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Archive for the ‘Corporate Rebels’ Category

Corporate Rebels United is a movement uniting innovation- and disruption-catalysts and instigators worldwide to ensure that true change happens virally from deep within the fabric of our organisations.

rebels mathias 1

The organisations we have in mind can be any size/form of organisation (Fortune 500 company, SME, NGO, non-profit, Network, Peer-to-Peer, Cell, System, Context) and we aim to be truly cross industry (industrial, tech, health, government, financial, pharmaceuticals,  educational, ….)

 

The Only Rule Is That There Are No Rules

 

We Trust That You Are REsponsible

 

We don’t do screening or certification of our activists: our movement is designed by and for trust in the first place. We welcome any inspired individual from any organisation that is subscribing to our manifesto and is willing to implement the 20 principles of our movement in the way that makes most sense in their individual and group context:

  • If You are a principal champion of a program or cause or action
  • If You do not wait for permission to lead, innovate, strategize
  • If You are Responsible, Do what is right
  • If You aim for Greatness, Healthy Fire, Worthiness
  • If You name things others don’t see yet
  • If You point to new horizons
  • If without You, the storyline never changes

Then Corporate Rebels United is something for You!

When we started in 2012 with Corporate Rebels United, we had no idea that 2 years later we would be a group of +/- 800 protagonists/instigators, from San-Francisco to New-Zealand and anything in between, truly cross-industry. Our web presence was sober: with the help of Mathias, we created a super simple one-page-HTML site with our Manifesto, and at the bottom of that page a simple “JOIN” button.

Manifesto Rebels Pic

The Manifesto (PDF available on the new site)

We also created a Facebook group, a Google+ Community, a LinkedIn Group and a Twitter account (@corprebels). Every day, one or more people joined, and shared suggestions. And we got some cool speaking opportunities at TEDx events and in some corporate environments.

End 2013, i got a mail from Nadja Petranovskaja from Hamburg asking:

 

“Are we going to DO something here?”

 

Indeed, although several folks already had set up a Local Chapter, and there was some good sharing going on in the online communities, i agreed with Nadja that we wanted to be more actionable. We wanted to be more than just another echo chamber of the Internet.

We connected via Skype, and had several hack sessions to prepare our action plan for 2014. As we have a great group of silent advisors, i suggested to Nadja that we’d have a call with them to do some sound boarding of our initial ideas. Not really to my surprise, that call ended up as a personal coaching call for myself. It was a period where i felt exhausted, mentally and physically tired. Anyway, the advice i got was to first create clarity for myself before messing around with the Corporate Rebels United movement.

I took some time off (a sort of mini-sabbatical), slowed myself down, did almost nothing, except reading a lot, taking my bicycle when sun was out, trying to stick to the plan of not having a plan. I was taking lots of notes and keeping some sort of journal – I think i have enough material for 50-60 blog posts or maybe a book, and will start gradually releasing the new material in the coming weeks/months.

In the meantime, Nadja and myself kept exchanging ideas, themes and action plans. Then, a couple of weeks ago, i decided to walk my talk, booked a cheap flight to Hamburg, and spent a hacking day with Nadja to lay the foundation for our new website and action plan. Some time before, i had asked several people for help with a basic WordPress site, but nobody really delivered. In Hamburg, we just started working on it, did some initial white-boarding and post-it hacking, and Nadja teached me some WordPress basics. In about half a day, we had our site up and running with some basic content, and Nadja had produced a nice PDF version of our Manifesto, a video illustration our first Hack, and an fantastic foldable flyer on our “I am Responsible” theme for 2014.

IMG_3567

Nadja working on the video for Hack#1

It was awesome. I went back home – completely energised – and worked out some details, created more content, polished a bit, and… here it is, the brand new site of Corporate Rebels United.

We still want to keep it relatively basic: our website is a quite straightforward WordPress site. It allows for basic collaboration where you can comment on every page and post. We added some forms to post ideas and artwork. Of course we are aware that more powerful collaboration tools exist such as Jive, Microsoft’s Yammer, Salesforce’s Chatter, SocialCast, Lithium, SocialText and many other Wiki environments. But before we move to one of those Rolls-Royces, we first want to test the appetite and needs of the Corporate Rebels as we go. In the meantime, we suggest we default to a couple of de-facto standards for online collaboration, without full integration within our website (See the tools section on our new site).

We hope that the new environment will encourages you to actually DO something.

And we made some suggestions:

  • Celebrations for the Corporate Rebel of the month
  • Helpers: there is a lot of creative power in the movement, so we decided to outsource some of the work for visual artists, creatives, PR people, etc
  • Hacks: not the heavy lifting work, but some small tips, tricks and practices to help you coming out of your protective shell, and make more powerful connections within and across your organisations.
  • Value Practices: we invite all Corporate Rebels to start forming small teams (“pods” as Dave Gray would say) to hack out Practices for Value Creation that can be shared inside and outside of our community as sources of inspiration, practice, and reflection.

Our main theme for 2014 is “I am Responsible”

I am responsible

We’d like to encourage you to be responsible human beings. Being a Corporate Rebel is NOT about kicking and screaming around like crazy. It is about daring to be great, about daring to step forward, about taking personal leadership.

It is about being responsible and actionable. Corporate Rebels are responsible for:

  • Themselves: their mental and physical well-being
  • The teams they belong to:
  • The organisations these teams belong to;
  • The ecosystems these organisations belong to;
  • The whole world these ecosystems belong to

Since the start we loved the idea of being a actionable group of people, not just a think-tank or an echo-chamber of the internet. With the new website, we try to create some conditions to enable online group collaboration, and to suggest some initiatives where everybody can apply his/her talents for the great cause for our movement: to make of our organisations places where people come alive!

Corporate Rebels United is a movement. It’s a culture, emerging from some specific behaviors. It’s a tribe of enthusiastic protagonists hungry for change. Positive change. Not an anarchist tribe, but a tribe of people who care for the companies they work for and want them to succeed in the 21st century of hyper-connectivity. Corporate Rebels United soul is about people taking agency, people stepping forward and taking responsibility, self-empowering themselves.

Corporate Rebels United is deeply value and purpose driven. We have an ambition for progress, looking forward. We fight mediocrity, and applaud critical thinking.

We invite you to join us and be part of our challenging journey.

Rebelliously Yours,

Petervan

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Knock, knock, it’s 2014, we are more than one decade in the 21st century, and it’s time to think about transforming our organisations into fast moving feedback movements. A couple of days ago, Rogier Noort (@RogierNoort) interviewed me via mail about my upcoming talk at the Enterprise 2.0 Summit 2014 conference in Paris on 10-12 February 2014. You can find the full interview here (and this post has some extracts from it), but I wanted to expand a little bit on the objective and concept of the 21st Century Organization that I mentioned in that interview.

Knife-Painting-by-Francoise-Nielly

Image credit: Knife Painting by Françoise Niles

It’s the sort of organization we try to fight for with Corporate Rebels United (www.corporaterebelsunited.com). We have had many discussions about the “brand” of Corporate Rebels United. Maybe we’ll change it. The words “corporate” and “rebel” need probably some update or at least some clarification. The only thing that is probably still spot-on is the word “United”. The word “Corporate” is limiting, as it gives the impression that we are “only” targeting big Fortune 500 type of companies. On the contrary, we aim to inspire and activate anybody that is working in any type of organization, networks of people, cells, companies, or ecosystems. The word “Rebel” is probably not the right word either, but as I have said many times, I wanted to keep it as it has something “sharp” to it. We are people taking agency, empowering ourselves, not letting ourselves empowered by others; we are activists and do-ers. Nilofer Merchant nailed it in her 2011 HBR post, we she used the term “protagonists”.

To rebel is to push against something. To lead is to advocate for an idea. To rebel is to say “heck no.” To lead is to say “we will.” To rebel is to deny the authority of others. To lead is to invoke your own authority. A protagonist is a principal champion of a cause or program or action. The protagonist does not wait for permission to lead, innovate, or strategize. They do what is right for the firm, without regard to status. Their goal is to do what’s good for the whole. Protagonists help organizations become more competitive. After all, the word compete comes from the Latin com petter, which means “to seek together.” Their intent is to not to antagonize, but to drive towards something. Protagonists are willing to name things others don’t yet see; they point to new horizons. Without them, the storyline never changes.”

In essence it’s about leveraging the power and energy of people who act from their true selves. Nilofer calls that “Onlyness”: “In this era — the social era — the nugget of value creation starts with a connected human. We call this many things today: a founder, an entrepreneur, an innovator, an intrapreneur… whatever the name, Onlyness is *central* (no longer a nice-to-have) to what gets created. Until you celebrate your own ‘vision of the world’, you’ll be missing out (and so will the rest of the world). Onlyness is one of the 11 rules for the Social Era rules.”

