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Tag Archive Innovation

Happiness = Success?

If I talk with clients, relations or whoever, and ask the question:

what comes first for you? happiness or success….

people react differently to this question. You see their faces change, but nevertheless answer it right away. Others look at you, as this is a very logical and natural thing. At least for them…

Basically there are two answers possible:

1.            Succes is a pre-requisite to be happy

2.            First you have to be happy and then you will be able to be successful

The funny think is that when people think about this for a moment, they start asking some questions. What do you mean Hans, and how do you define success and happiness?

And hey, this is my first small victory. To make people think about these kind of topics, to define these two topics and what does this mean to you. It’s not about the outside world and all glamourous opinions, but about what is your own drive, yes YOURS!

I ask this question about success and happiness to a lot of different people. However in the context of my profession as Business Coach, and for the purpose of this Happy Business You research, mostly ask it entrepreneurs. Because it looks like entrepreneurs are humans as well…

Especially during the last year I notice that the rational and business technical solutions are not the holy grail in business-land anymore. The “soft” side, or the human approach, is getting more and more attention these days. Which is for some old school entrepreneurs and managers hard to digest, but I see this as challenge to give them some form of a reality check.

Perhaps it will not be as black and white, as if you have to choose sides, but it surprised me that no one ever researched the correlation between success and happiness with entrepreneurs. Also what the factors are that influences these topics . So this is when I decided to start my own research. The Happy Business You research.

If you are interested in the outcome or want to discuss this with me, please contact me for a talk.

Happy Business!

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.

Co-working and Co-living

Recently, I wrote a blog article about the trends and developments in flex-working. From the well- known commercial flexwork locations, and working at people’s homes, to work in a fully equipped work-van.

This Flex-work will now get a new dimension with the latest trend: Co-Working and Co-living.  To learn more about this new concept and to experience it myself, I traveled to Sun-And-Co, based in the town of Javea at the Costa del Sol in Spain.

Sun-And-Co is one of the few initiatives in the world, that offers both the concept of Co-Living and Co-Working in one place. But before I tell you about my experiences, a short introduction of the key players in this new way of living and working;

The Digital Nomads: people who choose to live and work in remote locations which suits them best, at that given moment. Some of these Digital Nomads even have no permanent home or address anymore. They’re always on the move, have no possessions, and make conscious decisions how to live and where to work. This as long as there is a digital connection with the rest of the world thus being able to work and generate some income.

Workationers: people who just want to get away in another setting for a week or so, but also want to work. A combination of working in a relaxed holiday environment for a change of scenery and fresh input.  

CO-LIVING

After a somewhat lengthy journey, I arrived at the villa of Sun-And-Co. After shaking hands with the host, I was introduced to the other “guests”. As it appears a motley collection of different types of people. People from various countries are present such as Estonia, Russia, India, America, France, Germany, Netherlands, England, Spain.

After installing my stuff in the well-equipped bedroom, I was searching for a nice spot to settle myself, to open my laptop and start some work. Although a good choice of working rooms were available, it soon became apparent that most people have chosen the central living-work-eat spot. Which is a more cozy surrounding to work at. The atmosphere in general was friendly and soon you’re chatting with the other people present.

The next morning there was an intro-game, to introduce yourself. This as a personal introduction, which is quite nice to know whom you spend a week with, but also as a short introduction about your work activities. An agenda was prepared  for the joint activities, but not mandatory. This agenda was including both social and work related activities. In this case, the location on the sunny Spanish coast was ideal for sun, sea and beach activities such as kayaking, swimming, beach walk, volleyball, paddle-surfing etc. In addition in-house activities as joint cooking, yoga, a movie night, etc. were organized.

CO-WORKING

Regarding the work-people, I noticed two occupational groups were mainly represented: the software programmers, and the marketing/business people. It seemed like there was not much in between regarding occupations. This can be explained as these professions are particularly suitable for digital and remote operations.

In this Co-Working place you have the choice to work on your own assignments, but also have the opportunity to share your knowledge with the group. Again a work agenda was created, where you might like to join in if interested, but not mandatory.

One of the work agenda activities was a SkillShare session. Here you can share your knowledge or skills which might help the other guests. So you give a presentation (not a sales pitch) so others can learn something from it. After these SkillShare pitches nice conversations were started and lively discussions occurred. For example about topics such as marketing trends, new ways of cooperation, and big data visualization solutions.

