Society 4.0

Looking at the difficulty of the challenges that confront us, it is easy to go into denial or to become frustrated or cynical. In our current research project on “Transformation of Capitalism” we pose the question: How can we create an economy that generates wellbeing for all?
Here are four starting points for addressing this challenge:

  1. Shifting the structure of awareness. The need to shift from ego-system to eco-system awareness requires a new social leadership technology that cultivates the inner place from which we operate-the open mind, the open heart, and the open will-in order to tune in to the emerging future. We call this the practice of presencing.
  2. Shifting the structure of institutions. We must change how our institutions operate. The current vertical silo-like structure must be reshaped and rewired to work in more distributed, dialogic, and co-creative ways across institutional and sectoral boundaries.
  3. Shifting the flow of capital.  The third shift requires a redirection of capital flows from those areas where we have too much (the Wall Street casino) to those areas in society where we have too little. In particular, we refer to areas that regenerate the collective sources of our creativity and well-being, and that produce positive externalities that benefit society as a whole.  In other words: we have to reintegrate the cycle of capital formation that begins with natural, and cultural commons, continues with entrepreneurial initiative and results in added value and financial capital. That cycle of capital generation is broken at the final stage: that is, the wealthiest among us do not return or recycle financial capital in order to produce well-being in the form of our natural, social, and cultural commons. A few laudable exceptions to this generalization, including Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, confirm the rule.
  4. Shifting the heart to catalyze a global movement. And last, we need a vibrant, global community of pioneers to prototype and scale the shift to 4.0 across all sectors, systems, and cultures. A multi-local and global community of creation needs to be connected and supported through a web of power places that function as hubs or planetary acupuncture points for cultivating the inner conditions that will facilitate this civilizational shift.  These hubs will be co-shaped and animated by entrepreneurs whose ideas will empower the next generation of young workers as vital co-entrepreneurs in this planetary movement.

Otto’s new book, co-authored with Katrin Kaeufer, explores this shift.