The soul of Corporate Rebels United is indeed about a tribe of enthusiastic protagonists hungry for change. Positive change. Not an anarchist tribe, but a tribe of people who care for the companies they work for and want them to succeed in the 21st century of hyper-connectivity. We are deeply value and purpose driven. We have an ambition for progress, looking forward. We fight mediocrity, and applaud critical thinking. We want to give the best of ourselves. For doing good. For creating human connections between people. For letting people discover their hidden talents and powers. For taking people on a path of discovery, individual and collective relevance. We want everybody in the company and industry to think, to be and act responsible to increase value and wealth creation. Moving from ego-systems and creating eco-systems filled with meaning. We hope we can be a tribe/swarm for leading by being. To quote Keith Yamashita from SY Partners:

“Every leader, at some point in their career, decides whether or not to do the hard work of pursuing greatness. It’s a choice that’s not about satisfying their ego, but about holding themselves and their ambitions to a more enlightened standard of leadership. And it requires the worthy work of showing up as their best self every day, and making a lasting positive impact on their people, teams, customers—even society.”

We love and care for the organizations and networks that we work for and we want them to succeed. We want to reboot our corporate and organizational culture to install a 21st century, digitally native, networked and humanistic version, to accelerate positive viral change from deep within the fabric of our organizations, and to reclaim our passion for meaningful work. The ultimate goal is to find, articulate the drivers and values of “a modern, 21st century organization” and to live, promote, and breathe them every day in our own organization and networks.

But what does such a 21st century organization look like? In my research, I suddenly realized that it is the network dynamics that are fundamental to all the changes at speed and scale we witness. I took back the 2002 (!) book of Albert-Laszlo Barabasi “Linked: The New Science of Networks” (Amazon Associates Link), and started re-reading it with today’s perspective. As many of you know, I read a lot, and i am usually in many books at the same time. So it happened, that I switched to another book that resonates very strong with me: “Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason and the Gap Between Us and Them” (Amazon Associates Link) by Joshua Greene.

BarabaseiMoral Tribes

Barabasi writes:

  • “Companies, firms, corporations, financial institutions, governments, and all potential economic players are the nodes. Links quantify various interactions between these institutions, involving purchases and sales, joint research and marketing projects, and so forth. The weight of the links captures the value of the transaction, and the direction points from the provider to the receiver. The structure and evolution of this weighted and directed network determine the outcome of all macroeconomic”
  • “in markets the standard strategy is to drive the hardest possible bargain on the immediate exchange. In networks, the preferred option is often creating indebtedness and reliance over the long haul.
  • “A me attitude, where the company’s immediate financial balance is the only factor, limits network thinking. Not understanding how the actions of one node affect other nodes easily cripples whole segments of the network”
  • “A scale-free network is a web without a spider. In the absence of a spider, there is no meticulous design behind these networks either. Real networks are self-organized.”

Moral Tribes is based on the premise that:

  • “We need a kind of thinking that enables groups with conflicting moralities to live together and prosper. In other words, we need a metamorality
  • “We need a moral system that can resolve disagreements among groups with different moral ideals, just as ordinary, first-order morality resolves disagreements among individuals with different selfish interests to think in new and uncomfortable ways.”
  • “Cooperation between groups is thwarted by tribalism (group-level selfishness), disagreements over the proper terms of cooperation (individualism or collectivism?), commitments to local “proper nouns” (leaders, gods, holy books), a biased sense of fairness, and a biased perception of the facts.”

Now we can do our magic trick of mixing and matching and try to do some sensemaking out of this ;-) These network- and moral tribe effects fundamentally change all aspects of what we understand by a company:

  • Organizational structures: from hierarchies to wirearchies
  • Leadership: holding ourselves to a more enlightened standard of leadership, and evolve to leadingship (see many other post on leadingship on my blog)
  • People motivation: from extrinsic to intrinsic motivators
  • Competitiveness: redefine from winner takes it all to it’s Latin origin of “com petire” which means “to seek together”
  • Speed, scale and quality of innovation with different capabilities on social, computational and design dimensions. Netflix deploys software code every 2 minutes (!). Amazon answer customer response times are down to 9 seconds on average (during Xmass peak period !). How does one create ultra fast innovation feedback loops in such high velocity execution  environment.
  • Processes: from Gate-keeping to Gate-Opening, with ultra fast iterations and ultra fast feedback loops with customers.
  • Decision making: moving away from pure ROI and NVP based models into social decision making based on heuristics, narrative, probabilistic analysis of disruption and risk possibility analysis (a big shout here to the thinking of Haydn Shaughnessy), and all that again ultra fast, in real-time.
  • Value creation: from benefiting “only” the shareholders, towards value creation for all stakeholders. We have to start thinking in terms of ecosystems “system-innovation”, and the impact of our actions on the society at large and our long term sustainability
  • The role of the CxO functions: from “officers” to “enablers”. What if the CFO could reinvent herself into the “Chief Innovation Enabler” in stead of the budget gatekeeper?

fairburn-3

Image Credit: Pen Drawing on map by Ed Fairburn

As mentioned in the Enterprise 2.0 interview, there are many challenges along this journey. Let me recap them once more for you:

  • The challenge is – whether we like it or not – that organizational anti-bodies exist and will always exist; they will always resist change, and we have to be aware of this, and still keep on fighting.
  • The challenge is to move beyond some myths of change that sound good in a manifesto, but that have little or no effect in actual viral change at scale in organizations.
  • The challenge is to act like a real swarm, like a virus that “infects” the organization at scale from deep within its own fabric.
  • The challenge is to “activate” our people into doing, to create a do-ocracy.
  • The challenge is to optimize the swarm for speed, trust and scalability between idea and action.
  • The challenge is to make sure that everybody feels included.
  • The challenge is to maintain one value set and one value base.
  • The challenge is to be respectful.
  • The challenge is to be relentless and persistent.
  • The challenge is to remain kind.
  • The challenge is to have the courage to stand for your true self, every day again.
  • The challenge is to make all the above economically relevant, if we want to have the attention of the executives of our organizations

My hope is to find allies to help us in spreading the virus of the 21st Century organization. I don’t know what form that may take; maybe a collective of savants that can coach organizations on this path? Something else? Let me know. My hope is that as a collective we can move beyond the abstraction level of social, organizational, and transformative concepts, ideas and science. I’d love to see that we reach a tipping point where we pay more attention for the humanistic, self-driving and self-motivating energies of human beings, where being is our basis and reference point for leading why and what and how we shake the tree of organizational culture and practices.

As David Gelernter recently said: “A world that is intimidated by science and bored sick with cynical, empty “postmodernism” desperately needs a new subjectivist, humanist, individualist worldview now—not just scattered protests but a growing movement, a cry from the heart.”

Looking forward to your feedback, contributions and ideas for alliances to make this happen.

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Futurist and past Innotribe member, Heather Schlegel aka @heathervescent, has announced an ambitious project: The Future of Money TV Series. Happy to offer her a guest post on my Petervan blog. We had great times together, and she is worth your attention.
 
While working with Innotribe, Heather created 3 scenario films and 2 documentaries: http://www.youtube.com/user/innotribefilms. Happy to let Heather explain herself what she is up to with this new project:
FoM Heather

Heather: “While working for Innotribe, I was struck by the impact my films had on people. When I showed them at SXSW and other conferences, people would come up to me afterwards and tell me how the visions in my films changed their perspective. Over and over I saw people’s ideas about the future change after watching my films. It’s this response that inspired me to develop a TV series around the future of money.

 

The Future of Money TV Series explores the evolution of money by interviewing experts in financial innovation and showing futuristic reenactments of plausible scenarios based on facts and theories. I developed the TV series to share positive visions with a global audience to increase optimism about the future.

 

An international distributor green lit the project in May and has agreed to distribute the series internationally IF I can raise $35K to shoot the expert interviews. To raise the money, I launched a Kickstarter. I need your support to make it happen. I’ve spent years of love, sweat and tear on this project. Please back it.

 

This is her first Kickstarter and while it’s off to an excellent start – raising $12,000 of her $35,000 goal – your support is critical.

 

Watch the teaser and back the project – any level helps:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/heathervescent/future-of-money-tv-series

 

It’s been covered on Laughing Squid: http://laughingsquid.com/future-of-money-a-docu-series-that-explores-the-positive-forces-in-the-evolution-of-money/

 

Breaking Banks: http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/73153/and-the-next-big-thing-is

 

Houston Futures: http://www.houstonforesight.org/?p=3315

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When_the_stars_align_LG

Some days, stars are perfectly aligned, and sudden insights create these wonderful aha-experiences. A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting together with Philippe Coullomb and Charles Collingwood-boots, co-founders of www.wheretofromhere.asia and initiators of the Sydney chapter of Corporate Rebels United.

They shared their work about “Patches and Nodes”, a G+ Community of change agents determined to nurture and drive systemic transformation in Asia Pacific.

We aim to inspire inclusive transformation by facilitating the emergence of new models for value creation, new mindsets for doing business, and new behaviors for the workplace”

They had prepared a deck (the same one they used for the Rebel Jam on 30-31 May 2013 > WebEx recording here). The key slide in there is the following:

system of systems

It’s a fantastic slide that helps us understand that big change in systems requires “systemic innovation” and a sort “graph thinking”. The circle with the colored dots represents your company. Within that company, different silos work together in some form or – in some cases – not at all.

But companies do not operate in isolation. They are part of a system, and when other actors in the system have counterproductive behavior, which may neutralize completely the efforts you are doing in your own box.

