Engelbart's Law 0

Before there was a Moore's Law, Doug Engelbart predicted the following – call it Engelbart's Law:

  1. digital technology would become increasingly miniaturized and affordable (he actually did the math),

  2. therefor its injection into all aspects of business and society would be inevitable, progressing at an accelerating rate and scale,

  3. therefor we should expect a much greater impact than the inception of language, writing, and printing press combined, in a massively compressed timeframe, on a global scale;

  4. thus, the challenges we face will become increasingly more complex and urgent, increasingly interdependent, on a global scale; our organizations have little chance of keeping abreast, our ability to cope and shape our collective future lagging behind, we should expect an accelerating risk of negative disruption;

  5. whereas historically innovations had a gradual impact on our institutions, organizations, and societies, allowing a co-evolution over time; now with the explosion of digital technology largely unchecked, the organizations on which we depend have little chance of evolving with appropriate safeguards;

  6. so the question becomes: What will it take for our organizations to be up to the task of adequately addressing whatever comes their way, managing risk and opportunities, while getting that co-evolution process to speed up to stay in sync?

  7. it is no longer an option to get incrementally smarter and faster; organizations must become exponentially more intelligent and agile, using successive gains in Collective IQ to accelerate the co-evolution;

The bottom line? Organizations need to dramatically increase their Collective IQ, and double it again, and again, faster and faster... Our collective objective is to create brilliant organizations, and through them brilliant societies, and evenually, a brilliant world.

How? By adopting a strategy specifically designed for this. Based on his predictions, Doug Engelbart designed such a strategy, first documented and tested in his lab in the early 1960s. As far as we know, it is still the only one in existence. He called it a Bootstrapping Strategy, for bootstrapping our Collective IQ.

Engelbart stumbled on this important set of discoveries as part of a larger study on how to facilitate the transformation of organizations to be become more effective at perceiving and addressing important problems collectively in a climate of accelerating change. He recognized that organizations would be entering a new frontier that would demand higher and higher collective intelligence in a compressed timeframe. Otherwise our organizations and institutions which shape society would become increasingly less effective.

Engelbart surmised that it is not simply desirable or important for organizations to jump this curve, it is imperative to our survival as a human race and a planet.