Alvin Toffler (1928- )
American expert on the future of organizations and people (pictured right).
(for more detail see Future
Shock in the Business Books section).
The future will be dominated by
- change and “future shock” (too much change in too short a time, causing stress and
other social problems).
- innovation and technology.
- new information and knowledge (from continual learning and education).
- the pursuit of customer satisfaction and quality
- individualism and diversity of values and
Key quote on change
Today change is so swift... that yesterday’s truths suddenly become today’s fictions.
Tomorrow’s illiterate will be the man who has not learned how to learn.
The Third Wave
(see for more detail The Third Wave in the
Business Books section)
Society has developed in three
1. The First
(the agricultural economy).
2. The Second Wave
(the industrial economy started by the Industrial Revolution)
3. The Third Wave
(the post-industrial, knowledge economy).
The Third Wave is characterized by:
a) flexibility, innovation and
(e.g. flexible manufacturing,
adapting to customer needs).
Society being driven
by information and knowledge.
c) niche marketing
(selling to market segments)
People becoming both producers and consumers e.g. DIY
e) more part-time and home
g) transient relationships
society into smaller parts e.g. small business units).
Key quote on the knowledge
For Third Wave civilization, the most basic raw
material of all...is information including imagination.
The transfer of power to the knowledgeable.
So success (by individuals and organizations) depends on:
1. Challenging and improving upon existing ideas and
2. Learning and education
These give people more influence, leading to their:
- demands for participation in decision making.
- refusal to blindly obey orders.
3. The control of knowledge
There are three sources of power:
- mind - persuasion through knowledge (most
important in today's changing world).
- money - the
promise of reward.
- muscle - the threat of punishment.
The control of knowledge leads to power struggles and conflict.
Key quotes on knowledge
Knowledge is the most democratic source of power.
The control of knowledge is the crux of tomorrow’s worldwide struggle for power in every human institution.