Society 3.0 Needs us to Win Hearts, Rather than Minds #28 #cong20

Synopsis:

 For decades, scientists have been preaching to the public while demonizing those who ignore their warnings, but this approach is clearly not working. We have allowed the debate on the future of civilisation to become polarised, leaving the public confused, angry, and easily manipulated by those willing to deliver comforting lies.
But humanity’s response to COVID-19 proves that ordinary people are fair and decent and given half a chance, are willing to make personal sacrifices for the greater good. So, let’s stop preaching to them from our ivory towers. Let’s show them that we stand with them in the THEIR fight for a better future.

Total Words

1,241

Reading Time in Minutes

5

Key Takeaways:

  1. We need to appeal to the public’s hearts and not their minds.
  2. Our message is honest and requires sacrifice, while others make empty promises.
  3. We must put people ahead of planet and empower them to save the world
  4. We must start to see the people, as the solution rather than the problem.

Anything less is unfair.

About Damian Costello:

 Damian Costello runs Decode Innovation and specialises in Innovation in Strategy and Innovation Strategies. Damian is passionate about helping Ireland retain and grow its position in the global economy.

Damian has almost 25 years of consulting experience across global multi-nationals to local start-ups in the Medical Device, Pharma, Automotive, Financial Services and ICT sectors. He has delivered successful strategies and breakthrough solutions in Ireland, Europe, North America and Asia.

Contacting Damian Costello:

You can follow Damian on Twitter, connect with him on LinkedIn, send him an email or see Decode Innovation.

By Damian Costello.

Since last year’s Congregation I have become an environmentalist. For years I’ve been working towards a more empathetic and sustainable society, but recently I’ve come to realise that environmental disasters might destroy civilisation before Society 3.0 can ever emerge.

Soon after I joined the ranks of those working to save the planet, I realised I had a few things to say to my new colleagues. For decades, environmental scientists have been preaching to the public while demonizing those who ignore their warnings, but this approach is clearly not working. The problem is that we have allowed the debate on the future of civilisation to become an over-simplified argument between two opposite ends of the political divide: assertive environmentalists on the left and aggressive capitalists on the right. The left thinks it has a monopoly on goodness and the right seems to think that money and power are all that matters. We dehumanise the right by calling it; the 1%, the establishment, the elites, or the superrich, but in doing so we miss the fact that regular people find the swagger of the populist right more compelling than our logic.

Such polarisation is endemic in Western democracies, and it has reached new heights with the Trump White House and Brexit. It leaves the public confused, scared and angry, and as a result they are easily manipulated by those willing to deliver comforting lies. We need to face the fact that those of us who are trying to tell the truth are simply not winning converts fast enough. This is a battle that environmentalists have been losing for decades, so how can we honestly expect public opinion to change, unless we are willing to change our approach. Over the summer I’ve been working on an initiative that involved, among other things, a series of regular discussions with Lord John Alderdice. Now a member of the United Kingdom’s House of Lords, he is best known for his role the Northern Ireland peace process. One anecdote of his in particular, changed my mind about how we deal with the right.

In my first in-depth conversation with him, he told a story of when John Hume, the leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, first told his three fellow political leaders in Northern Ireland (Ian Paisley, Jim Molyneaux and John Alderdice) that he believed that the only way to advance the stalled peace process was to open talks with the IRA. Faced with stalemate, Hume, a staunch pacifist, overcame his most deeply held beliefs, opened his mind, swallowed his pride, and radically changed his approach. The other leaders were appalled at the suggestion and the two unionists in particular felt certain that the move would collapse the process. On leaving the meeting, he said that he had to reconcile himself with not knowing what would happen next and so he moved forward more in faith than in hope. We now know how things worked out. Hume’s gamble paid off and lasting peace was made, and Hume went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize for his vision.

This example of a war time pivot affected me deeply and made it clear that if society is now on a war-like footing, then our side needs a similar change in approach. I realised we need to alter our approach, not to the science, but to our positioning and communications. We need to reach out to those we have previously chastised. We need to understand and empathise with their position and we need to find a way forward together. To do this, we need to first respect and then appeal to the middle majority that have been swayed by the lies of the 1%. These are the regular people who don’t trust holier-than-thou experts anymore. They either suspect environmentalists of hypocrisy or they find our language patronising.

We need to appeal to their hearts and not their minds. We need to reposition the climate argument away from one of right and wrong, and towards one of fairness. Our problem is that our message is honest and requires sacrifice, while the 1% seems happy to make empty promises. We can overcome this imbalance, however, by aligning our communications around a new truth, but we must believe it ourselves. If we are to mobilise the masses, we need to genuinely put people first – we need to make fairness our number one priority.

If we believe in the ongoing importance of democracy, we must put people ahead of planet and empower the people to save the planet with us, not for science but for themselves and their children. Too many of the masses believe, or have been convinced, that environmentalist put the planet before people. The 1% has convinced them that we are the ones who are out to destroy their way of life. Unless we break this cycle, by telling the public that we are 100% on their side in a way that the right can never be, we will never stem the tide of environmental disaster and we will never give ourselves the chance to enjoy Society 3.0. If we can build a coalition with the masses, we will expose the lies and dismantle the ability of the 1% to divide and conquer us. We must start to see the people, as the solution rather than the problem. Anything less is unfair.

