than 20 years in media and entertainment. Most recently, David is a featured contributor to Check is out here David can be contacted at

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