PUSH 2007: SUPERPOWER
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Welcome to PUSH 2007: SuperPower! I’m thrilled by the program we have in store, thrilled that you’re here, and beyond bursting that it’s finally time for take off!
It’s going to be quite a ride that will at turns be delightful and disturbing, tender and challenging, inspiring, fun and very, very filling. What you discover along the way will be unique to each of you, though I’m confident that all will exit PUSH 2007 with renewed vision and purpose, and brimming with primed-for-action ideas and connections.
Before we launch, I invite you to get your bearings and review the events of the last year in terms of power. As you do, you’re sure to find its mark on every aspect of life, from the personal to the organizational, the communal to the global. Power is indeed here. There. Everywhere.
To be sure, power is an intrinsic part of the human experience, its presence universal and constant. Nothing about power is fixed, static or neutral, however. Rather power expands and contracts, slips and shape-shifts. It is this character that allows power to adapt so nimbly to the memes and modes of the moment, embedding itself in the changes that affect every level of society.
But what is power really? What are its sources? Where do we find it? And how do you discern whether you have power, or if power has you? Ask yourself, is there any exchange in which power isn’t present? Is it a necessary part of meaningful action? Is it good? Bad? Relative? Absolute?
While these more philosophical questions stew in the background, we’ll turn our attention to the functional aspects of power: the Whys, Wherefores, and Whences of global power plays. The rumblings of fear that are the backbeat of nearly every conversation about the future are significant; they reveal the dissonance between the changes people are seeing, and the reluctance they have to believing it . PUSH 2007: SuperPower will turn seeing into believing through an examination of how the essential sources of power – violence, resources, people and persuasion – are being recalibrated, causing the economic, demographic, political and ideological balance that defined the 20th century to come undone.
This recalibration will profoundly influence the kind of future we inhabit. Already we’re seeing terrific strain within the four constituent frames of power - Geopolitics, Energy, Demographics and Media – inching us closer to tipping points that, if pushed too far, could flip the seats of power altogether. How we play our hand over the next 10-15 years will determine who’s at the table, as well as who’s sitting or standing.
To connect those longer term potentials with what’s happening in your world you’ll need the mightiest tools of all: knowledge, vision, choice and action. These are the transforming agents that turn mortals into Superheroes in the quest to shape and claim the future. PUSH 2007: SuperPower will get there faster than a… well, you know the rest…
Up, up and away!
President, The Push Institute
As new battle lines are being drawn, economic and political alliances are shifting too. There are no safe assumptions here, and whatever the new game turns out to be, there are increasing numbers of players that want to make sure they come out on top. We’ll look at the pressures pulling at each of the heavyweights old and new, and where it’s all going to land 2, 5, 10, 25 years from now.
Depending on where you live in the world, population is either exploding or declining, women are either gaining status and power or devolving to a position as chattel, yet wherever you live, these forces are migrating around the globe, in both numbers and influence. What economic and political impact will these groups have over the next decades? How will they make the most of the power and resources they do have, and how might they surprise the world with new alliances and power plays no one will expect?
There’s a lot of talk and a lot of movement around the fact that fossil fuels, so inextricably related to economic growth and environmental emergencies, are facing critical limitations in access and production. What energy source will step up to take their place? How will new—and old—sources of energy re-shuffle our economic and environmental landscapes? And as oil white-knuckles its hold on the market, who will get caught in the cross fire?
While human nature may remain relatively constant over time, the tools and capacities that express who we are are undergoing continual and rapid change. Our newly wired, webbed, and wikied world has created an unprecedented ability to share resources, content, and thinking, placing it on a worldwide stage for all to see. More importantly, the capacity for any individual to create and disseminate content/product/service to a global market is a subversive force against standard business models and practices. What are the trends in media, cultural narratives and values that are shifting industries and society as a whole?