Michael Perman

Gap, Inc - Dean of Mindspark


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What are the most important cultural trends influencing our future behavior

Cultural trends such as sustainability, social networking or value-adjusting impact our behavior and attitudes. If we catch them early we can adjust the messages, offerings and services provided that are useful to society. What are the emerging trends that will lead to sea-changes?

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    Jul 16 2011: Social networking has created an overwhelming sense of disconnection. This seems contrary to general opinion however the shift in understanding of what community is has become a statistical display of followers, likes or other metrics rather than based on a relational commitment to a core group. This distancing of relationships is dangerous as it removes our capacity to connect in real ways with real people. Try having a 30 minute conversation with a teenager and you will see what I mean.
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      Jul 16 2011: I agree with you that there is a disconnect when it comes to Social networking and Humanity as it works now. My brother is a teenager that is on facebook and stuff like that all the time. When I was a kid I had a little black and white TV in my room, not an XBOX 360, laptop with internet, phone, and flatscreen TV in my room like he does. I agree with the disconnect, but that is only because I think that we are going about it all wrong. I do not think that the issue is in what Social Networking and Globalization CAN do for us if used correctly (TED being a great example), I think the issue lies in its present usage, with things like Facebook, Twitter, and those kind of sites that can, and have been hijacked for usage that is ridiculous. The problem lies in things like Crackberrys, and Apps for Iphones like Angry Chicken, and other ridiculous money making, time consuming memes. If it was used correctly, to network hospitals from India to Great Britian so the best care could be provided world wide, than a Social Network would have to be used, and would have a greater sense of connectivity, than disconnect purely due to the fact that it was helping people.
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      Jul 20 2011: without having gone through the psychological "check" of social networkings impact on disconnection, i believe Dan is spot on. There is a TED talk http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html where Brene Brown is highlighting (as one aspect of the talk) that connection is everything we long for and we need to survive. When it comes to the why? of the "improper" usage of the social networking I believe it just shows a very common human behaviour that is one underlying source for the "wrong direction" societies (which are big groups/organisations in the end) take since years...people usually go for the "easy cure"...that is alcohol, money, sex, power...you name it...so social networking is "convenient"...you can "believe" to have friends...you can "believe" that people care about you...etc etc....the even bigger emptiness that will result out of this behaviour ist the cost society has to bear...
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        Jul 20 2011: Perhaps social networking is convenient as it can help more people to get closer and more connected also in many positive ways.

        In the digital world, it seems that the principle of true love, true happiness and true friendship still applies and when we miss the mark of these principles, it may not necessarily mean that the means (social networks) is the problem. http://Bit.Ly/KeyPower
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          Jul 20 2011: that might be true, but still people that miss the mark get illusioned by the social networks...etc etc...and ur right social networks are not the problem...
    • Jul 20 2011: Dan
      I agree with the general thought you give. What we need to see is that in a past society where individualism ruled, the social networking phenom is a symptom of something more. Want a real social trend? The realization that everything is finally connected in interlaced webs, everything. Once that realization starts to hit home, cultural change (not the symptom Facebook) will really take place.
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    Jul 20 2011: cross cultural transaction among nations belonging to different cultural back grounds is one of the fundamental and important factor which effects our behaviour with the others.
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      Jul 20 2011: thats why TED is a great tool to bring all "positive elites" (thats my "tag" to call the people that are able and want to take responsibility for themselves and for the planet( be it nature, humans etc.)) together and make them strong...strong people even if they are outnumbered by hundreds can achieve a lot...and thats one aspect that TED is giving to the participants...
    • Jul 20 2011: Yes, Ahmad, the cross-cultural awareness and the realization of cross cultural fertilization is the real trend. I am not talking about a "one culture world", but rather an interlaced cultural world. The realization of true cross-cultural pluralism will change how we see things.

      We have to move from pluralism of belief ( a rationalist perspective), to a pluralism of being.
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    Jul 17 2011: The growing awareness to the underlying unity of our faiths and convictions and more ignited hearts and minds to transform our world like what we are doing here at TED, as others have noted here.

    The challenge is to let more people join many of our fellow earth citizens who are now actively advancing the right ideas and are also contributing in transforming our world.

