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24-Hour Online Rebel Jam: Stories of Change > Friday, June 26, 2015

Calling all Corporate Rebels and Change Agents Worldwide to step forward to speak at our second edition Rebel Jam.

The intent of our second 24-hour Rebel Jam is to share what people around the globe are doing to try to create positive change at work.

Rebel Jam PNG

Artwork by Jodi @JodiOlden

All interested are invited to speak. All we ask is that you tell a story about something you tried to do, what happened, and what you learned. (And, of course, speak as much from your heart as from your head. Folks want passion not perfection.)

You can talk, sing, rap, use slides (or not), or show a video. (Hey, we’re rebels; creative expression is encouraged.) Here’s the link to the Google spreadsheet to sign up for a 20-minute slot.

Details on dial-in numbers and logistical information to follow. Spread the word.

Questions? Contact Lois Kelly, lois@rebelsatwork.com, Peter Vander Auwera, p.vanderauwera@gmail.com, or Simon Terry, idlechatter@hotmail.com

Hosted by: Rebels at Work, Corporate Rebels United, and Change Agents Worldwide.

PrintCorp Rebels United jpegChange Agents Worldwide

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There are plenty of actionable items on our Corporate Rebels United (CRU) website. Most folks don’t explore the website. They like the manifesto and that gets them going.

The going so far is mainly sharing of posts, articles and sometimes experiences. And that sharing is great. Continue doing that.

But I would love to see 2015 becoming more actionable and more about DOING.

In these regular callings to our movement, I will invite you to actually DO something and I will seed some ideas that may get you inspired.

Kid pirate thinkstock

This Feb 2015 Calling is for Corporate Rebels out there who are Creatives / Artists / Creators: photographers, graphical artists, visual artists, video hackers, musicians, writers, poets, choreographers, coders, etc who can help us with:

  • Creating a new Corporate Rebels United logo that could be used consistently on buttons, flags, t-shirts, social media, etc
  • To create a set of consistent visual elements (picture, icons, typography, colours, etc) that we can use on our website and publications.
  • To make a powerful teaser video on Corporate Rebels United that could go viral
  • To create/compose the Corporate Rebels United song
  • To make a RSA animation (or other, use your creativity) video of the Corporate Rebels United presentation at Enterprise 2.0 Summit, 10-12 Feb 2014, Paris. See also our events page.
  • Any other crazy idea you may come up with

So roll up your sleeves and enlist as a CRU creative on the candidate form at the bottom of our helpers page.

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Launched in 2010 by SWIFT Innotribe, the Innotribe Startup Challenge introduces the world’s brightest startups to highly qualified industry experts, banks and VCs.

Logo Innotribe

The Startup Challenge is a year-round programme featuring regional showcases in EMEA, Asia and Americas where participants gather for fast-paced company pitches, insightful discussions on emerging trends and innovation opportunities, and social networking events.

There’s no charge to apply or participate, so whether you’re an early-stage or a growth-stage startup delivering innovation to the financial industry, the Innotribe Startup Challenge is the best way for you to connect directly with the most important investors, customers, partners, and influencers.

Over the past 5 years, the Challenge has helped over 150 startups initiate over $300M in deals with SWIFT member banks and notable fintech investors. This year, we’re adding more value to the program with a Semi-Final event in Capetown to cover African-born innovations, and dramatically increased exposure to the 7000+ decision makers who will attend Sibos (12-15 Oct 2015 in Singapore) for both our 2015 finalists and our program alumni.

There will be four showcases this year:


During each showcase, the semi-finalists demo their ideas or new products, pitching directly to an audience looking for the best in class and voting for the top 5 companies who’ll get invited to the Grand Finale, taking place at Sibos, the world’s premier financial services event organised by SWIFT.

Due to the support of our sponsors, the program continues to be free to startups, investors & financial industry decision makers. You can learn more about the 2015 program here: www.innotribe.com/startup-challenge/.

The deadline for submissions is 22 February 2015.

This is the last call for FinTech Startups worldwide to reserve their seat for one of the best FinTech competitions out there!

