The first several paragraphs of this post re-state an argument that my friend Marju made to me last week as we chatted in her garden. Enjoy!
Some time ago, it was discovered that well designed machines can produce things better and faster than people. We wanted (and still want) the things that those machines can produce and so we highly valued those machines. People serviced the machines.
At some point, it was discovered that machine manufacture could service rather large markets. So production was expanded. But to manage this expanded production, more nuanced organizational control was needed. People serviced the organizations.
Well, this still describes some dominant paradigms of modern society. But we need to tweak these paradigms to take into account something new. It was discovered that with sufficient knowledge and experience people can disrupt markets. People are the ultimate resource. To get the most out of people, we need to manage personalities.
But are people really the ultimate resource? That depends on our behavior, which in turn depends on our skills, which in turn depends on our capacity and opportunity to learn. Aha! Innovation that targets building our capacity to learn may be the ultimate tool of the 21st century.
With this in mind, check out this FC article about a new frontier in thinking about health care.