    Transforming our world into an equitable and earth-sustainable global home. This signature will get more printed in every aspect of our lives as we continue to expound it also by the power of our technologies.
  • Jul 16 2011: The nature of corporations is bound to have a profound effect on the continuing development of our global culture, though it may not (at this point) be the healthiest influence.
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      Jul 17 2011: Similar to Matt Lane's comment; the corporation and institution are developing outside of societal control. The cultural trend of blindly trusting corporations - especially when fronted by a nice ad campaign (viral or traditional) is leading many people to decisions, based not on developing their independence or standard of life, but rather on feeding the corporation.

      I am fascinated to see what impact the handing over of further social powers to corporations (not having to answer to the whole of society) is going to have globally? We currently have a situation where very smart organisations are improving the image of tobacco among young east africans to increase consumption - having funded programmes for their govts., where corporations in US are free to undermine the ability of families to live in a home they own and stay there even during difficult times in their personal finance. We have govts across Europe being blinded by corporate promises and led to ignore the needs and expectations of their citizens in favour of financial organisations.

      The list is scarily huge & impressively divisive - I've just highlighted a couple of broad problematic areas. Sadly as ever, the majority are absolutely happy to remain ignorant to the effort they might have to make to enjoy a better balance of corporate and social life. Sadly mass media, as well as political and religious, message stays resolutely pro-corporations, encouraging individuals to invest more and more of themselves in improving the living standards of a few corporate leaders / owners... Even at a high personal cost to their own personal freedoms and standard of living.

      In the future, as we do with dustbowl mentality of the 20's, commentators will ask 'how were people so eager to give so much up to the corporations?' or 'why was their no questioning of Wal-Mart, Google or Citi's collection of personal data, mis-use of funds, etc...'. Because no one today has time to investigate - there's too much junk on TV.
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        Jul 20 2011: specifically, which religious organizations and what messages are they sending to help promote corporate interests. I am of aware of the protestant ethic, but i was just curious to see if you could expand on that comment more specifically?

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    Joy Wei

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    Jul 10 2011: I think the internet culture will have a great influence on the next generation's behavior. As more and more people start to contact the internet at an early age, the super power of internet and its negative impact is increasing. No one can avoid that..
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    Jul 9 2011: Global connectivity ending up into a better mixture of mutiple cultures........

    More aware people about their impact on environment and society because of current thoughtless hyper consumption can bring a new trend of consumption, so increasingly people will look for more sustainable products........... hopefully
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      Jul 9 2011: I think you are correct and I believe more people will consume content and ideas more than material possessions in an environment of scarcity
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      Jul 16 2011: Salim, I think you have something in this post. To add to it, though, I think that more strongly aligned communities are arising based on interests rather than proximity. People of like mind who would never meet one another in real life have a chance to realize how much alike they really are. As evidence, I offer the fact that you and I, one from India and the other from Canada find ourselves in agreement much of the time. I often look for your posts and read your thoughts because I find them interesting and insightful. This is to me an new form of community that has never existed before.
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        Jul 16 2011: Absolutely right you are Debra.I also feel something else. Told you as some days I wasn't coming across your post , was thinking to email you.

        When Jaime left TED for sometime felt bad and what a collaborative gesture you offered !!

        Now a days as I don't see Tim Colgan feeling what happened to him , how can I connect with him?Richard Dawson , when comes up with his post of sharp logic with all his passion , I feel very good as if met him in pub or cafe

        Lindsay with her all empathy for third world countries, rebounds to some silly attitude , I feel she is my comrade in my fight against injustice....

        To mention few only ..... so somthing more deep is going on with this connectivity.
        I want to be very much to the point to my earlier post , so wanted to be just crsip

        Reallly pleased to hear that you read my post with interst !! Rememeber at the very begining we had a slight disagreement on some points :)

        Well you are supposed break out something about me as you told in one of Lindsays thread , where is that bomb now ?

