There once was – a long time ago – a small Helikon. He had a round body, stockings with red and white stripes, and yellow boots.

Helikon stepping forward

On his head he had – just like any other Helikon – a very fine “antenna” to feel for everything, and on top of that antenna, a propeller that indicated the direction and strength of the wind.

Our little Helikon also had a shiny black visor, so you could not see his eyes. But he could see you.

That shiny black visor was actually something he had inherited from his parents at birth. They had been wearing these visors for a very long time. It was a rule in Helikon country that you had to wear such a visor when you had lost some beloved one.

In the beginning everything was apparently going well and normal for our little Helikon. He was well formed, could climb very well, and had the clever brains for making it easy to bring all tasks to a successful conclusion.

But soon he had the feeling that Mom Helikon tested him, and tried to see how far she could tease him before he felt hurt. And sometimes she succeeded. I remember one time he had damaged the doors of the house with the propellor from his antenna. Just to show how angry he was.

Dad and Mom Helikon were rarely angry. Our Helikon therefore remembered all too well that one day his Dad had been really very angry. That was when Dad tried to polish the visor of his son. Our Helikon did not like the cleaning and brushing at all, and got very obnoxious. Dad then became so angry that he simply threw the cleaning cloth against the ceiling of the Helisphere. You can still see that spot today 😉

As our small Helikon grew up, he also developed a strong desire to see the antennas and propellors of the Helikas. Which at that time was actually considered very brrbwah and forbidden. One time, Mama Helikon had beaten him up for that. There was a story about the girl next door or the neighbour or maybe both. The old books are not so clear on that.

Over time, our little Helikon got something sad about him, even something of anger and violence. You could notice a certain dullness of his usually shiny black opaque visor. That was because our little Helikon had discovered that he had a speech problem: he could not pronounce the word “yes” very well. And the word “no” was also very difficult. Especially the first syllable of these two words was hard.

This speech defect haunted him for a long time but he didn’t really take care of it. The Helisphere of the Helikons lay in the middle of a big forest. In the forest were many old and large trees. The forest was very dense with ferns, mushrooms, and turquoise flowers.

Helikon frontal with trees at horizon

Our little Helikon often made long exploration trips in the woods. In the beginning it was fun, but as the Helikon pulled deeper into the forest, he was overcome by a deep fear. Would he still find his way back?

The deeper into the forest, the more he could smell the earth. The damp smell of wet leaves sometimes made him nauseous. And sometimes, it gave the urge to run away quickly. Were those trees real? And why were the great owls constantly howling? The small Helikon wanted to avoid at all costs that the owls saw that he was afraid.

And to prove himself, he climbed the highest trees, and jumped out of them, with his hands covering his black visor but without any further protection. It was as if he wanted to tell the forest: look what I can do! Look at what a daredevil I am! But the trees just kept standing where they stood, and pretended not to see him.

On a beautiful summer day – during one of those hikes – our little Helikon had gone very deep into the forest. There was only a tiny bit of sunlight filtering through the thick canopy of trees.

Helikon meets fairy

And whambam!! All of a sudden, an old fairy with spooky green eyes stood in front of him. The fairy told about the man in her life that she had lost, the eternal summer in this enchanted forest, and the black visor that she refused to wear. Helikon was very enchanted by this idea.

But the old fairy with green eyes very quickly tempered his enthusiasm by pointing out that he just landed in a fairy tale, and that all this was only a dream. A tale of elves, fairies and wizards, anyway … a tale of sweet crunchy make belief that everyone knows from his childhood.

The fairy with the green eyes made a few quick circular movements with her hand, uttered a very long spell and wished that the Helikon would soon wake up from this fairy tale and would be out in the real world: the real world of big stories of real love, real goodness, and where people no longer tried to restrain evil, but let the good grow by itself like fresh grass. Without pulling it, or without even caressing it.

Our little Helikon could not believe his ears. Was all this possible? Would such a world exist?

When the fairy touched him at the end of the spell with her magic wand, a shock went through the little body of our small Helikon: it was a wonderful warm gentle stream that flowed through his veins like hot jelly. The green-eyed fairy told him that this was “crostipana”, the holy manna pursued for centuries by all Helikons.

Helikon was now looking very intensely for that real world. But the more he searched for it, the less he liked it and the more difficult it was to imagine living there.

He searched and searched. He combed the entire forest from front to back.

Nothing could tempt, inspire or surprise him.

During one of those quests – very early in the morning, the sun was just peeping over the horizon – the little Helikon found a golden casket under a large oak tree. The sun made the morning dew sparkle in fantastic colours. It was very well made, with inlaid multicoloured gems and pearls.

The casket was closed. There was probably a big treasure inside.

Our Helikon tried to open the casket. First with a passkey he always carried in his little backpack, and when that failed, he tried to pry it open with a branch of the oak tree. Still to no avail, he threw the casket with all his might down a steep rock. The casket remained shut.

In desperation, he went to see the wise men of Helikon village.

The first wise man proposed to push the casket under water until the moisture would burst it.

The second wise man suggested to move to the country where the casket was made. They would probably have matching keys.