My epiphany happened, when I started looking at this drawing not as a “flat” 2D map, but as something 3-dimensional, like a galaxy of stars, where there is no middle. Every point in the graph is the starting point of a journey.

It suddenly reminded me of the great graph thinking we had done during the Digital Asset Grid (DAG) project. It revived the thinking of “We are all nodes in the Grid”.

The lens of the DAG and the lens of Patches and Nodes started to align. Focal lenses getting aligned, like stars line up in a constellation.

Starting to form “formations” and “digital maps”,

almost like network cartography

Where had I heard this sort of things before? Oh yes, it was during our work on “Network Insights”, where Kimmo Soramäki from www.fna.fi showed us another type of network cartography for financial network analytics.

fna graps

Like in the demo on the FNA site, I imagined how I could zoom in and out of the graph, to get deeper insights and greater levels of detail, like a spiral crawling itself through richer and more complete quality experiences and ambitions. The spiral reminded me of myself as a 7 year old – the same age as my daughter now – drawing of spirals on the chalkboard of my class,…

a form of creativity

that was forbidden

and consequently punished 

swirl

And from a far distant memory, the inspiration from Don Becks “Spiral Dynamics” came back into focus.

spiral dynamics

From the spiral swirl on the chalkboard, via the spiral zooms into 3D graphs, it suddenly felt that I was where I always was meant to be. Not in a fatalistic way, but as a natural evolution and maturing during the different steps of my life.

Spiral Networks, Spiral Dynamics, and Dynamic Fluid Systems were all terms that made me realize that change programs don’t change anything substantial unless it systems change.

With thanks to Fabian Tilmant (@fabnet_be) for pointing me to this video on The Fibonacci Spiral in the song Lateralus by Tool

I had evolved, spiraled out…

…from the polarizing, poor and static discussions of black vs. white into something that felt more like a trajectory, from passively undergoing change to influencing and (co)-creating my own future. I had realized that we needed quality time for reflecting and – like a surfer – scanning coming waves of change and pick the best ones for a great ride. I had realized that to survive in this perpetual crisis, we needed quality time for scenario thinking, where it is about imagining some – not necessarily all – possible futures, hypothesizing, and defining what to do if those futures would happen.

The “Patches and Nodes” drawing suddenly started to make a lot of sense, not only as a way to solve ad-hoc problems in the system, but as a way of making viral change happen system wide and pro-actively, powered by the group pressure of credible and influential system partners.

All sorts of concepts started to spread themselves like viruses through my brain:

Could this be a way

to propel us forward

into a state of collective progress and prosperity?

What if we could seed “activism” into the patches and nodes, a different type of “creators of change”, from solvers of problems and answering known questions to creating a new reality/framework for deep system value creation? Could it lead to “Spiral Network Activists” like agents in “Systems of Endearment”?

Suddenly Corporate Rebels took a whole new dimension of System Rebels, Change agents for society, for systems, System Activists, a powerful group of “Unreasonable people”, together stronger than alone, like the components of Bucky’s geodesic domes.

“How can we catalyse a number of tangible and distinct but yet consistent and convergent initiatives across the board to initiate a self-reinforcing movement?”

book unreasonable

I double-checked the “The power of unreasonable people” by Jon Elkington (Amazon Associated Link), and I noticed that that other Corporate Rebel – Laurent Ledoux – had a summary slide of Jon’s “unreasonable people” in his Rebel Jam talk.

unreasonable copy

But I wanted to go further than trying to measure the un-measurable, and go on a quest of what is worth measuring, measuring that which makes life worthwhile. Like Robert Kennedy 40 years go in his speech about the GDP, that does measure everything but what makes life worthwhile.

To create sustainable deep system change like in Nike’s Launch2020 initiative, using my advocacy and advancement of ideas toward a state of prosperity.

I suddenly realized we could use this model as a way to create deep viral behavior change, not only on companies, but also in systems of patches and nodes.

cultural dynamics

Where we go from spiral dynamics to cultural dynamics, as so magically described in the milestone post about Consumer Activism by Gunter Sonnenfeld (@goonth), describing new types of movements, archetypes, cohorts, and industries. Where Jennifer Sertl added this wonderful dimension of “frequencies” to the mix of nodes on the grid, where each of us is liberated to sing their own song, in our own frequency and at our own rhythm,

to make reverb and resonate the system at large

And where the pleasure comes from pure sharing of your mind-spins, without wanting to make a statement. A form of digital poetry just for the pleasure of play of words; and like in “Mavericks in a corporate world”, finding pleasure in just being human and developing and nurturing the capability to be touched by beauty, a picture, by mastery and harmony; developing a richer palette of responses, judgment, choice and appreciation. And to accept and enjoy that we are incurable romantics, and act from that true self.

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On 6 June 2013, I presented “Open Innovation Systems – Maverick Ventures in a Corporate World” during the Amplify Festival in Sydney. The Livestream of the talk is available here:

livestream

 

This blog post is documenting the genesis of that talk, therefore not really or only a transcript, but passing the same messages through the medium of writing rather than speaking, hopefully even improving the clarity of purpose and intention of the talk.

 

scribe

Thanks to @cjdelling for this wonderful scribe, made live during the talk.

There were many triggers for this talk, but the two most important ones were Douglas Rushkoff’s latest book “Present Shock” (Amazon Associates Link) – a book that left a deep impression on me – and a conversation with Haydn Shaughnessy, that I already somewhat documented in my blog post “The Bridge”

digital-human

Rushkoff hits the nail when he says “Time Divides” and “Time is digital in character”. Just try to sense the different human experience when looking at 15 seconds of digital time vs. 15 sec on of analog time. In the analog world, there is flow, continuity, and formation. But we have started to accept a new normal where we have to make choices between extremes: black/white, On/Off, Digital/Human, etc. When being presented with the options left/right, we forget we can also go up and down.

“The lack of options is the opposite of freedom of choice,”

says Rune Kvist Olsen.

In an innovation context the limited choices presented are incremental/disruptive, core/non-core, internal/external, castle/sandbox.

There must be a richer better way to have conversations about innovation. I am getting sick of the 1-2 minute conversations where you have to make your case in a tweet. Sick of the 18 min TED talks, where there is no critical dialogue but only glorification of technology as the sole source for progress.

I am hungry for depth

For intimacy and human connection. I am on a quest for depth. A quality space in time and location where free deep thinking is again appreciated. Where we discuss not in limited silos about limiting options. Where life flows like water in oceans, in currents and rhythms, in waves of pendulums with different amplitudes influencing each other as Perpetua Mobile, spiralling as convergent systems into beauty and harmony with a direction of progress.

A space with doors wide open for new world-views  where we create knowledge and resource flows (are they the same?), with new thinking: visual thinking, design thinking, systems thinking, and scenario thinking.

A space where bravery and maverick behaviour are not merely tolerated but accepted and encouraged as the new norm for deep viral change. You may call them whatever you want: mavericks, outliers, beyonders, rebels, catalysts of change.

With Innotribe we have created an end-to-end framework, based on the Open Innovation principles of Prof. Henry Chesbrough. That it is an end-to-end framework is not always fully appreciated. Sometimes, the work of Innotribe is reduced to its most visible component, the “events”. And also there, the superficial world with lack of depth and intimacy only sees the externalities of the events, the cheerleader-feel of the facilitators and masters of ceremony, thereby completely ignoring the deep immersive learning experiences and techniques applied and intended.

Superficiality kills depth

But even if the full breadth of the Innotribe work would be appreciated, we are not done. There is more, much more to be done. I would like to re-set the bar. I am getting convinced we have to move into systemic and systematic innovation. It was Haydn Shaughnessy who opened my eyes and gave me the first insights that there is an evolution of Open Innovation possible, way beyond corporate garages, towards a model where innovation is deeply baked-in into the fabric of the organization. Haydn has just published a report on this on GigaOm Pro titled “Rethinking innovation: how to manage ideas systematically” (registration required). There, Haydn introduces “lean innovation”, “algorithmic innovation”, and “radical adjacencies”, which we already knew from his book “The Elastic Enterprise”. (Amazon Associates Link). Haydn will be with us at Innotribe Sibos in Dubai in September to share the results of his research in the domain.

Where “systemic” assumes system-wide approach. Not only within the silo of a department, or in non-communicating black/white, internal/external innovations vessels, but across silos, across vessels. If not, failure is almost built-in, because the two camps engage in finite games, whereas we should play infinite games where we do not look for a winner (and by definition also loser), but where the journey of the whole systems towards progress is the goal (read also James Carse’s “Finite and Infinite Games” – Amazon Associates Link).

In the first case – the finite games – we may be seduced by the means, but I am for sure not attracted by the end-game. We have to move across the corporate boundaries, and become “system activists”. My next blog will describe this new form of corporate activism in more detail.

nike launch

A great example is Nike’s Launch2020 Project, creating system wide transformation, in partnership with MIT, NASA, and Government.

Where “systematic” stands for planned, organized, designed, focused, and not random. Repeatable. Scalable. The best example I have seen so far is Vodaphone: they have deeply investigated the trends that impact their business; they have documented the needs (not the asks) or their (potential) customers, and made solid customer segmentation. Then they apply pattern recognition across these three layers, and are hyper-focused on where they want to spend their innovation efforts, resources, and budgets.

