The Co-Evolution of Big Data and Big Psyche – An Emerging Perspective
My twitter stream has been pretty active over the past several years with tweeting and curation about the dramatic shifts underway in organizations and the related processes of social interaction.
Complexity is a bit part of this, as is human development, as is knowledge sharing and creation. And, of course, there are many more aspects in play as well.
In general it appears–and this is not new thinking–that the shift is from conceptual models based on mechanistic processes towards ways of thinking that account for the organic and interdependent evolution of organizations and human social interaction.
Our Evolving Selves
However, I will add to that the notion that along with process of evolution also comes the development we as humans are experiencing with our own psychological capacities.
Not many are speaking about that part of things but as we get deeper into this process, I get the impression we’ll see that the emergence of more sophisticated organizational forms and practices will be deeply entangled with the emergence of greater psychological capacities as well.
Research is already showing that human beings are beginning to develop new, more sophisticated type of thinking and inter-relating in order to better handle the disorienting acceleration of communication, computing, and customer-centered operations.
Big Data is critical; but, unattended, that move may prove problematic–or even harmful–without the development of a more sophisticated kind of relational capacity for many of those involve.
The Arrival of Big Psyche
In short, we’ll need a step forward into something I somewhat playfully think of as Big Psyche.
And, interestingly, its growth trajectory is similar in many ways to what we see with Big Data; except, rather than dealing with massive amounts of diverse data, what we see here is the a form of psychological evolution that involves a greater capacity for integrating multiple points of view and value systems.
In other words, if we think about psychological growth, it moves in what are thought to be developmental “stages” or “waves”. As respected psychologists like Robert Kegan and Kenneth Gergen tell us, the stages considered to be on the evolutionary edge of psychological growth show the same kind of ability to aggregate complex and divergent streams of thought.
William Torbert has been working on a similar link between human development and organizational development for a number of years. His HBR article with David Rooke provides one of the best foundations on the subject out there.
More recently, though, Harvard’s Kegan was speaking at the RSA in London and had some fascinating things to say about the shared developmental path of human institutions and the human psyche.
An Evolving Perspective
Yet, as intriguing as some of us may find these new streams of thought, it’s all still very preliminary. That means it is all open to a lot of debate and even dismissal. Therein lies the challenge for a relatively new (but, er, far from young…) writer like me to put this material out there. It can be grist for the mill for those with a stronger point of view or longer resume.
But I think the sharing is important, so I want to make a better effort to get more of my own thinking out there. Even if it’s still preliminary, I think it could make for some worthwhile discussion.
I’ve done a bit of that on twitter. But as good as that platform can be, I also see that some of what is emerging through my dissertation–as preliminary as it may be–could benefit from having a bit more space to breathe.
To that end, I intend to do my best and revive my long-suffering blog by bringing more of a “working out loud” spirit to it. This way I hope to connect with more of you, share my thinking as it unfolds (with a bit of prudence, of course), and, hopefully, develop some kind of ongoing dialog that supports this thinking as it moves forward for all of us.