Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Rebalancing society by H. Mintzberg

Highly recommended reading and ... taking action via your communities!


Monday, March 17, 2014

Collapse of civilisation

NASA Study: Convergence of food, water and energy crises.
Needed: income equality and less consumption!

----> see http://www.popularresistance.org/nasa-study-civilization-headed-for-irreversible-collapse/

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Value of Allrounders


In sports there is a real appreciation for allrounders. Traditionally, the title of "World's Greatest Athlete" has been given to the man who wins the Olympic decathlon. In athletics there is also the pentathlon . In speed skating, there is the European and World Championship for allrounders (men do  skate 500m, 1500m, 5000m and 10000m). In cricket, an allrounder is a guy who regularly performs well at both batting and bowling.

These athletes are very well appreciated. Of course there are still the athletes who only perform at single distances/activities, but the allrounders are considered to be ….. well allround!

This appreciation is totally lacking for allrounders in business, NGO’s and in government. Whereas the need for people who ‘can connect the dots’ is increasing rapidly. See also  this post: http://permamarks.org/world-needs-generalists/
Many problems are quite complex and connected, so you do need people who can easily understand and relate to the respective topics and take the appropriate actions.

Business has to wake up and quickly attract these allrounders!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The city without a soul

Recently I did listen to a podcast about the growing power of cities. As most people are living in cities now, existing cities are growing beyond their limits and new cities are being established.

An example of such a new city is  Songdo in Korea, a $ 40 billion project. The reporter did share her experience being there. She was not planning on living there, as it appears to be a “city without a soul”.

Again, this is an example where technology and business goals are taking precedence over human needs. But what is a city without people?

There are also many companies without a soul. The core mission of those organizations is to produce results and humans are not part of the design, they are just part of the resources. But what is a company without people?

Humans are the main users of companies and of cities. You could even call them the most important customers.
Design Thinking principles are being used to put the user at the heart of the process, of everything.

How would cities, organizations, companies, communities, houses look like when they are designed with the main user (i.e. you and me) in mind? Wouldn’t it be great if they are designed with your needs as the starting point and as the main metric (how satisfied are you with your environment)?.

Isn’t it time to stand up and take control and ownership for our basic conditions of life?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Lego Movie - a toy story for adults, about the paradigm shift

The fact that a sequel is already in the works suggests that Emmet and his pals will now be faced with a challenge far more formidable than ending the world: making a new one.

Here is a link to a detailes article: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/feb/11/lego-film-subversive-countercultural?CMP=ema_861

Who has seen it and what are your findings?

Friday, February 7, 2014

Of Butterflies and Bees

In earlier times we sat, all together under the same stars we see today, around a fire.

There’s a moment in the life of a caterpillar when it begins to eat more and more. It becomes a voracious consumer and eats many times its own weight in food. It eventually becomes bloated and immobile

The container ships groan under the Golden Gate Bridge every day, many times a day: I see them from the bus. The huge red calipers of the bridge measure their loads. 6 containers high, 16 long stacked 12 abreast, Oakland-bound and regular as clockwork. Global trade on the high seas. Box after box after box, loaded with iPhone, iPod, iPad, iStuff, motor cars, empty jars, jars of pickle, Christmas tinsel, plastic beads, plastic toys, sweat-shop jeans, rice and beans, my next pen, or pencil, my next purchase, my lifestyle, my comfort . . , , all heading for Main Street, from China . . . or Vietnam . . . or Thailand . . . or China.

Imaginal cells
You and me
With our desire to be
Whole and free
In harmony
With the whole family
Of humanity
The plants and trees
The rivers and seas
The clouds and the breeze
The birds and bees
[Please bless the bees
We need them bees]

 . . . . at that very moment inside the caterpillar there are these tiny cells waking up. The biologists call them imaginal cells.

A winter’s evening in San Francisco, rushing through unfamiliar hallways in the community center searching for the meeting that would open doors to new understandings. Redirected at Exploring Norse Mythology, straight on past AA, left at Cantonese for Beginners, eventually we find Room 23: Transforming Oppression. Here in a room of more than 40 this white male is in an unfamiliar minority, now seeing the world through the eyes of the Latino, the African-American, the Asian-American, the Native American, the queer, the transgender, the trans-sexual. Every “oops” and “ouch” shows us where we haven’t really seen each other. Every time we cross the lines of difference to overcome the experiences that have shaped our lives and to hear our sameness and our beauty. Each new understanding helps us see the differences as mere constructs, the separation unnecessary and ultimately unreal. Each new connection opens up new conversations and new worlds; it is hope for our future.

