Recently it has been fashionable for companies to think of themselves as problem-solving organizations. That is actually wrong because, by the time you've discovered the problem and you're solving it, you're already out of date. You have to be ahead of the problem. You have to invent the world. You have to think `second-curve'.
But in order to recreate themselves for the future, organizations must be prepared to let go of the past. Otherwise they'll just get locked into their present curve and sooner or later they will come to an end. The trick is not to let go of the past all at once. You can't abandon the first curve until you have built the second one. So, for a time, the past and the future have to coexist in the present. And that's the pathway through the paradox.
The way you make sense of the future, in organizations and in societies and in your own life, is by taking charge of the future. Not by responding to it.
I wrote a book called The Age of Unreason. The reason I chose that particular title was because George Bernard Shaw once wrote that the reasonable man responds to the world, while the unreasonable man tries to make the world respond to him. Therefore, he said, all progress (and I have to add all the disasters too) comes from the unreasonable person; the person who actually tries to change the world. What that means is that we can't wait for people to offer us secure jobs and long careers. We have to decide what kind of life we want to lead and go out and make it happen."