On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria plowed through Puerto Rico with a deadly destruction that left island residents scraping for survival or forced to flee to the U.S. mainland. The hurricane destroyed the infrastructure of Puerto Rico, however the old electrical grid design will not be used to rebuild. The new design includes solar power, batteries, and micro-grids.
This is an example of a crisis becoming an opportunity to rebuild using design thinking. Hurricane Maria has made Puerto Rico the land of opportunity for solar power and micro-grids.
In the same way, on November 8, 2016, the election of Donald Trump as President destroyed the political and social norms of America, however the old political design will not be used to rebuild. The political and social norms will be redesigned for a different future as described in the book “The Fourth Turning” (1).
The election hurricane plowed through America’s political and social norms with deadly destruction. The winds of change will continue through 2020 when a new President will be elected. Hurricane Trump continues to destroy the political and social infrastructure of America. However the old design will not be used to rebuild. A new design for political and social infrastructure will emerge over time through 2030.
The current crisis causes a reaction by citizens and non-citizens in America. The polarization of Democrats and Republicans, by race, ethnicity, gender, wealth, income and many other self-identity measures will continue through 2020.
A perfect storm of Generations influencing events and events influencing Generations accelerates toward 2020. The older cohorts from the GI Generation and the Silent Generation are passing out of society and the Millennials come of age as Young Adults over 18. GenX moves into Midlife and Baby Boomers replace the Seniors by becoming Elders.
As these Generations move through time, we can see for example, the increasing influencing of the Millennial Generation in the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Presidential elections, and yet less than 50% voted in 2012. What happens when the majority register to vote and they actually vote? What happens when Millennials organize to support social movements like climate change and partner with Baby Boomers?
(1) Strauss, William, and Neil Howe. The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy. New York: Broadway, 1997.