How Your Association Can Spearhead a Future of Abundance

Written by Arianna Rehak on May 6, 2016

Do you get a little impatient when you type a query into Google and don’t immediately get the answer you’re searching for?

It’s easy to take for granted the information available to us, and that its accessibility is increasing at an exponential rate.

“A week’s worth of the New York Times contains more information than the average seventeenth-century citizen encountered in a lifetime.” This quote comes from the book Abundance: The Future is Better Thank You Think by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler.

Humanity has hit a point of unprecedented change.

The book explains that right now there are cutting edge technologies in the works that will give us the ability to meet and exceed the basic needs of every person on the planet – in our lifetime.

As I was reading, I thought about the impact these new technologies will have on the association model, particularly concerning access to information. People pay an annual fee because you are providing them value, but now more and more of what used to stand behind a paywall is becoming open sourced.

Pick a subject. Any subject. I bet you can find a free online course that will teach it to you.

Or a YouTube channel.

Or 3000 articles.

This is great for humanity, but potentially a little threatening for associations. But it’s not so bleak. This shift does not mean that we can no longer provide our members with something worth paying for, it just means that we may have to rethink the offer slightly.

Here are two ideas of alternative value you could be bringing to your members that are inspired from Part I of the book:

Rethink Traditional Education Systems

As it stands, our education system is archaic and does not teach us the valuable skills to thrive in our rapidly changing world. It was designed during the Industrial Revolution where the ‘foundations of success’ looked entirely different.

For starters, they put a heavy emphasis on fact-based learning. Would you prefer an employee who knows how to creatively tackle problems or has the first 20 digits of Pi memorized?

Good news. As Abundance reassures us, “we are now in the midst of an education revolution”. So what will that look like?

We’re not fully sure yet, which gives you the opportunity to spearhead the process. What if your association was one of the first to, say, offer professional development seminars that extended beyond traditional notions of learning?

Foster an Exchange of Ideas

When you picture a trade economy, what comes to mind? Goods? Services?

In this day and age, there is tremendous power in the exchange of our greatest assets: ideas.

“I’ve got a hunk of gold and you have a watch. If we trade, then I have a watch and you have a hunk of gold. But if you have an idea and I have an idea, and we exchange them, then we both have two ideas. It’s nonzero.”

Here’s one area where your association has massive potential: as a facilitator of this information exchange. What kind of conversations can you foster?

Because let’s not forget. It is not technology that has revolutionized the world; it is the humans behind it.

And you have already laid the groundwork to bring powerful minds together.

We recently brought in Peter Diamandis to discuss the technological changes that are coming, and how we might prepare for them: