Archive for: December, 2014

From the Industrial Age to the Connection Age

This is a guest post by my friend and fellow Generalist, Arnold Beekes.

WTF! What is happening?

It is clear that we are in a period of time, which is called ‘transition’, the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another. We are coming out of the Industrial Age (characterized by efficiency, repetition and thus standardization – building a ‘system of sameness’ in every aspect of life) into a new age, which some people call the Information Age. I am not sure about that name, Information Age, as I see information as, the enabler, rather than the purpose and intention in itself. I would like to call it the Age of Connection (characterized by creation, contribution and thus participation – building a ‘universe of uniqueness’), to be truly connected with ourselves, with others, animals and with nature.

But we are not there yet; we are really in this no man’s land, this limbo.

How to think

We’re one week away from 2015, people will make their resolutions and try to keep them for a whole year; which usually doesn’t work out as planned. One resolution, an ongoing effort actually, that we should all aim for on a daily basis is that of making better decisions.

That means thinking better, which will have a cumulative effect in all else we do; including executing on our New Year resolutions.

A question I get asked often is something along the lines of , “How can I improve my ability to make better decisions?” To this, I respond with a counter question, “why do you think you make bad decisions in the first place?”

The reframing of the question, is good example of “what to do” to make better decisions. Thus, an easy way to make better decisions is to ask yourself questions, but that usually comes after you’ve done some grunt work to define a better question beforehand.

What kills most innovation isn’t a lack of ideas, it’s a lack of relationships

Do we still need old-fashioned physical offices to do work?

Contrary to reports that the demise of the office is near, I believe we still need physical offices; and more importantly physical interactions. I believe that the model that will be dominant for most types of organizations is a hybrid between being a mobile worker and being at a physical office.

The true innovator’s motto: We’ll figure it out…

we'll figure it outIt is very common that innovation efforts are squandered because the people involved, frankly, should not be there in the first place. Of the projects you’ve been a part of, how many had people that were willing to roll with the punches and figure out a path forward? I assume you can count them with one hand.

Innovation is not easy, it takes risk and requires a team of people who are comfortable operating in the unknown;  people who get excited about starting from scratch and having a go at it; people who are willing to work through challenges that have no precedent.

Innovators widen their view of competition

I’m sure you’ve been in meetings where everyone worries about competition more than they worry about customers. It is a fact that for traditionally run businesses, any talk about strategy quickly shifts to competition. It’s unavoidable and it pisses me off.  Traditional business practice is based on beating the competition, which assumes that there is competition that looks and plays just like you if you are starting a business.

5 questions to help you think about the culture you wish to create

dare to create culture

Culture eats strategy for breakfast. Why? Because even a beautifully conceived strategy won’t be executed the right way if people’s values and beliefs are not aligned. In other words, culture is not mandated; it is shaped from the beginning.