Ideas as global currency

We live in troubled times, but then haven’t we always? This time around it is fears of  a global meltdown of the banking system, whole countries going bankrupt and the abject failure of capitalism. At times like these it is difficult to be optimistic about the future and even more difficult to know where to invest your hard earned cash to keep you in your old age. But what if financial investments are not the only way of investing in our futures? As Ralph Ardill has said:

“The future will fascinate. A place where experience becomes more important than information, truth more important than technology, and ideas the only global currency.”

If ideas are the “only global currency” then we should be finding ways of creating ideas for our, and the worlds, future rather than relying on traditional ways of investing. As a recent post on this blog has suggested, we often get bogged down in day to day trivia, thinking we are doing work when actually all we are doing is oiling the machine. Seth Godin goes as far as saying we should all be obliged to carve out some time in our days for the big work. Doing the big work does not have to be done during the traditional 9 to 5 working day of course. Big work can be done at all times and in unexpected places (walking the dog, cooking a meal or even while you’re asleep) and is really about freeing your inner Genie. Doing big work is also about making use of the cognitive surplus most of us now enjoy. In his book of the same name Clay Shirky does a back of the envelope calculation that estimates the entire content of Wikipedia has taken 100 million hours of human effort to create. This sounds like a lot until you realise Americans watch two hundred billion hours of television every year. In other words the entire content of Wikipedia could be created two thousand times per year in the time (just) Americans spend watching TV. Even just watching one hour of TV less per week would free up almost a whole working day which could be used for creative rather than consumptive activities to make better use of that cognitive surplus. During this time you could even start creating something for your future ideas investment pot.

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