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Four weeks ago, I shared with you a high level preview of the Innotribe Sibos 2016 programme.

As promised, I have revealed more details for each day in some subsequent blog posts leading up to Sibos week 26-29 Sep 2016 . Today – 15 days before D-day – this post is the last in that series, and I will be looking into day-4.

We are now in the phase where all the artwork, design, session facilitation props, staging, lightning and special effects are coming together. We are now in nonstop back-to-back joint speaker calls to make sure our session cast, our speakers, our instigators, our producers, designers, and facilitators are full aligned. Some of the material we are producing for the big LED screen is of a beauty we have rarely seen in other event environments.

Yes, we try very hard to beat last year’s edition😉

The structure of the week program is fairly straightforward:

  • We start every day with an opening of the day
  • We close every day with a closing of the day
  • Over lunch time, we have spotlight sessions by several FinTech hubs: one day for Switzerland, one for EMEA, one for the AMERICA, one of APAC.

For the opening session of day-4, the Innotribe team will welcome you, and will zoom in into our Innotribe Industry Challenge on Compliance/KYC.

Our day anchor will then walk you through the plan of the day. Given that our day-4 is about the platform cooperation, our day anchor is Leda Glyptis, Director, Sapient Global Markets. She will stir the pot where needed during the day and she will come back at the end to wrap up the learnings of the day.

In between opening and closing, we have several Innotribe sessions. We don’t do anything during the plenary big issue debate so you have the time to enjoy that session as well.

The main theme of Innotribe day-4 is “Platform Cooperation”. In addition of the Opening and Closing sessions, we have four sessions:

  • Forward compatibility
  • FinTech Hubs session – APAC
  • DLT and cybersecurity: Sibos week wrap-up
  • Innotribe closing keynote: Platform Cooperation

This is a consolidation day – where it all comes together – and we will use a lot of metaphors and medieval painting examples to contextualise these rich topics, and to guide you through the disruptive complexity of our times

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Pieter Breughel the Elder - The Blind Lead The Blind

Forward compatibility

I wrote a blog post about “forward compatibility” in March 2016, about how to avoid simplistic conversations on disruption.

That post was inspired by two conversations.

  • One conversation was in January 2016, with Angus Scott from Euroclear, and his key insight was that no disruption will happen without fundamental re-invention of the end-to-end business processes, and that requires what I now call “forward compatibility”, looking into big large scale experiments with real customers, real regulators, and real ecosystem stakeholders, aka not just in a Lab. Angus also injected the concept of broad macro-forces that drive change.
  • The other conversation was in March 2016 with Valerio Roncone and Tomas Kindler from SIX. They explained me how they were looking far ahead. Asking questions such a “what happens after T2S?”, or “what happens if DLT would fulfil its promise, and disinter-mediate existing players in the industry?”. How does the new landscape look like? Can we create “situational awareness” that can inform our strategy? They called this “impact oriented thinking” and “innovation through evolution”

The seeds were planted, and that was the embryo for this session.

red-line

 

I started playing around with this, and came up with the concept of “above and below the red-line”:

  • Below the red-line is what needs be be solved as a collective, as a community, as a platform. It’s stuff that no single company can really solve on it’s own. It’s things like DLT, Cybersecurity, Digital identity, etc
  • Above the red-line is where you partner with others, FinTech startups, established vendors, etc through JV’s, Partnerships, API’s, etc. It’s where you “complement” the platform under the red line

Throughout the week, we will have done some exercises, where we internalise the content from the speakers by mapping them above and below the red line, and see how they are relevant for banking, securities, and compliance.

This session is NOT a technical session for geeks. This session is a session for business strategists that are interested having a conversation on how we can move the collective forward from here to “there”, wherever and however the “there”emerges.

 

We have a BIG cast for this session, complemented by instigators, DLT/Cyber anchors and rapporteurs. This is the only session where I will be on stage as your moderator. The speakers and instigators for this session:

  • Angus Scott, Euroclear
  • Valerio Roncone, SIX
  • Tomas Kindler, SIX
  • Patrick Havander, Nordea
  • Paul McKeown, Nasdaq Financial Framework
  • Saket Sharma, BNY Mellon
  • Brian Behlendorf, Hyperledger Linux Foundation

 

FinTech Hubs session – APAC – over lunch time

Building upon the success of last year’s session “Why banks need FinTech hubs?”, we wanted to go create more air-time for FinTech Hubs from different regions of the world.

We’ll have 6 speakers in one hour. That’s 10 minutes each to share their ambitions and plans. With our designers we are looking how we can make this an engaging experience and avoid having a series of 6 commercials. Like for all FinTech Hub sessions this session is full house.

The “6 from APAC” are (in order of appearance):

  • James Lloyd, Asia-Pacific FinTech Leader, E&Y
  • Markus Gnirck, Tryb
  • Sopnendu Mohanty, MAS
  • Zennon Kapron, FinTech China
  • Janos Barberis, FinTech HK
  • Asad Naqvi, Apis Partners

Almost all of the hubs presenting at Innotribe Sibos during these hub sessions are now part of the Global FinTech Hub Federation (GFHF) announced three weeks ago. See press-release here.

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The GFHF will premier their latest FinTech Hub Index (A benchmark of 20+ FinTech Hubs) at Innotribe Sibos 2016. I have seen the design and infographics for this Index, and they just look awesome. We will use some of them as backdrop for this session.

Sandwiches and soft drinks will be served in the Innotribe space.

DLT and cybersecurity: Sibos week wrap-up

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The Tribuna of the Uffizi, by Johan Zoffany, 1772-8
A collection of paintings
Royal Collection, Windsor

As you for sure have noticed, we don’t have any DLT/Blockchain sessions in this year’s Innotribe Sibos programme. We did this on purpose for two reasons:

  • There are already a lot of DLT/Blockchain sessions in the main conference sessions of Sibos
  • We sense a certain fatigue on the topic

We set ourselves the challenge to create ONE session where you get an overview, a collection of insights from ALL the sessions related to DLT during the whole of Sibos.

So if you don’t have time to go to all of them, or you prefer to stay in the Innotribe space for the week, we’ll make sure you get the key learnings in this single wrap-up session.

