A decade that has seen the profound transformation of humanity is coming to an end. We have accelerated, consumed, produced, exploited, hacked, copied, developed and saturated digital platforms with enough content to alter our perception of reality and create a cognitive fragmentation never seen before.
On the one hand, this saturation alienates us. On the other, it distracts us from the very nature that we should protect and ultimately reincorporate into our lives.
If this millennium has been baptized and marked by the indelible scar of September 11th, the last decade opened with the sunset of ISIS and the beginning of an irrepressible cultural revolution.
The last ten years have seen my children transformed into near adults. These years will also hold pieces of our hearts as we feel a little orphaned by “grandparents” who are the sole holders of a great piece of our history and identity.
Ten years that saw humanity continue their exploration of space and Asia become a mecca of innovation. Ten years in which the word “sharing” has united in an enduring marriage with the economy, changing the value of “possession”. Ten years in which sociopolitical unease and the environmental crisis have given rise to striking manifestations such as Fridays for the Future and intelligent and sophisticated performances that create art even from an act of self-destruction.
Extremes have watered down the fundamentals of people. It has dampened ambitions to the point of them becoming distinct. Identities have become occasions of conflict, not traces of origin. It is as if humanity has suffered from the same short circuit as public administrations afflicted by over-regulation.
A planet that’s a little bit beaten up
A world poisoned and unnerved by hyper-consumerism, a land that burns to feed our whims, food wasted and not equally distributed, water that is becoming increasingly scarce, priceless land that is losing its biodiversity and a “ruling species” sprinting towards annihilation. It might resemble an apocalyptic scenario, but the fact that we are aware is a good start. The tools to reverse course and mitigate the devastating effects of our old habits exist!
Regenerating the ecosystem by feeding the planet is not an impossible task. In 2015, the United Nations approved Agenda 2030 by publishing the Sustainable Development Goals. Its essential elements are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (ODS/SDGs) and the 169 sub-targets which aim to end poverty, fight against inequality and social and economic development while preserving planet earth. At last, a collective effort where all countries are called to contribute to achieving the goals according to their capacities.
We now have the extraordinary and historic opportunity to use sustainability as a lever of competitiveness. Sustainability must become an integral part of the business! This is what the market — and above all generation Z and the millennials — are asking for. A product that respects nature and whose history (from field to table) is fair and transparent. After all, humanity can no longer afford an unsustainable competition. To face a challenge the likes of which we have never seen, we must move from mere competition to collaboration as the only way to effectively tackle the climate crisis.
A virtual world from which we felt betrayed
We have seen the consolidation of the overwhelming power of social media and digital platforms. Those to whom we told our lives, where we saved our memories, to whom we gave our data. The same digital platforms that have been able to skillfully manipulate sentiment and the voting behavior of entire countries, but which we can no longer do without.
Snowden helped us to understand that the intimate and exclusive relationship with our device wasn’t so safe. Cambridge Analytica, on the backs of millions of “users”, showed the world how “extractive” the Big Data industry is. If data is really the new oil, then the future balances on the capability of bringing it to the surface and extracting its value. We will need to impose a new set of altruism based digital ethics that work towards the good of communities. Ethics is good for the economy and generates prosperity and inclusion.
It applies to everyone without distinction of origin or size. We, for example, by analyzing food from both the viewpoints of culture and accessibility, have begun to map the places where this revolution is taking place. We study its dynamics and capture new niches of fruition and consumption that are capable of using the potential of technology [blockchain, artificial intelligence, IoT …] and the new knowledge generated by data to redesign the system.
A disconnected Humana Communitas
“Family initiation into fraternity among human creatures can be considered as a real hidden treasure, in view of the communal reorganization of social policies and human rights, which is strongly needed today” This is how the Pope speaks in his letter to the Pontifical Academy for Life.
A human community degraded by the paradox of success, fragile, culturally marginalized and increasingly illiterate.
Functional illiterates (defined by UNESCO in 1984 as citizens “unable to understand, evaluate, use and get involved in written texts to actively intervene in society, to achieve their goals and to develop their knowledge and potential”) are constantly growing, so much so that Italy is one of Europe’s tail lights (according to the Piaac survey) and fourth last in the world compared to the 33 countries analyzed by the OECD (with better performances only than Chile and Indonesia). A phenomenon that takes on a frightening appearance if associated also with the growing level of emotional illiteracy that is afflicting, in particular, the younger generations and millennials. In general, excellent talents, young polyglots and people trained in the best schools who lack self-awareness and self-mastery; unable to recognize their limits, their resources, their emotions, who do not believe in their abilities; who lack motivation to achieve clear and concrete goals; unable to measure the scope of words; unconsciously animated by impulsive reactions between anger, hatred, resentment, envy, fear, susceptibility to life events, and unable to take into account the emotions of the people with whom they relate.
In redesigning the system, we need to inspire confidence and optimism in Generation Z. The “youth party”, motivated activists, realists, and skilled “omnichannel” communicators. These are the players that are searching for authentic experiences and transparency. They are altruistic, passioned and nurtured by the ambition to change the world.
Relationships to rebuild and a human community to nourish and regenerate. We start with food.
Food is life, energy, and nourishment. It is the vehicle of values, culture, symbols, and identity. Food is sociality. Eating is an essential activity for human beings, but it requires consciousness and awareness.
We are living in a post-industrial and globalized society, where the digital revolution is taking more and more control over our lives. Because of it, we can learn and recognize the importance of a healthy diet while it additionally helps us to connect with food, who produces it, who distributes it and who transforms it.
The great challenge of our era is to succeed in protecting our planet, consciously feeding humans and taking care of the ecosystem that is hosting us. Only by placing humans back in the center can humanity adapt to the great changes we are experiencing.
I have always been called a “dreamer”. An observation that implies that the person in question has no feet on the ground and is disconnected from reality. Imagining a better world is often perceived as an arrogant gesture. It can bring smiles or annoy. Dreamers are often the object of “mockery” or envy — because they are misunderstood even by their community — but dreaming means being pioneers of the future.
Those who, in the real world, are moved by creativity, experiment with new models, invent new paradigms and new solutions, enter and leave schemes, make mistakes, learn, try again, and project themselves in the long term with the will to leave the world a better place.
Dreams are not only the color of our nights, but they are also the engine and inspiration of our days. Without the pioneers who dared to realize their dreams, our land would not have known the beauty that surrounds and nourishes us.
The count-down to 2030 has begun.
Reset and restart are the wishes of the ‘20s.
We only have 10 years to reverse our impact and the stakes are high.
It’s still the Christmas Season and all I can do is urge everyone to find an ambitious dream and to pursue a companion to share it with.
People are traveling to new destinations of innovation and contamination, where they can exchange values and confront each other, where they can meet and behave.
May the force be we you! Be ready, be there.