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Innovation

It’s time to change

I’m used to start my blog articles describing the past to demonstrate how it all started. To picture the actual situation and in the end presenting a possible scenario. But this “time thing” is bothering me for some time now, so it’s time to write about it.

Many people know about the rapid development of technology and how it influences our world. Our life’s are speeding up, time is money in our work, you only live once, etc. But we all know this, right? So why not look at it from a different perspective. Let’s start with a statement to see if you are critical and awake…

We should skip the time addiction. Eliminate this out of our lives. Time is a tool of our (past) production era, and not applicable anymore if we want to be happy in the present.

Everything we do every day in our (modern) society is based on the clock, and the duration of our efforts. We set our alarm to wake up, and do not awaken by a beautiful rising sun, the annoying rooster, or the biological rhythm of our body. We go to work by train, which is departing at 7:30 precisely. If you’re 30 seconds late you might have a problem. When you finally arrive at work your boss is waiting for you and would like to spank you, because you took 5 minutes from his time of production. And so on, you get the picture right? So there is no natural and authentic behavior anymore. We are driven by a mechanism which is invented in a past century. For a rational reason which has nothing to do with (y)our well-being, but with someone else’s benefits.

Please consider the high speed of technological developments which is taking place right now. The effect of all technical developments is with such great impact and intensity, we sometimes forget to realize the huge effects in our society, and in the end, on our own personal lives.

Under influence of these technical developments, some systems are developing more rapidly than others. With systems I mean the political system, the economic system, the cultural system etc. Some systems are old fashioned, and others have adapted to the new now. For example most political systems are founded in the 19th century or even older, where no real structural changes has been made since then, except the introduction of an electronic voting system perhaps. Another system example is the medical sector. Where DNA sequencing (analyzing and visualizing of DNA) is now so cheap it’s available to a large audience. This results in a shift towards preventive medical care instead of treating diseases afterwards. Do you see the various paces of the different systems in time?

The world wide web including all social media etc. is a system on itself. The number of participants in this (social?) system is so incredibly high, where all voices are heard and so much choices available. You could say it’s a new kind of “democracy” And do you realize that if Facebook were a country, it would be the biggest country in the world!

So where does this all leads us? If some systems don’t keep up with all technical developments their existence will be questioned. Timing is important but not the clock itself. The demand for more natural living will increase. We will decide how we live based on external information. This coming from your internet usage, and that of your neighbors, your co-workers and friends wherever they are on this planet. It will result in a power shift of systems. Where the (end?) control is done by artificial intelligence based on big data. We live in a parallel universe, soon. But time is on our side…

 

What do you know?

In the early days it was about WHAT you know. Meaning, which facts and figures have you learnt and do you know by heart. You remember the adagio “knowledge is power” ? Now the internet gives you the possibility to find all kind of information anytime you want. This kind of static knowing has become sort of obsolete. Learning at school the history, geography etc. is well…. old school.

Now we have this great amount of data available it matters more and more HOW we use all this (found) facts. We are now learning skills how we can use data and transform this into rich information. By playing with data, open it up and interact with third parties. One of the trends is the “doing by learning” practice. Where you use data to test, review and improve in a continuous cycle. Examples are new methodologies like serious gaming, lean design, visualization, design thinking, etc. Is this playing-time for adults?

But the question I ask myself, and ask you as well, what will be the next phase or step in this information usage? I would like to suggest it will be the IF question. Seen we will have all this data at hand and play around with this information, it will become more the question IF we are able to make the right decisions with it. Are we using this information to make responsible decisions which have a positive impact on our lives.

How much information or data can we staple or bundle (quantative) in order to get the right outcome? We should be mindful about using information the right way. A more qualitative approach by placing it in a context of wisdom. So my suggestion would be to (more) educated with life skills like philosophy, psychology, art and meditation. Starting at school and continuing beyond….   Technically interpreting data for commercial purpose only is old school. Using information which is right for the human wellbeing should be the standard.

Connected Working

A lot of (older) people are familiar with the idea of going to a building every day and sit at their own desk for 8 hours or so. This is called YOUR workplace. With some personal stuff to make the working environment more cheerful, and a little more personal (bearable?)

New initiatives are introduced, where you can work at independent locations which do not have any relation with your employer or assignment. Commercial workspaces with free coffee and Wi-Fi. Where the business model is either to rent out meeting spaces (Seats2meet) or based on a small fee (Spaces, HNK, WeWork etc.)

Another concept is that of sharing existing workspaces. Here they looked at the success of Airbnb’s concept and transformed it into the business space area. Renting out existing company workspaces which are presently not used by their own company employees. So why not renting this out to foreign business nomads? Asking a little fee to cover some basic costs, and perhaps it will introduce some interesting leads.

Next there seems to happen another trend where retailers open up their stores to remote workers. A little corner in the back of their store with some tables, chairs and free Wi-Fi. All according to their interior style, and brand extension is doing its work. New traffic is coming in, people start to look around in the store, and unexpected conversations are happening.

Another development is to work at home with some friends. Having the coffee and cookies on the table. Where you can have an interesting discussion, perhaps a more personal conversation and get (honest) feedback about your working-life from people you appreciate.

….. has left the building!
But still the social component is fixed to the building where you are working in. Why not introduce an app that connects not only with people in the same building, but also with other workers in the building next or opposite the street, or in your neighborhood? Where you login to the Connected Working App and see who is working where, which knowledge is closely available, and make a spontaneous meetup or appointment?

Quality Time…at work

When you think about quality time, probably you think of the precious time spent with your family or closest friends. The time you intensely enjoy with your dearest. It re-connects and gives you energy. But sadly enough this happens too little, and mostly during (planned) vacations or short trips.