And as we were at it, why not do the same with Cybersecurity? OK, let’s do that too.

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General overview of the Innotribe Sibos 2016 programme

In the general overview of Innotribe sessions above, you will see some sessions marked with the “B” sign (Blockchain) and some others marked with the “lock” sign (Cybersecurity). It means these sessions have some DLT/Cyber flavour to them.

To create a coherent summary during this Thursday wrap-up, we have appointed “Transversal DLT/Cyber anchors”. They stay in the Innotribe space for the whole week, and will report back their findings:

  • Our DLT transversal anchor is Andrew Davis, advisor from Sydney
  • Our Cyber transversal anchor is Bart Preneel, University of Leuven

To cover DLT and Cyber from the other non-Innotribe sessions (aka the main Sibos sessions, Swift Lab, workshops etc, we are sending out our “rapporteurs”. Our Rapporteurs are:

  • Our DLT rapporteur is Oliver Bussmann, ex-CIO UBS
  • Our Cyber rapporteur is Assaf Egozi, CEO Kidronim, Israel

Our DLT/Cyber anchors and rapporteurs will have a special lanyards so you can recognise them easily.

 

Innotribe closing keynote: Platform Cooperation

After a short wrap up of the Innotribe week presenting the key findings of our programme, our closing keynote speaker Dr. Douglas Rushkoff will provoke and challenge all your assumptions.

Douglas

Rushkoff is a renown lecturer on media, technology, culture and economics around the world. His new book “Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity” (Amazon Affiliates link) argues that we have failed to build the distributed economy that digital networks are capable of fostering, and instead doubled down on the industrial age mandate of growth above all.

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“Every great advance begins when someone sees that what everyone else takes for granted may not actually be true. Douglas Rushkoff questions the deepest assumptions of the modern economy, and blazes a path towards a more human centred world.”–Tim O’Reilly, founder of O’Reilly Media about Rushkoff’s latest book.

Marketplaces in medieval times were far more human centred, fairer environments that the so called P2P sharing economy of Uber and AirBnB, which all have little to with sharing but much more with an extraction value economy where only a few (monopolies) take it all.

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A Medieval marketplace scene from Pieter Breughel the Elder.

 

After his talk, Doug will stay on our stand and take some time to do some book signings. He’ll have a couple of free books with him.

Rushkoff is one of those rare thinkers and speakers that challenge all your assumptions. We did something similar last year with Andrew Keen with his talk “The Internet is NOT the answer”. Many of you loved his energy as the Anti-Christ of Silicon Valley.

Think of Rushkoff as Andrew Keen on steroids. Not to be missed if you like to be inspired, if you like to be provoked.

 

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Since publishing Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, Rushkoff has answered more than 20,000 emails from his readers, one by one, individually. People, companies, mayors, cooperatives, towns and big corporations, all looking for ways to distribute prosperity more widely, start local currencies, build platform cooperatives, convert to employee ownership, offer dividends instead of capital gains, or crowdfund a bookstore.

Rushkoff realised it was not about him but about you and last week he launched Team Human, a weekly postcast on radio. “An intervention by people, on behalf of people”. All in delightful audio – perhaps the most intimate, enveloping medium yet developed.

Douglas Rushkoff looks deep into the question of reprogramming society to better serve humans. Rushkoff grapples with complex issues of agency, social justice, and all those quirky non-binary corners of life.

We are also  bit quirky, non-binary. That’s why we designed the Innotribe stand with a very industrial look on the outside but as a very human and welcoming space on the inside. We believe on the synergising effect of emotional and physical space.

  • That’s why the overarching theme of this year’s Innotribe Sibos is about the tension between technology and humanism in this fast changing and disruptive environment.
  • That’s why we use a lot of art, as art can help making sense beyond the tactics and the cognitive.
  • That’s why we have throughout our four days the concept of “above and below the red line”, as below the red line is what we need to solve as a collective, as a community, as an ecosystem.

It’s going back to the original intention of the not-for-profit cooperative structure, but mixed with some healthy activism. Ruskhoff calls this “Platform Cooperativism”

Hope the architecture of our Innotribe Sibos 2016 programme all starts making sense now?

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I will leave you with this painting/collage by Yasumasa Morimura “Blinded by the Light” from 1991. It’s a picture from a reproduction, discovered in the lobby of Le Meridien Hotel in Minneapolis, Minnesota, US, during my presence at the SparkCamp conference in 2015.

It is a modern interpretation of Breughel’s “The Blind lead the Blind” from 1568. See start of this post.

The landscape of both paintings is from a really nice area west of Brussels – an area named “Pajottenland” – and the chapel in the back of the paintings exists in a little village called “Sint-Anna-Pede“.

sint-anna-pede

It happens to be the place where I grew up the first 20 years of my life. I was living literately 200 metres from this chapel. So the Innotribe journey sort of brought be back to my roots. More about that after Sibos.

General

All sessions are designed to maximise the immersive learning experiences of our guests. We use professional facilitators and designers to enable great group interactions. And we have an amazing audio/visual kit and production team to make the content come alive.

The pepper and salt comes from our “instigators” who have a designed role to provoke the critical discussion.

Resources:

Follow us on Twitter: for the latest announcements: @Innotribe, #Innotribe,@Sibos, #Sibos

We are looking forward to meeting you all again at this year’s Innotribe Sibos 2016 from 26-29 Sep 2016 in PalExpo, Geneva.

Deeply grateful,

Your architect and content curator for Innotribe@Sibos, @petervan

Innotribe Logo

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The White House Gallery in Lovenjoel - Belgium

Last friday was the last official school day of this season’s art school. On this wonderful summer afternoon, we went for an excursion to the exhibition of the work of Greet Van Autgaerden, in the White House Gallery.

The white villa used to be part of the complex “Groot Park”, initially a holiday property of the family de Spoelberch , one of the richest families of Belgium, and currently main shareholder of the InBev brewery imperium.

Maximiliaan de Spoelberch had a passion for dendrology (the scientific study of trees) – everybody needs a hobby – and create on the site one of the most unique collections of exotic trees in Europe.

