Tag Archives: purpose in business

i disrupts the future of work

What does the future of work look like? Recent reports state that many jobs (42% in the USA) will disappear through machine to machine automation, IoT, and Artificial Intelligence. A terrible thing, or, a good thing? Continue reading

July 21, 2015

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What's next for banking?

I have enjoyed Mosaic Ventures blog on the unbundling of the banks. Their observation that it is not a new bank that we need but a new way of banking. There is in my view an inevitability to the arrival of a new ecosystem, as our world evolves that will serve us even better. But to do so we have to have fundamental redesign of what a businesses looks like. Mostly its design is distributed, networked and peer to peer. Continue reading

July 17, 2015

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The Reformation of Capitalism

In June 2014, Clayton Christensen and Derek van Bever wrote in the June 2014 issue of Harvard Business Review (HBR). “The orthodoxies governing finance are so entrenched that we almost need a modern-day Martin Luther to articulate the need for change.” And they are not the only ones signalling we need a change of direction in how we think our economies work. In Vienna this year the Global Peter Drucker Forum gathered together the great and the good to explore what next for Capitalism looks like. We have arrived at a turning point,” says the Forum’s abstract. “Either the world will embark on a route towards long-term growth and prosperity, or we will manage our way to economic decline.” Continue reading

December 15, 2014

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Yeo Valley Farms, a masterclass in business transformation

The challenge: How do we remove the acute volatility and therefore risk of running a farm? How can we become more resilient and get to a better future? Yeo Valley Farms is the largest organic dairy farm in the UK, and is a great example of how to deal with economic disruption and create lasting transformational change – that delivers better business, without damaging the natural environment. Continue reading

December 11, 2014

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What can we learn from Shaker design?

William Morris once said, If there was ever a golden rule it was this. Have nothing in your house that was neither useful nor beautiful. These are the words of a Craftsman, dedicated to only bringing the good into the world. This quote came to my mind whilst looking recently at the elegance and craftsmanship of Shaker Design. The Shaker guiding principles were of simplicity, utility and honesty. Shaker design is so purposeful in concept and so economical in execution. That is meets William Morris criteria perfectly. And also I believe we have much to learn from the underlying principles of Shaker design. Continue reading

November 30, 2014

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Peter Kropotkin, Mutual Aid and Darwin

At the turn of the 20th century an exiled Russian aristocrat and anarchist, Peter Kropotkin, wrote a classic book called Mutual Aid. He complained that, in the widespread acceptance of Darwin’s ideas, heavy emphasis had been laid on the cleansing role of social conflict and far too little attention given to the remarkable examples of cooperation. Even now, biological knowledge of symbiosis, reciprocity and mutualism has not yet percolated extensively into public discussions of human social behaviour. Continue reading

November 27, 2014

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NASA shows us our beautifully interconnected planet

Our nonlinear world understands everything is interconnected to everything else. This video is a wonderful demonstration of the interconnectedness of our oceans. We have much to learn from natures design models and understand our own limitations if we believe that organisations or economies work best when they are deconstructed to the point when we can no longer see nor comprehend the whole system. Watch and wonder. Continue reading

November 14, 2014

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Dickson Despommier innovating the vertical farm

This is how Dickson sees our future panning out. By the year 2050, nearly 80% of the earth’s population will reside in urban centers. Applying the most conservative estimates to current demographic trends, the human population will increase by about 3 billion people during the interim. An estimated 109 hectares of new land (about 20% more land than is represented by the country of Brazil) will be needed to grow enough food to feed them, if traditional farming practices continue as they are practiced today. At present, throughout the world, over 80% of the land that is suitable for raising crops is in use (sources: FAO and NASA). Historically, some 15% of that has been laid waste by poor management practices. What can be done to avoid this impending disaster? Continue reading

November 12, 2014

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How do you rule the void once the party's over?

