The Pace of Change
In 1970 an individual named Alvin Toffler wrote an incredible book called Future Shock. In this book Alvin described an interesting concept that, at the time, didn't seem so relevant but in our world today has become the new normal, especially since the pandemic: the pace of change.
“Change is not merely necessary to life - it is life.”
- Alvin Toffler
You see, we often look at technology adoption in terms of products and their functionality but, as Alvin observed, maybe the most important aspect we can see happening isn't necessarily the technologies that surround us but the pace of change they accelerate.
Alvin’s vision of the future could not have been more prescient and we have seen it unfold before our eyes over the last few decades thanks, in large part, to Moore’s Law and the proliferation of more and more microprocessors (and everything that runs on top of them). This compounding effect has been further accelerated since the pandemic and, in my humble opinion, will only continue to pick up speed as the years go on.
A recent book by acclaimed futurist Ray Kurzweil gives an update on Alvin’s original thesis and provides an even more spectacular look at just how fast we can expect progress to continue to move forward:
“My models show that we are doubling the paradigm-shift rate every decade.”
- Ray Kurzweil
So what does this statement actually mean? Well, there’s a very good article that explains the concept in more detail. Here’s a visual from that article for you:
Kurzweil stated it like this:
“We won’t experience one hundred years of technological advance in the twenty-first century; we will witness on the order of twenty thousand years of progress (again, when measured by today’s rate of progress), or about one thousand times greater than what was achieved in the twentieth century.”
- Ray Kurzweil
Think about these statements. They blow my mind every time I revisit them.
Since the start of the pandemic we have seen our society and culture change in significant ways and, I think, many have hoped that we would at some point “get back to normal” (whatever that may mean.) I think based on the evidence we can expect that this strange new normal we are in will not only continue but pick up speed.
“Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.”
So what does all of this have to do with The Bonney Lake Food Bank?
I believe the experience of the last two plus years in my role has shown me firsthand that the pace of change is increasing and that has real impacts to our community. There are new and exciting opportunities to leverage technology and innovate along with perils and headwinds that have been created or exacerbated by the perpetual shift.
The types of systems and methods that we employ today for the food bank would have only been accessible for much larger organizations just 5-10 years ago and now we are operating with them at scale to great success. These systems have gone a long way to helping us increase equitable access, build community partners all while preserving the dignity of our clients.
Along with an increase in access to innovative approaches to systems and supporting infrastructure (the positive impacts of this pace of change) we are seeing the gaps grow more and more in our society where many are not equipped or able to keep up (individuals and organizations alike) and it has been very challenging for many to adapt in this strange new normal.
As an organization we will continue to look forward and embrace the change that is upon us (and has been for some time, honestly). We live in a time of great opportunity but also great challenge and I firmly believe our future and ability to sustain for the good of this community will depend on both new and innovative ideas along with our continuing commitment to community partnerships.
Thanks to each of you that support the mission. I take very seriously your investment in us and continue to be humbled by the generosity and kindness shown each and every day.