Recently, for some attentive eyes, social networks and the world has been “invaded” by a new concept: MINIMALISM. Books, documentaries, pages, stories and a multitude of information are circulating and addressing the subject. One of the most well-known sources and the main responsible for the phenomenon are “The Minimalists”, a pair of young Americans who wrote a book on the subject and who also produced a documentary that ended up going to Netflix (and you can imagine the snowball effect …)
I particularly enjoyed the book and the documentary – and also the friendly and provocative american duo minimalists. Why? Because the concept presented is extremely simple, very clear, objective and YET, with an absurd potential for impact and transformation ! No, I did not become a “minimalistfreek” (or “minimalismaniac”). And I’ll explain myself.
MINIMALISM WHAT IS IT, AFTER ALL?
First, let’s start from the beginning. Bringing some definitions and elements about Minimalism, after all, we need to know about it before we start making the connections, lucubrations, combin-activities  and proposals between Minimalism and themes (also in vogue) such as innovation, consumer culture , millenials, socioenvironmental impacts and others (let me tell you that some of these connections are not my exclusivity, but those I share in this post, are of course).
What is a Minimalist or Minimalism, anyway? It is simply stopping to reflect and think about what is REALLY important to you, your life, your career, your home, considering your assets, possessions, habits, your reality, your context, and your cultur. IT’S A CONSCIOUS CHOICE.
Another important thing is that Minimalism is a tool and a vision that has helped many people to be more FREE! Yes, to build, to take care, to watch over your freedom. Why? Because thinking, deciding and choosing what is really important to you (whether it is good, habit, value, culture, behavior), people stop following each other (or “go with the flow”, if you prefer) and start taking the reins of their lives, their personal paths in all areas of life. It is to stop following the culture, what others do, other people references only “because it is so”, just because it is expected. Moreover, from the practical point of view, with less things, stuff and belongings (material, physical or emotional ones) it is easier to walk around, change, adapt. And here is the second important point: It is REAL FREEDOM AND MOVEMENT.
Minimalism is not restriction, recrimination, prohibition or horror of material possessions. The problem for me – and in that Minimalism and I agree – is the MEANING OF THINGS. Nowadays the problem seems to be the strong collective tendency to give a lot of meaning to our things even when we have a negative impact or consequence on our health, our relationships (family, personal and loving), our passions, our personal growth, on what is important for each one that is beyond “things”. Do you want to have a car or a house? Great! Want to raise a family? Good luck and have fun making one! Are you super focused on your career? Yes! After all, if those fields of life are important to you, then go deep! Bring it on! Third relevant tip: ABUNDANCE AND MATERIAL THINGS ARE NOT PROBLEMS (BUT THE MEANING OF THEM CAN BE).
Another important element (and that will make you happy) is that Minimalism accepts and knows that there is an incredible diversity of people, contexts, cultures, values. You think that’s too obvious? Not so much in this world of patterns and models to follow. The point is that the life of a Brazilian is not the same as that of a Nigerian, which is not the same as a Dane. The life of a bachelor (in my case I am not 100% convicted bachelor) is different from a married one. The life of a married couple without children is not the same as that of one with children. And same happens with a person (or persons) with an only child and the ones with several children. Do you love to travel? Do you love to stay at home and do gardeining? Do you like invite friends to your place? Do you prefer a small house and see friends outside, going to restaurants, concerts or dancing? Do you have a job that requires you to drive around the city (while listening to your favorite music)? Do you enjoy and get to work or study by subway or bike (while listening to your favorite music)? I have great news for you all: you can be Minimalists! Because DIVERSITY IS ACCEPTED IN MINIMALISM.
That said minimalism is a tool – based on a vision of life – that has helped people get rid of the “excess” in their lives to focus on what is really important (for each one) and thus provide happiness, satisfaction, freedom, growth (according to each). Minimalism and minimalists want to seek happiness and contentment through life itself and its choices – not “things”! That simple!
In my case I discovered that I had a minimalist behaviour or mindset a few years ago – having no idea that it even existed! Not by illumination, but by financial need. Short money period, divorce and other things arround at the same time and I had to give up about some assets, things, possessions and adjust expenses. And Shazan! It was a pleasant surprise realize that not only I have managed to survive without much, but also to gain from “adjustments”: to enjoy the city while going back home, to realise that walking arround could be an exercise after hours in front of a computer, to cook for my friends instead of going out for dinner, to hookup with them in one of São Paulo city parks with a snack and wine. I also chose Netflix from 389 channels of cable TV I did not watch, I discovered exercise apps while I could not go to the gym (I came back when after money flow was back because that’s something important to me), I cooked more for myself because start to use “marmitas” (food box). Just to name a few.
Most importantly, I realized that yesterday’s needs were not that necessary, and meaningful, necessary and significant things stayed and setled down, so to speak. At the end it reflects who I am and what I want for my life. It was and is good time for me!
MOMENT FOR ANTIDEPRESSIVES?
Yes we make individual choices, but we do not live alone in the world and our individual habits have reflections in the world. Especially when we are almost 8 billion people walking around. This fact places another component in the story: the scale. Yes, in a world full of people the volume of the various “units” changes the scene a lot.