Earlier this year I read the late Peter Mair’s Ruling the Void: The Hollowing of Western Democracy. It got me thinking, because as I observed in Chapter 5 of No Straight Lines, we are in a process of political transformation. A transformation of how we organise and run our societies. I ask the question, what should government look like in a non-linear world? Are we creating and running systems in the right way? Why is it that so many people are disengaged with the process of democracy and civil organisations? Continue reading

November 1, 2014

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LEGO cultures of creativity

The LEGO Foundation are creating and sharing ground-breaking research on the power of play and creativity in learning, to act as a critical resource for thought leaders, influencers, educators and parents all around the world. Continue reading

October 18, 2014

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The healthy society and preventative medicine

In recent years, scientific and technological developments have contributed to major progress in the health of individuals and for societies at large. What are the future roads to increased health in the world? How will science, technology and innovation contribute to this development? Where are the major challenges and possibilities? Continue reading

October 16, 2014

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The future of learning from the LEGO Foundation

Curiosity is part and parcel of the creative process, and creativity is a key component of non-linear thinking. Creativity enables us to discover the new, the novel, to examine and evaluate its possibilities. Creativity in a No Straight Lines perspective is the means to also see the world and its context in a broader context, understanding its richer deeper narrative. A short video on the future of learning from the LEGO Foundation. Continue reading

October 15, 2014

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Tim Campbell on what makes a smart city

Our urban environments are under strain, whether that be, the birthplace of the Garden City Letchworth, or cities such as Odense in Denmark, larger one like Bristol, or megacities like Seoul (Taking the Seoul Train to the Sharing Economy Part … Continue reading

July 14, 2014

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Cradling the transformative economy

As we evolve for a linear model of economy. What we make and how we make it, what we do with our waste and how we waste that too. We start to see a new horizon where our obituary won’t be what we have sent to the landfill but something more elegaic and life affirming – as we become part of the circular economy. It has been described as cradle to cradle. Continue reading

July 9, 2014

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Waste to Waves a story from the circular economy

This a story about how we can think differently about material waste, upcycling, ans the circular economy. Sustainable Surf (sustainablesurf.org), and Waste to Waves. Sustainable Surf is a California-based 501(c)(3) non-profit charity organization founded by social entrepreneurs, located in the heart of the Southern CA surfing industry. Their Mission: Be the catalyst that transforms surf culture and industry into a powerful community that protects what they call, the ocean playground. Continue reading

July 5, 2014

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Juliana Rotich on Ushahidi mapping humanitarian needs

Juliana Rotich’s talk on Ushahidi where it came from and where it is going. In talking about innovation Julia says, if it works in Africa it can work anywhere. Out of adversity comes innovation. I am proud to be part of the advisory board for Ushahidi. Continue reading

July 4, 2014

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Tim Jackson on investing for humanity to flourish

Powerful thoughts from Tim Jackson (professor of sustainable development at the University of Surrey) on how the role of investment must be reconceptualised not to create more money or cater to a consumption based culture and economy but to instead create conditions for people to flourish. We currently exist in a system that systemically creates privilege says Jackson. Continue reading

July 3, 2014

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Cory Richard innovation in the uncomfortable zone

National Geographic Creative photographer and North Face athlete Cory Richard talks about learning to become comfortable in the uncomfortable zone. How he found his voice through adversity – and developed his craftsmanship through the lens of a camera to share his vision of the world that has taken him to some extraordinary places. Adventure is anything that takes you outside of your comfort zone, Richards says. I like that. Continue reading

June 30, 2014

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Ex CIA spy says Open Collaborative Cultures Win

A fascinating article (The open source revolution is coming and it will conquer the 1% – ex CIA spy) written by Nafeez Ahmed about Robert David Steele and his thesis that Open and Collaborative systems are the only means by which we will meaningfully move forward. Open Collaborative organisations remove the traditional constraints placed upon any organisation. It permits the asking of powerful framing questions. These framing questions enable us to see what others don’t. Open source regenerative business models and the decentralised organisation become mainstream. This allows the scale of the problems we face to be met by participatory and collaborative systems and cultures. These organisations work towards a higher order purpose. This higher order purpose delivers consistently higher performance with outcomes that are truly authentic, more resilient and relevant. Continue reading

June 28, 2014

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Joel Salatin on the potential of large scale organic farming

Joel Salatin is America’s most celebrated pioneer of chemical-free farming. Here Joel gives a powerful talk on why our current industrial way of farming is so wrong in so many ways. Demonstrating the potential of how we can do it differently – better and more in step with the way of the natural world. Salatin says we can feed the world but not by industrial methods. Continue reading

June 22, 2014

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John Mackey CEO of Whole Foods on Conscious Capitalism

