Predictions 2008

As the curtain goes up on 2008, I feel compelled to offer predictions for the RenGen. The problem with writing predictions, is that as soon as you write them, you want to see them turn up everywhere. So your senses sharpen to detect ever more evidence that you are right. Call it observational narcissism. I think I am so afflicted. Having confessed to that, here’s what I expect in 2008:

Rise of Adolescent “Always-On” Syndrome
A few years ago, a New York Times article coined the phrase “always-on” as a syndrome suffered by executives addicted to email and websurfing–an adult version of ADD. Now teens are showing signs of anxiety from always having an audience–always being on. Hours spent in the limelight of Facebook and MySpace where simple “wazzup, you going out?” conversations have an audience, kids are feeling a certain performance anxiety. This social anxiety is like a low-grade fever. Won’t knock you out, but will drain your batteries. Look for teens to seek out ways to boost health, resilience and confidence more than ever. Healthful infusions will replace drinks like RedBull. Vitamin boosters, meditation and sacred self-protective practices will catch on.

Information is the Enemy of Time: Info-concierge Services Will Grow
When Yankelovich asked Americans to place a value on their discretionary time, they learned that $1.25 per minute was the average rate. As people grapple with productivity devices that have vexing learning curves, a need will open up for concierge services in a wide variety of business-related activities. Pressure will mount for search tools to deliver more relevant information. My biased opinion is that anyone who does not have a crack librarian in their talent portfolio is a fool. Consider the price: it’s free. And a good librarian can change your work life by streamlining and ferreting out the best of the best. Also look for, freelance blog-etorial assistants hired to stimulate blog audiences, field comments and weed out riff-raff. Oh, and the public will finally grasp the privacy issue in 2008. Different topic all together, but I’m lumping it in here.

New Rules for Cool: Make Peace Not War
Cyber-bullying reached an extreme in 2007, when an adult women so bullied her daughter’s classmate that it allegedly triggered a suicide. But when Pew studied the matter in 2006, there seemed to be more concern about the prospect of cyber-bullying than actual incidents reported. The Internet has bred a new class of social vitriols. Just as the “new money” class is often criticized for its lack of tact and breeding, newbies to social networking, MMOGs, and blogs seem to suffer a similar fate. Overall, as the digital culture hastens our evolution, the need for guidelines, policies, and plugged-in Dear Abbeys will increase. Citizens will start including civility statements on their blogs and in their email signatures. New “make peace not war” norms for human exchange on the Internet will arise.

Born to Lead: Females Will Lead Without a Ladder
The young RenGen are born equal. Males and females alike ages 14-18 see the world without gender biases. The fact that a woman will contend, and likely win the next presidential election, portends an age when women will not protest to be heard, nor demand to be paid fairly or to win executive privilege by gradually moving up the pecking order. They will simply assume it. And these women will not suffer waiting for their shot at the corner office. Life’s too short and their agenda is too long. It includes children, creative pursuits, and causes, as well as careers. RenGen women will learn to lead without a ladder. They’ll form groups, lead initiatives, and make things happen. The corporate world cannot compete without their energy and will find ways to build talent portfolios that include these women, as well as their male peers, who want the same things, by the way. This opens a gap. Much like the haves-and-have-nots and generation gaps before it. The old power elite will struggle to adapt, but will likely remain the same, perhaps with new window dressing. Emerging companies, however, will build-to-suit a rising generation of women and men more inspired to work together than to dominate based on gender dynamics.

As for what 2008 holds for me, I plan on spending equal time writing, speaking and working with clients. I am thrilled to have the luxury to pick and choose projects that hold great promise for creating a new culture. And I plan to continue my research on the rising renaissance underway. Already my travel schedule has me going on fascinating adventures. As I listen to my colleagues fret about the sense of decline and doom they feel, I continue to find evidence on the other side. The decline is throwing off seeds for the new civilization to blossom. The coming year will see more seedlings emerge and many flowers bloom.