The Sixth Wave

Kalamitsi beach, Lefkada island, Greece.

 This workshop reveals the Five Innovations that transformed our world?

Are prepared for the Sixth Wave of innovation? 

In December of 1994, a group of spelunkers—cave explorers—in southern France literally stumbled upon a remarkable discovery. These pictograms illustrated the diverse, rich life of residents who inhabited these caves during the ice age that encrusted Southern Europe 35,000 years ago.

These breathtaking panoramas span thousands of years. They illustrate the first of five waves of human ingenuity.

The First Wave: Language

Consider how this initial language of images transformed into the symbols you’re reading now.

Chauvet drawings depict the extinct giant ox, or AUROCHS, last devoured by poachers in 17th century Poland. Tens of thousands of years later the pictografic OX appears in Sumeria (in modern Iraq). Representational images give way to alphabetics (ἀλφάβητος: vowel and consonant sound symbols) with the Phoenician letter form of the same ox, known locally as the ALP (emanating from today’s Lebanon). Finally, the Greeks formalize the ALPHA, begotten to Arabic and Latin and a foundational letter form of today’s Mediterranean alphabets. The alpha in our alphabet is a cow. Imagine the slow, plodding generations required to move from fur-clad artists burning pictures into stone, until Greeks could send written messages by carrier pigeon to communicate across their empire. Those who fail to study history are condemned to repeat it. This workshop will engage participants to deconstruct the mechanics of human accomplishment with each successive wave.


Our accelerating progress—in our ability to communicate, to quantify the world around us, to tame nature, to liberate our lives and to free our markets—now rockets up a nearly vertical slope. Overlay any factor that matters in your career or private life: mortality rates, population density, speed of transportation, access to nutrition—they all match the same hockey stick curve.

Facilitated activities bring these breakthroughs to life in contemporary terms.

Discover your past.

Participants reveal for themselves how each wave of innovation continues to wash across today’s organizations and your markets. With each accelerating wave, humankind grew to a larger understanding, a larger global fraternity, reduced violence, increased benevolence, and the intertwined irony of individual liberty, and inextricable economic interdependence. But at what cost? Ask the Aurochs. Or measure the temperature of those waves.

Plot your future.

Where is this all heading? What does it mean for your company? What does it mean for you?

More Independent?

More Sustainable?

Activities culminate in a creative race to plot the future for your business.

Teams are grouped for diversity of backgrounds and expertise. Outside experts are cited for unfamiliar data. Trends are identified and prioritized. Each team plots the intersection of two to three trends over the next five years (or the time horizon relevant to your business). The debrief brings the plenary group back together to reflect on the opportunities ahead and the best actions we can take today to harness tomorrow.