Humanity’s response to COVID-19 proves that ordinary people are fair and decent and given half a chance they are willing to make personal sacrifices to help all of society. Let’s stop preaching to them from our ivory towers. Let’s roll up our sleeves and show them that we can be trusted and that we stand shoulder to shoulder with them in the THEIR fight for a better future.

Fake Community: a Threat to Humanity? #49 #cong19

Synopsis:

If you combine ‘Fake News’ and community, you identify a potentially new force of evil – ‘Fake Community’. Is such a thing real? How big a threat is it? What can we do about it?

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. As humans we evolved to share our knowledge with our community.
  2. Fake Community is community hijacked by populism
  3. Fake Community is a coalition of scam artists and the political elites
  4. Fake Community is real and need to act now if we are to defeat it

About Damian Costello:

Damian Costello runs Decode Innovation and specialises in Innovation in Strategy and Innovation Strategies. Damian is passionate about helping Ireland retain and grow its position in the global economy.

Damian has almost 25 years of consulting experience across global multi-nationals to local start-ups in the Medical Device, Pharma, Automotive, Financial Services and ICT sectors. He has delivered successful strategies and breakthrough solutions in Ireland, Europe, North America and Asia.

Contacting Damian Costello:

You can follow Damian on Twitter, connect with him on LinkedIn, send him an email or see Decode Innovation

By Damian Costello,

Take the concept of Fake News and combine it with the power of community and you get a terrifying new weapon that we might call ‘Fake Community’. This is a scary thought because the power of community is deeply bedded in the human psyche. We have evolved to be social animals and as such community is one of our oldest coping mechanisms.

Everything we do, both individually and collectively, is influenced by the animal architecture that our higher brain functions are layered over. Anthropologists tell us that our big breakthrough as a species was not an improved ability to create knowledge, but a unique ability to share it. In his book Give and Take, Adam Grant shows how selfish Medical Students do better in year one of Med School than their more social, cooperative and sometimes distracted peers. By year two they are about level, and after that the ‘givers’ jump ahead, and stay ahead, of the ‘takers’. The perennial challenge for our species is how to balance individual desires with the collective needs of the group. We evolved to use communities to help us balance these sometimes-conflicting needs. What happens then, when the very thing humanity uses to counteract its most self-destructive behaviours is weaponised and used against us. Can we can handle being attacked by a subversion of community? I contend that this is exactly what is happening, and that the biggest threat to a healthy balance between individualism and the collectivism is the emergence of ‘Fake Community’.

Fake Community is what happens when community is hijacked by populism. Donald Trump calls his biggest annoyance ‘Fake News’ because news and its seemingly trivial cousin, celebrity, are his weapons of choice. But his place among the elite, and his paranoia that the forces that brought him to power will eventually turn on him, suggests that his accusation of ‘Fake’ hints at a deeper truth. He may, or may not, have been the architect of his own rise to power, but even the most feeble-minded of puppets gets a glimpse of the craft of the puppet master. Long before he called it out Fake News existed, as illustrated by the 30 years of brainwashing of our British neighbours were exposed to in their tabloid newspapers. Its irresistible power can be seen in the still inconceivable partnership of Thatcher-devastated northern towns and the ‘Thatcher didn’t go far enough’ elites of the ruling Tory Party. One workshop in a UK Car Factory, reportedly had 41 of 42 employees vote for Brexit and within a year all were on notice as the plant’s closure was announced and blamed on Brexit. Those workers were falsely convinced they were part of a community being suppressed by the EU. Fake Community in the UK convinced a majority of ordinary decent turkeys to
enthusiastically vote for Christmas. What did conventional communities do to protect those workers? What could they have done?

Fake Community is nothing new, cults and other nefarious organisations have always prayed on individuals, but their reach was counter-balanced by the other communities that
surrounded their targets. In the early twentieth century Fake Community rallied the masses and used the basest of collective motivations to take over an entire well-educated, civilised continent. We now call them ‘Fascists’ and we can hear echoes of their rhetoric in today’s trans-Atlantic politics. Back then communities would group together to defeat such evil ideologies because the threat was so credible and obvious to them. Today, Fake Community is even more dangerous because in a world of endless digital communication bad actors find it easier to act beyond the gaze of those who would traditionally resist them. Worse still, their digital nature releases Fake Community from geographical constraints. Syria under ISIS is a place that few middle-class western teenagers would enjoy in person, but digital propaganda from Syria could get English born teenagers to go there and marry strangers. This is less likely to happen in a physical community where the presence of such unsavoury characters would surely raise family suspicions much sooner.

