“Future Shock” at PlayCon

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“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. ”  -  Alvin Toffler

As I sat at this year’s PlayCon; my mind kept returning to Alvin Toffler’s landmark book, Future Shock.  Written in 1970, it has turned out to be astonishingly prophetic about the impact of increasingly rapid change on people and their world. 

It was odd to be having this notion in such a beautiful and serene setting.  Bob Wann and the PlayCon committees once again put on a beautiful event.  It was a warm bath of the sensuous with beautiful vistas and delicious food and drink (the single malt scotch bar was quite an event not to mention those men and women who enjoyed smoking hand wrapped cigars).

The messages from the podium were not, however, serene as speaker after speaker spoke of disruptive change that was not just coming but was happening right then to this industry born in caldron of the 19th century  industrial age.  What were my fellow industry members thinking, I thought, as they sat in the audience attempting to take in a flurry of facts, figures and dystopian visions of a toy industry buffered by the forces of technology, declining birthrates, precipitous drops in playtime and the sense of “oh my God, what is coming next?”

Those on the podium and some who attended comforted each other with the words:  “Don’t worry; there will always be a toy industry."  And I agree; there will always be a toy industry but…

It’s that “but” that bears discussing which I will do in my next posting.

One thought

  1. Great post – so true – and we 20th Century folks are going to have trouble “reading” the messages and codes of current 21st Century Kids. I’m already in the weeds – missing so many cues.

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