In 2005, visionary thinker Dan Pink wrote a wonderful book about what characteristics will be necessary and valued as the economy moves to a Conceptual Age. A Whole New Mind is as relevant now as it was then as we have more information than we can process and exponentially greater demands on our time and attention.
Pink’s thesis is that as we move from the Information Age (knowledge workers) to the Conceptual Age (creators and empathizers), high tech is no longer enough. He maintains that we need high touch too.
Specifically, Pink believes that to be in demand in these times we need six characteristics:
1. Design — what we create needs to go beyond function to have “utility enhanced by significance.”
2. Story — to construct a compelling narrative enhanced by emotion instead of just the raw data that is so abundantly available.
3. Symphony — his word synthesis — making connections between the information that exists. (Can you say connecting the dots?!)
4. Empathy — understanding the personal side of the human connections
5. Play — something that computers can’t do but humans can — so Pink relishes humor, laughter and lightheartedness
6. Meaning — significance and purpose — working toward something bigger than yourself.
As I head into my employee “evaluation season” I am reminded that those who contribute most add attributes that go far beyond the tasks that they accomplish. Pink’s book may serve as a primer for you to think about how you are touching your organizational environment and the people in it.
A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink, 2005, Riverhead Books