In general, it also seems to be that many organizations are very focused on product, service, and process innovation, or the latest buzzword “business model innovation”. Probably because that is what we know, what we feel comfortable with. It’s our comfort zone. We have been trained for years in thinking rationally about our businesses, decomposing, fragmenting every process in sub-tasks that can be mapped, followed, and measured. Up to a level that we don’t see the forest for the trees.

3 engines

What we need are 3 type of engines:

  • A communication engine, with the ultimate goal of being a serendipity machine, an evangelization machine, and a knowledge flow platform;
  • An execution engine, with a good balance/portfolio/consistency between internal and external innovation
  • But all those changes are lipstick on a pig, if they are not deeply embedded in sustained behavioural change in every vain of the company.

What we really need to focus on is the third engine of behaviour change. Deep viral behaviour change. Because behaviour drives culture and not the other way around. And let that change spread like a virus through our organizations and systems. So it is getting copied and amplified through our hyper-connectivity networks. Where leadership becomes leadingship, and backstage leaders act as distributed coaching nodes in the corporate grid.

In the end, it is about being human and developing and nurturing the capability to be touched by beauty, a picture, by mastery and harmony. And to develop a richer palette of judgment, choice and appreciation.

Yes, there is some form of romanticism here; shall we call ourselves business romantics? It’s the nature of this beast, to be an incurable romantic.

Incurable Romantics

It’s what I am as human. I cannot and do not want to settle for the sterility of digital zeros and ones, for cogs in cubicles executing standard processes that anyway do not match anymore our fast changing world.

I want to send, propel and amplify positive vibes and frequencies to all the nodes in our grids. I want to reverb and resonate, and inspire you all to dream. To dream big and be unreasonable and go for the impossible. I want to me and you to get alive and get a life. I want us to be mavericks and rebels in a corporate world.

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UPDATE: you can find the links to the recordings of all the Rebel Jam talks here:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0At_G3sEqOh0YdFQ1T3ZUYWFUNW1aR1pLN3JNV0pIbUE&usp=sharing

It’s easy to be an innovator and entrepreneur in start-up. Not so inside large organizations — companies, government agencies, healthcare systems.  The competencies and mindset you need to create change and succeed are different for rebels inside the organization.

The good news is that in today’s hyper-connected world we have the possibility to join forces – across distances and time zones – and create a critical mass of change agents capable of accelerating innovation & transformation globally

That’s why we’re holding a free, online 24-hour Rebel Jam with fascinating speakers, inspiring entertainment and provocative discussions every hour, with hosts from Europe, North America and Asia.  Our aim: empower the rebel to be able to create positive change, understanding the considerable risks and challenges that will arise.

On May 30-31, 2013, Rebels at Work and Corporate Rebels United will hold a 24 hour on-line Rebel Jam via WebEx. All you’ll need is to be able to connect to the Internet and clear your calendar.

You can tune in any time – or all 24 hours if you’re one of the crazy ones – to learn from Rebels about:

  • What has helped them to be successful?
  • Setbacks and obstacles they’ve experienced and how they’ve navigated through them.
  • Habits that help them stay creative, positive and respected.

There will be time after each speaker for questions and conversations to encourage as much learning and camaraderie as possible in an online way. We’ll also be inviting performers and artists to share and perform their work with us to fill our rebel spirits, and just have some fun.

The conference kicks off on May 30 at noon in Europe; 6 a.m. North America East Coast; 3 a.m. North America Pacific, and 8 p.m. Sydney. 

Here is the attendee information for the Webcast:

https://ciscosales.webex.com/ciscosales/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=207449320

Event password: rebeljam

You can register via the Rebel Jam Eventbrite site here: http://rebeljam.eventbrite.com/

The online rebel jam is a joint effort of Rebels at Work, and Corporate Rebels United  and being sponsored by Cisco IBSG who is contributing both speakers and the WebEx collaboration and communication platform that enables this global virtual event

The latest program overview is available in the following Google Doc:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0At_G3sEqOh0YdDIzbTN1M2FSQUxUT2xKOFh6aUNoTVE#gid=0

Some cities are setting up local events to follow and participate in the WebEx Rebel Jam.

-       Brussels:

-       Other cities to be announced

You can tweet about and during the event with Twitter hashtag #rebeljam

For more about corporate rebels, check out some of these posts, research reports, and videos:

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Since my post “The End of Leadership”, the topic of Leadership vs. Leadingship keeps buzzing in my head. I further elaborated on the topic in a subsequent post “Leading from the Edge”.  As many of my readers know, the inspiration muze for these posts was Rune Kvist Olsen from Norway.

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Rune is fine-tuning the concept by sending regular comments to those posts. He now has collected and gathered his writings from February and March into 9 lessons for Leadingship.

Rune lives a bit isolated in a self-designed and self-built house on a lake in Norway. A bit disconnected from technology and social media and all the rest, but probably more humanly connected than many of us hyper-connected digital stress rabbits.

It is a pleasure to respond with a wholeheartedly “yes” to Rune’s request to post his lessons on my blog as a guest post. It is probably his only voice to the world.

It’s a long read, and you need your attention and intention with you when reading, but Rune has developed such a rich language to articulate the differences between Leadership and Leadingship that I find it always worthwhile to immerse myself in his thinking.

So, here they are, the 9 lessons for Leadingship. Red and italic highlights by myself.

+++ Start of 9 lessons from Rune on Leadingship – Feb/March 2013 +++

Lesson-1: The consistency in interactions between personal conceptions of reality and the influence of personal power in the organization.

The general conceptual principle: We are envisaging the reality as we are our self, and not as the reality is in it self. The particular conceptual principle: We are seeing the reality in our organization based on Who we are as persons and What we have as persons.

The organizational design principle: Our reality conceptions at work varies and fluctuates with our specific and factual organizational circumstances.

1. The reality conceived from a Leadership point of view:

As superior persons appointed to leadership positions we see the reality from above and downward. We are envisaging the reality based on our position and rank as superiors and will understand, interpret, explain and defend our conceptions and perceptions of the reality context accordingly to his respective circumstance of power over subordinates below.

The superior person in a leadership position is given the power to determine and ascertain the correct version and view of the truth and the power to enforce the authoritative description of the reality.

The subordinate person must accept and comply to the version of the true reality conception established by the ruling order with loyalty and obedience, with the purpose of sustaining one owns job and work.

The reality conception powered by Leadership is based on What we are and have by the virtue of positions and ranks.

2. The reality conceived from a Leadingship point of view:

The power of Leadingship is based on the principle that everyone in the organization are entitled and authorized personal power within a respective field of work, and entrusted with individual freedom and personal responsibility in making autonomous decisions.

Everyone are relating as equals and peers and are envisaging their reality context from a similar point of view (neither upwards or downwards – but sideward’s) from the same platform of out looking the organizational reality.

A shared reality conception between individual human beings occurs when individuals are able to understand that other’s conception of reality can be as real, true and valuable as their own conceptions and perceptions.

The common awareness that our reality are composed of a myriad of different views, conceptions and opinions, are the dynamical cord that are linking and connecting us together through our individual personalities in shaping our common identity as a working community.

The reality conception powered by Leadingship is based on Who we are as individual human beings based on our personal competence and capacity in doing our respective jobs.

Lesson-2: The Truth powered by Leadership versus Leadingship:

A. The Truth powered by Leadership:

The Subjective and Superior Truth as a matter of an Objective Supremacy Fact. The superior leadership person sees and rules the truth, and the subordinate person is told and ruled by this commanding truth:

If and when a superior person in a leadership position don’t  like, disagrees and disputes a critical and controversial report from subordinates, the superior person will most likely terminate and close the matter, and file the case in the archive as invalid, unreliable and unaccountable. The subordinates will be labeled as disobedient, disloyal, dishonest and not trustworthy.

B. The Truth powered by Leadingship:

Subjectivity is a personal matter as an individual expression of reality conception. Objectivity is a collective matter as a result of shared understanding amongst the people involved.

When people have gained the personal force to operate and function independently and entrusted the liberty to take responsibility of actions as equals and peers, they have at that moment of conscious state of mind attained enough personal confidence and will force to accept and trust the reality description of others without fear, rejection, condemnation, denunciation. damnation and contempt.

Lesson-3: The consequence of a polarized reality conception powered by Leadership versus a shared reality conception powered by Leadingship.

1. The Leadership reality conception directed downwards and upwards:

  • Mastering hegemony by monopolizing the truth.
  • Colliding values and believes.
  • Minimizing, discrediting and ridiculing alternative statements as rhetorical and semantical matters (depriving and renouncing confronting aspects their authority in being serious and real).
  • Conflicting priorities.
  • Contradicting truthfulness.
  • Compromising reliability and credibility.
  • Alienation by separation.
  • Ruling by dividing, conquering and domination.
  • Verticalization of relationships.

2. The Leadingship reality conception directed sideward’s:

  • Sharing by beneficial benevolence.
  • Communication by leveling.
  • Collaboration by coordination.
  • Corporation by complementation.
  • Connecting by integration.
  • Equalizing by reciprocally.
  • Horizontalization of relationships.