In addition, you can take part in a Mastermind session. This when you have a problem or question to ask the group for help. As such. For example, someone asked help regarding her next steps in her career path. I introduced a new project to the group and asked how they see this, and what I could do to improve this project.

EXPERIENCES

During the introduction game everyone was also asked about their motivations of why going to this Sun-and-Co location. Different answers were given like; a get away from the too familiar environment, believing in a traveling life, to meet new people, get to explore interesting countries and experiencing a refreshing view. In addition the warmer climate in comparison with their mostly colder country of origin, was also an important motivation to choose this Sun-And-Co location in Spain.

What I noticed in the group dynamics was that everyone was continuing their natural way of living. Meaning people were maintaining their own eating habits, sleep rhythms and other activities, and not immediately adapting to the local rhythm of the co-living community. Everyone soon finds a balance in their individual and social acting and behavior.

This co-living & working, is a relatively new “lifestyle” which at this moment attracts people who want to push their limits. But it can also be an attractive way, for getting a refreshing view of yourself, and your work.

Living and working in such a community is perhaps a little more challenging because you’re pushed out of your comfort-zone with these varieties of people, and living so closely with one another. But the outcome and results are slightly sharper than in a regular and well-known environment.

The concept of both co-working & co-living is a nice initiative. Sometimes It touches the borders of your social capacities, but at the same time brings some new and different dynamics to your life. I experienced the concept as refreshing, and am looking forward for my next business-life journey and stay.

http://www.sun-and-co.com

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?

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.

Innovation by diversity

Diversity is about having different people in your team. This can function as a catalyst to drive innovation.

Diversity is having many different elements in the mix, many different experiences, many different perspectives, many different skills. This diversity can be in personal perspective: talent, gender, culture, experiences and more. But also about collaborating with people from (completely) different sectors or even countries.

Diversity can be a good thing to strive for: Studies show there seems to be a strong connection between innovation, creativity and diversity. These different people give in much more input from various points of view you didn’t had before. People with different lifestyles and different backgrounds challenge each other more.

But how do you empower diversity and what are the criteria to make it work?

  • Leaders who give diverse voices equal airtime are nearly twice as likely as others to unleash establish a culture in which all team members feel free to contribute ideas
  • Value-driving insights
  • CEO should approach diversity as a (personal) mission by:
    • Advocating Collaboration
    • Swimming Upstream is allowed
    • Strengthening Cultural Intelligence
    • Enabling New Ideas

The outcome will be more innovative ideas from within your team. For example to find a more competitive advantage. By finding a better understanding of your customer needs, to adjust your offering in the different markets. The second advantage of diversity is will also result in better motivation and cohesion between team members and relations.

So what do you do mix these days?

Focus on positive assets

As we live in a more upward time lately, I would strive for a more positive approach about how to change for making progress. Changes how you as a person can improve yourself and also how a business can make progress, in a more effective and sustainable manner.

My suggestion would be to (perhaps with my help) find your positive assets, and work with these elements, instead of trying to solve the negative aspects because the positive approach is simply more effective and pleasant.

An example of a negative approach is turn-around management. A method or vision which tries to change things around by giving all energy to solve the problems by focusing on the negative elements. While there is also the opposite method to focus on the positive assets and work from here.

With this positive focusing, it’s not said that you should forget or ignore the less positive assets, but the point is that in the end this will bring you faster and better results, instead of trying to change the negative ones. Let me give you a few reasons why positive focusing is more beneficial:

Positive energy: No one who produces results, will want to surround themselves with a complainer. Those with positive outlooks who consistently deliver results will want to be around others with the same trait.  That kind of negative energy will drag them down, which is the last thing that positive people want.

Resources: positive business cases are more at hand, and the proper information will be faster accessible.

Attitude: people are more willing to change, based on positive concepts and goals. Such a positive environment encourages also innovation and has a positive effect on employee attitudes and morale, and can help employees in a business creating new opportunities.

Costs: project loss or delays, will occur less and result in better insights and faster results. This leads to lower costs in relation to related revenue.

Results: increases the efficiency of work processes, which can result in more satisfied customers as well as employees. The impact of positive change is effecting the organization as well the individuals.

Happy Business!

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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