How do you compete in a world that is being transformed by Asia, Automation, and Abundance, in which “we are moving from an economy and society built on the logical, linear, computerlike capabilities of the Information Age to an economy and a society built on the inventive, empathetic, big-picture capabilities of what’s rising in its place, the Conceptual Age”?
This is the question that Daniel Pink tries to address in his book “A Whole New Mind”, and his answer is that we need to develop a “different form of thinking and a new approach to life” that takes advantage of our “high concept” and “high touch” right brain qualities of “inventiveness, empathy, joyfulness, and meaning.”
In the book, Pink provides a thorough description of the “six senses” that we need to cultivate in order to thrive in this exciting but uncertain new world, namely: Design. Story. Symphony. Empathy. Play. Meaning.
The problem is that, having laid out such a thought-provoking manifesto for change, Pink’s prescriptions for developing our right-brain capabilities come nowhere near matching the seriousness of the condition he is diagnosing and seem more suited for dealing with a creative common cold than terminal conceptual cancer:
• Want to learn about design? Then read Oprah’s O Magazine.
• Want to build up your narrative capabilities? How about writing a fifty-word mini-saga?
• Want to increase your ability to see the big picture? Then create an “inspiration board”.
• Want to develop a greater sense of meaning? Visit a labyrinth.
This is hugely disappointing, because the trends that Pink so vividly describes in his book are real and have huge implications not only for us as individuals but also in how we educate our children and how we stimulate future global economic development.
A Whole New Mind is an excellent glossy marketing catalog for getting us interested in taking this journey into the Conceptual Age; I just wish he had written a more a detailed guidebook to show us what we need to do to get there.