Archive for June, 2012

Simplify the Communication, Not the Architecture

Have you encountered this also in your daily interactions with others? I mean the allmost automatic or intuitive Human reaction to complex problems is that they most of the time try to simplify complex cases by stripping things.  Things that might at first hindsight be non-essential but at second hindsight are very essential.

Suppose you present a complex picture like the exploded view of the motor shown in the picture, the standard reaction can be to leave out details so people can have a better overview. This is where it can go wrong. If people (not you and me but all the others ofcourse) abstract complex things without knowing the essentials of the complexity, they might make the wrong (or sometimes even desastrous) decision. So the key to abstraction is that you translate a certain given complexity to a simpler viewpoint WITHOUT leaving out the essential aspects. In the example case, the abstracted picture could be a motorcycle where the exploded view of the motor is now merely an integral part of the total concept. But the details inside are still essential. And thus you cannot leave them out. Even if you think they are too complex or too costly or whatever.

I think Einstein got it right when he stated: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler”.  Map this to the exploded view of the engine and you know what I mean. So we should keep the complexity, not fight it, but abstract it only on communication level, not on architectural level! And that’s where communication skills can come in handy: if you can’t explain it to your grandmother or to your children, you should abstract your viewpoints, but not the architectural essentials! Leave the multi-layer approach (figure inspired by a Wikipedia article) intact! Happy decomplexing!


Gearing Up The Social Innovation Cycle: From Learn to Un-Learn to Re-Learn

One could state that Humanity is in dire need of switching the Social Innovation Cycle into the 2nd gear: Un-Learn. Ofcourse there is a lot of good stuff around that we as humans collectively have invented which is there for keeps. But we (not you and me but all the others ofcourse) also have made some serious flaws here and there, given all crises we’re in.

So I propose we switch to 2nd gear, start un-learning many of the things we have got used to and forgot te critically un-learn. We need to discuss the undiscussables and not be afraid to ask the “why” questions often and routinely.

From that 2nd gear, it’s very easy to switch to the 3rd gear: Re-Learn. And it is this 3rd gear that might just help us transform into a new Golden Age, and who wouldn’t want that? And while running 3rd gear, we will have routinely become used to rethink, relearn and resist often, so we constantly refresh our knowledge and not re-use it dogmatically. I wish all of you Happy Gearshifting!

A New Golden Age Needs More Out-of-the-Box Thinkers

The title for this blog was waiting in my blog inspiration list to get it’s story attached, but when I started drafting, I experienced writer’s block. So I took a little inspiration by Googling on “Golden Age” and “Out-of-the-box thinkers” and found some text fragments that drew my attention:  “we are entering a new golden age, where machines will do all of our work”.  Suppose this statement is true, and most work is indeed done by machines, then we could spend our daily available hours also for other things. For example to better take care of our world (spending time inventing real sustainable solutions, for example concepts like free energy), spending more time helping each other (a servant society) and spending more time taking care of ourselves (recreate, doing sports etc.). But we would really need more out-of-the-box thinkers to help us transform into such a society.

We need out-of-the-box-thinkers that can envision fresh new ideas and concepts, for example the concept that reducing the average working week hours could be part of the solution for solving many of our current crises. But on the other hand if we stick to letting inside-the-box thinkers control the way our society evolves, than the chances of really transforming to a new golden age will diminish. Why is that? I think it’s because of fear of changing the well-known context to an unknown context. Fear blocks the inside-the-box-thinkers.

In-the-box thinkers find it difficult to recognize the quality of an idea. An idea is an idea. A solution is a solution. In fact, they can be quite pigheaded when it comes to valuing an idea. They rarely invest time to turn a mediocre solution into a great solution. More importantly, in-the-box thinkers are skillful at killing ideas. They are masters of the creativity killer attitude such as “that’ll never work” or “it’s too risky.” The best in-the-box thinkers are unaware that they drain the enthusiasm and passion of innovative thinkers while they kill their innovative ideas. They also believe that every problem needs only one solution; therefore, finding more than one possible solution is a waste of time. They often say, “There is no time for creative solutions. We just need THE solution.”

So I really wish our society many new outside-the-box-thinkers that help us solve all of our crises and really help us transform to a new Golden Age. Outside-the-box-thinkers that help inside-the-box-thinkers conquer their fears of change. It can be done. If we all want to. Happy Golden Age hunting!

E2E Strategy Part II – Factoring In Free Will

Recently I wrote about Egosystem to Ecosystem transformations (E2E). A few days later I stumbled upon several articles that got me thinking again about transformations. The articles I am referring are about topics like transition management and intervening in a system. Despite all existing intervention strategies, game changing rules, tips & tricks, change processes, change management techniques, methodologies, laws, principles and so forth, I realized all of these lack one crucial prerequisite: they don’t factor in the Universal Law of Free Will!