The third wise man just told our Helikon put the casket out of his mind, as it probably was fake and empty.

None of this helped.

Eventually our little man got to see the Great Helikon of the Helikon village. The Helisphere of the Great Helikon was very big and looked a little bleak.

Helikon meets wide man

The Great Helikon himself had a long grey antenna, the screw was all rusty, and there was a large brown stain on his visor.

When he heard the story of our Helikon, he spoke with a deep voice: “Ahum, ahum” – wise men always scrape their throat – “dear little man, you will have to leave the casket with me for a while. I will handle it with special potions and spells and polish it as new.”.

When the Helikon left the casket behind, he was terrified he would never see his casket again. Let’s hope the Great Helikon would not give the casket the wrong potions, he mumbled to himself.

But, see! Few weeks later, the Great Helikon called him in, and gave the casket back to our little Helikon, saying: “You have to pamper this casket a lot, fondle very gently the lid of the casket, and talk very nicely to it all day long, and if you do that long enough, the casket will open.”

The Helikon cuddled the casket every day now. And look, after exactly three weeks the lock of the casket clicked and opened. He just had to wiggle a bit the cover, and then it really opened.

On the inside, the casket was very nicely finished: it was completely lined with soft red silk, just like a pillow, a soft bed.

Helikon looking at kistje

And in the middle of that red soft pillow – Surprise! Surprise! – was another teeny-weeny mini casket. It was the nicest little casket that one could imagine. A mini key lay beside it to open it.

When our little Helikon carefully opened that mini-casket, there was a note in it. This was what was on the note:


“You came here with your suitcase full of secrets that weighed very heavily. Little by little, you are opening this suitcase. At the end of this journey, this case will be refilled. This time with light, power and love. Thanks to all the nice things in it, the case will be very light.”


Our little Helikon knew he did not have to search any further. The answers to all his questions were actually within himself. From that day on the Helikon was no longer afraid of the forest.


The End


Petervan Fairy Tales ©2018

Story & Illustrations by @petervan

English proofreading & corrections by Geert Barbier (Thanks!)

Original version in Dutch here


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Er was eens – heel lang geleden – een kleine Helikon. Hij had een rond lijfje, kousen met rode-witte strepen, en gele laarsjes.

Helikon stepping forward

Op zijn hoofd had hij – net als elke andere Helikon – een heel fijne “antenne” om alles goed aan te voelen, en bovenop die antenne, een schroefje dat de richting en de kracht van de wind aangaf.

Onze kleine Helikon had ook een zwart glimmend vizier, waardoor je zijn ogen niet kon zien. Maar zélf zag hij je wèl.

Dat zwart glimmend vizier was eigenlijk iets dat hij van Papa & Mama Helikon had meegekregen bij de geboorte. Papa & Mama Helikon droegen zelf ook al heel lang een zelfde soort vizier. In Helikon-land moest je namelijk zo’n vizier dragen als je iemand van wie je erg hield was verloren.

In het begin liep alles schijnbaar normaal voor onze kleine Helikon. Hij was mooi gevormd, kon erg goed klimmen, en had een pienter stel hersens waardoor hij makkelijk alle opdrachten tot een goed einde bracht.

Maar hij had al snel het gevoel dat Mama Helikon hem testte, en probeerde hoever ze hem kon plagen voordat hij kwaad werd. En soms lukte dat wel eens. Ik herinner me een keer dat hij alle deuren van het huis met de schroef van zijn antenne had beschadigd. Gewoon om te laten zien hoe boos hij wel was.

Papa en Mama Helikon waren zelden boos. Onze Helikon herinnerde zich dan ook nog goed die ene enkele keer wanneer zijn Papa toch eens heel boos was geworden. Dat was toen Papa het vizier van zoonlief probeerde op te poetsen. Die vond dat poetsen helemaal niet leuk en liet dat dan ook merken. Papa werd toen zo boos dat hij toen gewoon het poetsdoekje tegen het plafond van de Helisfeer had gegooid. Die plek kan je nu nog goed zien 😉

Naarmate onze kleine Helikon groot werd, ontwikkelde zich bij hem ook een sterk verlangen om de antennes en schroefjes van de Helika’s te bekijken. Dat was in die tijd eigenlijk heel erg verboden en vies. Mama Helikon had hem daarvoor al eens een oplawaai gegeven. Er was toen iets geweest met het buurmeisje of de buurvrouw of misschien beide. Daar zijn de oude boeken niet zo duidelijk over.

Mettertijd kreeg onze kleine Helikon – je kon dat zien aan een zekere matheid van zijn doorgaans glimmende zwarte ondoorzichtige vizier – iets droevigs over zich , ja zelfs iets van boosheid en geweld. Dat kwam omdat onze kleine Helikon had ontdekt dat hij een spraakgebrek had: hij kon het woord “ja” niet goed uitspreken. En het woord “nee” lag ook erg moeilijk. Vooral de eerste lettergreep van deze twee woorden kreeg hij moeilijk uitgesproken.

Hij bleef een hele tijd rondlopen met dit spraakgebrek, zonder het echt te verzorgen.

