Why the Future is Collective

Image: © Greenpeace

The bees have
left the hive

Just in case you’ve been sleepworking through the last decade, there’s a rather large elephant rampaging through our creative industries. An entire generation has set itself freelance, driven by a curious mixture of pragmatism and romanticism. From one angle it’s a swashbuckling escape; emancipation from a derelict playground, monopolised by pigs and fools. Jading and jurassic structures can no longer cage the bright and the brave. So they feel for the door, glance back and step out. Like Jim Carey at the end of the Truman Show.

Image: © Jim Marshall

Romanticism aside, the practical reasons are even simpler. More flexibility, more variety and healthier alignment of personal and professional self. Skim any report on the future of the planet’s workforce and you’ll see this trend ballooning steadily, with co-working spaces even evolving into co-living experiments. The bees have left the hive and no number of office helter skelters, free lunches or infinite holiday packages will bring them back inside. So where to?

Image © Jay Blakesberg

Into the free wild. Where bees befriend jellyfish and caterpillars talk to capybara. Here mutual fascination flies in all directions, creating a shower of meaningful exchange, support, entrepreneurship, idealism and healthy debate. Sure, independence isn’t always peachy, and can have its tougher moments. But the cure is comradeship. Learning, teaching, playing and working together. All the creatures of the world, solving all the problems of the world. Quickly, cleverly, happily. Without a pig or a fool in sight.

Into the wild. Where bees
befriend jellyfish and caterpillars
talk to capybara.

Take a look at music (Onyx, People) architecture (Assemble), design (Lovers), fashion (Congregation), or any other corner of the creative industries and you will find new models and methods of collaboration being explored. They share the magic atmosphere of people ploughing collective energy into things they want to succeed, rather than drift along in a numb current of obligation. Collective Creative Power. There’s no one manual for it, but choreographic persistence will unlock it.

Collectivism’s rise isn’t restricted to the creative workplace either. Its helping young people to stand up globally in the face of environmental negligence. It’s the wind in the sails of social justice, insisting on greater equality in our societies. As we evacuate our ‘too big to fail’ structures we must work together to design new alliances and systems that work – and will continue to work – in the future. Encouragingly, all of our greatest movements emerged this way.

Image © Black Mountain College

We can all feel the world spinning faster beneath our feet. But rigidity will not save us. Its our agility to run in new directions, scatter and re-flock, to find creative solutions to problems that we once faced alone, but which increasingly threaten us collectively. Nothing is more powerful than an engaged, harmonised group of imaginative people on a mission. That’s why the next chapter is going to be very exciting. Let’s re-maximise our potential. It’s time for the Collective Age. ●