Every person on earth has a Free Will with only one exception: there cannot be a Free Will to disobeying the Law of Free Will. It’s kind of like a contradictio in terminis. But that’s not what’s important in this story. What’s important is that you realize you allways have a free will to follow whatever others (or even you yourself) have figured out you should do. They (not you and me but all the others ofcourse) have designed a strategy to change your way of working. They have developed a methodology that you should follow. They have delared a law that you must obey. They have drafted principles so you can apply them. But since you are governed by the Universal Law of Free Will, in the end it’s allways up to you to follow what others have figured out for you. This gives you tremendous power, doesn’t it?

What’s the crucial part in this story? It’s knowledge. The more knowledge you have yourself, the better you can be your own judge. So that you can use the statement from the picture: “With Knowledge, Man May Judge Himself…”.  And if we were all more knowledgeable, we would need less laws, strategies, principles, methodologies, procedures and so on. Happy Knowledge Hunting!

From Parttime to Partytime

Being part of something can be fun, isn’t it? It seems we (not you and me but all the others ofcourse) divide ourselves into parts all the time. We are full-time humans with part-time roles like man or woman, husband, loving husband, wife, inhabitant, soloist, civilian, tourist, employee, cardriver, scholar, bicycle driver, swimmer, holiday enjoyer, traveller, eater, drinker, fitnesser, weightwatcher, expert, sleeper, pet lover, bookreader, music listener, movie watcher, guitarplayer, taxpayer, shopper, philosopher, creator, co-creator, collegue, student, puzzler, player, swimmer, partyanimal, artist, participant, blogwriter etc.

Ofcourse this list is not exhaustive, it’s just to give an idea into how many parts (roles) we human beings can divide ourselves. But not all of these parts are fun. For example taxpayer. Or we accept the non-fun parts just because we have got used to it. Or because we think or assume there are no alternatives.

Now how could we transform our society so that most of the (partial) roles we humans play are fun, and the ones we all believe are not fun, get minimized? Would that be possible?  I believe it can be done! If we really wanted to, we could “redesign” society so that most of the things we do (roles we play) together as a society are fun or feel good or are nice. Only because we want it to. Because we think it can be done. Because we want to have a nice world. Because we want to have a new Golden Age. Therefore we maybe need to transform from part-time thinking to party-time thinking. Embrace paradigm changes. Happy party-time hunting!

E2E Strategy – From Ego to Eco

This blog was inspired by Venessa’s tweet: “From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies“.  It got me thinking of how strategy schools seem to work. Most strategy schools focus on achieving some strategic intent, for example the generic value disciplines of Tracey & Wiersema guide us to achieve either  operational excellence or product leadership or customer intimacy or maybe even a mix. Or Porter’s (outdated?) generic strategies are designed to achieve either cost leadership, differentation or focus. Or what about Google’s Creatigy? And the list can go on. Most of these are Red Ocean strategies, deliberately designed to support the ego: I Win, You Loose (to bad for you…).

But as far as my knowledge goes in this area, we don’t yet have a strategy school that is designed to helps us transform from one equilibrium to another. Helping us move from a relative stable situation, via a relative unstable situation into a relative new stable situation. Help us go through a transition. And since we are in a worldwide state of transitions, I think we are in desperate need for transformation type strategies.

For example transformational strategies that help us transform from egosystem driven strategies, which currently are dominating our world, to ecosystem strategies which are geared towards creating a true better world. Could we invent such a transformation strategy that guides us through the transition from egosystem to ecosystem? An E2E strategy? Imagine such an E2E strategy could help us into a new Golden Age! That would be wonderful! So I wish you and me and all the others Happy E2E hunting!

Strange Habits (And What To Do About It)

We human beings (not you and me, but all the others ofcourse) have some really Strange Habits. We tend to live our lives the way others have invented it for us. We take it for granted. We don’t discuss it. Our parents teach us what they think we should know to grow up. Our schools teach us what they think we should know to be ready for a societal task. Our employers tell us how to do our jobs. Our governments tell us how to live together. And this list goes on.

We suffer from societal “learned helplessness” obesitas. But what would happen if many of us adopted for example Steve Jobs’s vision (which I really love)? Would we really be able to stop living the results of other people’s thinking? Stop being trapped by our own invented dogma’s?

Or what if we took this part of the Rebel’s Manifesto: “Care not of the opinion of others. They are based on their own thoughts and fears.” for serious? Or what if we really started living according to the Holstee Manifesto? (see the youtube) 

Giving all the above, I honestly believe we need to challenge some of our own invented dogma’s. And learn how to let go of those dogma’s that hinder true societal innovation. So we can really transform the world into a better place and get rid of our crises. Obtain new, better values for society. Happy Strange Habit Fighting!

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