De Helisfeer van de Helikons lag in een groot bos. In het bos stonden veel oude en grote bomen. Het bos was ook heel dicht begroeid met varens, paddestoelen, en turquoise bloemen.

Helikon frontal with trees at horizon

Onze kleine Helikon maakte dikwijls lange verkenningsochten in het bos. In het begin was dat leuk, maar naarmate de Helikon dieper in het bos trok, raakte hij bevangen door een diepe angst. Zou hij zijn weg nog terug vinden ?

Hoe dieper in het bos, hoe meer hij de aarde kon ruiken. De vochtige geur van natte bladeren maakte hem soms misselijk. En soms overviel hem de dwang om snel weg te lopen. Waren die bomen wel écht ? En wat zaten die grote uilen daar constant the oe-hoe-en ? De kleine Helikon wou tot elke prijs vermijden dat de uilen zagen dat hij bang was.

En om zich te bewijzen klom hij in de hoogste bomen, en sprong er dan – met de handen voor zijn zwarte vizier – zonder enige bescherming uit. Het was alsof hij tegen het bos wou zeggen: kijk eens wat ik kan, kijk eens wat ik durf ! Maar de bomen bleven gewoon staan waar ze stonden, en deden alsof ze hem niet zagen.

Op een mooie zomerdag – tijdens een van die trektochten door het bos – was onze kleine Helikon heel diep in het bos gegaan. Door de dikke kruinen van de bomen kwam nog maar een heel klein beetje zonlicht.

Helikon meets fairy

En plots, ineens, uit het niets, stond daar een oude fee voor hem, met groene ogen. De fee vertelde over de man in haar leven die zij verloren was, over de eeuwige zomer in dit sprookjesbos, en over het zwarte vizier dat ze weigerde te dragen. De Helikon was erg aangetrokken tot deze gedachte.

Maar de oude fee met de groene ogen koelde al snel zijn enthousiasme door hem duidelijk te maken dat hij enkel maar in een sprookje was beland, alsof het slechts een droom was. Een sprookje van kabouters, feeën, en tovenaars, enfin… een sprookje van zoeterige kunstmatigheid en on-echtheid dat iedereen wel kent vanuit zijn jeugd.

De fee met de groene ogen maakte een paar snelle cirkelvormige bewegingen met haar toverstaf, sprak een heel erg lange toverspreuk uit en uitte toen de wens uit dat de Helikon snel wakker zou worden uit dit sprookje en op zoek zou gaan naar de échte wereld: die wereld van de échte grote verhalen, van échte liefde, van échte goedheid, en waar de bewoners niet meer probeerden om het kwade te beperken, maar het goede als fris gras lieten groeien. Zonder er aan te trekken, of zonder er aan te strelen.

Onze kleine Helikon geloofde zijn oren niet. Was dit allemaal wel mogelijk ? Zou zo’n wereld bestaan ?

Toen de fee hem op het einde van de toverspreuk aanraakte met de toverstaf was het alsof er een schok door het lichaampje van onze kleine Helikon ging: het was een weldadige warme zachte stroom die door zijn adertjes vloeide, zoals warme konfituur. De fee met de groene ogen vertelde hem dat dit nu “crostipana” was, het manna dat door zoveel Helikons als ultieme doel werd nagestreefd.

De Helikon ging vanaf nu heel erg op zoek naar die échte wereld. Maar hoe meer hij ernaar zocht, hoe minder hij vond en hoe lastiger hij werd.

Hij zocht en zocht en zocht. Hij kamde het hele bos van voor naar achter uit.

Niets kon hem nog bekoren.

Tijdens een van die zoektochten vond de kleine Helikon – heel vroeg in de morgen, de zon was net op – een goudkleurig kistje onder een grote eikenboom. De ochtenddauw glinsterde nog op het kistje. Het was heel mooi gemaakt, met inlegstukjes van veelkleurige edelstenen en parels.

Het kistje was gesloten. Er zat waarschijnlijk een hele grote schat in.

Onze Helikon probeerde het kistje open te maken. Eerst met een grote bos namaak-sleutels, en toen dat niet lukte, probeerde hij het open te wrikken met een tak van de eikenboom. En toen dat ook niet lukte gooide hij het kistje heel hard naar beneden van een steile rotswand. Het kistje bleef potdicht.

Ten einde raad, trok hij met het kistje naar de wijzen van het Helikon dorp.

De eerste wijze stelde voor om het kistje onder water te duwen tot het van vocht zou barsten.

De tweede wijze stelde voor om naar een ander land te trekken waar het kistje gemaakt was. Daar zouden ze allicht nog passende sleutels hebben.

De derde wijze zei dat er waarschijnlijk niets in het kistje zat, en dat onze Helikon het kistje gewoon uit zijn gedachten moest zetten.

Niets van dit alles hielp.

Uiteindelijk stapte onze kleine man naar de Grote Helikon van het Helikon dorp. De Helisfeer van de Grote Helikon was heel erg groot en zag er een beetje somber uit.

Helikon meets wide man

De Grote Helikon zelf had een lange grijze antenne, de schroef was helemaal versleten, en had een grote bruine vlek op zijn vizier.