In 1915, the land and property was gifted to KUL (University of Leuven), who rented it to the “Sisters of Love” in 1926, who set up a psychiatric hospital for women “Salve Mater”.

End of the 90’ies most hospital units were integrated into the University Hospital of Leuven. These days, real estate developers are transforming the main buildings into luxury apartments.

The white villa, was the residence of the Sisters of Love, and it was sold together with 11 hectacres of land to the current owners of the White House, who completely restored it and created a fantastic art gallery (RSVP only).

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Point of View #10 - Greet Van Autgaerden - Oil/Canvas - 200*130cm - 2016

I was not only baffled by the great artwork of Greet Van Autgaerden – exposed over four different floors – but also by the stillness of the building, the great care of the restoration, and the hospitality of the owners Bert & Elly.

The title of the expo was “Point of View” as most of the works from Greet Van Autgaerden are landscapes. There was a great welcome-text by Hans Martens describing her work (abstract below):

Greet Van Autgaerden knows that a good painting is always kind of an ambush, and she enjoys luring us, as viewers, into her trap. I cannot shake off the impression that she too perceives the canvas as a “battlefield”, an arena in which she wrestles with the demons of painting – not in a romantic, tormented way, but in one that is analytical and acute, and which takes careful account of the various possibilities of an image. It reminds me more of the British approach, as exemplified by Constable, than the Germanic Sturm und Drang.

The visit made me reflect about what i want, in the true artistic creative-orientation sense, not in the BAU daily reactive/responsive tactics on how to solve a particular problem, which more and more drives us collectively into a solutionalist society, with superficial contacts and interventions, never even coming close to deep and inspired work.

In the middle of these first world reflections, I bumped into this wonderful object:

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Christoph Fink, The Montreal Walks (12 254,94 km, 195 h 30’51"), 
space and time disc, 2008. Ceramics, diameter 47cm.

 

+++ text by Joëlle Tuerlinckx – artist +++

While journeying by foot, bike and aeroplane, Christoph Fink gathers and transforms precise data through a unique notation system, and his clay and ceramic discs spring from this process. This study is sustained by research into the different periods of earth’s evolution, its ecosystem and geography as shaped by the political. It leads to a representation of the globe, or, more precisely, a representation of the globe’s space-time (the central void embodies space-time to come). The clay ball is fashioned according to detailed calculations, and engraved with ‘moments of knowledge’. I’m amazed by the way Fink manages to convey his vast research and his exceptionally rich understanding of the world with such minimal means. Like me, he’s fascinated by the complexity of reality, in which he finds beauty and rebellion.

Fink’s works defy categorisation, they stand somewhere between cartography, music, sculpture, drawing, and evoke a time where painter and geographer were one and the same person (the geographer’s job was still be invented). The amount of work that forms the basis of his practice is truly admirable, because so rare today. His numerous studies, sketches, researches and notations demonstrate a total commitment, every day renewed, and miles away from the art world system, with its fairs, galleries, museums … Fink builds his own vision of the world, one which is radically ethical, political, poetical, and directed only towards more freedom. This artist was for me an obvious choice because of his ethics, so urgently needed. May they inspire many others to find and further their own artistic journeys.

+++ text by Joëlle Tuerlinckx – artist +++

I found many more images of Christoph Fink’s work by a simple google search. If you do so as well, you will find many field notations like the one below.

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Christoph Fink notations of a field trip

I love the concept of “field notations”, and never realised you could push the concept so far and in so much detail. And it is not about the destination, but the journey itself. Also labelled “trajectories” by Kevin Kelly in his latest book “The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future”, when describing “Protopia”, the mild process and progress, as opposed to Utopia and Dystopia.

kelly

It also made me think of a quote by Kristien van Looveren from 2009 (seen at the expo about architect Christian Kieckens, i just got in the last day last week in De Singel in Antwerp):

“Beauty comes from precision”

The works of Greet Van Autgaerden, Christoph Flink, Kevin Kelly, and my teacher Ann Grillet are ongoing inspirations in my quest for purpose and what i will do next.

Compared to those masters, I am such a newbie. Which also gives me the right and freedom to not knowing the norms, and therefor not even knowing how to respect them. That’s of course a false excuse for having a year-end academy scratch book, that not even gets close to any of the beauty I could witness this week-end.

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My scratch-book with "extensions" 
at the end of the first year art-academy painting

 

 

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End February, i had the opportunity to attend the “Socratic Design Workshop” in Cadaqués, 1 hour drive north of Barcelona, Spain.

From the Socrates website:

Socratic Design is a new learning method, incubating the generation of the best human future narratives by realising collective wisdom through the art of dialogue.

The exponential technological revolution cannot be incorporated in the old narratives build on coal and steel ideas. Centrality, hierarchy, ownership, secret information and monopolies are no longer guarded in this new tech culture.

The exponential technology era challenges our human creativity in an unseen way. We can only approach this huge potential of power with next level humanity awareness.

We need to reflect profoundly on our values, on our strong and weak points and above all on our implicit and hidden dreams of a human good life; safeguarded in hundreds years of literature, philosophy, human experiences, religions and other narratives.

We can only perform this if we leave behind our old school atomic thinking, using the strength of intense socratic dialogue, using personal experiences, reaching collective intelligence to jump into new frontier of thinking: exponential humanity.

One of the first exercises was to describe your “perfect day” ten years from now. That exercise was more confronting than i thought at first sight. Here is what i came up with. I deleted the detailed daily hour-by-hour agenda of the perfect day, in order not to bother you with too much tactical detail.

 

In 10 years time…

I will almost be 70

My wife almost 60

My daughter almost 20

Our parents will be gone

 

I have become a full time artist – creator – sensemaker

I sell my art, creations, sense-makings, and curations

I curate, selectively, choose my clients/guests

I only select/accept commissions that meet my quality standards of intention and intensity and ethics

 

I am connecting with the experts, the musicians, and artists of all kinds, to bring out the very best in them. I love to work & live with them, to show personal intent and integrity, so that others want to join my projects too.

 

My work has given room to a Foundation for better work (essence of work and deep change)

My work leads to delight, enjoyment, joy, pleasance, elegance, and maybe epicurism.