The structure in organizing, managing and leading work and people are a consequential reflector of the structuring of power as the premise shaper of the reality design in the organization.

Lesson-4: The necessity and essentiality of substituting and replacing obsolescent and anachronistic believes and dogma (f.ex: Leadership) with new and alternative options and solutions (f.ex: Leadingship) – which are not part of the illness and disease that inflicts and infects the mental health of the human mind in contemporary organizational life.

The excellent and brilliant statement of Buckminster Fuller says everything about the necessity in creating alternative options (model, concept, system, structure) when dealing with obsolescent matters opposing and counteracting new future realities:

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

The power and force embedded in the concept of Leadingship enables us in moving beyond existing mental boundaries in reaching the emergent future of a new workplace reality, where everyone are relating equally and mutually on the same level of co-existence.

At that point of evolution in the state of mind of the individual human being, we have released the chain of control and command from someone above to lead and others below to be led. This significant action have made the existing model of Leadership for Someone superfluous by compensating this obsolescent dogma with a new model of Leadingship for Everyone.

Lesson-5: Notorious governing administrative mechanisms and ruling Leadership techniques in enforcing silencing, subjugation and subordination in the workplace – in relation to Leadingship practice.

The purpose of well known and famous governing mechanisms administered by the system and ruling leadership techniques applied by the superior (leader, boss, supervisor, controller, director etc.) person in charge, is quieting and silencing people against advocating personal, individual and collective concerns, anxieties and worries about their work, working conditions and working contracts. The intention of such subtitle and often concealed leadership action, are enforcing, protecting and preserving the interest of the power holding and the powerbase that ensures supreme privileges and advantages for the people in charge in leadership positions.

In practicing Leadingship everyone must take responsibility and operate independently because there are none to command and control, and subsequently there is an absence of manipulative mechanisms and techniques of silencing people to muteness. One main purpose behind Leadingship is to take each other seriously and not dismiss controversial, challenging and critical arguments as invalid.

There are some factual and actual factors (mechanisms/techniques) applied by superiors above in governing/ruling subordinates below by legitimate leadership strategies and tactics:

1. Dismantling the existing workplace setting.
2. Dispersing/dissolving the working group.
3. Exiling persons from the workplace (office/station).
4. Removing access to working instruments.
5. Depriving of tasks and functions.
6. Redrawing authorization, certification and security clearance.
7. Degradation/depromotion downwards.
8. Excluding/out locking from job.
9. Expelling from department.
10.Relocation to another physical setting.
11.Discharging/firing from job.
12.Dismissing/teminating contract
13.Disgraced/dishonored professional reputation.

Revealing and exposing pretentions, intentions and reasons behind the monumentation and cementation of the Truth of Reputation by the correct version of history description, is the only option in establishing transparency and prevent future veiling of manipulated truth powered by Leadership.

I will end this enigmatic lesson with a statement from some years ago:

“The truth is only threatened by its own essence when revealed as a deception and falsehood in concealing the real and sincere intentions and reasons behind a manipulative action in preserving the status quo.”.

Lesson-6: Identifying and mapping the consequences of institutionalizing the correct version of the Truth by the legitimate and authorized act of either superiority or equality in the organization.

Evidencing the Truth of reality by Leadership versus Leadingship. Our conception of reality becomes our truth depending on how we are letting and accepting the reality being described and interpreted by someone keeping the power based on (leadership) position, or by everyone sharing the power based on experience and knowledge (leadingship competence).

The act of indentifying the common reality experienced by everyone individually in the organization, can be done by proposing relevant questions in revealing and exposing the real truth about powering, organizing, managing and leading work and people:

  1. Can you envision a workplace where all people are powered with authority by their own abilities to operate and function independently and responsible?
  2. Can you envision a workplace without superiors and subordinates where some people have power to dominate, control and command others in the act of subjugating them to subordination?
  3. Can you envision a workplace reality where the power to make and take decisions is linked exclusively to personal competence (in contrast to position and rank)?
  4. How are your present workplace powered, organized, managed and led?
  5. What are the intentions and reasons behind the existing structuring of power in your organization?
  6. What would you regard as the most important, crucial and vital assets and requirements in changing your workplace to a reality where everyone have equal access to personal freedom and individual responsibility?
  7. How can you contribute in addressing issues at work that you need to resolve in creating a transparent and ethical social conscience amongst the people in your organization?

The strategic option in this organizational context is either staying behind by maintaining and conserving Leadership for Someone or moving beyond by initiating and implementing Leadingship for Everyone.

Lesson-7: Why Leadership versus Leadingship are interconnected opposite poles in a dynamical learning progression interfacing each other through reciprocal  interdependency and mutual influentially.

A key to a dualistic relationship between diametrical contrasting opponents is challenging each other by their opposing differences and inequalities, lies in the insight, knowledge and experience of how the essence on one specific entity is shaped and formed in the relation to its absolute contrast.

For example to understand white we must understand black, god versus bad, nice versus evil, sharing versus keeping, cold versus warm etc. Our conceptions and perceptions are constructed by this code of symbiotic dualism. Subsequently the insight and understanding of Leadingship is found in the knowledge of Leadership. The simple pedagogical motto is therefore: ”Knowing the one by knowing the other and visa versa”.

The paradigm of dualism unites separation and integration as two opposite aspects of the same matter, both contradicting and presupposing each other at the same time in a dynamic and progressive process of attraction and repulsion. The pedagogical flow are the initiating energy behind all human learning as a composition of mutual interaction and interference between distinctive reciprocal components. These influencing factors generates a synergic and symbiotically impact of unified consciousness by the momentum of learning.

In balancing and harmonizing a dualistically process between opposite poles that are contesting the essence and nature of each other constantly, we must establish counterbalance that are enabling the potential and options of alternative choices granting us the freedom to choose. In choosing and selecting one specific option, we must at the same time be aware of alternative options.

Alternative options gives of the freedom of choice, while absence of alternative options will be forcing us to submit to the only given solution at hand.

The lack of options is the opposite of freedom of choice.

In balancing and harmonizing our choice in organizing, managing and leading work and people, the option of Leadingship contra Leadership is significant and essential in sustaining the free will and the freedom of choice. Subsequently the counterbalance of interconnected opposite poles in a learning perspective, is substantial in generating “learning of the one” by the “learning of the other” and visa versa.

We learn our self in relation to others by questioning What, Why and How we our self can perform, accomplish, achieve and pursue our intentions and purposes.

We are not truly learning by letting others tell us what to do. Learning from others are just reproduction and copying old learning’s. Others can help us to learn, but the learning is ours to do within our self.

Learning is a personal process done inside the human embodiment. By internalizing and processing all types of inputs from outside and inside, we will be molding our impressions to distinct emotions and thoughts that can transpire to learning’s that enables specific actions. By converting the learning’s to actions, we are creating competence as we are testing our theories into practical operations for our self and others.

Competence is a individual and personal matter that never can be conveyed and transferred to other people, because of the nature of the process as a personal matter inside the individual person. Everyone must do their job and learn by themselves from birth to death. However we can share and exchange our knowledge and experiences so that others can internalize and process their own impressions, and later can convert their thoughts into competent expressive actions.

Learning as a dualistic matter is all about learning and understanding One Self through the relationship to others in true and affectionate mutuality of susceptibility and receptivity. In this way we learn by challenging and questioning the truth conveyed by others, and instead be searching for our own personal truth in becoming authentic individuals.

Lesson-8: The Learning Design of Leadership versus the Learning Design of Leadingship.

The vital and crucial questions are:

1. Am I my self able in taking responsibility for my own learning or not?

2. Am I the person who know best what I need to learn most and in a way that suits me best?

Answers to these questions will be determining and forming the applied learning design principles regarding which force of power that will be ruling and governing our learning process and learning lessons. The selected force of power will have two alternative options of choice:

1. My inner self capacity in taking care of my learning responsibility.
2. Someone outside my self who is assigned my tutor and appointed my superior being considered as best qualified.

I. The Leadership Learning Design:

Someone above as the superior authoritative person in charge is telling, instructing, training others below as subordinates what to do, why to do it and how to do it.

The learning belief is that the person in the leadership position has the best knowledge and competence to determine what is best for the people below in performing their jobs, while the subordinate person is not personally equipped and endowed with the adequate and sufficient talent in taking care of one owns learning in an independent and responsible manner.

This difference in preference and reference signalize the distinction between trust and distrust in people and in the emphasizing of the significance of position and rank. This differences in conception of who to trust as superior and who to mistrust as inferior, are the main reasons that someone is valued and regarded as best qualified to leadership positions and subsequently most trustworthy in taking care of others learning.

The leadership learning design principle is focused on organizing learning as a system of teaching, training and education from top down the hierarchical ladder by the appointed person in charge of the facilitation training program in employee education. The superiors themselves are summoned to exclusive Leadership programs in learning the design principles of organizing, managing and leading the subordinates below.

II. The Leadingship Learning Design:

Everyone are considered qualified in taking care of their own learning actions as trusted equals and peers based on their respective competence and personal characteristics in adding value to the common good and the corporate benefit.