Toen hij het verhaal van onze Helikon hoorde, sprak hij met diepe stem: “Lieve kleine man, je zal het kistje een tijdje bij mij moeten laten. Ik zal het kistje met speciale toverdranken en -spreuken verzorgen, en het weer helemaal oppoetsen”.

Toen de Helikon het kistje achterliet, werd hij bevangen door angst: zou hij het kistje nog wel weerzien ? Zou de Grote Helikon het kistje geen verkeerde toverdrank geven ?

Toen na een paar weken de Grote Helikon hem terug bij zich riep, en het kistje teruggaf aan onze kleine Helikon, zei hij: “Je moet dit kistje heel erg vertroetelen, driemaal daags heel zachtjes op het deksel van het kistje strelen, en er elke dag heel lief tegen praten, en als je dat lang genoeg zal doen, zal het kistje opengaan.”

Onze kleine Helikon streelde nu elke dag het kistje. En kijk, na precies 3 weken klikte het slot van het kistje. Hij moest nog even wrikken aan het dekseltje, en toen ging het echt open.

Helikon looking at kistje

Het kistje was vanbinnen heel mooi afgewerkt: het was volledig afgezet met zachte rode zijde, het was precies een kussentje, een zacht bedje.

En in het midden van die rode zachte zijde lag – en dat was toch wel een grote verassing – een ander héél klein mini-kistje. Het was het mooiste kistje dat men zich maar kon inbeelden. Een mini-sleuteltje lag ernaast om het open te maken.

Toen onze kleine Helikon dat mini-kistje voorzichtig opendeed, lag er een briefje in. Op het briefje stond:


“Je bent hierheen gekomen met koffer vol geheimen die heel zwaar woog. Deze koffer ben je stilaan aan het openen. Op het einde van deze reis zal deze koffer opnieuw gevuld zijn. Deze keer met licht, kracht en nog meer liefde. Dank zij al die leuke dingen erin, zal de koffer zeer licht aanvoelen.”


Onze kleine Helikon wist dat hij nu niet verder moest zoeken. De antwoorden op al zijn vragen lagen eigenlijk in hemzelf. Vanaf die dag was de Helikon niet meer bang in het bos.





Petervan Fairy Tales © 2018

Tekst en illustraties door @petervan

Engelse versie hier.

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Holiday is almost over, and soon the corporate machinery will kick-in again in full swing, with plenty of exciting announcements about new innovation initiatives, conferences, books, accelerators, startups, scale-ups, and what have you.

“How serious is your innovation?” is the title of a panel I will moderate at the Finnosummit 2018 on 12-13 Sep 2018. I identified a couple of angles for discussion that you might use yourself in assessing your own innovation efforts. Self-assessment of innovation is of course not new, and I already wrote several posts on this topic before:

But in this post, I would like to go beyond the tactics and the aesthetics.

The aesthetics in the video are great, and the background of the Louvre museum gives it some extra credibility, but from a historical point of view, it is all plain wrong and misleading. S**t sold as culture.

If you are a regular reader of the awesome blog of Leda Glyptis about innovation in financial services, you will soon get depressed, but what she describes is unfortunately reality in most organisations. The essence is that most innovation in bigger organisations is just Apes**t: it is not about getting good new stuff into the market, but it is all about looking good and ticking the box during annual reports and annual events. It’s marketing, and that is fine, as long as you know it and don’t deceit yourself that you are doing the real thing.

In this Apes**t world, innovation is a Brand Of Smiling Young Successful Energetic Good Looking People reflecting sentiments of cool, hip, young, dynamic, agile, fast moving, energetic, smiling, fun, and rule breakers.


This Innovation Apes**t is now almost in the same category as “Fake trumps reality” a.k.a. fantasies to compensate for unfulfilled needs in real life.

Innovation “teams” are often very small teams compared to the rest of the organisation, and deeply buried in its reporting lines. But those very few are able to make a lot of positive and hyped noise, while in reality the rest of the organisation is still in zombie state, refusing at all times to touch (don’t event talk about cutting) the branch they are sitting on or the breast that is feeding them. Why would they? They are in the comfort zone of regular pay-checks, bonuses, perks, etc. And the rare individuals that have the guts to step forward get slashed in annual appraisals because they don’t focus on their objectives which are all focused on the core of the business, or on some vague management/leadership principles that look nice on a slide deck or annual report, but in reality are lip-service at best. It has come to a point where what innovations teams talk about is not what the organisation is focused on.

I have come to distrust anything that looks good, too good/neat to be true. The truth is always messy, and in a corporate environment the good usually hides the ugly.

Look at this example about employee motivation, typical HR Apes**t slideware.

Workplace trust hr apeshit

Humans just don’t function this linear/matrix type of flow. Humans are messy, and that is a great thing.

Therefore, distrust anything that fits a 2×2 matrix, because it is an oversimplification of reality, and does not include “movement” and “tempo”, unless you draw an arrow from one quadrant to another 😉

In general, also distrust all consultant models: they also suck because besides the gross simplifications of reality they also don’t take into account humans’ motivations. Most human interactions (words, sounds, tone, dress, posture, etc ) are status transactions, to increase one’s status compared to the other (opponent). Most motivations are about reciprocity, prestige, self-serving biases, power, hypocrisy, arrogance and entitlement.