So, please spread the message to all FinTech startups to apply right away because there’s only 10 days left until our deadline.


The successful applicants will be announced in April 2015.

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Week-4 of Delicacies: a self-curated weekly list of max 5 articles that i found interesting and worth re-reading. Minimalism in curation. Enjoy!

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Qualities for 2015

Wish that everything you do in 2015 is inspired by the following qualities:

Words for 2015

Have a great 2015!

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Picture from Tomorrowland Music Festival, Boom, Belgium, by imgkid.com

During the last summer, there was a sort of house-festival organized in the small village where I live. A sort of Tomorrowland, but then very small scale and for the local youth only.

The organization looked professional, I had been listening to the soundchecks during the hot summer afternoon, and I decided to check it out, very much aware that at any moment one of the millennials may ask “hey granddaddy, what are you doing here?” ;-) That did not happen. More interestingly, I started to wonder what inspired these young folks here.

Maybe the weather had something to do with it. After a hot summer day, a thunderstorm had transformed the ground into a muddy spectacle. The moisture was still very much in the air and in the clothes of people, and I could smell a sickening mix of boredom, mud, booze, and a general lack of style and class.

Disappointed back home, I switched on the television set, and stopped zapping at an old Frank Zappa concert on Channel 12. In stark contrast with the boredom on the mud fest earlier that evening, I saw a concert full of technical mastery and pushing the bar in all aspects.

A delight for 2 hours of pleasantly (dis)ordered madness and artistry

And after concert, Frank Zappa back alone in his caravan, exhausted, but with a face full of satisfaction and pleasant mischief.

Zappa progress

It made me dream away about work becoming an artistic performance, which is more and more the intention and ambition I have about work and contribution.

But many of us are hit with emptiness.

Not so long ago, I had a chat with an old acquaintance. I knew him for being sharp, original, and fresh, somebody who had found his freedom. Now his eyes were dim, faint and dull. He was a bit pale, and he said it was because of the year-end reflections after a heavy year. And he needed some headspace to think about what’s next.

But I sensed there was more.

He seemed to have become infected by the corporate viruses and antibodies against innovation and change in big dysfunctional organizations he was serving as a business.

There was a need for recalibration, a desire for seeking, a hunger for quality headspace, reaching out for a purification process for body and mind.

I met several folks the last couple of weeks who are all in search for deeper and more meaningful work. Not that we are unhappy and unfulfilled. Writing this makes me at times think it is just a luxury problem. Or is it?

The luxury that it’s more or less all there, but some dissatisfaction with the general flavor of our corporate contributions, goals and ambitions still being very tactical, a list of to do’s, with no or little intention, or what it enables…

Maybe that is a sort of language that is difficult to grasp for some more cognitive and tactical minds on our modern (sic) organizations.

But is still think such a quality language and narrative is important. The internal friction comes when I notice that I have come to a point that I don’t want to convince anymore the others of this new sort of language. I content myself to just use the words they use and understand, and live in an illusion that we are aligned. At least at the tactical level. But I can’t help myself thinking that is not good enough anymore.

We should invite each other to reflect and be self-critical – not necessarily about our individual contributions and the corporate reactions to them – but about our collective company culture in general:

  • Where do we want to stop or should we go the full way and really let others look into our soul?
  • We should be disappointed if we only get buy-in on a tactical list and not on the bigger “story”, or better “narrative”, that withstands the signs of the time of being fashionable and “street-cred” without credibility
  • I know, maybe that’s what the current short-attention-span-culture is able/unable to digest or even give attention. Nicolas Carr just wrote a whole book about it called “The Glass Cage”
  • I know, we may get comments about the need for being more pragmatic, not getting too philosophical, etc which is more or less the same as saying “shut up, I am not interested in your depth”

It is precisely that lack of depth, context and intention, looking for a higher ideal and potential, making something memorable and worthwhile, and even having the ambition of offering some moral compass that me and many others are deeply missing these days.

It makes me nervous: having so many ideas and the sensation of something really ambitious coming together in redefining myself. The sort of ambition of the Foo Fighters in putting together their last “Sonic Highways” album and documentary.