 

Enjoying the silence of the house and the morning

Writing, researching, and sense-making

Creating, scripting, painting, making sound- and word-scapes

Performing, Architecting rythms and connections

Good food and wine

Family time

Reading and sleeping

 

I am completely disconnected

Only take mails if announced by phone

My mobile can only take calls and sms

I have stopped tweeting, FB-ing,

Enjoying the physical and emotional silence

 

What I do does not scale

I focus on uniqueness, excellence

The beauty is in the perfection

 

I live in another house, with plenty of space, and annex atelier, maybe art gallery

On the country side, the humid heavy earth of Flanders,

Or in Spain, Toledo, Sevilla, in the middle of the heat of the plain fields

The crack in me, Dries van Noten, the tones of a Spanish Guitar, the dry hot summer heat and the shadow and olive trees

 

I have become a hermit

Nothing should or must

There is no time pressure whatsoever

I am in flow

Nothing needs to be proven

 

I am freed from desire

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Windows at Brussels Airport after suicide bombings on Tuesday. Credit Pool photo by Frederic Sierakowski

Windows at Brussels Airport after suicide bombings on 22 March 2016. CreditPool photo by Frederic Sierakowski, in NYT article “Je Suis Sick of This”

In the aftermath of the terrible Brussels terrorists attacks, I encourage you to watch the full 1h50m LiveStream of the “A Conversation on Privacy” of just a couple of days ago.

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The conversation was positioned/framed as “The balance between national security and government intrusion on the rights of private citizens” and featured renowned linguist and MIT professor Noam Chomsky, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, and Intercept co-founding editor Glenn Greenwald. Nuala O’Connor, president and CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology, was the moderator.

It is clear from the reactions of the public in a full house Centennial Hall of the University of Arizona College of Social and Behavioural Sciences in Tucson Arizona that Chomsky, Greenwald and Snowden were playing a home match, but that should not underplay some of the key points they were making.

There are basically four big chapters in this conversation:

  • What is privacy, and the effects of mass surveillance (nobody in its right mind is questioning targeted surveillance)
  • The Brussels and other attacks and the (in)-efficacy of mass surveillance
  • The FBI – Apple case
  • The role of journalism

I am looking forward to a full transcript of this conversation, in the meantime I made the following bulleted notes:

  • On privacy
    • When discussing privacy and security, are we discussing security of State, Corporations, or Citizens?
    • The statement “if you don’t have anything to hide, you have nothing to fear” does not cut it at all:
    • Everybody needs to be able to think and explore in a space where you are not subject to other people’s judgment, where you can make decisions as result of your own agency
    • People are starting to self-sensor, curtailing their own speech
    • Privacy is the right to enjoy the products of our own intellect
    • Privacy is the fountainhead of all other rights
    • Privacy is the right to a free mind, without having your ideas being pre-judged before they are fully formed
    • If no privacy, you live as a collective, in a state of reaction to your environment
    • “I don’t care about privacy because I have nothing to hide, is about the same as saying I don’t care about freedom of speech because I have nothing to say”
    • Rights are designed for those who are vulnerable. “Not caring about a right (because it does not apply to you) is probably the most anti-social thing I can imagine.”
    • Rights exist to protect the minority against the majority. Even if the majority does not care about privacy (or any other right), that majority view is irrelevant
    • Silicon Valley companies still don’t care about your privacy. What they fear is users would give their data to somebody else
    • The “Digital Self” is unhealthy, creates a sense of intimacy that is fraudulent, leads to very superficial interactions amongst people
    • Should there be state secrets at all? Governments classify EVERYTHING as Secret or Top Secret, because of their unwillingness for transparency
    • The elites decides on our behalf.
    • The elites change as quickly as possible the conversation to the theoretical risk of having a free press
    • Almost NOTHING is concerned with the security of the population; the population is the enemy, and they are not supposed to know what the government or corporates are doing
    • The (US) does not want you to know that the real battle is about world domination of the US doctrine
    • The trade off between security and privacy is is a false dichotomy
    • It leads to the illusion of democracy
  • On the European attacks:
    • Mass surveillance does not have ANY concrete results against terrorism
    • “When you collect everything, you understand nothing”, “you are blinded by the noise”
    • But if mass surveillance does not work for terrorism, it must work for something… What is it good for then? It is about setting and policing our policies and marking anything that is not conforming as suspicious
    • The resources are misallocated to mass surveillance in stead of addressing the route causes
  • On the Apple – FBI case
    • The FBI “wants it all” – all communications between human beings – in other words “wants to kill privacy”. They want access to everything, even your private conversations in between the safe four walls of your home.
    • Orwell interpretation “if you live in a society where you are always being watched, you loose freedom”. But that was an interpretation. What Orwell really wrote was “… a world where we COULD be watched at any moment…”
    • In such a world, you have to act AS IF you were being watched all the time, not knowing of the surveillance device is operating, watching you, or if somebody on the other side is doing something with the information collected
    • Who should be permitted to hold secrets: The citizens ? The governments? The corporations?
    • The content of San Bernardino calls already HAVE been given to the authorities (through the service providers)
    • By unlocking the phone, they would now also have access to the metadata
    • “Private citizens” should have full transparency on “Public officials”
    • The emerging culture is the opposite: Public officials’ activities becoming more and more opaque, and Private citizens’ activities becoming more public
  • On Journalism
    • “What is non-objective is significant” with respect to journalism and framing
    • A lot of journalistic framing follows from their own obedience to the framework of conformity that they learned at our best schools in the world (Oxford, Cambridge, etc.)
    • We have to continue to reveal things that should never have been concealed in the first place

On the same day of the Conversation on Privacy in Tucson, there was an interview with US Secretary of State John Kerry on Canvas (Flemish Television).

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The theme of that interview was “the need for an integrated system of information exchange to increase security”, and that some countries have reservations to such systems – specifically referring in to Edward Snowden.

Some extracts of what John Kerry said (i tried hard not to put things out of context):

“It is fair to say that in a number of countries, partly because of mister Edward Snowden, and the history, people had a reservation about doing some of these things, because they felt that might be an invasion of privacy”.