The learning belief is that everyone are doing their learning from inside themselves based on personal choice of individual development. The learning must be subjected to personal choice and processes in order to evolve as a personal matter of competent individual actions. People will be operating independently and responsible in generating their learning and be converting their learning into applicative competencies.

The leadingship learning design principle is to situate and arrange necessary space for personal learning and collective sharing of individual learning, where the internalized learning outcome from everyone can be coordinated and integrated as a collective force of organizational competence. The leadingship design of learning is focused on organizing learning as a consecutive process of learning by experiencing progress and regress in personal achievements, and by reflection on continuous improvements in personal accomplishments.

The Leadingship programs of training and education are inclusive for everyone since everyone are learning by themselves together with others all the way through their working life and private life.

The ultimate choice of the Design principle of Learning is subsequently a choice between either Leadership learning program for Someone or Leadingship learning program for Everyone.

Lesson-9: As in Heaven – So on Earth. Leading and Learning through parallel perspectives of Reality.

In this time of solemn and holy reverential sentiment to come for the celebration of the Easter holiday, I would like to summarize my posted lessons in both an earthly perspective as a spiritual perspective. I will be starting this angling approach with the spiritual part in relevance to the theme; Leading and learning in parallel perspectives of reality, by making a connection between references to spiritual experiences extracted from conveyed interviews with persons under superconscious hypnosis.

The distinguished author and scientist Dr. Michael Newton has uncovered the mysteries of our state of being in the spirit world, and has written several books covering experiences from living human beings who convey reports from their spiritual realm. The texts of Dr. Newton gives a fascinating and an intriguing insight of how a parallel reality such as the spiritual world, could be organized, managed and led. The following statement is quotations from the book; “Destiny of Souls”:

“While in a superconscious state during deep hypnosis, my subjects tell me that in the spirit world no soul is looked down upon as having less value that any other soul. We are all in a process of transformation to something greater than our current state of enlightenment. Each of us is considered uniquely qualified to make some contribution toward the whole, no matter how hard we are struggling with our lessons. If this was not true we would not have been created in the first place. (page 6)… Advancement through the taking of personal responsibility does not involve dominance or status ranking but rather a recognition of potential. They see integrity and personal freedom everywhere in their life between lives. (page 7)”.

A rather solemn and reverential statement at this time of sentimental and ceremonial reflection and contemplation, I would say. In either way these words of Dr. Newton can perhaps give us a touch in raising our senses in expanding our perspectives of existential matter.

I will be ending this lesson with an earthly part in relevance to the theme; Leading and learning in parallel perspectives of reality. The earthly duality of values and believes states the overture:

“Someone are leading others and others are led by someone” powered by Leadership versus “Everyone are leading themselves together with others” powered by Leadingship.

At the moment when the majority of people are deprived their power of self-decision and ranked below as subordinates with superiors in charge, the structuring of power is shaped vertical and organized hierarchical. At this momentum of subjugation by subordination, someone is appointed the authority of leading others by the virtue of their superior position and rank, and others are subjugated to be led by the virtue of their corresponding inferior position and rank. This way of organizing, managing and leading work and people represent the rule of Leadership where the organization is adopting and adapting Leadership for Someone.

At the moment of revelation of the apparently devastating and damaging consequences of Leadership for Someone for the human energy and spirit in the workplace, where the majority of people are subdued to inferiority and subjugated to subordination, people will at the moment of despair understand that this vertical and hierarchical way of organizing is obsolete and destructive regarding human engagement at work.

The mantra of Leadership for Someone would at this point be at its breaking point of revolution, and ripe and ready for replacement by the essence of Leadingship for Everyone.

The essence of Leadingship for Everyone is that all people are enabled the authority of self-decision at work. At this moment of transformation in the way we operate as free individual human beings, the structuring of power is shaped horizontal and organized egalitarian with people sharing power, exchanging resources and complementing each other in unified actions.

This way of organizing, managing and leading work and people, represent the era of a humanized work life, where the organization is adopting and adapting the vision of Leadingship for Everyone.

At this moment of truthfulness including and equalizing Everyone and Everybody in the organization, we are in a way aligned with the spiritual vision of leading and learning beyond our own comprehension of reality.

+++ End of 9 lessons from Rune on Leadingship – Feb/March 2013 +++

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Amplify Festival of Innovation & Thought Leadership-powered by AMP and now is Australia’s largest business innovation gathering of world-leading experts, entrepreneurs and thought leaders.

amplify
Theme

Amplify Festival 2013 is themed: Shift Happened > Transformation Required. It will explore the irreversible shifts triggered by the triple revolution of digital, social and mobile technologies and the implications for business models and business transformation, including the Future of Work.


Who attends

Now in its 10th year, Amplify is both AMP’s internal catalyst for change AND open to the public. Already 12 CEOs and 24 C-suite executives from Australia, Singapore, Japan, and China’s leading corporations have snatched up the limited number of tickets (only 80) reserved for business leaders of the Asia-Pacific region.


Please don’t keep this a secret- your clients and friends will love you for passing on this opportunity to deeply engage with today’s business transformation challenges!

International cast of 35

Check out the depth of international thought leaders around Emerging Trends and Disruptive Technologies, Skills for the Future, Business Model Transformation; Enterprise Systems, Multi-channel Immersive experiences and Organisational Change that will be speaking at Amplify Festival.

People like Lucy Marcus ( From Reuters’ “In the Boardroom with Lucy Marcus”); Jason Pontin ( Editor-in-Chief MIT Technology Review); Saul Kaplan ( Founder Business Innovation Factory) , Peter Vander Auwera ( Founder Corporate Rebels and Innovation Catalyst for SWIFT’s Innotribe); Howard Lindzon ( Founder & CEO Stocktwits), JP Rangaswami (Chief Scientist Salesforce) ; Sherwood Neiss (Founder & CEO Crowd Capital); John Heinsen ( Digital Producer OSCARS), Michael Schrage ( MIT Media Lab) , to name but a few of the international cast of 35!
Tickets

The full programme can be viewed and tickets purchased via the website at http://www.amplifyfestival.com.au

The Early Bird (Festival pass) offer closes 15 April. We also offer day passes, breakfasts, workshops, our ever popular $10 event, The Bright Sparks Pitch Night for PhD Students and free access to the EXPO in Sydney on 7 June.

Call to action

This is going to be the biggest ever Amplify! If you are a leader in a large corporation today, can you afford NOT to be there?

Cheers!

Annalie Killian
AMP Director of Innovation & Amplify Festival,
Twitter: @Amplifyfest @Maverickwoman

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We have all been reading the books and hearing the innovation experts and gurus speak and preach about the need for experimentation and failing wisely in innovation environments. All that is good in theory. What about the real life? What happens in your organization when you fail? How does your leadership assist you in this transition? What happens in the team dynamics? What happens with you?

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I failed big time recently. And it traumatizes and immobilizes me. It gets me on a rollercoaster of emotions. It’s difficult to deal with the abrupt changes between being celebrated the one day, and being the pariah the other day. Or should I find solace in the fact that at least, I still have highs (and lows) in corporate life?  Some friends and colleagues don’t even have that luxury: they are being beaten up all the time.

It’s not the first time this happens to me: failing big time. Being awarded and congratulated for stellar performance in one fiscal year and then being dropped a couple of days later due to changed priorities in the new fiscal year. So where is the pattern? What can I learn from it? How don’t I get “trapped” in the same mechanism of self-defense over and over again?

When the failing hits, I indeed tend to “protect” my vulnerability and myself by avoiding contact, by being silent, not expressing myself, while at the same time feeling deep anger inside. I am turning in circles, can’t concentrate nor focus, and become cynical. It damages my performance. How can I voice my soul, my emotional state and psychology of failing, the human emotions, and the intimate collateral damage that go with all this? How can I resurrect from failure?

It happens that Adam Dachis (@adachis) just wrote a post about this, titled “The Psychology Behind the Importance of Failure”, and quotes Heidi Grant Halvorson (@hghalvorson), shared with me by Jennifer Sertl (@jennifersertl).

The problem with the Be-Good mindset is that it tends to cause problems when we are faced with something unfamiliar or difficult. We start worrying about making mistakes, because mistakes mean that we lack ability, and this creates a lot of anxiety and frustration. Anxiety and frustration, in turn, undermine performance by compromising our working memory, disrupting the many cognitive processes we rely on for creative and analytical thinking. Also, when we focus too much on doing things perfectly (i.e., being good), we don’t engage in the kind of exploratory thinking and behavior that creates new knowledge and innovation.

So here you are: you have read all the books, seen all the greatest speakers, got the best personal coaches, followed all the personal development journeys you can imagine, you even preached yourself to others the benefits and adrenaline effects of going for your true self. And then you get hit. And you don’t know what to do, how to react, how to stand-up, how to reboot, how to get alive again.

Here are a couple of questions for all you innovators out there. Some areas where I would like to know how YOU coped with that situation, and what we all can learn from it.

