Moonshooters, Fruit-Pickers, and Laikas

As we gear-up for the incoming 4th Industrial Revolution, a large part of our society will be grouped into key roles as we more into a more tech-driven era. Whether directly or indirectly, you are a participant in this monumental shift in society and are therefore part of this revolution. Here at Lefthoek we try to understand our current society through 5 different personas. Taking into consideration both past and present experiences that has led us all to this forthcoming era, we believe we all had an important part to play. The question is, what digital citizen do you identify yourself as? We believe this label is fluid and can evolve with the changing times. Nonetheless, which persona do you relate with the most currently ?

Dreamers are individuals who have always been present in society since the dawn of time. These individuals learn quickly about life and eventually find the current state of affairs mundane. They tend to create big dreams for a ‘better’ world and themselves. They strive to obtain the fruit at the top of the tree! This metaphor very well describes their goals but also forebodes the high risk they are willing to take. The fruits at the top of the tree are usually hardest to obtain. Moreover, they are not always ripe. Dreamers are willing to risk it all, in order to materialise their dreams. One prime example of a dreamer today is Elon Musk. Musk is determined to take humans to wifi0-working Mars in the next few years. A dreamer’s passion usually overtakes the common expectations of a society. This passion also gives us drive and communal ambition. Do these dreams materialise? Only time will tell…

Photo by Thanh Nguyen on Unsplash

Laika, this was one the first animals to pioneer space exploration. Retrieved as a stray dog from the streets of Moscow, she became the first dog to explore space under the notable Soviet space envoy Sputnik 2 in 1957. This notion is still practiced today but might sound incredulous to some and many may even be inclined to call on PETA for such a cause today. Nevertheless, this was an unexpected feat during the Space race era. During the Cold War, the space race pushed visionaries/dreamers and fellow politicians to align their ideals to achieve huge leaps in terms of space exploration. This collaboration then brought about new key players, such as Laika, that provided society with much insight in possibilities debated under Space exploration. Laikas are not intentional players, they are random intermediaries that factually illustrate the possibilities and the limitations society, through trial and error. Laikas were the one’s who take the driver’s seat. They are and continue to be the failed encounters that teach us something valuable about our dreams. They are our insights and lessons learnt.

Characterized as the over-ambitious cousins of the dreamers, Moonshooters come armed with awareness, time and money. This title was “first introduced in Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon but popularized by president John F. Kennedy in 1961.” Moonshooters are passionate about solving the world’s current wicked problems but fail to understand that the input of other disciplines and expertise is necessary. Also it is important to note that not all the of the problems in the 21st century can be solved through technology. Like the name suggests, “moonshot” conveys an idea that the issues they try to tackle are often a ‘long-shot’. This means it has a high probability to not work. This also highlights the fact that moonshot projects are done without any prior, concrete research of potential risks and benefits. The moonshooter label falls on those those who are doers rather than thinkers and act first, instead of reflect. Much like the dreamers that dream big, they take it step further and try to realise the actual project as soon as possible. They are the big risk-takers, willing to act timely then later find out the barriers or issues that are present. They would make a great in tandem team with fellow dreamers.

Imagine a huge river, with currents leading in one strong direction. If you were in the waters, which way would you swim? Passengers are individuals that would go with the flow. Have you heard of the saying that “dead fish go with the flow”? This harsh reference contextualises the notion of effort which can be used to weigh the involvement of passengers in the incoming tech revolution. Passengers can viewed as a myriad of individuals that are not necessarily “involved” in the disruption of the tech industry. They are part of the audience. This role is just as important as Passengers still retain much of the responsibility and agency in this journey towards a tech-driven future. Passengers have the power to interchange trains, get off and also change modes of transport etc. In view of the growing digital space, they thus have the agency to choose which apps are much more useful to the society and which technologies should be embraced or given room evolve. They are can also be seen as cheerleaders as they provide insight on which innovations are interesting or are the best bet moving foward.

Photo by Arūnas Naujokas on Unsplash

As the name suggests, this persona is quite self explanatory. Spectators can be seen to be similar to passengers, but the huge differnce being, they relinquish their agency of choice and intuition to the powers that may be. Just like the passengers, they are curious and are willing to take a risk by being involved, but only passively. They also go with the flow, but with very few inhibitions. Spectators can also be seen as observers and members of the audience. This also means they can still have an opinion on the matter but their vested interest is not as strong as the other personas.

Last but not least, we have the Fruit-pickers. On a linear scale, they could be placed between the dreamers and the moonshooters. They are action-driven much like the moonshooters but they strive for simpler and more efficient solutions, whislt making use of the resources that are within reach. Like a fruit farmer, they are aware that it is much easier to take the fruit that is on a lower branch of the tree than it is getting the fruit at the top of the tree. The world’s wicked problems should also be handled in this manner, but you find particularly in the tech industry, innovations to “pick the fruit at the top of the tree” tend to materalise much more often than simple solutions aimed to get the fruit on the bottom branch. Fruit-pickers masters in understanding the low-end theory. Read more about this theory in our previous article here.