All those models also suck because they forget about patrimony, organisational memory, and culture being in essence recorded/internalised know-how.

Doctrines are a category in their own right. Lean, Agile, and Six Sigma are in the category of “Doctrines”, so are “Customer first” and “FNAO” (Failure is not an option/Fear is not an option). The big four sign big contracts for rolling out Lean, Agile, and Six Sigma programs in organisations. They have “knowledge transfer methodologies” where they run the program themselves with their junior consultants for the first year, and then transfer the knowledge to in-house “navigators”, “coachers” or other fancy titles to keep the whole organisation busy and in defence mode for another 1-2 years.

Agile swardley

Doctrine One Site Fits All - Courtesy Simon Wardley

The problem is when one or the other becomes a one-size-fits-all doctrine, usually to obfuscate an unspoken organisational objective to do with cost control (by reducing cost of change (agile), by reducing waste (lean), by reducing deviation (six sigma), and sold under the innovation umbrella.

Once these programs come to an end, the focus quickly fades out – because in addition the whole organisation is now exhausted – and another year later, we are back to business as usual. Until the next consultant or management guru/book comes along.

This is the famous oscillating pattern so well described by Robert Fritz who states that structure drives everything and basically that any lasting innovation effort is about changing the structure of the organisation. And structure is not only about organisational structure (like organograms and reporting lines). It is about coherence between narrative, motivations and governance.

Some good dimensions to assess your Innovation Apes**t are:

  • What innovation have you SHIPPED lately (let’s be generous and look at last year, not last weeks)?
  • How did that contribute to the bottom line?
  • Where is the Skin-in-the-Game?
  • What % of your revenue is invested in innovation? If less than 5% you are definitely not serious. Some startups have probably more bootstrap money then your whole innovation budget together.
  • What have you changed at organisational level?


Courtesy Alex Osterwalder - Strategyzer
  • Why is your head of innovation NOT reporting to the Chairman of the Board? Yes, you read that well: Chairman of the Board and not CEO.
  • Why don’t you have a Chief Entrepreneur NEXT to the CEO?
  • What have you changed at Governance level? Have you simplified, or just added yet another layer of control and vetting to make it quasi impossible for your innovators to get anything through the different gating levels?
  • What is the name of the (innovation) play you are playing? This is about the clarity of your innovation intention. Describe it in 10 words max without using any of the Blah-words. Are ALL executives and ALL board members 100% aligned on this? Or have you left the doors open for organised sabotage?


Common Blahs (in strategy) - Courtesy Simon Wardley

For financial services, you can add Blockchain (or whatever semantic variation such as DLT), AI, RegTech and the Data Revolution to that list.

So, what is your innovation about, if you can’t use any of these blah-words? Is there anything tangible or even intangible left when you peal this onion? Curious to hear your thoughts and experiences.


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In the aftermath of the Scientology trial in Brussels last month, senior representatives of the six Belgian governments have initiated exploratory talks with Scientology to assess the creation of a blockchain-based venture for the relationship economy.


In a joint press release, they announced today the launch of DAG (“Digital Asset Goldings”), a new blockchain consortium headed by Bitalik Vuterin. The project uses a brand new fork of the blockchain protocol called “Ethereal”: a permissioned mutual distributed ledger protocol, underpinned by its own ether-cryptocurrency “Real”.

DAG has been set up as a non-profit cooperative, and has already collected more that 500M USD in equity funding, rocketing it into the first blockchain unicorn in history.

DAG will be governed by G4S (Governance For Securities), a governance body made of 45 major financial institutions, and several of the RegTech sandboxes, that tested the technology in Q1 of 2016.

The funding round was lead by FISH (Flanders International Securities Holdings), fully owned in open source by five of the six Belgian Governments (Brussels does not participate: as the home of the European Union, the Commission does not permit hosting regions to participate in ventures promoting non-fiat currencies).


Flanders International Securities Holdings holds 51% of the shares of DAG, 29% is owned by G4S, and the remaining 20% is reserved for future crowd sourced citizen participation, based on simple bonds that will be issued in the Real open source currency on the DAG shared ledger.

Ethereal leverages the findings of the Digital Asset Grid project, an incubation project that was set on hold in 2012 by lack of interest and investment, probably because to novel at its time. Digital Asset Goldings will use the same principles of governance, trust, resilience and availability as the DAG-project, but the implementation is based on a brand new revolutionary protocol “Ethereal”, using modern breakthrough encryption technology based on Quasars.

DAG logo

“With Ethereal, we have solved the scalability problem of the blockchain”, says Vuterin; “We can scale to more that 1 Trillion nodes on the grid, and all the atomic transactions can be executed in milliseconds. We can do this thanks to our quantum computer “StockGold”, mining Reals at the nanoscale and nanosecond.”

quantum computer

Quantum Computer running StockGold

Adriano Selinky – Head of BancoVentures, the investment arm of BancoBlanco and one of the 45 banks backing the project – raves: “We believe there are about 20B USD in yearly savings in direct settlement of Scientology fees: the business case was a no brainer for us, and we are eager to invest in more Ethereal-based projects and startups. DAG will revolutionize financial services, and will deeply disrupt the economic fabric of our economies. We see many more use cases, but it will take a couple of years before we will see the full impact of this.”