  • You have a project of a lifetime. You stick out your neck big time and after lots of blood, sweat and tears, corporate priorities change, and your project is stopped from one day to another. How do you cope with that? Do you have examples of how you turned that sort of failure into a success? A crisis into an opportunity? I don’t know yet a good way how to do this, other than sweating out your time and hoping for the better.
  • Igniting change and innovating also means being a corporate rebel. You walk the edges of corporate accepted behaviors  in 95% of the cases, you succeed keeping that balance. But sometimes you go over the edge. How does that behaviour impact the perception others have of you? Does it impact your performance reviews? How can you avoid paying the price?
  • In innovation, the pedestal of success and the bin of the pariah are oh-so-close. On the pedestal of success, you are full of energy, even arrogant at times, sometimes preaching. But always with your heart at the right place and a deep intention for doing good for your company and the folks who work for it. Some people call it “irresistible enthusiasm”, and get energized when they hear your voice and they see the sparks in your eyes. Others – the criticasters – believe you are member of the “ego-tribe”. You sense jealousy from those who don’t have your opportunities, who don’t have a flexible boss like yours, who don’t enjoy executive sponsorship, some call it executive “protection”. When you fail, all that positive juice flows away. You’re empty handed. It’s time for revenge, for presenting the emotional invoices. Nobody comes to sit at your table at lunch; nobody wants to be seen with the one who just failed. You have been burned. What’s your experience with that? How do you cope with that?
  • What is your experience and reaction with abrupt changes of priorities, change of guards, change of budgets? What do you do when your marching orders change from one day to another? What if you don’t feel aligned with the new directions suggested or imposed? Especially when you just failed and are super vulnerable? Should you just brace for a while and hope for the turn of tides, of keep acting based on what your intimate true self tells you about what is right or wrong for yourself or for the organization you work for and deeply care about? Who has ever done and experienced something like that? Please share your wounds and healings.
  • Corporate world has the reputation of being a world of extroverts. But at least half of the workforce is introvert. I am and never was superman. I am not the vocal extrovert; I am more the reflecting introvert. Many of us are sensitive human beings. Many men have more feminine energy than women and the other way around. Where do you go when you fail? Where do you find a shoulder to cry on? When and how do you deal with pretending to be untouchable in formal settings and/or as team leader? Should you dare to show your vulnerability with trusted colleagues or friends?  Can we look through the crack in you and wonder at the light inside?
  • Is there überhaupt something like trust in business, or is it indeed like one of my first managers in my career told me “never trust anybody in business”. Have I become old and cynical? Judgmental? Control freak? In other words have I become all the things I never wanted to become and ended up on the flip sides of my ideals “Open Heart, Open Mind, Open Will” inspired by Otto Sharmer’s “Theory U”?

The bottom line question really is: how do I keep being present and aligned with my true self, when the going gets though in periods of failure? And who is holding a space for me when I long for help in healing my injuries?

“Life of a frontrunner is hard one; he/she will suffer & many of these injuries will not be accidental” ~ Pele

I know that many Corporate Rebels struggle with this. We can support each other by sharing what works and what does not work in these circumstances. Because I have the deep belief that resurrecting from failure is one of the core elements of creating a practice for value creation.

Credit: Fallen picture by Kerry Skarbakka http://www.skarbakka.com/

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I am coming to a stage in my life where I discover that most if not all of the knowledge, models, methods, and principles I learned at school and the last 30 years of my career are completely outdated and irrelevant for the new reality we live in.

baby

That also applies to the concept of leadership. We’ve all learned about heroic and charismatic leaders.  That leaders are leaders when they have followers and when they can create the conditions to engage her followers in a new direction, a place where no one has ever been before, to make 1,000 flowers blossom, etc, etc

With some notable dropout exceptions (Jobs, Gates, Bezos, etc), “leaders” all have the “right” attitude and have MBAs or other impressive certificates. They have the right profile. They went to right schools and the top universities like Harvard, Stanford, INSEAD, etc. Career progress and evolution is systematically reserved to this elite. Even upon today, I see companies that reserve certain professional or personal development programs to those who have the right certificates. How sad.

Most of these “leaders” fit a certain “style”, and most have been moulded in the same factories. Well-dressed, always smiling, ready to help, forthcoming, making it in every aspect of the professional and private lives, always reserved, never angry or upset, in control of their emotions, etc. They make impressive careers, mainly by pleasing their hierarchies, by staying in the blueprint and taking no risks.

But over time, I have become suspicious and bitter about these perfectly casted people. In many organisations I have seen how cheer-“leaders” joyfully smile in the face of their subordinates and at the same time put a knife in the back of the same human beings.

Some “leaders” have even “developed” an almost sadistic pleasure in ignoring and destroying well-crafted pieces of work. I would like to illustrate this with a story from during my studies as architect.

We got an assignment to build an exposition hall and the creation of the space had to be based on some repeating element of construction. As part of the coming-out we had to make artistic sketches, draw the precise floor plans and construction details, and work out the whole thing as a model on scale, including the repeating construction element. I think a worked 3 weeks day and night to make the deadline, and I was quite proud of the result. The model was made out of fine balsa wood. During the review session, my “leader” – the professor and coach, I still remember his name – found an immense pleasure in shooting apart with his fingers the fragile construction. I was not amused; in fact I felt deeply hurt and humiliated.

This is of course quite extreme and even psychopathic behaviour  but I am sure each of us can find one or more examples in their career where their project-of-a-lifetime was shot in pieces apart. If it would happen again, I would probably kick and scream, or no, be subtler and present a glass of purifying water, as in this great advertisement from Spa Reine.

Some of the perfectly trained leaders also never take the pain to reach out to those who are more introverts who hunger for depth and they only listen to the extroverts who are most vocal that reach out to them. Decisions about subordinates are made in secrecy.

But the secrecy-trick does no longer work out in this hyper-connected environment, and news that is supposed to be kept confidential in the catacombs of the power hierarchies is dripping through the more and more porous walls of our organisations.

This new self-emerging transparency leads of course to a huge credibility crisis for the leader, as she does not know that you already know, and her “in-control” pose becomes painfully revealing of the true nature of those so called leaders.

Of course, Pepsodent, Spa Reine and the external look-and-feel vestimentary attributes are only metaphors for something deeper going on.

The problem with this sort of leadership is that it is leadership based on what you are (your power position in a hierarchy) versus who you are, your true internal power as a human.

A monkey in a suit remains a monkey in a suit.

We need a more humanistic approach, inspired by meaning and purpose; an “eudaimonic” economy as so well described by Umair Hague in “Is a Well Lived Life Worth Anything?”

That’s an alternate vision, one I call eudaimonic prosperity, and it’s about living meaningfully well. Its purpose is not merely passive, slack-jawed “consuming” but living: doing, achieving, fulfilling, becoming, inspiring, transcending, creating, accomplishing – all the stuff that matters the most. See the difference? Opulence is Donald Trump. Eudaimonia is the Declaration of Independence.

We have too many Donald Trumps in our organisations  We need a culture that is based on deep respect and dignity for the human being. In this context, I recently had a conversation with a very senior businessperson of a multi-billion-technology company, who told me the parable of the Indian King.

The king had hired a consultant to advice him on the performance of the kingdom. The expert told the king to fire ½ of his workforce, as they did not have the same performance and added value to the kingdom as the top performers. The king responded “And what will those people do, once they get fired?”. The consultant answered, “Is that our/your problem? Your kingdom will be more efficient, that’s what you hired me for, no?”. The king did not follow the advice of the consultant, as he deliberately chose for a societal role in giving his citizens an job, a meaning, and a future, even if that meant a little bit of overhead. His choice was driven by people’s dignity.

The leadership that we all learned about starts smelling like a myth: the myth of charismatic leadership. But don’t blame them. That’s how they have been trained and educated. And the “training” or “brainwash” already started at those business schools, provided that you were lucky enough to be born in a family with wealthy parents that could pay the bill, or you were prepared to put yourselves in life-long debts as slaves to the financial institutions of this world.

harvard

The first thing I notice about the Harvard Business School campus is the way people walk. No one ambles, strolls, or lingers. They stride, full of forward momentum. The students are even better turned out than their surroundings, if such a thing is possible.

No one is more than five pounds overweight or has bad skin or wears odd accessories. The women are a cross between Head Cheerleader and Most Likely to Succeed. They wear fitted jeans, filmy blouses, and high-heeled peekaboo-toed shoes that make a pleasing clickety–clack on Spangler’s polished wood floors.

Some parade like fashion models, except that they’re social and beaming instead of aloof and impassive. The men are clean-cut and athletic; they look like people who expect to be in charge, but in a friendly, Eagle Scout sort of way.

I have the feeling that if you asked one of them for driving directions, he’d greet you with a can-do smile and throw himself into the task of helping you to your destination—whether or not he knew the way.

“This school is predicated on extroversion,” and “Your grades and social status depend on it. It’s just the norm here. Everyone around you is speaking up and being social and going out.” “Isn’t there anyone on the quieter side?” I ask. They look at me curiously. “I couldn’t tell you,” says the first student dismissively.

quiet

These are extracts from “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” a fantastic book by Susan Chain. The book is an eye-opener in itself about the lost and untapped energy/potential of introverts in organisations.

