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It’s FinTech unicorns all over the place these days. But where are the Phoenix organisations in financial services?

Keynote speaker and author Peter Hinssen wrote a book “The Phoenix and the Unicorn”, and he is going to interview me about phoenix organizations in the financial industry for his blog in a few days.

As a big believer in the power of the network, I was wondering what your favourite phoenix companies were in banking and finance: those type of long lived companies that were able to stay relevant by reinventing themselves on a regular basis through business model, market, service and product innovation? Examples (in different industries) would be Walmart, Microsoft, Ping An and McDonalds.

It you take part, it would be great if you could suggest a company name and why you consider them a successful financial industry phoenix. To keep it simple and straightforward: just use the comments section of this post.

You’ll receive an e-book copy of Peter’s book ‘The Phoenix and the Unicorn’ if your suggestion makes the top 3!

delicacies

As usual, an incoherent, irregular, unpredictable collection of interesting sparks. Handpicked, no robots. Minimalism in curation. There is a shitload of new stuff this month. I tried to be extra disciplined and clean out the obvious, and what you’ve probably already seen elsewhere. Spread the word. Enjoy!

If you can’t get enough of these and want more, you can hang on to the firehose, the extended version of Petervan’s Delicacies in REVUE. Also in this edition with loads of videos. Subscribe here: https://www.getrevue.co/profile/petervan

This month’s collection of new releases, and some very few oldies. Try it out. Play in shuffle mode to improve the surprise experience. Enjoy!

delicacies

As usual, an incoherent, irregular, unpredictable collection of interesting sparks. Handpicked, no robots. Minimalism in curation. There is a shitload of new stuff this month. I tried to be extra disciplined and clean out the obvious, and what you’ve probably already seen elsewhere. Spread the word. Enjoy!

If you can’t get enough of these and want more, you can hang on to the firehose, the extended version of Petervan’s Delicacies in REVUE. Also in this edition with loads of videos. Subscribe here: https://www.getrevue.co/profile/petervan

Here is the latest update on Petervan Studios. The previous update already goes back to November 2020, that’s more than six months ago, and a lot can happen in half a year.

It looks like we are getting out of the COVID woods. At least in Belgium infection and hospitalization numbers are down, and I got my second Pfizer jab on 5 June 2021, so I think I am good to come out of my cave.

Family is good, Astrid does well at school, Mieke loves the garden now that the summer is back, and I continue my art practice and some freelance projects.

What else?

My Art Practice

Due to COVID regulations, 2021 was a terrible year for doing artwork at the academy. I just can’t work with a mask on. I retreated to my own studio at home, but I miss the coaches, and the discipline/routine of going twice a week to the academy in Ghent.

Most of the specialisation courses of the academy were online via Zoom calls, and nothing beats the dynamic of face-to-face contact, and on-the-floor experimentation.

Not sure yet what I will do next year: back to academy or being super disciplined in my daily routine in my home studio.

I shared most of my recent work via my Facebook page, or on this blog under the heading “Sine Parole”. Some “highlights” if I can say that about my own work:

Petervan Artwork © 2021 – Big Blue – Acryl on Canvas – 100x120cm

Petervan Artwork © 2021 – Shape on blue – Acryl on Canvas – 60x50cm

Petervan Artwork © 2021 – Wild Black & White – Acryl on Canvas – 120x100cm

The Bricks Project

Petervan Artwork © 2021 – Drawing – Chinese Ink on Steinbach Paper – A1

Petervan Artwork © 2021 – Video – Brickonomics – Own soundscape

Petervan Artwork © 2021 – Video – Bricks City Animation

Petervan Artwork © 2021 – Video – Zen and the Art of Bricks Drawing

The Cow Project

Introduced as a plan in the Nov 2020 update, I got hooked on cows, if that makes sense. Whatever.

Petervan Artwork © 2021 – Cow-Vid-19 – Acryl on Canvas – 120x150cm

Petervan Artwork © 2021 – Cowonomics – Stop Motion Film

Petervan Artwork © 2021 – Digital CollageCow on chimney on grass with milk tetra packs.

Part of an assignment for the academy specialisation class

Exhibitions

Since last update, I visited following art exhibitions:

C-Mine, Tim Walker, Genk, Jan 2021

Z33, Palms, Hasselt, Jan 2021

Be Modern, Royal Museums of Fine Arts, Brussels, Jan 2021

Danser Brut, BOZAR, Brussels, Jan 2021

Lynne Cohen, FOMU, Antwerp, Jan 2021

Adrian Ghenie, Tim Van Laer, Antwerp, Jan 2021

Kunstuur, Mechelen, March 2021

Alechinsky and Aboriginals, RMFA, Brussels, April 2021

Silence, Axel Vervoordt, Wijnegem, April 2021

Luc Tuymans and AI, BOZAR, Brussels, April 2021

Superstudio Migrazioni, CIVA, Brussels, April 2021

Inge Decuypere, A Joly Boring Thing To Do, Oudenaarde, April 2021

Vincent Geyskens, M-Museum, Leuven, May 2021

Detail of a Karel Appel’s painting “Liggend Naakt” 1957 – Oil on Canvas

The founders of SuperStudio – Painting in Expo Migrazioni

Vincent Geyskens – in M-Museum – Leuven

Outdoors

We had a lousy winter in Flanders. I did some walks and bike tours, but not as much as I would love to do. Winter lasted till deep in spring with a super cold and rainy month of May. When June started, the sun was back in full force, up to a point where I started already longing for shadow.

