By Alexander Manu

"There's really no such thing as 'thinking outside the box.' But we can select a different box to think in. Your box is your business model, your world-view, your paradigm. It is the framework of the metaphor that you use to make sense of the world around you." -- Roy Williams


Every day we are surrounded by information that may reveal a new signal, a new speck on the horizon. We need to open our eyes not in order to see the words that we read in newspaper headlines but to the possibility they sometimes represent. I once read that every second of every day, two Barbies are sold somewhere in the world.

Is there a new possibility in this, any opportunity? How long before the Barbie population overtakes the population of the planet? A conservative calculation will show that by 2050 there will be more Barbie dolls on the planet than people. That seems significant on various levels. Mattel is the fourth largest textile manufacturer in the United States all from making dresses for Barbie. But how about the 2050 ranking in the same category? Calculate how many Barbies have sold since you started reading this book and you will be training your mind to seek new opportunities. Imagine you are a communications company and you want to create the most powerful antenna on the planet. Could you use the Barbie Grid to do this? Could a Databarbie vest incorporate a receiver/transmitter that allows for the creation of the largest ad-hoc network ever devised?


After being rejected by ABC, NBC, CBS and UPN, Mark Burnett gets another chance with CBS and the first episode of "Survivor Borneo" airs on May 31, 2000. Together with ABC's "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," the show starts the reality-television revolution, a genre that - according to Nielsen Media Research now accounts for 56% of all TV shows on American television screens. This revolution was, truly, televised.

The revolution is about humans in tribes, stranded in a remote location, competing against each other for survival. Survival means endurance, the ability to solve problems, teamwork, personal dexterity and will. Survival means being seen strong and essential to the actions of the tribe itself in an atmosphere of continual challenge and reward. The rewards: spices, flint or fire, warm blankets. Nothing a city dweller will sacrifice any effort for, but all that mattered for a Robinson Crusoe or for our ancestors - not too far back in the past. So we are back at the present being in our past, but actualized by new technology. We can now see how we were, how we could be in that situation of despair. It speaks to us, it emerges in us our past as tribal beings, as a tribal council that has the power to extinguish one human's torch. And we do it, by voting in secret and with pleasure. And we watch it, with pleasure. "The tribe has spoken." This is the choreography of latent behaviour: it emerges slowly, painfully and through all the trials that we, as spectators, feel we are put through. Our most primeval emotions are in play here, as well as our need to be part of one or another tribe. We would know what to do, if only placed there, now. But we are not, so we have to live with engaging ourselves intellectually rather than physically. Is this intellectual engagement as powerful, and as compelling, as the actual physical engagement in the affairs of the tribe? Remember, 56% of all TV shows on American television screens are reality shows.

We are tribe members, apprentices, bachelors and bachelorettes, contenders, the next top model, and American idols once we have allowed our latent behaviour to emerge.

There are any number of inventions, disruptions and signals in plain sight right now, which are real and which will influence, your future, my future and everybody's future.

In a 1965 interview with The New York Times, John Diebold, the pioneer of automated technology applications is quoted as saying: "Today's machines, even more than the devices of the Industrial Revolution, are creating a whole new environment for mankind and a whole new way of life. Today's machines deal with the very core of human society - with information and its communication and use. Top management must make it their business to see the opportunities inherent in changes in the social environment and technology".

What is missing in corporate culture for the moment of clarity to take place, the moment in which the company that is involved in music understands what people really want to listen to and how they want to do it? When Salomon is inventing Snowboarding, and Microsoft rolls out Skype?

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