Tuesday, July 20, 2010


 It looks like there is a dichotomy growing at many different levels (communities; business; society).
A dichotomy between:
·      Supporters of the old/current system  and supporters of a new system
·      Old generations and young people
·      Guardians of the establishment and radicals
·      Specialists and generalists
·      Hierarchies and networks
·      Bosses and employees
·      Governments and the masses

I can continue with this list, but the point is that it looks like the divide is broadening, rather that that we are busy building bridges to connect these ‘two worlds’. The more we try to convince the establishment that they have to change the more they will resists and the more it will frustrate the revolutionaries.

This is not a healthy trend. What is needed is an open attitude on both sides with the intention of creating solutions. And solutions are needed badly for many of today’s’ challenges, like the environment (see the gulf oil spill and the role BP plays), the financial system (trust is lacking in  banks),  unemployment, global warming (also experiencing a heat wave lately?) etc.
An ‘either –or’ approach is not working, so we need to focus on an ‘and-and approach. We have to come up with radical new solutions which are at the same time providing a migration path for the current way of doing business/governance.

Both worlds really do need each other. The establishment urgently needs new ideas (and implementations) and the radicals need support to roll out these solutions.

Recently a lot of research has confirmed this need for connections, for building bridges instead of focusing on a widening gap.

In the book Iconoclast, Gregory Burns emphasizes the need for social intelligence. The iconoclast needs someone to connect him or her to the ‘old’ world. Otherwise he will remain on a small island, whereas he needs scale to be successful. Iconoclasts need connectors. Without them, he stands no chance of achieving success.
Clay Shirky describes in Cognitive Surplus two main motivations of every human being:
1.intrinsic motivations for autonomy and competence
2. social motivations for connectedness/membership and sharing/generosity.
Again, here you see the fundamental need to be connected.
In Fast Company there was an interview with Paul Zak (dr. Love) who explains that social networking triggers the generosity-trust chemical in our brain. Tweeting for just ten minutes decreases stress with more than 10%!

This all means that we should be focusing on building connections and not focus on the differences. Both sides really need each other to solve the current and (future) challenges.



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