But what if we transfer the concept of quality time into your work? And I don’t mean to have quality time with your colleagues (could be fun though…) but spending quality time how you work.

Quality over Quantity

What if you give your working day more quality time instead of quantity time. Meaning choosing activities based on what brings real value. Value regarding the outcome for your work but also to yourself.

Lot of books are written about efficiency, timetables and ROI and so forth. Which is actually a rational approach based on the old production theory, only counting numbers (A.K.A. Spreadsheet Management) What if you plan and choose your activities based on your ambition for that day. Decide which tasks belong to achieve this daily ambition, and enjoy it fully.

How to do this:

  • Prepare your day, with outlook/mail and other production programs, closed. Sit down an decide what end-goal you would like to accomplish that day. For your work and for yourself. This is your daily ambition.
  • Write down what you really need to do, your must do tasks, to accomplish your daily ambition. Including a list of people you definitely need to contact for your ambition.
  • Open your computer and start to work on your must do list.
  • When you accomplished one third of your must do list, open your inbox for max 30 minutes to reply to e-mails and other requests. Close your mail program and other non necessary programs.
  • Take a break and refocus on your must do list, and start continue working on this.
  • Repeat…

Basically it’s about opening your mail program only when it serves your purpose and not others. Make it a habit to open your mail program only in the morning, midday and day ending. Don’t be a slave of your computer or mail program. You are in control!

Put your personal values in to your work by giving it your full attention it deserves. Give your energy to your daily ambition. This will re-connect your drives and give satisfaction to yourself and in the end also to your stakeholders ;–)

Faith – Hope – Love

Trade Necessity

A long time ago when new transportation techniques emerged, it created new jobs like the traveling merchant and local trader. Where you could buy new and different products from other places then your own. There was a natural balance between the buyer and seller because goods or services were exchanged based on necessity.

Business is the new standard

Trade or starting a business has evolved during the last centuries into a “serious” profession. Where all kinds of new business developments were invented like new production techniques, price calculations, ratio’s, KPI’s, and something called “efficiency” Here scarcity was the basis of trade.

Fair Trade

Slowly our view of doing business changed from efficiency towards effect. Where transparency opened our eyes and changed public opinion. This in a sense that trade was not always equal for all parties. Where business ethics became an important factor; doing good for society, giving back to the producers, sustainable business for a clean environment etc. Where the rational efficiency on short term is not leading anymore, but the soft factors and the longer term, are the new metrics.

Business as the new religion

The new entrepreneurs are getting younger and business is initiated by all kinds of people on all levels. New enterprises arise in so many different countries and even in remote locations. Where money is not an issue anymore thanks to Crowdfunding and Microcredit. Entrepreneurship is a commodity. Or is it more?

Entrepreneurship seems to be the new religion. The save haven for a meaningful live and freedom of choice. Where business models are replaced with the new mantra of Faith, Hope and Love. Where business people live accordingly to this mantra:
– Faith: I believe in myself and in my company
– I Hope; that others will like me and my offerings
– I Love; what I do with my endeavour

If you use these three spiritual factors you will achieve your place in the kingdom to come. Soul searching is the standard.

the Qualified Self

Since a few years its possible to measure all kind of data about your health with your mobile Phone or a fitness band around your wrist. So you know how many steps you have taken, how many stairs, measuring your sleep cycle, calories burnt etc. So your little computer is telling you if you are healthy by reaching a certain amount of numbers.

This quantified self is not new as it is still based on numbers and thus based on old school logic. Like measuring output numbers is the classification of your health? This principle is not a new shift, but an advancement which is made possible by new type of sensors and better software. But should we be measured by numbers?

Qualified self

The next (real) shift could be the qualified self. Where you will be measured on qualitative input instead of quantitative numbers. Like measuring your happiness level, hormones, glucose, smiling muscles, talking sound, hours of silence etc. So based on biological and behavioral “measurements” and not on output numbers. But what conclusions or recommendation’s will your app present from this?

The next self

So why not combine quantified data and qualified info? Use this input and connect this with Artificial Intelligence. This as we seem not smart enough to interpret the presented data into valuable and sensible conclusions. So this next app will tell you in the morning how you will feel that day and what you should be doing accordingly to be healthy and perform at your best.

The real self

Using all these tools could bring us far away from our core DNA as a human being. Do we need data and apps to know if we are all right, be healthy, living accordingly etc.? Do we need a tool, to know about our existence?

The other choice, (yes, it is still a choice) to skip all of this and go back to nature. To feel again, to know thyself, and feel in your guts if it’s okay. To “know” you exercised enough, you had your limit’s of alcohol. To know and feel that you are your own god.

Choose progress over innovation

Two buzzwords these days seem to be trending: innovation and start-up. Like every NEW development is the solution, the Holy Grail towards success. This new NEW is an external goal and has no foundation or relation to the quality of your own business-life.New things or innovations are per definition not the solution. And which problem is behind this solution? Do you have actually a real problem? Or is it just a restless feeling because you think you will be too late following the latest trends. But everyone else is doing this! So what!? But first you have to ask yourself what is actually the problem? (if so…) please ask yourself honestly why you want to pursue these trends and if you fully believe in it.

Instead choose progress as your goal, and not chasing the innovation hype. Progress is making little steps by learning, and discovering how to reach your horizon. Making it a little better every day by increasing more value to your offering. This is growing and making progress the intrinsic way. Innovation as a vehicle cannot be your goal to grow. Choose progress instead, and if in the end innovation is necessary, please do so with a good reason.

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