Adriano Selinky

Adriano Selinky – Head of BancoVentures

The Scientology trials will be labeled “TrustWeb” and will be led by Neil Sinner, as a competitor to his brother’s “DataWeb”. “Kris has been instrumental in setting up DataWeb, but this technology space is moving so fast that DataWeb is already an outdated technology before its first implementation. TrustWeb is just offering superior relationship experiences”

The promise of superior relationship experiences did not go unnoticed to the 6 Belgian Governments, who consider the DAG and the Ethereal G4S governance model ready to revolutionize their own move from centralized to decentralized to fully distributed peer-to-peer government.

DAG will have its international headquarter in Blocke-Heist, a little town on the Belgian coast. The little town is renowned for its elite public, attracted by art galleries, fashion shops, exclusive restaurants and bars, and a vibrant nightlife.

Baron Clipckens – Mayor of Blocke-Heist – was very bullish: “I was myself hit very hard during the 2008 crisis as an investor, and I am convinced that transparency and traceability of financial transactions are the best guarantee for the long- and short term savings of our citizens. We welcome all FinTech Hubs to join us in this effort, and we hope that Blocke-Heist can become the Blocke-Valley and Davos of the Relationship Economy.”

Together with Scientology, DAG has also acquired its HQ real estate in Blocke-Heist: “La Réserve”, a 3-star Michelin restaurant and conference center.

La Reserve Blocke-Heist

La Réserve in Blocke-Heist, Flanders, Belgium

It comes with an 18 Hole Golf course to facilitate high quality relationships and connections. Close to the seaside, this will guarantee DAG with a daily fresh supply of fish and seafood, and is ideally positioned as a high-end executive meeting and event center.

DAG also attracted @petervan (one of the Co-Founders of Innotribe) as their Artistic Director. “There is indeed room to rethink the way events are organized, using more participatory Ethereal concepts that will guarantee advanced collaborative learning beyond the pure cognitive. La Réserve is an outstanding location where physical and emotional space blend into unique immersive experiences”; said Petervan.

Petervan Shift Happens

@petervan, in his black T-Shirt “SHIFT HAPPENS”, at Innotribe Sibos last year
(black T-Shirts seem to be the standard uniform of Innotribe Co-Founders)

DAG seems to be a marriage in heaven and possibly the singularity moment for financial services: the future of decentralized governance combined with the relationship economy of Scientology.

Casino Blocke Heist

Blocke-Heist Casino – Magritte Biennale

The DAG opening gala party – Tuxedo and Magritte Bowler Hat only for men, ladies in Gala Dress – will be held tonight in the Grand Salon of the Casino of Blocke-Heist, starting at 11pm with Champagne and genuine Russian caviar, followed by a standing dinner, and Belgian Top House-DJ’s animating the dance floor till early in the morning. The event is sponsored by Veuve Wickcot Champagnes and BancoBlanco. For those with more artistic interests, there is also a Biennale running in the Casino, of Belgian surrealist artist Magritte. See you all there!

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From time to time, I am invited to give a keynote presentation. More and more i am adding multimedia elements to that: video, audio, even silence. This transmedia approach is also something that keeps inspiring me when doing my day job, where i am architect and content curator of “events”. I always say that i am not in the “events” business but in the business of creating high quality feedback loops to enable immersive learning experiences. That’s quite a different ballgame.

Some fans believe that what I do with our flagship Innotribe@Sibos is where i put the bar. It is not.

It is my starting point.

I really would like to go much further in touching my audience at another, additional level than purely the cognitive level. That’s why i believe a multi-sensory, more intimate, even business romantic experience is needed.

That’s why i love so much the work of Tim Leberecht, here in a recent talk at TEDxIstanbul:

I strongly recommend you watch this talk for the full 18 minutes. And read the book it is based on.

Tim Leberecht, author of the book The Business Romantic and chief marketing officer of global design firm NBBJ and, worries that big data, algorithms, and self-tracking technologies are engineering the romance out of our lives. He argues that we can find and create more meaning, and even magic, by designing experiences that connect us with something greater than ourselves. He contends that we all long for moments that are powerful precisely because they are inexplicable, such as acts of collective generosity, random digressions, and exuberant passions, and even the beauty of losing control.

He is referring to “Unexpected moments of beauty, awe and wonders, the detours and digressions, the cracks of imperfection, that make a heart speed faster, adrenaline rush, moments in which we loose control, and fall in love with everything.”

When was the last moment in your professional life when you had an experience like that?

It seems that only the measured life is a good life. Optimized by algorithms. I don’t believe in that anymore. There must be something better, more intimate, more unique, more transient, less about scaling and optimizing.

There is another great new book by Matthew Crawford, called “The World Beyond Your Head: How to Flourish in an Age of Distraction”

World beyond your head

It’s not an easy read, but Oliver Burkeman from The Guardian reviews: “Crawford has a point … adverts are everywhere, so much so you have to pay to escape. There are real benefits to silence. No great book, or idea comes without a degree of silence. Independent thinking is not possible without it. Perhaps this is why so many corporations and institutions demand our attention – and why we should protect it Scotsman Incisive. It’s philosophy as an intervention in issues of the day.”

