Those who live along the San Andreas Fault in Southern California are jolted periodically by the movement of the Pacific tectonic plate and the North American plate as the two outer shell pieces strain to slide over the Earth’s mantle into new positions. Their strain against resistance and release of pressure result in earthquake shock waves. This change is paradoxically both inexorable and predictable and yet inevitably unexpected and surprising to the individuals and communities that experience it.
Societal shock waves from change can alter individuals and communities as well. Identities change. Neighborhoods change. Meanings and ideologies change. Communities and individuals struggle with this tension of change. Yet change is inevitable. Sometimes it is a small magnitude change. Sometimes it is “The Big One.” A large level shockwave—The Big One as it were—in geological terms results in a radical change to the landscape. The Big One in societal or individual change results in changes that have intertwining effects on individuals, neighborhoods, institutions, and markets.
Stay tuned for more thoughts on cultural change, large and small–how this changes consumers, and how consumers change society.