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Barack Obama's Three Revolutions.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on January 19, 2009

The inauguration of Barack Obama is the culmination of three revolutions in American society—revolutions that the business community, indeed all communities, need to understand and embrace if it is to move forward successfully.

The Obama Presidency represents the rise of Gen Y and their culture. Gen Y’s use of social media technology, their post-diversity perspective (race, gender and sexual orientation aren’t a big deal) and their collaborativeness are transforming politics. They will transform business culture as well. So important was Gen Y in the election of Barack Obama, the generation got its own Youth Ball the night of his inauguration.

The Obama Presidency represents the return to checks and balances in economics, as well as politics. The anti-government, anti-regulation lassez faire economics of the Chicago School that led to the current deep recession will be replaced by a more centrist, balanced economic model. And political model as well.

And, most importantly, the Obama Presidency represents the beginning of a post-racial American culture. For someone like myself who remembers the violent civil “wars” in the South in the 60s over civil rights, it is a long-time coming. Race and gender will matter less in politics and business. The next battle ground will be around giving same-sex partners the same rights as different-sex partners. Remember, in the mid-60’s it was illegal for black and white people to marry in over a dozen Southern states. Amazing, right?

Reader Comments

Steve baker

January 21, 2009 2:11 AM

Bruce, I'm wondering if it represents another revolution as well: The end of traditional demographics. If you think about it, Barack Obama isn't really from anywhere specific--or it could be from just about anywhere. Hawaii, New York, Chicago. He could easily have set up shop in California or Atlanta or Charlotte--wherever he could find fellow members of his tribe. And his tribe isn't black or mixed race or regional or Christian. It's intelligent, educated, worldly people, the group that Richard Florida calls the creative class. So he doesn't appeal to people in terms of what he is, or where he grew up, but instead on the basis of what he knows and values. (He even studied how to be a black American.) That transcends demographics.


January 21, 2009 4:21 PM

If race and gender matter less in a post-racial American culture, perhaps it will focus more attention on the true divide -- rich and poor."African-American" has been a code word for poor for a long time, shifting our attention to race rather than social strata.

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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