Nature is the ultimate sustainable system because at its very essence, it is dynamic. Every species of plant or animal finds its way to survive in cooperation with or in competition with everything else. Every species must adapt to survive continuously. This is how the world works.
Our economy is the same whether we realize it or not. Every company is in this system. The laws of the marketplace are completely dynamic and Darwinistic. Just as people crave stability and consistency to understand the world, companies do as well. A business is built with a model that fits a view of the world and works for awhile, then some aspect of their environment shifts. Whether it is a declining customer demand, diminished supply of raw materials, challenging labor availability, fluctuating government policy, increasing environment issues, or other pressures, business must adapt, change course or die. Sadly, very few businesses can make the shift and survive. (For a really deep understanding, try reading the Origin of Wealth by Eric Beinhocker. He discusses classic economic theory and suggests modeling economies based primarily on biological evolutionary patterns.)
Welcome to our new Economy.
Unemployment is at an all time high. The job pool is shifting drastically. People are not equipped or trained for this shift. Even in Silicon Valley, the techies can’t find jobs. The social media savvy technical young generation of engineers and marketers are doing ok, but their 40 year old and above counterparts in the Semiconductor, Fiber Optic, and Communications industries are struggling. It’s like we’re back in the 90’s: Trained professionals cannot find work, and the tech world has passed them by. They must reinvent and market themselves intentionally or perish.
The Valley represents the essence of creative destruction. What worked before is over, and it’s time to move on to the new. The old way is as commoditized as the workforce that built it.
To make it in today’s workforce, we must think of ourselves as a product that needs to be marketed and sold into the marketplace (i.e. the competitive workforce). We need to retool and continually adapt to remain current. We need to position ourselves with intention and strategy to be relevant, authentic, and branded to our target audience. In order to remain competitive, we must make sure we are poised and ready adapt to the next shift because it is coming whether we like it or not.
I know this sounds harsh, and it is. This global marketplace is not what many of us envisioned. Change is faster than ever. The fluidness of information, creativity and capital are speeding up the system, and there is no turning back. The path we are on is here to stay. It is nature. It is Darwin. It is life as we know it and will know it into the future.