What is the purpose of business, or an organisation? In No Straight Lines, I ask this question – How can we create better for our economies, organisations and societies – all at the same time. As currently it seems we always have to make a choice of one over the other, at the expense always to us. John Mackey CEO of Whole Foods demonstrates it does not have to be that way – and that better much better does not have to cost the earth. Continue reading

June 18, 2014

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Myra Goodman on organic food systems as common sense

Myra Goodman runs the largest organic food production company in the USA. In this video she explains why organic farming makes sense. Makes sense, economically, for communities, and of course to help build a regenerative society. She makes the point that nature works at scale – so why cant farming? It is more of how we frame the question and what type of world we choose to live in. Continue reading

June 11, 2014

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De Hogeweyk dementia village

De Hogeweyk or Hogewey is a gated model village setting in Weesp, in The Netherlands. It is notable because it has been designed specifically as a pioneering care facility for elderly people with dementia. The major advances achieved by the approach of all-day reminiscence therapy at Hogewey, compared to traditional nursing homes, is that the residents with dementia are more active and require less medication. Carers, doctors and nurses work around the clock to provide the 152 residents the necessary 24-hour care. Continue reading

June 10, 2014

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Healthcare innovation Integrated Neurological Services

Integrated Neurological Services (INS) was founded in 1999 by Liz Grove and Ellie Kinnear. Its purpose to help patients with Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke and other neurological complaints that affect movement, memory, balance and communication, everything essential to a normal life. The charity works to make a real difference between a life devastated by severe illness and a life that makes the most of the opportunities still available. Continue reading

June 9, 2014

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Shan Williams what do you do when your town is dying?

Up and down the country, our towns are dying. When convenience became the precedent over local, we opened the doors for the conglomerates and they made themselves at home. Our highstreets now consist of the big names, charity shops and abandoned units that reek of recession. You can practically see tumble weeds. In one of the most humbling and emotionally driven DO Lectures, Shan Williams spoke of her organisation 4CG, a group of people that are solely dedicated to the regeneration of their town, and how it all started in a council meeting when a prime site came up for sale in her beloved town of Cardigan. Have some tissues near to hand. Continue reading

May 23, 2014

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Ani Chudrun, a beautiful walk with integrity

This a beautiful film about life transformation. One of the things I have always believed in is that if you want to create transformation in the world – then you too have to go on a journey of transformation before all the other things happen. In this way one is able to see and perceive the world differently. This is also a story about purpose and meaning. A story about that which fulfills us and sustains us. Continue reading

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Tim Smit on beauty and purpose

Tim Smit – is a rare individual in the English landscape. A man born of passion, commitment who can make the impossible – possible. He recreated the gardens of Heligan in Cornwall and then went on to create The Eden Project. If anyone is ever interested in what it takes to make it happen – this talk will inspire you to do so. Continue reading

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Odense working on an innovative template for civic centric systems

Place and community as social and economic networks: Last week I was in Odense, a municipality of Denmark, working with a team of people who are knee, elbow, neck deep in system change. My task was to help this team of wonderful people explore how they could address that change as it presents significant challenges in how people embrace transformation, and work meaningfully with it. This team had healthcare as a key concern. So we went on a journey exploring how one can create powerful systems change inside an existing organisation and, at the same time explored innovative practices that can reduce the significant financial burden of healthcare and more importantly change its purpose to one that was more preventative inspired by reinvigorating the sources of health. Continue reading

May 21, 2014

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Blitz motorcycles - love the work you do

You have to love the work you do. In our nonlinear world we have to wake up every day and want, really want to do the work we love. It has defined my life, and I always admire people who do the same. The care, the craft, the willingness to share knowledge, and, to give is the way of the craftsman. This is a wonderful film about two French men who are passionate about building bespoke motorcycles. Based in Paris they speak about collaboration, commitment, sacrifice, community and joy. Continue reading

May 11, 2014

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Make your mark as a craftsman

We all have the capacity for creativity. To be able to express ourselves with confidence and believe in our worth makes in my view one of the most important contributions to society. Our dancer is highly gifted – yet his true expression is hard won. I cant imagine how many hours went into his practice to deliver such a powerful performance. How brilliantly he shines, how effortlessly he moves – yet as metaphor for a creative life it is more. The capacity to bring in the new, to imagine the impossible then create and execute it. And to create value. Continue reading

May 9, 2014

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Lessons from Patagonia's Founder Yvon Chouinard

Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia strikes me as a true Craftsman. The civilizing craftsman uses his tools and his labours for the collective good. Chouinard wants us to stop being consumers and start being thoughtful global citizens. His work to make us think more deeply abut the world we inhabit. Continue reading

May 8, 2014

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The human need to transcend

Kenan Malik writing in his excellent article about the sacred in art, explores the capacity of the sacred to go beyond religion to become a necessary part of what makes us human. Continue reading

April 20, 2014

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The journey to a commons based economy

When astronauts go into space and looking down at the earth, an image we all know, but in another way do not know at all. They find themselves having a deep spiritual connection with the earth, within themselves that is shocking and beautiful. Theirs is a profound moment of epiphany – a realisation, of the inseparable relationship between the cosmos, the Earth and humanity. This is not a ‘oooh woow’ moment, it is in fact a moment of transformation, of catharsis, an irreversible cognitive shift. Continue reading

April 9, 2014

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Lina Bo Bardi shaping the world through a love of humanity

When we design around the the needs of humanity, when we put humanity at the core of our process – we have the potential to create extraordinary things. Not to design humanity an culture out of the process of creation but to weave it in. Sounds obvious does it not? But the truth is we have created too many systems, organisations, buildings that do not acknowledge our humanity. Lina Bo Bardi an Italian who moved to Brazil is an example of someone that believed profoundly in designing and creating buildings around the needs of human beings. Continue reading

March 8, 2014

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The French Intifada and the crisis of modern identity

In No Straight Lines I explore the what is called the crisis of of the modern world. The crisis of identity. Who are we? Why do we exist? What makes meaning, identity, community and connection? This crisis impacts our communities our organisations (think The Office), our wider society and even nations. What have we become? I present a challenge I+We=Why? It touches every touch point in our lives and is having serious ramifications on how our societies are evolving. E.O Wilson wrote that we yearn to belong and to have a purpose bigger than ourselves. Without that purpose we lack meaning, and context, custom and tradition wane – yet we are meaning making creatures. Continue reading

March 6, 2014

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Leadership in a commons based economy

the problem of our current economic debate is that we are trying to solve 21st century problems with 19th and 20th century economic thought. That is: our discourse is stuck between “more markets and free enterprise” (2.0) and “more regulation and government” (3.0). In reality, neither of these approaches will suffice. This new philosophy is something that I explore in No Straight Lines -the means by which we can transform. Continue reading

March 4, 2014

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Broke

I have been reading David Boyle’s new book Broke. How to survive the middle-class crisis. Gonzalez de Cellerigo was a lawyer and an economist living in 1600 Spain. He writes, the riches which should have brought wealth have brought poverty. Cellerigo understood that the flood of money coming into Spain, over the last 4 decades had caused the value of money to fall. Boyle makes observation that in modern Britain today we have suffered the same, ‘the cascade of wealth into the City of London, instead of financing production, it was frittered away on interest payments for debt, buying luxury goods from abroad, raising prices and, in the case of sixteenth century Spain, on the purchase of Eastern luxuries from the Portuguese Empire’. Continue reading

March 2, 2014

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Six types of ambiguity

Reading an article recently about Eliot Perlman who wrote what is considered a masterwork called Seven Types of Ambiguity. This has intrigued me, as Principle 1 in No Straight Lines is Ambiguity. How does one make sense of an ambiguous world. This question is important to ask when there is significant disruption, or change in our lives, in industry, and when we see catastrophic failure and cannot arrive at a true diagnostic. Continue reading

February 20, 2014

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The art of living together and the art of dying

James Mitchell used this phrase ‘the art of living together’, recently in Edinburgh. A phrase he articulated to mean what politics at its best and most basic should be about. Think of the component parts and what they mean: ‘art’ and ‘living together’: they denote craft, non-scientific discipline, emotional insight, and an awareness and understanding of differences and transcending them. Continue reading

February 12, 2014

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Creating the necessary conditions for a true economic renaissance

There is a view that the recovery of our economy in the UK is underway. This, however, is not entirely true, because true regeneration is investment-led, not consumer-driven. In fact, new companies generate 80% of growth, new jobs, and inward investment, despite the contradictory message from the financial press. It is these innovators, through sheer entrepreneurial endeavour, that are largely building the future rather than trying to protect the past. Yet the ratios for capital formation in this country are terrible; broadly-speaking the percentage of GDP that is invested each year. We have the lowest ratio in the OECD and our capital formation rate was 14% last year. China’s is over 50%. Our companies are sitting on some £284 billion of cash. We may as well just be sitting on it like Smaug in The Hobbit. Continue reading