When the digital world arrived, ordinary people augmented their communities with websites and later social media. They created new communities among like-minded people at work and at play. The lack of geographical constraint allowed enthusiasts in the most niche of interests to find people to share their passion with. Bridges of mutual respect were built across oceans. I’ll never forget a friend telling me he was bringing his 11-year-old to Manchester for a Minecraft Convention where the boy was looking to meet his best friend for the first time. People looked forward to technologies that would make their online communities almost as good as their real communities. What was missed in this naïve enthusiasm, was how this new power could be misused. People who failed in real world communities because real people could quickly see through them, realised that they could do things online that were impossible for them in the real world. To the faker, online communities were much better than their real-world alternatives and once they found fellow liars among the ranks of the political elite, a hidden but massively influential coalition was formed.

Fake Community uses the power of community to legitimise our lowest individual motivations and amplify our greatest collective excesses. If we are to re-establish a healthy balance, we will need to undermine the power of this emerging force for evil – we will need to create an equally irresistible force for good. Maybe the alternative to Fake Community is authentic community? Maybe the alternative to bad communities are good communities? Maybe the answer is something very different, but if we are to address this issue, we first must acknowledge that Fake Community is a real thing.

Ideas are Deceitful, Gold-Digging Parasites. … #39 #cong18

Synopsis:

The vast majority of ideas bring only misery and hardship. The whole entrepreneurial economy is a lottery and somewhere deep in the human psyche we are hard wired to fall for the scam. Success requires great ideas, but the idea is not the success. Stop putting your faith in single ideas, treat the first ones that come along like a deceitful gold-digging parasite out to distract you.

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. The entrepreneurial economy is a lottery
  2. We fall for lotteries because of how our minds work
  3. Only 4% of the patents that protect our ideas make money
  4. Smart entrepreneurs treat ideas like commodities

About Damian Costello:

Damian Costello runs Decode Innovation and specialises in Disruptive Innovation and the changing market dynamics facing the Medtech sector. Damian is passionate about helping Ireland retain and grow its position in the global Medtech economy.

Damian has almost 25 years of consulting experience across global multi-nationals to local start-ups in the Medical Device, Pharma, Automotive, Financial Services and ICT sectors. He has delivered successful strategies and breakthrough solutions in Ireland, Europe, North America and Asia.

Contacting Damian Costello:

You can contact Damian by email and see his work on Decode Innovation.

By Damian Costello.

The biggest mistake I see in business is people becoming slaves to their ideas. Ideas need to be treated for what they are: deceitful gold-digging parasites. Ideas steal lives, ruin people’s objectivity, destroy their security, and make fools of those that blindly believe in them. Ideas turn sensible employees into ‘entrepreneurs’ often against their better judgement. Ideas turn ordinary business people into self-destructive zealots. Ideas should be avoided at all costs, because the vast majority of them bring only misery and hardship.

Why do so many of us fall into the ‘ideas trap’ if it is so obviously a mugs game? Why do reasonable people gamble all they have on pipedreams? My best guess is that the whole entrepreneurial economy is a lottery and ideas are just the tickets. Somewhere deep in the human psyche we are hard wired to fall for the lottery scam. Even the most sensible of us succumb, when the jackpot in the pick six lottery rolls over to eye watering levels. The ‘idea trap’ is a lottery and like all lotteries we fall for it because of three flaws in the way our minds work; our inability to comprehend probabilities, the ‘near miss effect’, and the ‘availability bias’.

The lifetime odds of someone in the US dying in a car accident is 1 in 90, in a fire 1 in 250, getting killed by lightening 1 in 135,000. The chances of winning the multi-hundred million-dollar US Powerball Lottery are 1 in 239,000,000. If human beings could appreciate probabilities, we would never get into a car and we would never enter a lottery.

The ‘near miss effect’ is illustrated by the how surprisingly easy it is to get three out of six numbers in the same US lottery; 1 in 600 compared to 1 in 239,000,000 for six. The ‘near miss effect’ convinces players who get an easy three, that they should keep going in the mistaken belief that they are nearly there.

‘Availability bias’, arguably the most relevant to business, is where we base decisions on the information most readily available to us. This is dangerous, because we are far more likely to hear the show-off winner’s stories than those of the embarrassed losers. When entrepreneurs or business people think about big ideas, they need to temper their enthusiasm with the realisation that the logic they are using is disproportionally informed by positive data points.

The ultimate repository of ideas, the US Patent and Trademark Office or USPTO, has issued over 6 million patents (ideas) since 1790. Only 4% of these have made any money. While some were filed to block competitors rather than make a profit, the rest were intended to make money but lost money in fees instead. Sensible people engage in this foolishness because a miniscule number of patents make lottery type money for their owners. By the time the patent on the drug Lipitor expired in 2011, it had earned an estimated $125 Billion for Pfizer. With jackpots like these, it’s not hard to see why good people give into temptation.

While success obviously does require great ideas, it is important to remember that the idea is not the success. Smart entrepreneurs treat ideas like commodities. They have a veracious hunger for ideas and put all their ideas together into an informed vision. They convert that vision into a strategy and they work relentlessly to make that strategy happen. They learn from their mistakes and are always open to new ideas.

Whether you need 10 ideas in your lifetime to be successful or 100 a day will be revealed to you in time. If you treat the first one that comes along like a deceitful gold-digging parasite out to distract you from better ideas, then you won’t go too far wrong.