Today begins a week long 100th anniversary celebration of the Model T Ford in Wayne County, Indiana. Is anyone living that could say today, “That was my first car. I bought it new.”? Probably not; this is a really old car. Affectionately called “Tin Lizzie” it was America’s first “affordable” automobile.
To most of the world, really including me, this celebration will not be a major event in our lives. As an observer of culture, however, and someone who truly loves change, I’m reminded today that “the more things change, the more they remain the same. The author of Ecclesiastes said, “There is nothing new under the sun”.
There is no doubt that the world is changing fast. I saw the phrase “temporary contemporary” recently and that seems very true about our society. Nothing seems to stay the same for long. Cultures and paradigm shifts that used to be measured in decades will soon have to be measured in years. Just to keep up these days it is important for organizations to be continually adapting. We should be changing before the next paradigm shift gets here if we are to be successful. Futurists and others who monitor trends and can predict where society will go next are in high demand and will remain valuable to any organization.
While all that is true, we must never forget that there will always be those who resist change and there will always be elements of society that places a high value on tradition and things of the past. (Keep in mind, things of the past is a very relative term these days.) The balance of celebrating “retro” and adapting to “modern” will continue to be a true art in the days to come.