And The Chronicle of Higher Education raves: “The most cogent and incisive book of social criticism I’ve read in a long time: accessible, demanding, and rewarding. Reading it is like putting on a pair of perfectly suited prescription glasses after a long period of squinting one’s way through life”

The book describes the big disconnect between our agency (or the illusion of it, by seemingly being in control by clicking some buttons on an app) and the result of our agency, the work, the piece of craftsmanship, that piece of art.

That’s why i deeply refuse to see my work “as a job”. Work should equal meaning should equal passion should equal Art. The artist’s way…

That’s why i subscribed again to Art School last year, and i just registered again for the 2015-2016 season. Last year was about drawing, next year will be about painting.


Own artwork @petervan 2015 - pencil on paper and some water diluted black chinese ink

That’s why i carved out some quality time for myself on Fridays, when i experiment with art, sound and poetry. And i installed a small studio in my atelier at home, with a MIDI keyboard attached to my Mac, running Garageband and Ableton Software. I also got myself a “Push”, a special hardware device to play music and create sound landscapes in Ableton.


So i started thinking about what it would take to evolve my presentations into some sort of performance, where i only use my own artwork, my own self-composed sound landscapes and my self-written poetry. And do it LIVE! Standing in full vulnerability.

And what would a trailer for such a live performance look like? Here is a little experiment… The trailer is just an existing iMovie template tweaked with my own artwork.

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/132009275″>The Spooky World of @Petervan</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user29570471″>Peter Vander Auwer</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

I showed it to some friends, and i was surprised how much a little thingie like this can create emotional reactions. Somebody else wanted me to do some commissioned work to create an immersive learning performance for a marketing event in 2016. Yet somebody else wants me to completely re-invent their executive off-sites to move them away from the boring flipcharts, whiteboards, post-its, scribing, and gamification tricks. And move them into deep intimate and almost zen-like retreats with tailer made, unique and transient multi-sensory experiences to create high quality connections of human beings on a mission for genuine and positive impact.

All these formats create a new type of scarcity, experiences that we can’t fully posses, experiences that don’t last, experiences that we don’t fully comprehend. They restore friction and doubt in a world of certainty, knowledge, and seamlessness-ness.

Formats where it is not about rapid prototyping, nor about fast iteration tracks to find a solution for a problem. We have to get out of problem solving mode. We already do that the whole year long. I believe we are hungry for a higher quality of being truly present. What Tim Leberecht calls:

“Being Thickly Present”

Maybe i am onto something that may lead to another level of awareness and articulation of corporate narratives beyond the hollow mission statements. Entering a new age of enchantment, in search for something bigger and more valuable than all that what can be measured. The beauty of things that don’t scale. Beauty keeps on chasing me. I wrote about it in “Confused by Beauty” and “The Battle for Beauty” featuring once more The Business Romantic.

What do you think? Let’s have a conversation 😉

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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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After Sibos, Q4 is usually the period of the year when I try to re-boot, to refresh my sources, to be a sponge and take-in new knowledge. It’s when I start painting for the next year. When the themes and trends for next year start emerging.

I wanted to get a much better feel for what this world of alternative and complementary currencies was all about, and decided to join a week-end  “Collabathon” organized by Art Brock (@artbrock) and Eric Harris-Braun (@zippy314), the founders of The Metacurrency Project. In the slipstream of the Contact Summit, they wanted to gather the minds to work on NextNet ideas and tools.

From their site:

What is the NextNet? A computing/protocol stack for operating a distributed Internet which enables individuals and communities to transact, self-organize, self-govern and empower themselves to build resilience, sustainability, and thrivability.

It was a small group of people – about 50 or so- gathering that Friday evening. But what a brainpower – and soft-power – in the room! Almost all my twitter heroes were there: it was great and heartwarming meeting many of them in real life.

Friday evening was intro-day. Saturday and Sunday were un-conference days.

The weekend had something “sacred”. The consciousness level of the participants was overwhelming, and Art and Eric introduced the different topics with so much softness and kindness. And every session had some sort or spiritual presence check-in and checkout moment. The location was clean and spacious, with lots of silent breakout rooms, so you could have relaxed but intense conversations. This was about taking quality time with quality people.

Some of you may remember that Art was one of our “igniters” for the New Economies session at Innotribe at Sibos Toronto, but there we only had a couple of minutes.

Here at this Collabathon, Art and Eric gave a 3-hour deep introduction on The Metacurrency project. These guys are so smart, so full of wisdom, so articulated. It was awesome.

Metacurrency comes in two parts:

  • The Metacurrency principles: the value kit
  • The Metacurrency Project: a software foundation

For further background, check-out this fantastic Metacurrency orientation in Prezi: http://prezi.com/ijiokjbrolwo/metacurrency-orientation/

The principles

The picture above is the essence of the Metacurrency principles. Note how in the bottom left corner, speculative wealth – what Goldman Sachs and others do – is positioned outside of the living systems model. It is fake wealth based on fake growth.

