Tin Man’s Dilemma

Life transit is never easy.  For those of us who grew up coached by parents and college mentors, the transit from youth to adulthood is treated as a hero’s journey.   The college campus soon replaces home, the workplace replaces the campus.  Architecture sets the stage for new challenges to play out and met with varying amounts of success and defeat.  Away from the comforts of personified space, cut off from the habit of the known reality, the uncertainty of fierce competition and untrustworthy colleagues can cast pangs of doubt, even if you hide them like SUIT’s Harvey Specter. 

Call it the hero’s journey or call it business, but for those who have felt their hearts breaking from the loss of innocence, welcome to the Tin Man’s dilemma.  Some of you may remember, the Tin Man mourned the loss of his heart after an enchantment by the Wicked Witch of the East.  As the story goes, the Wicked Witch cast a spell on a Woodman’s axe because he was in love with her ward, a munchkin maiden named Nimmie Amee. The woodman proceeded to chop off all of his body parts, limb by limb, organ by organ, heart before head, but since this was the land of Oz and no one could die, the woodman’s anatomy reassembled, turning to tin.

So what is the Tin Man’s Dilemma?  At work, no matter your title or station, we cut off our hearts in order to function in a heartless economy where bottom line productivity and legal contracts determine the path to winnings.  Feelings, we are told, are inefficient in a race for results.  (No argument there except to ask, “Is Efficiency the only rule set for Productivity?)  With workflow powered by high-speed technologies, we also tend to cut off our heads, now enchanted by the labor force of gigabytes and the promise of nanobots.  Amplified by automation and promises of agile, block-chain management, the new job market recruiter has become a search engine for Tin Men a.k.a. Robots. (Women included here.)

At RotoLab, we love Robots and objects that are “enchanted” to use MIT David Rose’s turn of phrase. In fact, we are forging an Enchanted Urbanism initiative and one of our partners Semio, is a company dedicated to developing social and behavioral Robot Intelligence.  But robots we are not.  Nor do we wish to perpetuate the Tin Man’s Dilemma. Instead, we recognize advancements made in cognitive, social and emotional neuroscience and in game worlds that lend themselves to performing self and team reflection.  In this way, RotoLab team members and our Satellite Advisors and Partners are each, in their own way, explorers of wisdom cultures that embody holistic paradigms of cooperative work, play, rest, communication and creative problem-solving.  

So when facing the Tin Man’s Dilemma, we keep our hearts steady and our heads smart.  You don’t have to be a Netflix screenwriter or life long gamer to know that these are powerful portals of connectivity to problems we need to solve; they are also the signal senders to communities who, if we are willing to listen, offer valuable insights into possible solutions.  Surely the world we live in today demands whole-brain intelligence, equal part human and machine, working collaboratively to create spaces where we can breathe, build trust and speak with ease and conviviality.

Sound like a pipe dream?  Ask anyone who has signed the Co-Working Manifesto, a document signaling a shift in how humans will remain human as they get ready to work side by side Bots made of Titanium and not Tin.

Or start a conversation with us here.


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