Let’s look at some examples: we will be almost 9 billion by 2030, of which 5 billion live in urban areas. Latin America and Asia have become “old” regions, that is, there will be more elderly people than young people, 41% of the world’s wealth is concentrated in 1% of the world population and the concentration of income is increasing in rich countries as well under development. Intense weather events are becoming more frequent and the capacity for adaptation is uneven between rich and developing countries. There are already water crises and 60% of the world population already lives in a situation of severe water shortage and there are also conflicts of use between resources such as water for consumption, energy and industry or agriculture. According to experts, when we reach the threshold of 9 billion human beings on the planet we will need 50% more energy, 40% more water and 35% more food.
In all that context, this information and numbers would have to change the way we do business, learn, consume, buy, design, and produce services and products. Not that the changes are not happening, but not as they should be. Because? Because of the weather! We need to accelerate, and soon! Time is eternal, but resources are not. We are consuming resources absurdly fast, so fast that all government and business measures for Climate Change, productive efficiency, responsible use of resources, new materials, 5 Rs (recycling, reuse, etc.) and everything else simply was not enough: resource extraction increased by 50% while usage intensity fell by 20% in the last decade, that is, we have a debit balance.
Getting up now in the middle of reading this text and taking an antidepressant will not help. Hold the wave! A glass of wine, a shot of whiskey, a shot of tequila? Only if you’re up for it or are you killing time reading about Minimalism while waiting for the time to go out for a great program. To face these issues, I’m sorry, but it will not do anything, neither the pill nor the alcohol.
The way forward is to seek solutions, new ways of thinking about how we consume and what we consume, about how companies should (laugh) offer their services and products, design and material innovations, solutions for better income distribution and use of how to share technologies and knowledge in our country and between countries, how to minimize the challenges and impacts of Climate Change, extreme events and conflicts, how to act politically in the world of the 21st century and promote legal, institutional and public changes needed. Obviously I do not have the slightest pretense and expectation of dealing with each of these topics in this text – for lack of knowledge, competence in many of them, but also and especially because I do not want to deprive the reader of the curiosity to give a Google and seek other references and other authors that confirm or even contradict what I am writing here.
What I know and I’m sure is that this process is already under way. People, organizations, businesses and governments are already rethinking these issues in a gradual way. In some ways this change will take time and will not be as fast as we would wish, in others the changes are already happening. I chose to focus on the second option today to keep the reader strong and strong – especially if you continue reading this text to “kill” time for a show or something better in the company of wine, whiskey, tequila or the like.
So let’s go! The first consensus is that we are moving towards an information and technology society that is provoking a breakthrough and change never seen before – the so-called post digital society with its exponential or disruptive change . According to data from the Pundits project  more than 26 billion devices will be connected to IoT (Internet of Things) by 2020, and more than half of new business processes and systems will involve IoT functionality in some way. Nowadays, technology areas have been very timid in this field through pilots rather than real deployments (13% in pilot projects and 24% in projects in progress in 2017). Security issues and also infrastructure elements that support interconnected systems and devices (IoT technologies, machine-to-machine (M2M) systems and telematics) also need to be developed.
Another relevant aspect is the profile of the current consumer and that will influence the scenario in the next decade: the so-called millennium generation, born between 1980 and the 2000s. It came with other values, habits, ways of consuming, ways to learn and to relate, to work, to see the future – just like any new generation.  The difference is the speed, the intensity, the means and channels that this generation has used to do this. This generation is responsible for most of current consumption, but are called “smart consumers” or smart consumers. In a global study conducted by Goldman Sachs and released by Tetra Pak millennials have six great features: they are global, connected, thirsting for experiences, living in multi-channel (outside and inside the virtual), are impulsive and intelligent buyers, benefit and do not mind paying more for brands that are aligned with their values. They have entrepreneurial ideas and are focused on solving global problems. They believe that they can make a difference in the world and that education is fundamental to this. They do not follow patterns, but they can be “dreamers” and utopians. They are causing changes of vision and beginning the era of “access” and not “ownership”, for example: what is important is to have a product or have access to the benefit of the product? Do I need a car or do I need to get around? Do I need tools or can I rent when I need them?
Even in developing countries and with much of the population in the poverty line, access to the internet through the use of mobile phones by smartphones has become a communication tool, a status and lifestyle object, access to communication, of interface and dialogue between people, organizations and companies, of channel of purchase and relationship between companies and clients, of payments and consumption, among many other things. According to the Pew Reserach Center survey , owning a smartphone is the most common catalyst for adopting some form of mobile payment.Of people who already use a mobile payment tool, 72% are from generation X or Y, and most are more likely to live in metropolitan areas, have bank accounts and have college education. Younger people see the value of mobile payments for a variety of reasons, from convenience to their desire to earn money with incentives and offers.
As Walter Longo puts it in the book Marketing and Communication in the Post-Digital Era – The Rules Changed, “The post-digital era is the reality we live in today, where the presence of digital technology is so wide and ubiquitous that, of time, nor do we notice that it is there. We only perceive its existence when it is lacking. This sheer ubiquity of digital technology impacts on every aspect of life and this translates into new challenges for business leaders and communication, marketing and advertising managers. ” According to the author, the bases of this society are: ephemerality, mutuality, multiplicity, synchronicity, complexity and tensionality,