Tuesday, January 22, 2013

New Ways of Living and Working – The growing importance of communities

In the industrial age, which has been replaced by the information age (but many people still don’t realize this yet), life and work was divided like this:

-      -  Citizen
-       - Companies
-       - Cities
-       - Countries

As citizen, we did work in companies, which where located in cities. If we did work in other cities, the commute challenge was added to the equation. And it did matter in which country you did live and work.

These old ways of living and working are now rapidly changing.
Lifetime employment for a company has completely vanished. Especially large companies are having difficulties in adapting to the information age. Almost all (needed) innovation comes from small companies, specifically startups.
Countries are also loosing their power. The level of trust is also here (like with companies) at an all-time low. People don’t trust their governments and politicians any more.  Cities are becoming like countries in themselves, look at the sheer size of mega cities. Many cities have now more inhabitants than my whole country (The Netherlands -16M).

The crises (financial, economical, environmental), which we endure since 2008, show no sign of retreating. It is therefor crucial to focus on two new entities, which are (and should be) facilitating innovation as well as new ways of living and working.

-       - Cyberspace
-       - Communities

There is already a lot been written about cyberspace and the benefits that it brings to our living and working.  E.g. commuting is no longer needed, I can work globally from the comfort of my home; ‘the internet of things’ enables me to monitor (from a distance) and manage the energy consumption in my house, as well as the safety. Transparency in the ways of operating within companies and countries has been increased, due to the availability and sharing of information (either voluntarily or forced).

I do believe in the growing importance of communities for both our living and our working. Instead of using sources outside of your city/country for example oil from the Middle East, and food from big farms in South America, more and more is sourced locally. This ‘insourcing’ creates employment and decreases the burden on the environment. New ways of working can be provided by promoting a local ecosystem of entrepreneurs.

By combining these new ways of living and working within communities, the highly needed impulse is given to both our societies as well as our personal happiness.

What do you think?

Enthusiasm drives Excellence!

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What newness will grow in 2013?

2013 will be a year, where we will not return back you ‘normal’, as many people hope for. Unless you consider a lot of change to be the new normal!

Please find below a small overview of areas, which will (need to) capture your attention.

As the amount of information is growing every second, it is very hard to focus your attention on what information is worthwhile. So, the story that you tell (as an individual and/or organization) is increasingly important. The stories that match my interests and are awesome will capture my attention. The rest of the information will not reach me.

Big Data
The information, which is already available, covers almost all levels of our being, from my heart rate, to places visited, to products sold. More and more organizations are analyzing this data and producing useful reports out of this. This analysis will give them very useful information for the  (potential) impact of their actions.

As more and more products almost exactly look the same, it is also in this area key to differentiate yourself. This can be done by your story and your personal craftsmanship. I can still recall a story from a jeans manufacturer in the UK, who started up a new company, while using the old machines from the 50’s and also re-employing the craftsmen who had these special skills. On another level, look at what the possibilities are of 3D printing. Now you can design everything, from human organs to your personal teacup and make it your self. This is the Maker- Movement.

Globalization has brought a lot of benefits, but also a lot of problems. Many people in western countries have lost their jobs to countries, who could provide cheap labor. This impact is being felt in the cities. Look at a city, like Detroit, which has been hugely impacted by the economic crisis. As a response, many people in cities are taking back control. Activities, which used to be outsourced (nationally or internationally) are now insourced again. Examples are local food markets and local renewable energy companies.

The Internet of Things
Many of the products and utilities, which we use on a daily basis, will be connected with the Internet via sensors etc. This is already happening, like with our cars and thermostats. Soon, our refrigerator will order new supplies from the grocery if they are out of stock and these products will automatically be shipped to our homes.

We have just seen the beginning of Massive Open, Online Courses (MOOC’s). They have had huge success already, if you look at the number of participants. I think that they will become a standard in education and/or training. There will be MOOC’s for any kind of subject and any kind of level.

Creative Generalists
According to the World Economic Forum (http://bit.ly/WI3YIJ) climate change, debt and inequality 'threaten financial stability'. As many crises are already converging, a new perspective and approach is needed to tackle these challenges. Creative generalist can provide this new way of looking and ‘connect the dots’.

Enthusiasm drives Excellence!

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Learning is your lifeline

Many people are hoping (and expecting) that ‘things’ will return back to normal. This means to them that the economic crisis will end and that we will grow again, that there will be new jobs and that the stock price will increase. This also means that they just have to wait and be patient. This perspective allows then not to change their own behaviors.

This sounds like the definition of insanity: “doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results”.
So, let me awaken you (if needed). Things will not return back to normal. There is a huge transformation under way, which impact will be felt even more in the coming year. Education, government, healthcare are among the areas, which will be impacted, and urgently need innovation.

The only way to cope with these changes is to continuously learn, adapt and act in a new, more sustainable way. However, if you still think of old institutions (schools, training-organizations, universities) that should take care of your learning, then you are missing the point. Most of these institutions are still grounded in the industrial age of thinking themselves. So, that won’t benefit you.

The good news is that new ways of learning are becoming available very rapidly. You can follow courses from (ex) university professors on e.g. Udacity, Coursera or Stanford. There are also a lot of courses from experts available on sites like Udemy.

It is not an option not to learn, if you want to be part of society 3.0. To stay relevant, you have to keep yourself in shape, just like sportsmen do.

Which courses do you plan to attend?

Enthusiasm drives Excellence!

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