In his book,  A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, author Daniel Pink describes the change we now experiencing in work and education, as we shift from information-shuffling to creativity.

“We progressed from a society of farmers to a society of factory workers to a society of knowledge workers,” Pink writes. “And now we’re progressing yet again – to a society of creators and empathizers, of pattern recognizers and meaning makers.”

In this new economy, manual labor and knowledge work become so mechanized that they don’t require much human input. And, suddenly and unexpectedly, the most profitable products and services are not high tech but what he calls “high concept” and “high touch.”

  • High concept involves the ability to create artistic and emotional beauty, to detect patterns and opportunities, to craft a satisfying narrative, and to combine seemingly unrelated ideas into a novel invention.
  • High touch involves the ability to empathize, to understand the subtleties of human interaction, to find joy in one’s self and to elicit it in others, and to stretch beyond the quotidian, in pursuit of purpose and meaning.’

In other words, developing your artistic, imaginative, unorthodox side is the most profitable thing you can do in this economy.

Pink describes six “senses” that are becoming particularly valuable. He doesn’t mean senses like sight or hearing, but “sense” as in “sense of humor.”

To be a high earner in the new economy will require a sense of design, story, symphony (the ability to co-ordinate disparate things into meaningful patterns), empathy, play and meaning. This economic transition isn’t complete, but it’s already underway.

If you don’t believe so, read his book. (Or, more manageably, tomorrow’s post here). You’ll see that the evidence is more than convincing, it’s startling.

Once you believe that’s the way we’re going, the next step is to ask: how can you surf that rising wave?

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