The first 2nd renaissance twins: “Digital Natives” and “Born digital”

Digital Natives

In the past I found the discussion of “Digital Natives” or “Generation Y” quite boring as it was mostly scratching on stereotyping surfaces. This opinion is supported by statistical scientific evidence [Helsper, Ellen Johanna, and Rebecca Eynon. “Digital Natives: Where Is the Evidence?” British Educational Research Journal 36, no. 3 (June 1, 2010): 503–20. doi:10.1080/01411920902989227.]

I have to correct myself as these terms are very helpful for the older generations “Generation X”, “Baby Boomers”, or overall the “Digital Immigrants” to understand better what kind of societal shift is happening as teenagers, young women and men reinvent themselves in building a networked digital society. This is an iterative process with many failures and therefore not taking serious by “older” generations: But I believe that this collective iterative learning process which admits failures very clearly is the real strength of this generation.

We have to admit that we build technology of the 21st century mostly with management paradigms from the 20th century, and an educational system from the 19th century.

What is a digital native?

And the digital natives are changing that without asking the “Digital Immigrants”. Let’s see how this is happening. The most useful definition of the term “DIGITAL NATIVES” I found was in the report [“Digital Natives: How Do They Learn? How to Teach Them?” Policy Brief. UNESCO IITTE E-Library, 2011.]:

“The concept of digital natives was introduced by Mark Prensky [Prensky, Marc. “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants.” On the Horizon 9, no. 5 (October 5, 2001).] Digital natives represent the first generation to grow up with this new technology. They are used to all kinds of digital toys and tools, which are an integral part of their life. Digital activity is like a mother tongue for them. They are the generation of technological acceleration, of the Internet and its networks. Growing up in such an environment, they think and process information in a totally different way than previous generations: their thinking patterns have changed, and Mark Prensky says it is likely that their brains have physically changed, too. They are “native speakers” of the digital language. This is a radical change, such that there is a big discontinuity between their generation and previous ones.”

Wikipedia [“Digital Native.” Wikipedia, February 9, 2017.] is, of course, another source for a definition of digital natives.

Digital Natives are different…

Digital Immigrants Digital Natives
linear thinking  multi-threaded thinking
focus on individual competence focus on collective intelligence
owning physical goods using and sharing physical & virtual goods
national physical border society  global digital society
hierarchy management  self-organizing leadership
born to passive mass media consumption: TV, Books, Radio, Papers, Magazines, LP, Tapes, CD born as media prosumer: Search (e.g. Google), Video (e.g. YouTube), messenger (e.g. What-up), social media (e.g. Facebook), massive online games (e.g. League of Legends, World of Warcraft, Minecraft), picture sharing (e.g. instagram), music streaming (e.g. Spotify), online encyclopedias (e.g. Wikipedia,, online sharing (e.g. torrent).
born social media as producer: Typewriter, Pencil, Rotary Phone  born mass media consumer: TV, Books,
 text, 2D pictures  video, sound, pictures, 3D
 private, professional social status  online personal and  social storytelling
 communication impact: friends, family, co-workers  communication impact: friends, family, co-workers, global
ability in gathering & making decision with sparse information  ability in making decisions with information overload

Though this comparison shows major differences but it neglects the most important game changer.

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Art and Engineering

This time it is not the Renaissance. No Bran Ferren goes back to Roman times in his TED Talk. The underlying message is very close to what we have been saying here: art is about being visonary, thinking beyond what exists today. When this comes together with cutting-edge horizontal and vertical technology, miracles can happen. Society may gain new degrees of freedom. Which? Well then, watch the talk.

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#SpiritualCapital: I tried a definition

#SpiritualCapital: I tried a definition based on that of Dona Zohar. Can we improve on this?

Spiritual Capital is the power derived by acting in accordance with personal values, social or cultural beliefs and meanings that stimulate creativity, encourage moral behaviour and motivate individuals. Spiritual Capital allows to lead yourself, other individuals and organisations to strive for common good.

See also

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2nd Renaissance or War of the Worlds

This was the title of a presentation I gave at the Co-Summit of ITEA and ARTEMIS on 4 December 2013. Below is a summary of the presentation. More material, also on ITEA project SCALARE can be downloaded from here.

2nd Renaissance or War of the Worlds?
– A Perspective for SCALARE –

“Embedded Systems Rule” – this statement rings true if we look at how far we have come from the small pieces of software code embedded in the lunar landing module of Apollo 11 in 1969. Today’s smart phones are mobile computing devices many orders more powerful than the lunar lander. The driver for much of the growth of computing, and thus the growth of embedded systems, is based on Moore’s Law, which, in turn, is founded upon advances in the physics underlying chip technology.

We postulate, however, that it is “software” that “infected” and conquered traditional industries and reshaped many of them beyond recognition. As an example we take one of the most prominent industries originating from Europe, and one of the most conservative: automotive.

We explore the growth of software in the automotive industry from controlling drivers in individual components (“software in the car”) to the “software car” with 120 ECUs and over 150m lines of code, and now to the “connected car”. Within the context of the Internet of Things and Services the “connected car” will be a powerful mobile computing platform. Who will build it and how? Will it be those companies whose dominance originates in the second industrial revolution? Can their product world based on – fragile – high-tech and IP orientation be transformed into platforms for eco-systems, which thrive on expansion and change? Or will “new players” from the software world fill that gap? What are the challenges at technological level, at organizational level within and across company boundaries? Will those mastering these aspects win the “War of the Worlds”?

Or will society come to realise that the advantages of the Internet of Things and Services are to make Industry 4.0 human centred? Technology and machine as extension of man, rather than man as a cog in the greater scheme of things, will allow facilitate building “anti-fragile” eco-systems. We have the ingredients of a 2nd Renaissance. Using the example of the automotive industry we explore what is necessary to let go of outdated paradigms, which prevent the transition into the 2nd Renasissance. These barriers and their elimination is what the SCALARE project is concerned with.

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Protected: Wiedergeburt der Renaissance

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Transition Model

Stephen Covey with his “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” [S.R. Covey 1992] contributed significantly to the theory and practice of personal development of people by describing how their habits evolve to greater level of effectiveness, given sufficient “internal drive” (reading the book and doing something about ones own personal development), or possibly some coaching. He defines habits as “… the intersection of knowledge, skill and desire” with knowledge as the “theoretical paradigm, the what to do and why.” “Skill is the how to do. And desire is the motivation, the want to do.” [S.R. Covey 1992, pp46-47] Habits become habits only if all three components are present. Covey describes seven habits, which once acquired, lead to greater personal effectiveness. He then ordered these habits in the way one builds on others. This way Covey defines three development stages an individual passes through as more and more of the seven habits are acquired. Note that whilst Covey views this mainly from the point of the individual, there is, of course, an impact of the development of new habits on the social environment in which the individual is embedded. But back to Covey’s model:

Transition Stages

Transition Stages

development starts at stage “A” (see figure labeled ‘Transition Stages’), the dependent stage. Dependent people focus their effort on the circle of concern. They focus on the problems and circumstances in their environment over which they do not have control. “The negative energy generated by that focus, combined with neglecting areas they can do something about, causes their circle of influence to shrink” [S.R. Covey 1992], their circle of influence being what they can, or could, do something about. Independent people focus their effort on the circle of influence (see Circle B in ‘Transition Stages’), they concentrate on those areas which they can do something about. You change from dependent to independent by acquiring new habits — essentially and new paradigm of thinking and behaving, a change from reactive to proactive. Its is easy to see who runs the world. But the model is not at an end. Trust, empathy, and transcendence are the drivers that make individuals enter relationships which may even take symbiotic forms. This final stage of development is called interdependent (see Circle C in ‘Transition Stages’). The transition to the third stage requires the insight that multiple dependence and independence relationships with others are necessary to achieve a common purpose. The discovery of mirror-neurons uncovered one facet through which nature reminds us of our connectedness.

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Comparing the 1st and the 2nd Renaissance

What have we learnt so far? The 1st Renaissance was, and the 2nd Renaissance will be, turbulent times, times of change. The 1st Renaissance transitioned from the Middle Ages to modern time. During the Middle Ages human fate was thought to be inextricably linked to suffering — with a focus on death and afterlife. The 1st Renaissance shifted the focus to life and human potential, changes can still be felt today. When we look at what is already unfolding at the beginning of the 2nd Renaissance, we see the potential for similar upheaval — the transition from the post-modern industrial society to the new connected society. Chris’ contribution is a plea to emphasize the human aspect in this apparently so technologically driven 2nd Renaissance. He describes transitions he observed from a personal vantage point. In the following contribution we will start to try to link the individual and the societal perspective.

The 1st Renaissance and the 2nd Renaissance both represent transitions that can only be categorized as major upheavals. Additionally we maintain that these transitions are linked to a higher common model of societal development. Once again, we will discover commonalities between the two Renaissances.

We will see that the model does not necessarily “by default” lead to a “perfect” and harmonious world. Again, we can use historical reflection what we need to pay attention to. We believe that there is significant potential to influence the shape of the new connected society. Can we find out what we have to tune?

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