These cells keep popping up and joining together despite the best efforts of the caterpillar host to destroy them. The cells join as clusters, the clusters as strings

The host will control
Break up the whole
Divide and conquer
Extend still longer
The tired old dream
The dominant theme
The rule of nation
Man’s domination
Our separation
Unless we’re together
Come what may, together

Author Rivera Sun writes about the USA, “Revolution is on the table, once again. It is being discussed with increasing seriousness as our representative republic fails to adequately meet the populace’s needs”.

Can we imagine a revolution here, amidst our imported comfort, manufactured consent and hijacked dreams?

As the imaginal cells gather the rest of the cells collapse into a kind of nutritive soup

At the bus stop heading home, another container ship beneath the bridge, heading home too. Stacked high again. What are we exporting these days? Root beer, coca cola, baseball hats and yoga mats, cheerios and candy canes, planes, missiles, bullets and bombs, tanks, Harleys and Hummers (or do the tanks come in from China?), modified seeds and cures for diseases we didn’t used to get. Or promises of peace, freedom, democracy, and the American dream. Perhaps the boxes are empty after all.

Much is dying in our world, or collapsing; fish stocks, pristine forest, water tables, glaciers . . . . . but also economic systems, financial models, trust in government, and jobs, good honest jobs. We are in the end times, the dying days of an era, all of us together caught in the death throes of an outmoded way of being. All of us together trying to do what we think is right, and protect the children; in the sweat shop and the boardroom, on the commuter bus or the ship’s bridge, doing what we think is right and protect the children. As our world collapses around us, something new is born too, deep in our hearts; care, responsibility, compassion and camaraderie. Will enough of these precious goods arrive in time, before Sun’s revolution?

So let’s cluster
We’ll muster
Will and creativity
Greatness has waited patiently
For the day when
We’ll rise again
Speak truth to power
Now’s the hour
To fan the ember
And remember
We are who we’ve been waiting for

The imaginal cells become the genetic director of the caterpillar. The cells and strings reorganize in new unrehearsed ways.

Around the fire, faces lit by the dancing flames, a quiet settles, a calm with depth, a calm that resonates with responsibility freely chosen, that vibrates like a sworn vow. It’s a moment that dissolves the last vestiges of difference.  The fire is a comfort even though the air around is warm, a pipe is passed and the tobacco smoke carries our prayers into the star-bright New Mexico night. These sisters, these brothers have gathered here to pour their love into Mother Earth, to take on what’s theirs to do in the creation of a new way of being. Not one of us can see this future clearly, nor how we must be, but unstoppably, alchemically, forged in those flames and countless other fires around the world; a new consciousness is emerging.

One day soon that container traffic will end, we’ll export only compassion and import beauty. We’ll worry less about our differences and dance with all that connects us. The collapse will complete and the new-birth will deliver. We’ll laugh about those old, dark, caterpillar days and celebrate our triumph, the will and creativity that brought us through.

Happy ever after
Joy and laughter
Our spirits rising
Hearts re-sizing
With who we really are
On this bright star
All of us free
To live in harmony
With the whole big WE
Plus those birds and bees
[How we need those bees!!]

Soon the chrysalis becomes transparent. And in a final leap we discover the unpredictable miracle that is a butterfly.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What to do if education doesn’t meet the needs of your kids?

Many articles have been written about the industrial age approach to education. This applies to the youngest children up to students in universities. Knowledge-transfer and memorization still seem to be at the core of the curriculum.

So, what should you do as a parent, as a student, who wants to be ready for this new connection age? What should you do when you notice that you are not offered what you really need?

Here are some of these basics, which are mostly missing:
-       Creativity
-       Entrepreneurship
-       Coding/Computer Science
-       Makers of things
-       Sustainability
-       Meditation
-       Healthy food
-       Stress management
-       Self love

Every child must master cognitive empathy, and every teen must be practicing changemaking (empathy, teamwork, new leadership, changemaking).
Bill Drayton, Ashoka

These are essential areas for surviving and thriving in the 21st century.  Would you send your kid to a separate course? Would you teach/coach your children yourself? What will you do?

I am looking forward to your suggestions in the comments.

Monday, January 27, 2014

From the Industrial Age to the Connection Age

From the Industrial Age to the Connection Age
- New paradigms for living and working -
Arnold Beekes

WTF! What is happening?