“I don’t worry about my privacy. The fact that I am getting on an airplane – if I were not flying in a military airplane now, but if I am flying in a civilian airplane which I was doing as a senator – I don’t care if they know if I am on that plane; because I am obeying the law.”

“So I think people have to relax a little bit and understand that there are plenty of ways to protect your privacy without creating greater danger in society at large.”

“I do know that you (Belgium) have a federal system, I know you have a fairly decentralized system,…. And I remember the difficulties we had in the US between federal authority, state authority, and local authority and the movement of information. So, we’ve streamlined much of that now.”

“It is up to Belgium to decide what it should do, but I would urge Belgium and all European countries to create a more integrated flow of information so that we can protect ourselves more effectively”

“And I would say to every citizen that there is a way to do that and still protect people’s legitimate privacy. There is absolutely a way to do that, and we’ve proven it and we’ve lived with it.

To be honest, I could not believe my ears when watching this interview. If you have done a little bit of homework on the topic of privacy, you would also revolt against some of these platitudes which are in the same category as “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear”. The journalist in case missed the opportunity to give pushback to Kerry and to offer a more comprehensive framing of the issues on the table.

It seems to me that the underlying theme in all of this is a cultural tipping point from “when public controls private” to “when private controls public”.

Which of course stands in stark contrast with the idealistic visions of a fully distributed society: also that is a big illusion, because in any system where there is power to be re-distributed, some bigger players like governments and corporations will try to take advantage and create monopolies.

One could discuss what “control” means in this context, and I believe it is related to setting, dictating, manipulating and policing our set of norms and behaviours.

Although the conversation in Tucson is addressing mainly the way western (read US) politics are ran, the whole reasoning is applicable to any other belief system that evolves towards totalitarianism.

Evgeny Morozov was razor sharp is this week’s “The state has lost control: tech firms now run western politics“:

The only solution that seems plausible is by having our political leaders transfer even more responsibility for problem-solving, from matters of welfare to matters of warfare, to Silicon Valley.

This might produce immense gains in efficiency but would this also not aggravate the democratic deficit that already plagues our public institutions? Sure, it would – but the crisis of democratic capitalism seems so acute that it has dropped any pretension to being democratic; hence the proliferation of euphemisms to describe the new normal (with Angela Merkel’s “market-conformed democracy” probably being the most popular one).

The “need for an integrated system of information exchange to increase security” leads to a corporate and government surveillance state. Artificial intelligence tech firms and powerhouses start penetrating every segment of industry, also financial services.

@suitpossum was spot on with his great post this week on “The dark side of digital finance: On financial machines, financial robots & financial AI”, about machines controlling the “body” of the organization. @suitpossum has a great way to articulate how AI and robots are gradually robbing us from our personal agency.

The issue is whether they collectively imprison people in digital infrastructures that increasingly undermine personal agency and replace it with coded, inflexible bureaucracy; or whether they truly offer forms of ‘democratisation’.

I start calling this “The Illusion of Agency” and it will be the topic of one of my upcoming talks and associated blog posts.

There are several ways our policy makers can react to the attacks:

  • One way is to chose for confrontation: to step up reaction and retaliation, enforcing this way the agenda set by the attackers to undermine our way of living. Hitting back includes these “integrated systems” and the access to encrypted data as suggested in the British Investigatory Powers Bill. See also great NYT article on this topic
  • Another way is to use our resources to address the route causes of all this: the disrespect and straight military attacks by the western powers on non-western cultures and economies, not in the interest of the security of their populations but in an attempt to protect the economical and power interests of an elite.

But as public becomes more and more private, and private becomes public, and knowing who is in power, I am rather pessimistic and afraid that they – not we – will chose for the confrontation.

In the meantime – as I said in the beginning of this post – I invite you to listen to the full conversation on privacy, so you get some other perspectives than the obvious and populist ones you can pick up in the mainstream press and television news programs.

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This post is about some of the myopic views on disruption in financial services (or any other vertical for that argument), and why I am getting a bit tired of FinTech, RegTech, InsurTech, or whatever AbcTech you may come up with.

Petervan Abstrakt Motiv 390a detail b+

Disrupted - Petervan Artwork - Acryl on Paper format A1

 

Most of the discussions in FinTech are about the (by now outdated) “unbundling” of highly vertical integrated organizations like banks. Everybody recalls the famous CB-Insight slides on how all functions on the website of HSBC, Wells Fargo, or fill in your <Bank Name> here, will be replaced by better offerings of startups or scale-ups: “everything gets fragmented”, you know😉

It even leads to a “Re-bundling” of financial services, as what was once unbundled needs now to be re-bundled by “banking-as-a-platform” or “Fintegration”, just to throw another buzzword into the mix.

This is in my opinion a highly simplistic view on disruption. It is a fragmented view on disruption. The disruption view is fragmented: each little function on its own is subject of a fragmented disruption debate. We are missing the holistic view of what is going on.

What I would like to bring into the conversation is the “inter-connectedness” of everything, or the “entanglement” of everything.

For payments, the conversation is usually about how many and which intermediaries are part of a payment transaction from the payer to the payee, and how they add value, friction and costs into the system: one can indeed draw disintermediation maps and articulate how the different new entrants attack the different pieces of the end-to-end transaction. But it is piecemealed view, as if the sum of the atomic transactions is an exact equation of the value created in those ecosystem value chains.

The same reflections can be made on the securities business, where many different players (exchanges, central counterparties (CCPs), central securities depositories (CSDs), brokers, custodians and investment managers) are part of the end-to-end flow of atomic transactions between the issuer of a security and the consumer of that security. See also recent comprehensive post by Let’s Talk Payments.

The point I am trying to make here is that what needs to be solved, re-thought and re-designed is a deep ecosystem entanglement. What are really needed are a fundamental process redesign and process innovation and that is not an easy undertaking with all the network effects that are inherent in these ecosystems.

The other point I am trying to make is nobody – not the incumbents, nor the startups/scale-ups – is in a position to solve this on their own.

I believe we have to evolve from platform capitalism to platform cooperation or even platform co-operativism.

  • Instead of talking about optimized correspondent banking, the conversation should be one of collaborative/cooperative banking.
  • Instead of talking about optimized securities lifecycles and settlement, the conversation should be one of collaborative/cooperative securities markets.