February 3, 2014

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The revolt against traditional education

Last year I was working with an extraordinary group of people in Salzburg – where we had come together to explore the potential of systemic transformation. In one exercise we worked collaboratively on an idea that each individually intrigued us. Mine was education. After many rounds of questioning – we were asked to write from the heart, intuitively what we felt. This is what I wrote. The Revolt Against Traditional Education: Continue reading

February 1, 2014

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Zaid Hassan: sensing, and connecting to a whole reality

I am came across this lovely insight by Zaid
 Hassan,
 in The
 U: 
A 
Language 
of
 Regeneration. As Russ Ackoff said a hole is spelt with a W. In my journey this reality that others cannot see the whole, happens 99% of the time in organizations, as Deming points to the 94/6 rule, where 94% of problems can be traced to the process and only 6% to the person – when systems are fixed. Therefore sensing the entire system is key. Continue reading

January 8, 2014

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Kano: helping make creators of the future not consumers of the past

thought of Lewis Hyde who wrote in The Gift, “we’ve witnessed the steady conversion into private property of the art and ideas that earlier generations thought belonged to their cultural commons”. When reading Miranda Swayers piece on the computing company for kids – Kano. Essentially Kano is plug and play coding making computing and the creation of things via coding and computing accessible to all comers. Hydes observation also resonated, when Alex Klein one of the Kano founders tells a story from an experience from Zuccotti Park when as a journalist he was covering the Occupy Movement, he asked the Occupy-ers why, if they hated big business so much, they all used iPhones and Samsungs. Continue reading

January 5, 2014

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The restorative economy

Need to rewrite the foundations of economics: The need for a root and branch rewriting of economics produced a book last year called What’s the Use of Economics? Teaching the Dismal Science after the Crisis. Of course it is much much harder than anyone realises to bring into the world a truly viable alternative economy to an existing dominant model. There are many vested interests, and shifts of power that create vacuums’ generate the necessary conditions where waves of multiple dissonance; social, religious, economic combine to make people fearful of change and reactive to perceived threats real or otherwise. Opportunism trying to outflank those that seek a more ambitious goal. Continue reading

December 30, 2013

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Lego's new business model: Pleygo

LEGO has always fascinated me, because of its journey from small to great to almost has been to a company designed for meeting the demands and challenges of a non-linear world. LEGO is launching LEGO The Movie next year and they have also been exploring the idea of building a service / rental style model called Pleygo is like a Netlix-like rental service that allows families to swap Lego sets instead of purchasing new ones and creating more plastic waste in the process. The Lego swap service enables kids to try out and play with lots of different sets. Continue reading

December 12, 2013

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Lee Smolin and Robert MacFarlane seeing the power and potential of a chaotic world

One of our obsessions is to see chaos as uncontrollable, primordial, dangerous which we as a species must strive at all costs to eviscerate from our lives. As physicist Lee Smolin wrote in Time Reborn, “No living system is an isolated system. We all ride flows of matter and energy – flows driven ultimately by the energy from the sun. Once enclosed in a box (in a prefiguration of our eventual internment), we die”. Continue reading

November 26, 2013

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High performance organizations through respect for people

Openness is resilience, leadership with purpose: Whereas one can see what happens when people exist in an open culture, which is led by purpose rather than a kpi. Two very different stories spring to mind, [1] the organisational systems change that was delivered through a process of participatory leadership in Nova Scotia for public health, [2] in Japan with Toyota. If you start to think about designing for whole systems with real human beings operating in those systems – I believe we see a very different organisational design emerge. Continue reading

November 17, 2013

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From a mechanistic to a natural philosophy of science

Rupert Sheldrake takes us on a journey to stand in a different place and look at science from a natural perspective rather than a mechanistic one. Whether we think about science, management, organisational design. Our machine age: Newtonian determinstic thinking has permeated all aspects of our daily living lives. Sheldrake represents a broader philosophical evolution of reappraising how we see our world, universe and cosmology. Continue reading

November 3, 2013

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Russ Ackoff, a system is a hole with a W

a talk by Russ Ackoff – which is both funny and profound. His quote that a system is a (w)hole, spelt with a W was fantastic – his insight that a system is not a sum of its parts but a sum if the interactions that take place – genius for its clarity. He made the point that to understand this concept write a note with your writing hand, then cut it off and see what happens. He is known as the father of systems thinking. Continue reading

