TrendWatch: Seismic Shift

February 9, 2009sparxoo_admin

2_seismic-shift__pic_header.pngShift from the few to the many

By Ethan Lyon, Senior Writer

Definition
The rapid movement away from the status quo was officially ushered-in by Obama’s promise of change. We are exiting a world in which over 70% of wealth is concentrated in 10% of people, according to the Federal Reserve Board, and established corporations are faltering.  There is a seismic shift of power from the chosen few that gives new opportunity to the many.

Spin
Underdog—Bigger isn’t always better. The larger they are, the harder they fall. As a result companies are growing exponentially, almost completely unfettered, created instability—enabling the emerging underdog. Nowadays, the underdog can be king. The power comes from below, not from above.
Creative Collaboration—Yes, we’re all in it together. Hard times call for creative solutions. We need to bind together to survive. Pay cuts, reduced hours and benefits are ways some employees are escaping the chopping block. Cutting 12,000 jobs doesn’t look good in headlines. Creative collaboration is a way to find alternatives to the deep job cuts or bankruptcy.

Examples
Digg—The media underdog of the digital world came from a little-known tech guy named Kevin Rose. Aggregating information from the far corners of the web was a long shot. However, Kevin Rose was able to tap into his geeky self to relate to his users and just as Bill Gates gave hope to the first generation of computer nerds, Kevin Rose gave it to a more empowered second generation. The authorities are shifting and the big “Wall Street Journals” and “New York Times” are no longer the default source.
Barack Obama—Running on the ticket of hope, Obama tapped into an undercurrent in America that was sick and tired of the same-ol’ same-ol’. Bob Dylan said it best with his song, “The Times are a’Changin’.” The song that ignited a generation to question the status quo in the 1960s is just as relevant today as when it was first sung. Sick and tired of  “politics as usual,” Obama symbolizes a profound change in the American psyche that can no longer handle another “traditional”, “same-old”  president.
Brandeis University—By taking a one percent pay decrease, one third of Brandeis University’s professors saved a couple of their own from getting the ax. Brandeis, though not everyone was on board, exemplifies a new direction towards creative collaboration.
Crowdsourcing—The idea of harnessing the power of the masses versus the power of the few drives collaboration and engenders a sense of collective thought. Wikipedia, MySpace, Craigslist, YouTube, Google, the largest Internet companies do not generate content in and of themselves; they simply act as a catalyst for users to find one another, build relationships, to share a part of their individuality.
Wordia—Dictionary: dic?tion?ar?y [dik-shuh-ner-ee] 1. a book containing a selection of the words of a language, usually arranged alphabetically, giving information about their meanings, pronunciations, etymologies, and… boring. Wordia takes a different approach. The Wordia website utilizes multi-media elements in their dictionary. Users can add videos and comments to favorite and despised words. Wordia signals a shift from the few to the many; from scholars to vloggers.

Key Words
Change, Experimenting, Underdog, Restructuring

Download the full 2009 Trend Report in PDF format