Many of us feel stalled. Growth, both for our companies and for us individually, seems increasingly difficult to attain. There is plenty of evidence of the structural weakening of our economy: stagnant wages, rising debt levels, and anemic productivity growth. It seems the major trends are all working against us: increased global competition, a winner-take-all economy driving massive income inequality, the steady erosion of privacy and security, start-ups worth billions emerging while legacy firms crumble, and technology taking our jobs. It's clear that the old rules of work and business no longer apply.
We (the authors) work with a lot of people excited about the opportunities that lie ahead in the digital economy, but their optimism is often tempered by the news of the day. The headlines all too frequently seem to foretell a pending jobless nightmare of breadlines and robot overlords. And some feel as if there's a party being thrown—in Silicon Valley, New York, and London—that they're not invited to.
Yet within the malaise there is good news. We have weathered similar storms before, and the shape and pattern of our current situation is actually a harbinger for a period of technology-fueled growth. This seems counterintuitive; after all, how can economic stagnation signal future growth and opportunity?
It's because our current stall fits within a well-established pattern that shows up during every major shift in business and technology, ...