Dealing With Change Faster Than We Can Learn About It

Monday, October 15, 2012

Eddie Obeng
Exponential Change
In an incredibly spirited TED talk, Eddie Obeng discusses three important changes we should understand for better productivity, and calls for a stronger culture of “smart failure."
The world is changing much more rapidly than most people realize, says business educator Eddie Obeng -- and creative output cannot keep up.

In an incredibly spirited TED talk, he highlights three important changes we should understand for better productivity, and calls for a stronger culture of “smart failure."

Obeng starts off by giving the audience a test, asking them to look at an onscreen image and tell us which line is longer. “It’s the same!” everyone dutifully replies, harking back to school tricks of old. “No! They’re not the same!” Obeng splutters excitedly in reply. He changed the rules, and he did it to demonstrate what’s been going on all around us. “It happened at midnight while we were asleep. They switched all the rules around. The way to run a business or country has been flipped. You missed this one?”

According to Obeng author of Money Making Machine, the problem with this change in the rules is that we all still behave according to the same old rules. “We respond rationally to a world we understand and recognize, but which no longer exists.”

The thing is, even eminent economists get this wrong. Obeng cites Tim Brown of IDEO, who has argued of late for the importance of “big” design. Why, Obeng wonders, was design ever small? “Why did we ever build these hierarchies? What’s going on?”

The fact is, we haven’t noticed that the world has changed exponentially. Technology and other many forces have shifted our worlds and lives dramatically. “You are sitting at the headwaters of a global corporation if you’re connected to the Internet,” he says. “Every time you tweet, a third of your followers follow from a country that’s not your own. Global is the new scale. People think this is a metaphor but it’s a reality.”

Obeng helps executives keep up with a business and social environment that's changing faster than we can know. Through Pentacle, his online business school, Obeng teaches a theory of management that focuses on adaptation to change. Called "New World Management," it's all about forming and re-forming workgroups, constantly re-evaluating metrics, and being open to all kinds of learning, from hands-on group exercises to a virtual lecture hall/meeting room called the QUBE. —

More of Obeng's work can be found at  In his presentation, Obeng also uses a Papershow wireless pen to great effect.


By 33rd SquareSubscribe to 33rd Square