Horses

My daughter Astrid loves horses, and that is an understatement. I have become her private taxi driver to/from the stables, and I spend quite some time watching her at the riding school. She needs it very much in this COVID year, and she can really disconnect from school. And on and with the horses, she is in flow. Look at her smile: it makes a father happy too!

Freelance

I am on a new interesting gig for a very respected client. With a small team, we are doing research on what is next-next in financial services, and the research will be followed by several workshops and a private experiential event/tour later in 2021.

This and the previous project in Shenzhen also helped me reflect on different types of workshops: sharing, teaching, mentoring, and inquiry-based workshops, some online, others in real life. I have some concrete ideas on how to bring these to market, together with a supporting team of facilitators, provocateurs, artists, and producers. Contact me privately if interested.

BANI

Already in 2018, Jamais Cascio coined the term BANI. See my post from Aug 2019 and Jamais’ update from April 2020. As mentioned before, I am working with some partners on a virtual multimedia workshop based on this framework, with a specific focus on possible responses to a BANI world. One of our partners got locked in another client project, so we put the project temporarily on hold.

Design Unbound

I am continuing my immersion in the work of Ann Pendleton and her insights in Design Unbound: Designing for Emergence in a White Water World. We have found a way to convey this complex material into a matrix-form, with video vignettes, so that the customer can pick and choose where they enter the learning journey.

To give you a sense of the intensity of this work: I have now weekly calls with Ann Pendleton to go through the scripts that will form the foundation of the video vignettes.

We have put together a team to design and deliver a corporate curriculum on this topic. Stay tuned on the “we” and the “curriculum”.

Pirate TV

I released the first episode of Pirate TV – Art Tribe Edition, with my friend Frank Poncelet from the Art Academy in Ghent

There is a very nice queue of artists who have agreed to be the guest in the subsequent episodes: some painters, video artist, and photographers. Initially, the plan was to have an episode every month as from March 2021 onwards. Working with artists and original content authors, I have learned to be patient and more careful in setting expectations on the when and what of the final deliverable, although the pressure of a deadline sometimes – but only sometimes – helps to get to a high-quality experience. We are getting there.

There are now two Pirate TV channels in the pipeline: the Art Tribe edition and the Business edition.

Traveling Without Moving project

Travelling without Moving (TWM) is a series of essays documenting my mental and philosophical journey in 2020-2021.

The main outline was published in November 2020, and in the meantime, several episodes have been released. So far, I have posted seven essays:

Silence

Pause

Play

Anxious

Unbound

Foam

(In)appropriate

The next one will be about “Studios”, studios as a proven way of failing and recovering together, a repurposing of the architecture studio practice of practices. Hope you stay on board.

Books

Check out my GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/3085594-peter-auwera

Some highlights:

The Stack, by Benjamin Bratton

Crossover, by Cecil Ballmond

Making Art Work, by Patrick McCray

Ways of Seeing, by John Berger

Petervan Rides

Since July 2019, I publish every month a Spotify List with new releases combined with some oldies from the 60ies, 70ies, and beyond. Search for “Petervan Ride” and select “playlists”. Subjective selection of course, as driven only by my personal taste (or lack thereof). Next month, we’ll celebrate the second anniversary of these Rides. Time flies!

Here is the latest Ride from May 2021

I suggest you play it in shuffle mode, it enhances the surprise experience.

So, whats next?

Since I officially retired from corporate life on 1 Dec 2020, I am completely free to do what I want, what gigs I accept, what clients I choose and reject, what I say and what I write. And if nobody cares, that is fine as well, as then I can really do what I want.

This “interesting” work still leaves me enough room and headspace for my art-practice.  I wrote a post before on what I consider “interesting”. The keywords are: not done before, risky, and sensemaking through sense-breaking. I feel I have found a good balance and feel happy.

The plan for the coming months is to work/play on (random order):

The Fintech Next-Next Project

“Interesting” Freelance Work

Continuing my Art Practice

Release some Pirate TV Episodes

So, that’s it for this edition. If there is something worth reporting, next update is for Dec 2021.

Warmest,

delicacies

As usual, an incoherent, irregular, unpredictable collection of interesting sparks. Handpicked, no robots. Minimalism in curation. There is a shitload of new stuff this month. I tried to be extra disciplined and clean out the obvious, and what you’ve probably already seen elsewhere. Spread the word. Enjoy!

If you can’t get enough of these and want more, you can hang on to the firehose, the extended version of Petervan’s Delicacies in REVUE. Also in this edition with loads of videos. Subscribe here: https://www.getrevue.co/profile/petervan

This post is part of a series of essays bundled under “Travelling without moving”.

Intro of that series can be found here.