        Small correction I am from Bangladesh (though right now outside my sweet home , due to professional reason).
  • Jul 9 2011: Business & Social Entreprneurhsip
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    Jul 9 2011: Most cultural trends are for the benefit of institutions. Be careful because at the same time that you define yourself in one of these groups you also subvert yourself.
    First we must create (or bring back) conditions of actual liberty. That is what I would like to see.
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      Jul 9 2011: I love this perspective because I am indeed part of an institution and can empathize with what you say. However, I do like to understand where humanity is moving - and think creatively about how to address the conditions that exist
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        Jul 9 2011: I am glad our internal dictionaries matched. :-)
        That is a rare thing. In fact, to make ourselves clear and to then understand others, not the way we wish to understand them, but the way that they wish to be understood is certainly a great way to first address any problem, I would think.

        Karl Popper once said, "It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood."

        I agree.
        Understanding what people mean by what words they use is a feat in and of itself and should be celebrated if achieved.
        Getting around all of the intellectual distortion is key.

        I think we have two generalized paths.
        We either become the care takers of the planet; where the first world comes to terms with the third world, where straights comes to terms with gays, and so on and so forth.
        Or, we shed the earth like skin The earth ends up being something like a placenta and we become technological primates on the verge for the grand discovery of space, leaving the mother womb a weedy lot.
        I think each one of us can explain all of us to some extent. I have a non-linear way of examining humanity. I take more of a fractal point of view. That each atom is a subset of the whole and thus contains the story — as all is seamlessly interwoven.
        I do not know if this helps at all, probably not. For that, I am sorry... ;-(
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    Jul 9 2011: Music. Modern poets and philosophers. (Not the chart-based rubbish)
  • Jul 21 2011: I think alot of good points have been brought up...

    One, which has to do with our children, is the propogating of the idea of love. We fill children's mind's with love stories and such, and I think that's why we have so many 12 year olds thinking "I'm SOOO IN LUV OMG I"LL KILL MYSELF IF HE LEAFS ME!!111"
  • Jul 20 2011: in the USA, the values presented by the media, not only in entertainment, but also in reality shows, newscasts, etc. i include video games, multi-player, all sorts of these, music, movies, and entertainements and pages on the web, advertising. these currently insidiously, by connotation and inference (and occasionally clearly) promote a set of attitudes about education and learning, ethics and success, "spinning" information, cultureal differences (on "racial", national, religious, economic, sex&gender, other ethnic groups) stereotypes, these have, i believe, a greater infludnce on most americans than their peers, their community and national leaders, their teachers and people at their jobs, and often, greater than their families, in terms of values, ethics, morals, beliefs, ideas, and outlook on the world, other people, issues, expectations, goals.....
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    Jul 18 2011: Modern cognitive science and facebook....
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    Jul 16 2011: If we look at the Internet as a "Big Human Brain", than I think that Globalization and Social Networking will have a profound effect on the "Human Brain." With its over 7 Billion individual human neurons interacting over new and exciting pathways, creating new ideas and ideals for that Brain to remember and learn from, we are now learning at an astonishing rate. I can find out, in Canada about an earthquake in Chile, 5 minutes after it happens, and if I have any friends or relatives there, I can call them, and video chat with them, to physically see if they are ok. If we look at our species as being at the very least, 100,000 years old, than over the past 20 years, we have made greater strides to further the species as a whole that we have in the past Century. Sure we are also growing exponentially, but that is also because of our connectivity and Globalization.

    Some say that Globalization will kill off cultures and destroy civilizations, but it was said by Nietzsche that all creators must also be annihilators. We are creating a new global culture, one that can incororate the best of all exisitng cultures. Globalization is where it's at, even if we are going about it wrong as it stand now.

    "A thousand goals have there been so far, for there have been a thousand peoples. Only the yoke for the thousand necks is still lacking; the one goal is lacking, Humanity still has no goal. But tell me, my brothers, if humanity still lacks a goal - is humanity itself not still lacking"
    Friedrich Nietzsche - Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
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    Jul 16 2011: I think the idea of 3D printers will change our world and how business is conducted. For a vibrant example see the TED talk where they are using 3D printers to produce human kidneys! Tomorrow it will be kidneys and the week after that we may be downloading the pattern and prinitng out our next pair of Levi's. It is simply a matter of figuring out how to develop a mulitpotential printing material.

    Hey Michael, No one follows the trends of life like Levi's does! I had to do a paper on Levi's for an MBA that I completed not long ago and I put together so much information on Levi's that I didn't want to see it go to waste so I started a blog and just kept adding information tracking Levi's and its way of marketing. Take a look: