The First Renaissance — 4: Initial Summary of Drivers Identified

The previous three post about the Renaissance gave some examplary evidence about epochal changes. In this first wrap-up about the First Renaissance in the following table we offer a condensed look at some of the technological and social drivers of the first Renaissance.

Technology Drivers
Natural painting & drawings Advanced drawing techniques like 3D perspective, enabling model building for complex objects, light, shade, empathic humans, correct anatomy of humans and creatures allowed masterpieces in visual communication. Literacy was restricted mainly to the upper class and clerus, which meant that the word of mouth and visual communication were the communication mechanism for the general public.
Communication & Broadcast Affordable Paper and pencil enabled upper and middle class people to document ideas, plans, or maps through drawing or writing. Communication at a distance became more affordable. The printing press reduced the cost of multiple copies drastically. Broadcasting (leaflets) became easier and also the number of books rose steeply. See also in the Renaissance section of the glossary.
Observation of nature Analysis of objects, especially also animate ones: their movement and relation in nature using the new drawing skills;  encyclopedias, scientific observation applied to create new technical reality and application areas: optics, architecture, anatomy, navigation, mapping
Mechanical engineering Advances in science were put in practice, e.g. in building improved ships that reached the Americas and the far east, faster, bigger and lighter builds enhancing trade. Sophisticated construction techniques were reused due to the written plans and teaching of apprentice.
Social Drivers 
New class The raise of a financially independent middle class and increased specialization, refining the professions of bankers, merchant, architects, physician, and engineers. The emancipation of “artis mechanica” to what we call them today “fine artist.”
Trading & Finance Bankers and merchant invented new finance systems that became an enabler for almost all other businesses.  Before the upper class used it mostly to collect concession tax. Northern Italy and in particular Florence achieved significant financial and political autonomy from the feudal class at that time [Lachmann 2002].
Urban Autonomy The Italian city states evolved as the early laboratories for modern political and economical life ruled by powerful merchant families like the Medicis.
Thought paradigm “The Renaissance marks the rise of the individual, the awakening of a desire for beauty, a triumphal procession of joyful life, the intellectual conquest of physical realities, a renewal of the pagan pursuit of happiness, a dawning of consciousness of the relationship of the individual to the natural world around him.” [Huizinga 1920].

These drivers and the underlying patterns will be compared with the drivers of the Internet of Things & Services in later posts. We encourage you, to ask, to contribute, to extend, and to refine these with your comments here.

In our next blog article we shall ask the question if the traditional business world and the world of the internet are on a collision course.

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