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Archive for October, 2013

Many use the term “disruption,” to describe the upheaval we’re seeing in the financial services industry. But I believe we are witnessing a “phase-change”—a deeper transformation of how banking and business in general are done, caused by the fragmentation of everything and an unprecedented and unsurpassed period of evolutionary innovation–what might be called a “Cambrian explosion”.

In the run up to Techonomy 2012, I contributed an article entitled “The Six Ways Organizations Can Survive Until 2100.” Six months later, my essays “Dystopian Futures” and “Drowning In Data, Banks Must Learn To Surf” elaborated on my thinking.

Techonomy 2013

With a couple of weeks from Techonomy 2013, now I think we need to get back to our human sense of analog time.

We see the Net-driven fragmentation of work and hierarchies, even as sovereign states are stealing data and intruding into systems worldwide.  We see the fragmentation of trust, privacy, and secrecy. Our organizations are no longer vertically integrated but fragmented into orchestrators of highly specialized functions, sourced from a diverse group of both incumbents and aggressive newcomers.

We need stories about the humans we try to reach and move—narratives, as John Hagel puts it so well in Edge Perspectives–that have a beginning, middle, and end and convey a clear purpose and call for action and progress.

At the same time, we see an explosion of nodes on the grid, with trillions of “things” joining the digital conversation; an explosion in the volume and types of data. Digital currencies are erupting with decentralized and distributed models. States engage in surveillance and companies deploy what Jaron Lanier calls “Siren Servers”: online powerhouses that betray our trust for profit. In banking, we see the advent of network-only banks, and peer-to-peer money exchange solutions like Paypal’s Cash solution–a simple way to email money between people.

Value is being redefined, and many are rethinking what constitutes real wealth and wellbeing, beyond money and GDP. We have to rethink how we measure wealth. Robert Kennedy said: “GDP measures everything…except that which makes life worthwhile.” Happiness Indicators like Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness, the OECD’s Better Life Index, and the UK’s Happy Planet Index are already helping the world define well-being and wealth beyond money. The H(app)athon Project www.happathon.com wants to go one step further by “hacking happiness,” and shifting the world’s view of value beyond the lens of GDP.

happathon

In the financial industry, “shareholder value” and “profit maximization” remain the main criteria for investment. Nevertheless, new investment trends are emerging as a result of global changes and new ways of thinking. Investors are starting to look for criteria beyond maximizing profit, shareholder value, and pure financial return.

We have to think about what may in fact be intangible assets, along with how to account for them and invest in them. We have to re-assess the role financial markets play or should play, and their future “design principles,” so that over time we can develop more transparency, self-empowerment, and permissive not restrictive organizations.

Recently, Michell Zappa http://envisioning.io/money/ published a fantastic piece of research on “The Future of Money” documenting recent changes accelerating transactions, leveraging crowds, undermining fiat currencies, and explaining how banking is evolving into just a layer, embedded invisibly in many sorts of daily conversations. These phase changes pose fundamental questions about the role and identity of networks, institutions, and individuals.

Zappa’s timeline infographic is illuminating.

Zappa central-decentral-distributed

The phase-change from centralized to decentralized to distributed networks is shifting how power is distributed: from favoring the connected few to an irregular distribution that favors some individuals, and to a horizontal distribution of power that favors the whole of the network.

We seem to live in a  state of perpetual crisis, jumping from one incident to another, with no room to reflect or to assess.  It feels like we are drowning in tactics and ad-hoc firefighting, incapable of interpreting the tsunami of change. The world enters a level of complexity that cannot be addressed anymore by conventional, binary, linear thinking.

With all these parts moving at once, we need new tools for monitoring change. We need new capabilities and more non-linear ways of thinking, and openness to new options. We need new tools to forecast, assess, and guide our choices. They should offer richer ways to express our options through visual thinking and other techniques.

This is way beyond flashy hyper-tech bank branches and “punchy-music-cool-sexy” banking apps or product videos. This is about bringing back the analog humanizing aspect into banking. I am not my device. The future of banking is analog not digital, and its focus needs to be on relationships, intimacy, depth, and human connection.

Cross-posted at Techonomy 2013

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Since about a year now, i have been intrigued by the work of Rune Kvist Olsen from Norway. It’s a pleasure to give room and space for his thinking on my personal blog. His previous contributions were the best read posts on my blog ever: they include “The End of Leadership” and “Leading from The Edge”. Now, Rune has compiled and added a new piece of work that he introduces himself below (Colored highlights by myself):

Hi You All!

The paper “A Conceptology of  Learning and Leading at Work” is now completed and ready for reviewing/announcing/posting/publishing.

The purpose with the “Conceptology of Learning and Leading at Work” is to construct and establish an alternative belief system that would entitle everyone in the workplace the same conditions and access of mutual trust and personal freedom. The intention is to advocate the values and standards of health, liberty, dignity and equality as common principles applied for all the people involved. In challenging the mainstream and contemporary belief system in organizing, leading and managing work and people (granting only a few and someone these principles exclusively), the effort behind this new attempt of intervention was aimed at developing a real alternative option of choice by creating an entirely new way of structuring power in organizing, leading and managing the process of work.

An appropriate perspective in reviewing the significance of the “Conceptology of Learning and Leading at Work”, could be by assessing the article “The Myth of Executive Stress” by Keith Payne. This article is presenting relevant research studies within the field of leading and managing people. Some of the core findings reported is that leaders are showing substantially lower levels of stress than non-leaders caused by their superior position and supreme power in managing other people and leading people below. The implication of being managed and led from others above is the lack of control. The result of being controlled is higher blood pressure, lowered immune function and stress-related diseases. When the stress response is activated for months at a time, it is toxic as Payne is stating. The concluding statement is; “Control is the essence of power, the linchpin binding status to stress”. In this perspective the alternative “Conceptology of Learning and Leading at Work” is raised as the counterpart to the belief system of leadership with leaders above and non-leaders below, and represents an alternative option of choice in moving from the mantra of “leadership for someone” to “leadingship for everyone”.

Everyone in the workplace should be entitled the principles of trust and freedom as common privileges concerning health, liberty, equality and dignity at work. In the history of management the Conceptology of “Humanology” and “Humanability” is granting everyone the equal access to personal control with none above and below in a chain of command and none in charge of anyone else.

The links to the articles and the research studies are:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-myth-of-executive-str&page=2

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/09/19/1207042109.full.pdf+html

https://faculty.fuqua.duke.edu/~ack23/Publications%20PDFs/Compensatory%20Control%20Current%20Directions%202009.pdf (PDF File)

Please enjoy the attached paper (A conceptology in Learning and Leading _short version_– PDF File) and let the Conceptology make a difference and become a real option of choice in organizational life! Feel free to pass this message around.

 

All the best

Rune Kvist Olsen

Inventor and facilitator

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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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