Instead of just describing the model above – plenty of that on the Metacurrency site – I decided in this blog post to transform my notes into some sort of rhythmic at times poetic expression. Step in the rhythm with me:

Currencies are Current-sees



The flow of value


The flow of value


Capacity shifts

Beyond trading value

Currency as language

Money is one single dimensional sentence of value language

The value of currency is to be able track currents/flows

Currency measures and fails to measure

Money only measures only certain types of values

Spoken and unspoken rules of social norms

Lead to currency

Not currency in isolation

Currency in context

We need to simplify

Not complexify

Make complexity simple in its USE.

Like alphabet


Letter, words, sentences, compositions

Compositions on-the-fly


Composable language

Metaphor of the cow and beef

Once you have beef,

You can’t re-compose the cow,

You can’t go back

The beef misses the whole

Same for milk

The market price of milk has nothing to do with Bessie the cow

With Bessie’s wealth

In context

Wealth in context

Wealth has same root as “wellness”

Value is more contextual, you may not value it, but I may value it

Contextual wealth

We are contextual beings

The Commons of Economics?


How to account for wealth?


The company balance sheet

Based on wealth

Balance sheet as momentarily map

The difference between map and territory

The symbols are at the level of the map


and missing out something by measuring

Are we missing the context?

Balance sheets in context

Chains of Balance sheets

Balance Chains


In context


In context


Currency as an expression of worthiness in something

Worthiness and credibility


The cred in something

The cred of value attributes of entities






Educational institutions

Even software code

Even projects

Reputation of entities

Human reputation

Code reputation

Project reputation

Reputation as a signal of worthiness

Institution design

Institution emergence

Institution intrinsic motivation

Richer measurement

Other than up/down


Commoditization of relations

The software project

For full details, checkout following Prezi. The guiding principles for the Metacurrency Project are:

  • Disintermediation of any action, at all possible layer
  • Composability at all levels

The ladder is about tools, grammars, APIs and standards on one side, and consciousness and new awareness on the other side.

The Metacurrency sees 5 different layers (steps on the ladder), each building upon each other, like emergent systems of small components:

  • Stream-scapes: a communication composition
  • Decision making: this is about flows, decision making, event based
  • Currencies: language for expression of value/wealth
  • Holoptinets: a new way of visualization of (big) data. Beyond graphs: with the richness of dimensions in an aquarium, a fish tank. The idea is to have an interface that fully exploits the human sensory capacities
  • OS earth: hat the Metacurrency is after is nothing less than a self-describing computing. And yes, why not be super-ambitious and aim for a redo of the whole computer infrastructure.

There were different sessions on this, the one already more geeky than the other. I particularly like the demo of stream-scapes:

In my own words, it is a sort of EAI-bus, a bus for channels, a channel mixer and filter. Basically, all possible communication channels (Email, Twitter, etc) are blended together in a “scapable distributed database”

A “scape” is a personalized “sculpture” of that blend, reflecting my personal interest and focus. The scape is a grammar. A self-describing grammar at communication protocol level. The idea that people can take existing stream-scapes, adapt/complement them and re-post them in a scape-store for others to re-use. People can build re-usable scapes (grammars) and UIs on top of that.

There was also a good discussion on the “holoptinets”. The initial vision was that the user looks to the fish tank from the outside. Movements of fishes, sounds of water, color, etc. are all expressions of data values. I made some contribution to the thinking by suggesting the user should be “in” the fish tank. Start thinking of concentric fish bowls, each circle representing the types and levels of wealth and the levels of systems integrity of the wealth model.

Is there any traction on all this?

I was witnessing the enthusiasm and passion in the different breakouts of the un-conference. For a lot of this, it is still very early days. And like at Contact Summit, these folks need some sort of coaching on how to “articulate” and “sell” their ideas.

I saw a lot of struggling with even trying to build a first communications strategy on all this. And in my opinion, those stories – if they already exist – are too much inwards looking, too much about the what and not enough about the why.

To get any traction, what needs to get done is to get awareness at senior executive levels. This is something where Innotribe can be instrumental. We can give exposure of these great ideas on the edge of our ecosystem to decision and policy makers. For example, it was a no-brainer to ask Art to fly-over with me to LA to the Compass Summit the next days to be part of our Innotribe Lab on the Future of Value. More about that in a later blog post.

What I found also encouraging was the presence of some Occupy Wallstreet residents. They had a plan to launch an OWS currency. When they saw the richness of Art’s work, they invited Art for a study day on alternative currencies the next Monday.

Because we need to think differently, and not just making a copycat of fiat currencies as a language for pure transaction value only in the left bottom corner of the wealth model.

There was so much richness – wealth – during these two days, that I am exploring the possibility to organize a 1-2 day deep Innotribe conversation with top bankers of our community. And as Art will soon move to Europe, it is a no-brainer to get him over at the SWIFT HQ for a brown bag session for staff and executives.

Next blog will take a bigger helicopter view and will be about the Compass Summit, a blend of technology and values looking at What’s Possible, What Matters, and What’s Ahead.

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