The system is not broken. It works very well for what it was designed for. It does not need to be fixed. It needs to be re-thought. What we are witnessing is the need for a fundamental re-thinking of our assumptions. The financial system is part of a broader system of capitalism based on neoliberalism. That system is broken.

Paul Mason – who wrote the book “Post-Capitalism” – was very clear in his recent keynote to the Glasgow Economic Forum: “Neoliberalism is broken”. And he goes on:

  • information technology has paralysed capitalism’s capacity to adapt
  • information technology creates a short-cut to abundance
  • the root cause of the boom-bust cycles, collapsing productivity, stagnation and policy paralysis is that the markets are sending us a signal that there’s not enough value in a high-tech economy to justify current valuations — of debt, equities or derivatives
  • we are in a long transition beyond capitalism, in which the state, the market and a non-market sector based on collaborative production will jostle and coexist
  • and that the only theory that can encompass all of these facts is the one originated by the man quoted on the poster behind me [Adam Smith] — a modernised form of the labour theory of value.

That is the first simplification in the current mainstream thinking about disruption.

As a start, one should start looking at the symptoms of that broken system (as very well articulated in Otto Scharmer’s work at the MIT U.Lab). These symptoms are:

  • An Ecological divide
  • A Social divide
  • A Spiritual divide

otto

The second simplification of the disruption discourse is the lack of inclusion of the macro-forces. Some of the macro-forces deeply driving what’s going on are:

  • Technology macro-force. Here is where inter-connectedness hits hardest. However, this is probably the easiest macro-force to deal with, as technology will take care of itself, as it always has. Open source and other collaborative models will only speed-up that self-care of technology: standards will emerge almost naturally, by natural selection, or my monopolistic interventions.
  • Regulatory macro-force. Regulation is still very high on the agenda of financial institutions, and one can only expect that more is to come, especially on the area of data capitalism, handling of personal and corporate data, and even data ethics. After having digested the regulatory impact of the 2008 financial crisis, many are tempted and seduced to jump back with relief into innovation. The blockchain hype is a great excuse for claiming one is busy with the future state of things. Nothing could be further from the truth
  • Geo-political macro-force: Grexit, Brexit, Terrorism, War, Surveillance, climate, and other crisis that can pop-up at any moment in time, with their potential of killing overnight all the innovation plans and ambitions.
  • Eco macro-force: the acknowledgement that our organizations don’t operate in isolation, that we have to evolve from ego-businesses to eco-businesses, not only extracting value out of the ecosystem for our sole and own benefit, but that we are part of a reciprocal non-zero-sum game with an unspoken desire to save humanity.

The third simplification is the omission of the time component of evolution. I strongly recommend you discovering the work of Simon Wardley and his “situational awareness maps”.

 

 

Different values are created by different versions of different technologies and value engines, each of them evolving at their own pace on the lifecycle of emerging to commodity/utility. For big organizations – like financial institutions – it is extremely difficult to map out the current state, let’s not even mention the ability to strategically decide where one wants to head for in different time horizons in the future.

The same situational awareness is not only needed for (existing) and new technologies, but also for existing and new regulations, geo- and eco- events and ambitions.

In the past many have been concerned with the “backward compatibility” of new services and solutions. Backwards compatibility with the existing footprint and practices in the market that is.

I believe there is room today to start thinking in terms of “Forward Compatibility”.

What is Forward Compatibility? It is a capability to plan ahead for gradual adoption by the ecosystem, taking into account the different barriers mentioned above. This is about knowing HOW to get at the new destination:

  • How you rally the main stakeholders of the ecosystem into a rigorous system and process innovation? Process innovation is different from process-, datamodel-, or messaging standardization. It is not about standardizing the existing and guaranteeing backwards compatibility with the existing. It is about co-creating a new reality.
  • How you promote the evolution from the current model to the future model? In the case of distributed ledger technologies for example, it is not about a tabula rasa that will eradicate the existing, but how one evolves from for example a messaging hub-and-spoke paradigm towards business objects and lifecycles in the cloud, initially probably in one central database (one node), and then evolve to a peer-to-peer networks of many distributed databases or nodes (remember the Digital Asset Grid?)
  • How to bootstrap this new reality taking into account the network effects to be created and promoted in the new P2P reality.

No disruption will happen without fundamental re-design – or better re-invention – of the end-to-end business processes:

  • Organizations knowing where they want to get and defining and leading that journey;
  • De-risking change throughout this journey;
  • Making trade-offs in the breadth ànd depth of the destination;
  • Moving beyond the atomic nature of the transaction. As mentioned an nausea in previous posts, it is not good enough anymore to enable (atomic) transactions, the challenge is to enable commerce, as an end-to-end process

Startups/Scale-ups who want to be part of this endeavor, will need to know how to “scale”: they will need to learn to appreciate the mechanics of growing a startup into a corporate. This growth process (and its associated growth pains) is very well described in the post “Go Corporate or go home” around the concept of legibility of on organization. The startup organizations – whether they like it or not – will need to become more legible, more predictable. The author makes a very solid argument why hierarchies are needed.

“The smaller a company is, the less they need to formalize anything, and the less the three levels — chain of command, business process, and culture — differ.”

 As they grow, they will have to synchronize how they transform these three levels (chain of command, business process, and culture). It’s not only from small self-sufficient team into hierarchies; it is also growing into professional business processes, and evolving the social fabric and conventions.

Although startups, scale-ups, and corporate innovation sandboxes mimicking the startup culture “love to have and keep the flexibility, the cost of growth is scale, integration, and profitability.”

In this context, it is probably worth having a look at the post about the Transferwise culture (I could have taken any other scale-up for that matter) “We inspire smart people and we trust them”, and especially the comment on that post that talks about KPIs, product-level empowerment, about focusing on growth more holistically, actually removing bottlenecks and silos, empowering teams at the product level, and instrumenting themselves to be able to actually get granular feedback.

If possible – assuming you want to spend some quality time – read that post and comment after you have read “Go corporate of go home”.