The essence of the HBS education is that leaders have to act confidently and make decisions in the face of incomplete information. HBS was once called the Spiritual Capital of Extroversion” where Top of Form “Socializing here is an extreme sport” and where verbal fluency and sociability are the two most important predictors of success.” writes Susan Chain, and goes on: “It’s so easy to confuse schmoozing ability with talent. Someone seems like a good presenter, easy to get along with, and those traits are rewarded. Exceptional CEOs are known not for their flash or charisma but for extreme humility coupled with intense professional will: quiet, humble, modest, reserved, shy, gracious, mild-mannered, self-effacing, understated. We don’t need giant personalities to transform companies. We need leaders who build not their own egos but the institutions they run.”

Leadership as we know it does not work anymore. We need something else. We also need a language to articulate what this new “thing” is. Some are starting to look into that.

MIX

The MIX http://www.managementexchange.com/ was co-founded by Gary Hamel and Michael Zannini (ex-McKinsey). They have set up a platform to share best practices on innovation, management and leadership. “It’s time to re-invent management” is their tag line, and Gary Hamel has written several books and rants on the subject. And as part of the M-Prize competition series, they just launched a new challenge on “Innovating Innovation”. I will write more about this and the related M-Prize where both Innotribe and Corporate Rebels United will make a submission before the end of the year.

But if you look carefully, many of the contributors are from mainly male-driven organisations with very extrovert people. They fit the HBS mould. We seem to keep on tapping into the same high-testosterone pool of resources.

That becomes very challenging for those who do not fit that mould: the ones who are introvert, and who are rarely listened too (if they ever get the chance to be heard); the ones who don’t have the right MBA or certificate; the ones who have a more feminine rather than masculine energy (some man have lots of feminine energy, like some women hive high doses of testosterone); the ones of the other gender, race, religion, age, education, etc

nilofer2

Nilofer Merchant, author of  “11 Rules for Creating Value in the #SocialEra” (Amazon Associates link) rightly pointed out to me:

I hope our future economy is also about including the people who are unseen today. Those who are right in front of us, creating value but then ignored when it comes to be included as leaders, or thinkers to shape the future. No one does this out of bad intent, but out of blindness. Few people will realize that while Hagel and Kelly and Gray etc are mentioned, many well-respected best-selling women management thinkers were not. Our thriving systems HAVE to be open enough to include those that are currently blocked out. Blindness shifts when we start to be more conscious. Instead of perpetuating talking about the change, we have to embodying the change. 

Indeed, something deeper is going on….

Flowchain

Bob Marshall (aka @FlowchainSensei) is addressing a somewhat similar dimension of “leadership” in his post “Leadership of Fellowship” and especially the section about dysfunctions of leadership.

The concept of leadership introduces a number of dysfunctions. Rarely are these discussable or discussed in our romanticized conception of the mythological leader:

  • Leadership inevitably produces implicit (or even explicit) Parent-Child relationships. “Just one of many examples of this type of parent/child exchange is the unwritten pact that if employees do whatever their bosses ask of them (regardless of whether it makes good business sense) the boss will take care of their next promotion/career move.”

  • Leadership validates “followership” and thus increased risk of “social loafing“

  • Leadership cultivates “learned helplessness”

  • Leadership can increases alienation, tribalism and the formation of in-groups

  • Leadership often encourages favoritism, patriarchy, deference, sycophancy and obsequiousness, with a consequent reduction in both the quality and quantity of meaningful dialogue.

  • Leadership compounds and perpetuates the Analytic mindset

  • Leadership subtly undermines systems thinking, by breaking the social body into discrete parts (leaders, followers), and focusing attention on those parts rather than on e.g. the relationships between them, and the whole itself.

But the master of language and insight is for sure Rune Kvist Olsen from Norway. Checkout this excellent article “Leading-Ship: reshaping relationships at work”. Rune’s work is inspired by Mary Parker Follett (1868-1933), a visionary in the field of human relations, democratic organization, and management. The tagline of the Mary Parker Follet Network is:

Unity, not uniformity, must be our aim

Rune’s s elaborated thinking blew me away: he is rethinking “leadership” into “leadingship”. It cuts deep in what motivates people. Rune challenges big time all our preconceptions about leaders and followers. I felt deeply inspired by it. So, I got into a conversation with Rune.

During this post-Sibos period of the year, I take off every Friday of the week to create some space for myself to reflect, to catch up on some reading, at times just being there and sitting in silence and trying to make contact with myself again, and then – in that moment of awareness – getting inspired by books and art. One could call it a personal retreat in silence and/or reflection and/or depth.

It was during one of those Fridays that I had scheduled a very long Skype call with Rune so that I could give him my full attention and listen in full presence to the rich language and set of concepts Rune had developed over the years. Since then Rune keeps on sending me wonderful essays and manifestos: describing what is really going on under the hood of human beings in leadership context. It’s very fascinating, and I all encourage you to dive in and discover Rune’s work.

The biggest outcome of Rune’s work is in my opinion that he has developed a language to express this new type of being as a leader in your organisations. It is so new and refreshing, that it needs its own language and vocabulary. Only then you can engage in a conversation trying to understand each other.

A good example of this language is in the following slide (a small extract of a very long presentation)

slide rune

That language is further elaborated in an essay called “Extracts from Humanistic Management Responsibility in the workplace”. It is about Imposed Responsibility (forced upon from outside) versus Chosen Responsibility:

The practice of “taking control” is a significant way in stimulating and inspiring self-esteem and self-confidence in the art of becoming a responsible and independent person.

Receiving and getting control from managers above implies that the person who is giving, still has control and can withdraw it at any suitable time.

Giving or delegating authority creates and sustain a superior/inferior relationship between the people involved.

This practice of giving as a form of domination is easily encumbered with the feeling of humiliation from the receiver’s point of view. The receiver could suffer the humiliation of not having personal control and not being able to take personal responsibility for the specific action at hand.

By granting power to people in gaining personal control and in becoming personally responsible for their actions, we are at the same time granting them real freedom to become true equals and fully human beings.

It is not difficult to understand that being an object of delegation and a recipient of giving (as a token of shared power), a person can naturally feel the humiliating bitterness engendered by being a powerless and subservient receiver and not having the authority in exercising personal freedom.

The result of this type of submissive role-behaviour, would possible entail the undermining of self- esteem, self-worth, and self-respect.

The most obvious flaw in the context of power concentration in the hands of persons in charge of others is the assumption that delegated responsibility is analogous to a commodity that can be shared among individuals or groups.

Giving or delegating responsibility can be conceived as a disguised way of pretending that people below will be empowered by the person above when this person is handling out some responsibility occasionally.

This is a deception in the sense that managers of other people are not actually entitled to give away any power because their power is connected to the managers’

Rune also signed up for Corporate Rebels United. We are btw now a worldwide group of about 200 people now and counting. And several pods being started up worldwide. More about that later.

rebels website

As his contribution to the rebels’ story, Rune produced the following essay “The Story of a Corporate Heresy”.

rune heresy

The full version in PDF is here The Story of a Corporate Heresy, but to whet your appetite here are already some salient extracts:

These types of corporate activist movements emerges as a result of profound crisis in the way corporate communities are organizing, managing and leading their organizations. Corporate Rebel United is pointing out the problem:

“Our companies no longer serve our needs. They cannot keep pace with a high- velocity, hyper-connected world. They no longer can do what we need them to do. Change is required.” Corporate Rebel Manifesto 2012.

Why, what and how can offensive, progressive and constructive actions be a part of the solution and not the problem?

“You never change things

by fighting the existing reality.

To change something,

build a new model

that makes the existing model obsolete.”

stamp fuller

Buckminster Fuller.

The next and last question of the solution in reinforcing engagement and passion amongst everyone in the corporation is: “How can we unblock and reopen the free flow of creativity and innovation for everyone, and create engagement, enthusiasm and passion amongst one and all?”

The resolving answer could be lying in removing the factors that institutionalize the system of vertical power, and in replacing this system with a model that are granting everyone personal authority in exercising power through individual competence, ability and capacity.

All the above are useful reflections about our future leadingship models. But how do we get to that ideal model of leadingship?

As Einstein once said:

“A problem can not be solved

with the same methods

that created the problem”.

Rune – and Bucky, and Einstein – indeed indicated, that part of the solution is to get rid of the leadership that has brought us where we are today. But this is dangerous territory, as those are the leaders who still are in the hierarchical power position to eradicate the subordinates that do not fit the HBS blueprint, and try to challenge the existing system. It makes me think of recursive loops, or the drawings of M.C. Esher. At what point does the transition between night and day really happen?

esher

“Day and Night” by M.C. Escher

Rune started sticking out his neck many years ago, in a period where he could not yet amplify his message through social media. Because he attacked the powers and hierarchies without defence, the system expelled him, and he ended up somewhat isolated, albeit in a beautiful self-built house on the borders of a beautiful Nordic lake (the story is correct, the picture below not)

house by lake

It is not my ambition to get expelled, and I am trying to walk on thin ice every blog again to get your attention for being your true self.

It is in that context that my questions to you are:

  • How can we get these new practices out of the reflection room and into the daily value creation practice?
  • Who has already implemented these principles?
  • What worked and what did not work when rolling it out or letting it emerge?

Let’s share and learn from each other. Let’s document this practice for value creation. This practice of Leadership. Jump in.

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