Petervan Pictures © 2021 – Travelling Without Moving

After the Foam-post of begin April 2021, we continue with “Inappropriateness”, an ambiguous feedback from a client on a rejected project.

In her post “The Change Refusal” https://weneedsocial.com/blog/2021/4/8/the-change-refusal, Céline Schillinger describes the weird situations where she submitted an idea, it was accepted, and then… was not given the permission, the support, or the means to carry it forward.

I had a similar experience not so long ago.

With a small team, we were contracted for a corporate experiment with Pirate-TV, a novel crossover video production.

Depending on whose point of view, it went well to not-so-well.

The production team was and still is super-proud of and committed to the deliverable. But at the very end of the project, the client believed our work was “inappropriate” and banned us from replay.

My good friend Peter Hinssen (Founding Partner of nexxworks) warned me early in the project “Boy, you are in for some fights if you want to pull this one off!”. I shrugged; I had crossed many other bridges over troubled water before.

The project started promising. The client accepted our proposal and briefing to do something radically different. Different in content, mixing, rhythm, visual collision and poetry, that sort of thing. Different, but relevant. Relevant to the ambiguity and uncertainty of the white-water world we are drowning in.

Not a Zoom style webinar with a speaker and a slide deck, or worse, a “fireside-chat” of two boring executives and a CNBC style of journalist, 2 meters apart from each other in white leather seats in front of a green screen that is then filled in with some fake backdrop to look cool.

So off we went. Everything went quite smooth. Too smooth in hindsight.

There was one hick-up in the process. A senior director who did not understand “why the heck we were doing this” almost stopped us. We scheduled a meeting to explain and understand her feedback. “All right, I get it now, make sure you integrate my feedback and questions, but without mentioning my name”, she said.

We incorporated the feedback and answered the questions. We delivered what we believed was a professional end-product, 100% in line with the brief.

But at the very last minute another senior person in the client’s organization intervened from the top, we got banned, and that was end of story.

The explanation? The work was considered “completely inappropriate”.

A request from our side to have a conversation was not honored.

Was it the format that felt too heretic to the executive leadership? Was it something else? We can only guess.

And what does that mean “inappropriate”?

As I was writing this post, I bumped into a presentation about contextual integrity. The talk was in the context of privacy, but I liked the breakdown to be very “appropriate” for my argument.

I believe the rejection had indeed to do with contextual integrities not being well aligned.

If inappropriateness is the opposite of appropriateness, then that would mean that inappropriateness is about not conforming, not meeting the expectations. That the result is illegitimate, not worth defending, morally not justifiable.

So, in other words, we did not conform. Thank God! What a compliment! The brief was to be radically different, no?

We requested if we could release the production under our own brand, “appropriately” edited not to reveal the name and the business of the client. But unfortunately, the client decided we were not allowed to re-use the raw footage. Hour and hours, days and days of brainstorming, recording, editing, soundscaping, video production down the drain.

No worries. We’ll be back.  We decided to re-do the whole bloody thing on our own budget, our own tastes, our own reclaimed freedom.

Since then, we have redacted the scripts for the new recordings, did extra research on the content material, and developed a virtual mosaic leaving the audience the choice where the enter the show, and how to complete the narrative journey. It will be the first episode of Pirate TV – Business Edition.

When will it be ready? Shall we say in a couple of weeks? Working with artists and original content authors, I have learned to be patient and more careful in setting expectations on the when and what of the final deliverable, although the pressure of a deadline sometimes – but only sometimes – helps to get to a high-quality experience.

Looking back at Celine’s themes for dealing with rejected work, I believe we went through the full loop. Asking to understand and reframe together with the first senior director, getting banned, avoided, and then picking up the pieces and creating the context for success in our upcoming re-do of the project on our own terms and conditions.

Courtesy Céline Schillinger

As creators, we must take risks, break sense, practice free play imagination.

Sometimes, we must be on the err side of things to know how it tastes.

In that sense, this experience was very rewarding.

Being banned even felt a bit heretic, and almost a badge of honour.

Next time in Travelling Without Moving, we’ll talk about “Studios”, as a proven way of failing and recovering together, a repurposing of the architecture studio practice of practices.

Hope you stay on board.

Warmest,

This month’s collection of new releases, spiced up with some oldies. There were some awesome new releases this month. Try it out. Play in shuffle mode to improve the surprise experience. Enjoy!

delicacies

As usual, an incoherent, irregular, unpredictable collection of interesting sparks. Handpicked, no robots. Minimalism in curation. Enjoy!

If you can’t get enough of these and want more than 5 articles, you can hang on to the firehose, the extended version of Petervan’s Delicacies in REVUE. Also in this edition with loads of videos. Subscribe here: https://www.getrevue.co/profile/petervan

delicacies

As usual, an incoherent, irregular, unpredictable collection of interesting sparks. Handpicked, no robots. Minimalism in curation. Enjoy!

If you can’t get enough of these and want more than 5 articles, you can hang on to the firehose, the extended version of Petervan’s Delicacies in REVUE. Also in this edition with loads of videos. Subscribe here: https://www.getrevue.co/profile/petervan

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