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:
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:

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.