It is clear that we are in a period of time, which is called ‘transition’, the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another. We are coming out of the Industrial Age (characterized by efficiency, repetition and thus standardization – building a ‘system of sameness’ in every aspect of life) into a new age, which some people call the Information Age. I am not sure about that name, Information Age, as I see information as, the enabler, rather than the purpose and intention in itself. I would like to call it the Age of Connection (characterized by creation, contribution and thus participation – building a ‘universe of uniqueness’), to be truly connected with ourselves, with others, animals and with nature.

But we are not there yet; we are really in this no man’s land, this limbo.

Some of the symptoms of this transition are:

-       High levels of stress and burn-out
-       Feelings of uncertainty, anxiety and discontentment have increased
-       1% of the people own the wealth in the world
-       Ten mega corporations control the output of almost everything you buy; from household products to pet food to jeans
-       Crises in may areas (economic, financial, climate change, poverty) are not being solved
-       Unemployment, especially for young people, is still increasing
-       Huge distrust in governments and Corporations
-       Education doesn’t meet the market’s needs
-       Discrimination (gender, age, race) is still alive

These symptoms indicate that applying the old rules of the Industrial Age to the new game of the Connection Age is not working!
Therefor we need to create,  learn and apply the rules of this new game. Instead of focusing what doesn’t work anymore, we need to build new ways of living and working, together.

So, how does this look? Here are some perspectives on the old and new paradigms of living and working.

LIVING, The Basics:

In the old society people are seen as customers, only. The essential promise of a consumer society is that satisfaction can be purchased. People have taken their identity from their capacity to purchase. Dissatisfaction is promoted as the basis for higher levels of consumption and production. The environment, nature is also being used as something, which can be ‘consumed’ in the process. A top-down, broadcasting approach is applied in most sectors of society. People are treated as passive recipients. Countries and companies are the main powers.

In the new society, people are seen as citizens, who collectively share the ownership of the wellbeing of everyone and every thing/being in society. Caring and sharing are the norm.  Each citizen is valued for his/her specific strengths and is encouraged to play an active role. The environment, nature is treated as a living organism, which is essential for our wellbeing and survival. People are treated as active contributors. Communities, cities and cyberspace are the main powers.

Paradigms - living
Industrial Age
Connection Age
The focus is on memorizing, passing tests and compliance
Lifelong learning is the norm. The focus is on developing talents and especially creativity and critical thinking.

The car is the standard, which the infrastructure is supporting.
Public transport is the norm.

Focus on illnesses and treatments. The body is seen as a separate from the mind.
Focus on prevention. A holistic view on wellbeing is exercised.
A top-down, broadcast approach. Limited access to content.

Social media is owned by the people and for the people.
Politics and companies determine the availability.

Ownership is shared between all stakeholders.
Personal Development
Outside-in living, external locus of control (‘You’). Meeting expectations.

Inside – out living, internal locus of control (‘I’). Cherishing uniqueness.

Marriage and children are the norm.


Local, in person meetings.
Global, cyber-meetings.

Limited in time, place and activity. Skills-based.

A variety, which changes frequently. Experience based.
Family-based, in suburbs. Predefined architecture.
Individual/community occupancy, in cities. Custom –built.
The main goal is to get as much as possible.
A means to an end. Wellbeing and happiness are the goals.
Relations are standardized and commoditized.

Relations are valued and individualized.
Volunteering is done after 5pm or retirement.
A social purpose is integrated in most activities.
Spiritual Development
A separate and private activity. Body-consciousness
A driving force in all activities. Soul-consciousness.
Industrialized, globalized, non-organic, no sustainable processes.

Personalized, localized, organic, and sustainable.
A limitless resource.
A limited, force of life.
Centrally provided. Fossil fuels – based.
De-centralized production of renewable energy.
For entertainment and for some people, a health/relaxation activity
An integral part of health and stress- management.

WORKING, The Basics:

In the old economy, people are used, like parts in a machine, which should also generate a ROI. The name ‘Human Resources’ illustrates this. The focus is on repetitive execution and implementation, while increasing efficiency and minimizing risks and faults. Standardization (a ‘system of sameness’) is the main tool to accomplish this. The leaders determine what the employees should do. The creative powers of employees are not appreciated.  The environment is utilized, like any other resource. Sustainability is hardly integrated in pricing and supply-chain policies.
The employees are either experts or managers., within a certain domain/silo. Careers are the norm, from the start until retirement.

