This is a vision of the future, taken from our founder's book Stuffocation.
In the new world of "experientialism" we will be ever less impressed by the stuff that impressed people of the past age of materialism. It is not only our aspirations and possessions that will change, though. Alongside the experience economy, we will also see the rise of an experiential, as opposed to material, world. What will that look like? What will experientialism mean for other aspects of our lives? How will it change, for instance, how we work, rest, and play?
The way our communities are organized, finally, will also change. Just as Lyft is bringing people together, so other shared services will encourage us to trust and like each other more. What shared services exactly? ‘I’d mention,’ says Neal Gorenflo, editor of a sharing-economy publication named Shareable, ‘the surge in local, community-based sharing projects like tool libraries, repair cafes, co-working spaces, complementary currencies, food forests, co-operatives, community-supported agriculture farms, hacker spaces, fab labs, time banks, bike-sharing, and more.’ All of these will create stronger, better communities. Think of the pro-social benefits of the tool libraries, for instance, community-oriented places where people lend their power tools and other DIY kit to others. They are popping up all around the world, from Australia to Belgium and the US. Or consider the community-run, seven-acre Seattle Food Forest, where every plant, from the blueberry and raspberry bushes to the plum and walnut trees, produces something edible.
As we move from the age of materialism to the new era of experientialism, then, much will change. We will have more fun, and spend less time, at work. We will live in smaller, more flexible, and better-designed homes. We will have better connections with more people, and create better communities. We will, in short, be happier, healthier people, leading more sustainable lives on a less damaged planet.
If this all sounds like some utopian vision, too good to be true, think how today’s world would have sounded to someone a few generations ago. Could your grandmother’s mother have imagined a map that knows where you are and can tell you where to go next? Would she have believed that one of society’s most pressing problems would be that there was so much food and affluence that it is making millions sick? If these material advances were possible in the twentieth century, why are experiential breakthroughs not also probable in the twenty-first? The good news, of course, is that the signs are already here.
The road to experientialism will not be quite as simple as this brief description makes it sound. There will be unexpected bumps, twists, rain clouds, hail storms, and sunny spells along the way. There will be unintended consequences from the changes happening now. But in the ongoing dance of progress, we will, in general, be moving in a positive direction, taking steps up the hill to a better future.
For advice on what this means for you and your company, and for smart ideas on how you can adapt to thrive, get in touch.