At 2:50 “the making of our most ambitious album”. That great spirit of making of your next gig the most ambitious thing you have ever done.

Daring to do complex things. Dare to do ambitious things.

Daring to dream big and kill mediocrity and simplistic goals.

Begin of the 80ies, Milan Kundera wrote a book “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”.

milan kundera

“Challenging Friedrich Nietzsche’s concept of eternal recurrence (the idea that the universe and its events have already occurred and will recur ad infinitum), the story’s thematic meditations posit the alternative: that each person has only one life to live and that which occurs in life occurs only once and never again — thus the “lightness” of being. In contrast, the concept of eternal recurrence imposes a “heaviness” on our lives and on the decisions we make (to borrow from Nietzsche’s metaphor, it gives them “weight”). Nietzsche believed this heaviness could be either a tremendous burden or great benefit depending on the individual’s perspective.”

I feel I am on a crossroads of doing something with this only-one-life. Unshake the bag of heaviness. To do something where I can leave my full and authentic Petervan “signature”.


Own artwork, Black Ink on old book page

Away from the illusion of depth on/at/in the surface, where “It is all good” but where the fire of ambition extinguishes, quenches.

A place where we can play “freeform Jazz”, where nothing repeats or scales, a new operating model indeed. Away from the emptiness of scribed facilitations, away from the tricks, the manuals and the templates.

What if we would – for once – NOT try to facilitate our way out of a given problem.

What if our agenda is not one of facilitating a solution for a given problem?

What if our agenda is one of being in what Nilofer calls our “Only-Ness”, in my case my “Petervan-Ness”?

What if we would go beyond this Unbearable Lightness of Tactics?

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Back to Academy

Way back in the seventies, i studied architecture at Sint-Lucas School of Architecture in Brussels and Ghent. Apparently – after 150 years of existence – the school is since 2012/2013 part of the LUCA School of Arts in association with the Catholic University of Leuven as the “Faculty of Architecture”


At the time the Ghent campus was located at the Zwarte Zusterstraat (picture) above, an intimate included safe zone between walls, trees in the middle the old city centre. I still remember the smell of paper and ink of the old attic where the architecture courses and practice labs took place.

Anyway, i dropped-out after  4 out of 5 years study, because i did not like the admin/legal part of the studies. I come from a normal middle class family, and paying for these studies was not just a tick-box for my parents. When i decided to quit, they were not happy and they “encouraged” me to find a job and an apartment and live as a big boy paying for his own cost and living.

Last year, after almost 35 years of professional career, and 7+ years fighting the battle for innovation at SWIFT, i felt physically and mentally exhausted, I requested a sabbatical leave for 6 months, which was kindly accepted by my employer – thank you.


I wanted to get in better contact with my other self, not the cognitive part, but the more un/sub-conscious part of myself. I wanted to inject other forms of expression in my work. One of the ambitions was to go back to Art School, to give some counterweight to that cognitive part of my professional life. Unfortunately by that time of the year, it was to late to get registered and i just messed around a bit on my own.

But this year, i was early and got registered early. So, i started Art School in Sep 2014 at the local but quite well equipped and staffed academy “BKO” (link Dutch only) of my home town Overijse.


It’s relatively intense: 9 hours practice per week on Tuesday morning, Wednesday evening and Saturday morning. For the Tuesday morning, i just take 1/2 days off. It’s practice, not theory. Not too much fuss, just try and experiment with materials, and some good honest coaching.

I still have architecture drawing and sketching in the fingers.


But that is about straight lines. I found it much harder to do curved lines. Of human bodies for example. It probably says more about how my brain is wired than i dare to admit.

The coaches encouraged me to “let-go”. Here are some early experiments. Let me know what you think.

IMG_4345    IMG_4348



The above is all small format: A4 or A3. At a drawing table. It’s a bit hiding. We will soon start experimenting with big format, and working on easels. Did some early try-outs last week, and the big format and standing drawing position are so unnatural for me, it really pushes me out of my comfort zone.

Stay tuned


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