In the new economy, people are valued for their thinking powers and unique contributions. The name ‘Partners’ will be extended to all stakeholders, including (former) employees. The focus is on fulfilling the individual and collective purpose of the organization, while fully using the creativity and ingenuity of all people. A custom approach (appreciating a ‘universe of uniqueness’) both towards people and processes, is the norm. Learning from failures is understood to be an inherent part of learning. Creativity and innovation are mainstream activities. The environment is a precious and limited resource. Sustainability is fully integrated in all business practices.
The partners are experts, generalists and/or intrapreneurs, across all domains. Most work is project-based and has no geographical limitation.

Paradigms - working
Industrial Age
Connection Age
To make as much profit as possible
There is meaning, a purpose in the organization and in the work itself

Work Definition
Work is performance only; work equals doing
Work is performance, learning and enjoyment; Work equals doing and being

Managers are more valuable than employees
Everyone’s specialties are valuable
Managers have more experience and knowhow than  employees

Knowledge is more important than position
Management Style
Managers  give commands to employees on what, when and how to accomplish goals. Managers control employees

Managers coach their employees  as and when asked for. Employees determine how they will reach their goals. Employees are given responsibility and trust.
All employees have the same needs and behave in the same manner

Employees have different needs, especially per generation

Product out. Transaction focused
Needs driven. Life time value
Managers determine what needs to be changed and drive change top down

There is a collective ownership and understanding of change

Performance Measurement
Managers measure the performance of employees; focus is on weaknesses and presence
Managers, team members and peers measure the performance of employees; focus is on strengths and merit

People are only interested in their salary

Employees want more than a great salary.  They are interested in having a more fulfilled life, less stress, and more decision-making authority within their job
Mainly financial; profit and shareholder value
People, planet, profit and stakeholder value
This is so crucial, that all has to be done inhouse
This critical activity needs external resources as well
Everyone should behave in the same way according to the culture

There is respect for each other’s difference. Ethics is the cornerstone.
People are hired, based upon past job experience and fit into current job description
People are hired, based upon organizational and personal match of mission/vision/values, what their passion is and how they can contribute to organizational goals.
The standard workplace is defined by managers
Employees define/design their own workplace
Working Hours
9-5, 40 hours per week, on-site
Defined by employees, based upon goals achievement, on-site or remote/mobile
Procedures are mandatory
There are clear ‘rules of engagement’, rule 1= use your common sense
You have to be busy continuously
There is enough time for fun and relaxing, which generates new ideas as well
There is limited room for professional development
If people grow (professionally and personally), the business grows
You grow within a functional silo
You grow based upon results and added value
Job Titles
You work according to your job description
You work according to your (various) roles and goals
Info is distributed according to your position
Info is distributed according to your needs
After you are 65 years old

When you want to use the funds
Your appearance should be in line with company rules
Your appearance is in line with your personal preferences.

And now?

Once, we know that we are in this transition; it is key to focus all our talents, strengths and values to create a new society, which is aligned with the basics of the Connection Age.
The main place to start is to connect with likeminded people in your (local and global) community, and to have dialogues  (online and in real life - IRL) about these new paradigms of living and working!!

The Connection Age Manifesto (see below) can serve as a guideline for this conversation.

“Newness is needed, everywhere! Past performance is no guarantee of future returns.”
Arnold Beekes

“The Connection Age Manifesto"
-21st century living and working-

ü  I love myself first and foremost. Then I also love others, animals and nature. We are connected, always.
ü  I continuously develop my strengths and I only see strengths in others.
ü  Lifelong learning is the essential food for my brain and for my contribution to the wellbeing of society.
ü  I can change every aspect of myself, if I want to do that. Other people can choose to change themselves.
ü  I am a traveller in the journey of my life, so everything and everyone is dynamic. My passions, my interests, and my strengths continuously change.
ü  I am responsible for my own health and happiness.
ü  I take care of the earth. Sustainability is integrated in every aspect of my life.
ü  I have a solutions-mindset: I actively contribute to a caring community. Creativity is my birthright.

ü  I work where my passion, my strengths and the market’s needs, meet.
ü  Generalists connect the dots, whereas specialists contribute their parts of the solution.
ü  Collaboration makes competition obsolete.
ü  Work always involves caring for others, animals and nature.
ü  Organizations and technology are facilitating the blossoming of the contributing individuals.
ü  Everyone is encouraged to participate. Everyone is unique and contributes, accordingly.
ü  Work is fulfilling and rewarding, so I only retire if I want to.
ü  My work has a positive impact, anywhere, anytime - as we are always connected.