The edge is everywhere

The edge is here

I just finished reading John Hagel’s blog post, revolution from the edge, and though I’d comment a bit more about it here.

In his article, John discusses how people at the edge are self organizing through technology and common ground to make change possible. Clay Shirky also talks about this. It’s apparent now that citizens, where’d they’re on the edge or not, have a greater cognitive surplus now than in past times and can come together to solve these ‘wicked problems.’

John discusses how people in these environment, with wicked problems, need to be exposed to accelerated learning experiences to help them cope with those situations. I tend to disagree with this statement, as it forms part of a mindset which continues to see people with hold action because of their apparent need for structured learning.

This ‘edge’, which we all discuss, is everywhere around us. It’s pervasive, and pulses through each human on our planet. People resonate at different frequencies all the time, which allows them to cope with different levels of complexity. Within these environments, people learn from those people that are a ‘half step’ ahead of them. Perhaps they’re peers, perhaps teachers – what ever the case, these lessons about how to organisers and strive for change exists within all of us, at every point. Accelerated learning is happening all the time, and no program will be able to match what is now provided by the collective. Those operating at a higher level of consciousness, those a half step ahead, will always offer faster, greater learning than a structured environment can provide.

So, I ask some real edge questions. What does the world that you know look like without formal education? (What do children do between 5-18?) What about a world where government doesn’t exist? (What do we rally against then?) Or work is not defined by existing boundaries? (What is money?)

These questions are already being answered somewhere in the world right now, by people living those lives. It’s our job to find them, and connect them to a broader collective for their impact to spread. And these edge questions, though different, are alive within you right now. 

What are they?

3 thoughts on “The edge is everywhere”

  1. I think what you believe the edge is could be different to what John & I think. It’s not about people being one step ahead of us, as you can own a business that it miles ahead in the perceived normal business structures.

    The edge to me, is the edge of a particular market, sport, enterprise or type of music, those who are looking at doing something different to the norm, those that are willing and focused to be the best at what they do. Music is a fine example where those on the commercial edges, those who are willing to experiment with their sound, who are willing to follow there passion in a determined effort to do something a bit differently but may not be rewarded in the commercial sense. These people are usually pioneers in new genres, or wave of sound that eventually takes on in the mainstream.

    As for the learning, the information age means we do not need to learn in a structured way, we instead learn from accessing whatever and whoever we need when we need it. Most of us know that we do not really use any of the structured learning acquired in our formative years during the course of our lifetime but, as I can type a few keys, I have access to more information than human kind has ever known, without the need to wait for the book.

    Learning does not have to be in one hit, it happens as those on their journey find out what they need. Learning about Social Innovation is a fine example of that. I had no idea about it at the start but, as time has gone on, and I have used the Internet to access I have learnt an unimaginable amount, & I still continue to do so on our daily basis. I don’t need to go to school for that!

    Give me the edge any day!

  2. I think what you believe the edge is could be different to what John & I think. It’s not about people being one step ahead of us, as you can own a business that it miles ahead in the perceived normal business structures.

    The edge to me, is the edge of a particular market, sport, enterprise or type of music, those who are looking at doing something different to the norm, those that are willing and focused to be the best at what they do. Music is a fine example where those on the commercial edges, those who are willing to experiment with their sound, who are willing to follow there passion in a determined effort to do something a bit differently but may not be rewarded in the commercial sense. These people are usually pioneers in new genres, or wave of sound that eventually takes on in the mainstream.

    As for the learning, the information age means we do not need to learn in a structured way, we instead learn from accessing whatever and whoever we need when we need it. Most of us know that we do not really use any of the structured learning acquired in our formative years during the course of our lifetime but, as I can type a few keys, I have access to more information than human kind has ever known, without the need to wait for the book.

    Learning does not have to be in one hit, it happens as those on their journey find out what they need. Learning about Social Innovation is a fine example of that. I had no idea about it at the start but, as time has gone on, and I have used the Internet to access I have learnt an unimaginable amount, & I still continue to do so on our daily basis. I don’t need to go to school for that!

    Give me the edge any day!

    1. Hi Michelle,

      I can’t help but feel like we agree on much of this. I too state in the post that I think structured learning, whilst it has it’s place, is probably not as efficient as peer-to-peer learning. We are all learning on the run, now.

      As far as ‘the edge’ goes – I think it just depends on how you define innovation. People who operate on the edge are probably not doing so to label themselves innovative. They’re doing it because, by definition, it works better for them to do it that way. I define innovation as doing something new because it’s the most functional option, not just because it’s new.

      Often, these people who tend to do this _are_ a half-step ahead. They have seen something more functional than others, and so begin adopting that new practice because of that. It’s not something I see as ego-centric but more a realistic take on the situation.

      There are people in the world right now that are experiencing different environments where survival is not guaranteed. They are dealing with, at times, levels of complexity that I’ve not been exposed to. They _are_ a half step ahead of me in understanding how to cope in these places. Likewise, I might have some better understanding of how to help people struggling with the utilisation of technology, because we’ve been using it for years.

      It’s a big planet, and there are multitude of ‘edges.’ It’s my belief that everyone is experiencing this in some way. We’re all facing some form of existential threat which causes us to find more functional and useful ways of operating, personally, globally and across industries.

      Thanks for the comment🙂

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