Before there was a Moore’s Law, Doug Engelbart predicted the following — call it “Engelbart’s Law”:
- digital technology would became increasingly miniaturized and affordable,
- its injection into all levels of business and society would become increasingly widespread and rapid
- this would cause a disruptive ripple effect in society like never before seen — on a scale more massive than the introduction of fire, written language, agriculture, bronze, printing press and industry combined, all in a significantly compressed timeframe — shifting us onto an unsustainable trajectory where important challenges are becoming increasingly complex and urgent, with potentially disastrous consequences to humanity and the planet if this phenomenon is not well understood and adequately addressed
- our organizations and institutions, which steer the boat we are all on, are trying to get smarter and faster to stay ahead of the curve; however the vast majority are severely underestimating the magnitude and speed of the curve, and thus are aiming too low, too slow; meanwhile the stakes keep getting higher
- it is no longer an option to get incrementally smarter and faster; organizations must become exponentially more intelligent and agile, using successive gains in Collective IQ to accelerate progress toward that goal; those that lag will be rendered increasingly ineffective
The bottom line? Organizations need to double their Collective IQ, and double it again, and again, faster and faster… Our collective objective is to create brilliant organizations, and through them brilliant societies, and evenually, a brilliant world.
How? By adopting a strategy specifically designed for this. Based on his predictions, Doug Engelbart designed such a strategy, first documented and tested in his lab in the early 1960s. As far as we know, it is still the only one in existence. He called it a Bootstrapping Strategy, for bootstrapping our Collective IQ.
Engelbart stumbled on this important set of discoveries as part of a larger study on how to facilitate the transformation of organizations to be become more effective at perceiving and addressing important problems collectively in a climate of accelerating change. He recognized that organizations would be entering a new frontier that would demand higher and higher collective intelligence in a compressed timeframe. Otherwise our organizations and institutions which shape society would become increasingly less effective.
Engelbart surmised that it is not simply desirable or important for organizations to jump this curve, it is imperative to our survival as a human race and a planet.