So next time, when you pitch about disruption, about the end of banks/banking, about collaboration/co-operation, or about any other technology solving world hunger, please make sure you have an answer on how to get to your new destination. I would suggest you keep forward compatibility in mind.

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Douglas

Headshot - Douglas Rushkoff

The first time I heard the term “Platform Cooperativism” was when listening to a talk by Douglas Rushkoff (www.rushkoff.com) on 15 Nov 2015 at the Internet Society.

video

Just a couple of weeks before, Doug had sent me a manuscript version of his new upcoming book “Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth became the enemy of prosperity” (Amazon Associates link), planned for release in two weeks or so. I recall the working title of the book was “The end of growth”.

book

As usual – when listening to an interesting talk – I scribble notes on my notepad, pausing the video after every interesting sentence, and end up with some sort of transcript, somewhat personalized because using my own sense-making lens and bias.

Some snapshots:

  • Before the law enforced monopoly, now technology enforces monopoly
  • From creative destruction to destructive destruction
  • A software company is a company extracting value from the working economy (transactions between people) and converts it into capital (static bags of shares and stock prices), converting land and labor into capital.
  • Creating real value, that’s the suckers’ place (of being gamed). Playing the game is the place where you want to be
  • Central currency is the embedded operating system
  • Should we optimize for growth or optimize for humans?
  • Jobs!, Jobs!, Jobs! Let’s pretend we are on acid for a minute😉. Who really wants a “job”?
  • Most companies, after reaching max growth, go for steady state, the flow of money
  • Uber drivers are doing R&D for automatic cars. They don’t have a platform cooperative
  • Family businesses are focused on the long term, are generational, are even willing to help other create value.
  • From a growth model of business to a flow model of business
  • Optimize for the velocity of money (not for being static, stocked in troves)
  • We don’t need banks to authenticate
  • The bank was made to extract value out of our transactions
  • About Bitcoin/Blockchain (at minute 37): “what are they programming for?” Bitcoin creates trust? No, Bitcoin SUBSTITUTES trust
  • In the end, we have to re-program the social expectations of each other
  • There is some chance that the P2P economy may happen, that the extraction economy comes to its end, with interesting experiments
    • We see hybrid models to fund pizzeria, 50% Crowd, 50% bank
    • The bank as facilitator of local community development
  • From platform monopolies to platform cooperatives
  • Facilitating exchange of value between people instead of extracting value from people’s labor.
  • We need a full-blown renaissance, and we are in it…
    • From Perspective painting to the hologram and the fractal
    • From the individual hero to collectivism
    • From the printing press to the computer
    • From enclosing the commons to retrieving the commons
    • From divisional science to the science of whole-ism
  • Land, Labor, and Capital as PARTNERS in an economy
    • Today, capital is extracting from Land and Labor

The comments right after Douglas’ talk by Astra Taylor, author of the book: “The Peoples’ Platform: And Other Digital Dilusions” are interesting:

  • I want (platform) cooperatism to be confrontational, it has to make a difference in the world
  • How different is the current moment? If different at all….
  • The key for cooperatives success is access to capital

Platform Cooperativism is possibly an answer to Platform Capitalism. Harold Jarche recently articulated very well what platform capitalism is really about: the extraction of value from many for the benefit of a few.

“The emerging economy of platform capitalism includes companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple. These giants combined do not employ as many people as General Motors did. But the money accrued by them is enormous and remains in a few hands.”

And just a couple of days ago, David Bollier had a great post pointing to a new report on Platform Cooperativism by Trebor Scholz, one of the organizers of the Nov 2015 conference where Rushkoff spoke. Full report (PDF) report here.

“In the report, Scholz notes that the gig economy financializes resources that were previously outside of the market.  Our cars, our apartments, our private time – all can now be monetized through corporate platforms and made subordinate to market forces.  In effect, this new system is “embedding extractive processes into social interactions” and “extending the deregulated free market into previously private areas of our lives,” writes Scholz.”

Platform Cooperativism is a choice we have in the Industrial-Human Paradox. The WEF makes a lot of noise about “The 4th Industrial Revolution”, semi celebrating forms platform capitalism like the Uberization of everything, and robots eating our jobs.

It feels to me that sort of thinking starts feeling more as entertainment rather than independent thinking and provocation.

As Douglas Rushkoff said and provoked elsewhere: we don’t need to fix the system. The system just works fine for what it was designed for: extracting value.

scharmer

Otto Scharmer articulated very well the symptoms of the broken system:

  • Ecological divide
  • Social divide
  • Spiritual divide

We don’t need to fix the existing system, we need another system. We need radical ideas for the new century: platform cooperatism could be the answer. But a lot needs to change.

Still inspired by Scharmer, we need to improve the quality of how we engage with each other, the way we debate, dialogue, coordinate, organize. We need to take into account the quality of the context. We need to go from experiments and prototypes to models that can scale and be transformative. And that needs to happen at an institutional level.

In his ULabs, Otto Scharmer has identified two missing conditions for this to happen:

  • Enabling infrastructures that bring together the right set of players into a system
  • Move from abstract coordination mechanisms (like hierarchy, markets or organized interest groups) to co-creating ecosystems

In the middle of the great transition from centralized to decentralized to fully distributed systems, we have a choice: we can copycat the models of platform capitalism leading almost by nature to a few monopolists who take it all, or we can choose for a construct that has in mind the flourishing of the whole, of the cooperative.

Somebody has to take up the role of the commons for financial services, where the end-goal is not to maximize profit and shareholders value, but the interest of the community and the maximalisation of flow between all the stakeholders.

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Way back in 2010, I wrote a post “Let me entertain you” inspired by one of Robbie Williams’ biggest hits. Some extract of the lyrics below:

Hell is gone and heaven’s here
There’s nothing left for you to fear
Shake your arse come over here
Now scream
I’m a burning effigy
Of everything I used to be
You’re my rock of empathy, my dear
So come on let me entertain you
Let me entertain you

Lyrics of "Let me entertain you" - Robbie Williams

I have evolved since then. The title of this post is inspired by a quote by Brian Eno in an interview in December 2015 with Steven Johnson about art, music, punch lines, and culture in general I would say.

 

“I don’t want to be entertained,

I want to be provoked.”

 

 

 

Here is the video on punch lines.

When I first read that interview, there was no transcript, so I transcribed it all myself (so I did not cut and paste from the site, and everything in this post is my own crunching through the story😉. Now it’s all for grabs on Steven’s post.

I think Eno’s quote could be a great tagline for the way I think about “events”. I could do my Magritte trick here again and say “Ceci n’est pas un event”. As I have said so many times in the past:

“I am not in the events business. I am in the business of creating high quality feedback loops to enable immersive learning experiences”.

It’s about creating spaces and environments where people want to be provoked, not feeling comfortable, not being entertained. At the edge, but not beyond.

 

 

Exactly what architect Clive Wilkinson refers to in his talk “Designing The Theatre of Work”. There is indeed something (un)wise in this notion of “Theater of Work” or “Theatre of Change”. At min 11:30 of this video, he quotes:

“I don’t want people to feel comfortable, I want them to be provoked. I am not going to get great work out of people who are comfortable”

and also

“The architecture and the language of space is not something that is meant to make you go to sleep”

It’s only very recently that I realized the “creating high feedback loops and immersive learning thing” was only about the “how” and not about the “why” and “what” this is supposed to achieve.

I think I have a better hunch about that now: I believe it is about creating high quality change. Deep change. Not the Theatre of Change. Change that is in the first place based on high quality human alignment. Beyond the cognitive, and beyond the tactics of processes and governance. Beyond the illusion and entertainment of the innovation theatre.

I recently bumped into a colleague that is doing innovation work – or should I say theatre – for a big international automotive company. She was asked to give support in the design of a “disruption tour” that was organized for the members of the board in Silicon Valley.

I think we have all seen those disruption tours, where execs are flown into sunny California, get a week immersion, come back all excited as part of this elite club that got to see one or the other hotshot in the valley, and where the initial momentum ebbs away very quickly, usually already after two weeks, when we all go back to business as usual.

But the briefing for this tour was a bit different. She learned that the tour should not challenge any of the “what” and only focus on the “how”. So in other words: avoid in all circumstances that anything they will see and hear would challenge or disrupt their existing automotive strategy. What was asked for was “disruption without disrupting”. Or “Safe Innovation” as I read somewhere else this week.

In Hollywood this is called “entertainment”.

I kept delving in the Brian Eno’s story about entertainment vs. provocation, and found this audio ànd the transcript of the 27th Sep 2015 BBC John Peel Lectures with Brian Eno.

I am very much inspired by both Peel, who has this art of giving others “airplay” and Brian Eno, who really is a “curator d’excellence”, if you look back at what sort of magic mix of artists he brought together in his life, always remaining a “vanguard”, and his restless desire for discovering new places and more:

vanguard

“Vanguard” means forefront, advance guard, avant-garde. Has to do with seeing early signals, making sense of them. Not only seeing. Also building. Building something new. “World Building”.

World building, like the places children imagine. Like the emotional places where children imagine: who would not crave to be in that state all the time? In that sense, I believe my curation and events work is more and more about painting and architecting “states of mind”.

Happenstance that just this week @ribbonfarm had a fantastic post on this topic of “states of mind” titled “Productivity for precious snowflakes”

snowflakes

Two identical snowflakes, via NYT

He is talking about multi-finality (and not multi-tasking) and about the interest in the quality of the experience (and not the mere outcome), and about the source of creative being in the past.

It’s encouraging to realize that many of the states of mind we seek are not “out there” somewhere, to be hunted down and consumed. They are states of mind belonging to our past selves — we wouldn’t crave it if we had never experienced it. We have to go backwards and remember what we once knew, not forwards to some perfected version of ourselves. What would you pay to experience child-like wonder for a day? To watch Star Wars Episode IV for the first time again? To have the ability to snap your fingers at any time and see your writing, your painting, your app with the fresh eyes of a novice?

“Flexing our mental muscles” by imagining new worlds, and “when people synchronize themselves together”, says Eno.

He also introduces the topic of “exhaustion”. I will come back to the theme of exhaustion in another post, as I think it is key to the kind of problems we try to tackle today.

14th century

“We need ways to keep in synch, to keep coherent. That is what culture is doing for us.”

and

“Culture as a set of collective rituals to keep coherent, collective rituals that we are all engaged in”

book keeping together

Brian refers to the book “Keeping Together” by William Hardy. In that book, one of the most widely read and respected historians in America pursues the possibility that coordinated rhythmic movement – and the shared feelings it evokes – has been a powerful force in holding human groups together.

As an ex-DJ, I think my work is about creating rhythms. Architecting these “coordinated rhythmic movements and rituals” for “state of minds” and “states of intentions”.

Way beyond the entertainment. This is about “Creating scenius together”. Scenius is the talent of whole communities. Bringing them in contact with their talent, their potential.

“You simply can’t absorb this (change and exhaustion). You just have to do it collectively. Nobody’s going to be able to do it individually”.

These interviews with Brian Eno are from last year. Before Bowie sent us Lazarus and left us all alone on 10 Jan 2016.

 

 

My good friend Gary Thompson also leveraged Bowie’s death into an intimate and very inspiring blog post about “being provoked” and “being at a trailhead, at the start of a new year and being on a journey without a map”.

Tony Visconti, who produced several of Bowie’s albums, acclaimed Bowie’s visionary status.

“He always did what he wanted to do,” and “And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way. His death was no different from his life – a work of art.”

Bowie and Eno are not entertainment. They are provoking art. Work becomes art. The essence of work is art.

“Art is everything

that you don’t have to do”

Brian Eno

At a reception earlier this week, I bumped into a friend who follows my blogs, tweets, and artwork.

She basically asked me “Quo Vadis, Peter?” and “What direction are you going with all this?” It’s a great question I am struggling with on an almost daily basis.

I will answer cryptically with the title of Otto Sharmer’s latest book “Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies”and with the last verse of Bowie’s Lazarus:

This way or no way
You know I’ll be free
Just like that bluebird
Now, ain’t that just like me?

Oh, I’ll be free
Just like that bluebird
Oh, I’ll be free
Ain’t that just like me?

Enjoy!

 

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