October 31, 2013

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The engaged organisation outperforms the disengaged organisation

a recent Gallup poll pulled up some interesting insights. Companies with engaged workforces achieve higher earnings than organisations that fail to engage their employees. Engaged organisations have 3.9 times the earnings per share growth rate compared to an organisation with lower engagement in the same industry. Continue reading

October 30, 2013

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Lessons in craftsmanship: Tashi Mannox - Tibetan Calligrapher

Tashi Mannox Tibetan Calligrapher, says, it is commitment that gives you freedom, which reminds me of the truth that, the committed craftsman is the engaged craftsman. And that craftsman is always curious and happy to share the work and their knowledge. Continue reading

October 13, 2013

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Those Incredible Edibles from Todmorden and further afield

A couple of weeks ago I headed north to a place called Todmorden, or Tod for those in the know. This is the homeland, of a particular beast called Incredible Edible. Incredible Edible has a mission to inspire and educate the world about food, local food, local food systems, locally gown food, local food economies, and how to lead a more resilient life that is also more fun. Continue reading

October 12, 2013

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Rupert Sheldrake: science more non-linear than we appreciate

Rupert Sheldrake talking about how science, that great bastion of exploration, still has its mechanistic head on. Mechanistic science, top down, and hierarchical. Sheldrake argues science as an idea still wears the mindset that everything is machine like, fixed like Newtons concept of cosmology. That there is no mystery in this world, all can be ordered and measured, indeed his story about the variations in light speed are compelling, and the attempts to regulate its speed at a constant, when in fact it varies, as does gravity. Continue reading

October 4, 2013

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Ecuador planning a commons based economy

They also say that disruption never comes from the centre, it always comes from the edge, from places where thinking and doing differently has greater flexibility. Perhaps it will not be the power houses of the industrial order where real and meaningful change comes from but elsewhere. So it was no surprise that the Government of Ecuador has launched a major strategic research project to “fundamentally re-imagine Ecuador” based on the principles of open networks, peer production and commoning, Continue reading

September 26, 2013

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To the people that 'build stuff'

What makes work meaningful? Why do we go to work? Why should we work? For whom do we work? Is work about meaning and identity more than money? Should our work be meaningful? What fulfills us and what gets us out of bed on a Monday morning? It does not matter whether you are a coder, or a metal fabricator like Nicholas DiChiara, work is something that in my mind has always been about purpose and passion. Continue reading

September 25, 2013

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What happens when organisations no longer fit reality

In my previous post on Scotland exploring a different reality, I wanted to share Tim Merry’s views on the need to create better systems more in tune wit the nature of humanity. Tim talks about meeting change with dignity. In No Straight Lines the core philosophy is we can do better and we need to deschool ourselves from a linear and mechanistic way of thinking and doing. Here is Tim expanding on his philosophy on systems change at a human scale. Continue reading

September 24, 2013

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Participatory Leadership and transformational change in Scotland

How can we create better, much better? Where we can create better functioning societies, that are regenerative, more resilient. How can we shape the future of a country to be better prepared for a more uncertain and perhaps more challenging world?

An invitation to learn how to lead change at a systemic and human level Continue reading

September 21, 2013

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Alice in wonga land, how payday loans make a profit

Payday loan company WONGA reported £1m profit per week for 2012. Charging 5500% APR on each of its 1m loans last year it’s now the biggest payday lender in the UK. It’s not alone with many other payday firms reporting increases in turnover and profits over the last 3 years. Errol Damelin the CEO of WONGA states that he hardly thinks a £200 loans get people into trouble. He’s right, cry the campaigners, it’s the thousands of per cent interest you charge on it, so lets cap it. Actually he’s right and the campaigners are wrong, on both counts. Continue reading

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Contract law for SME's in Plain English

For the last few months I have been working with, and, advising a company called Lawbite. My reason for engaging with the company is that they are offering a viable alternative to legal advice for SME’s and start ups which is sorely needed. It is disruptive to the existing legal profession, but that is no bad thing. Lawbite is well overdue. Britain is sustained by SME’s yet their need of the law and the service they get from the law is not always evenly matched. Continue reading

September 18, 2013

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The lean green business system

The authors argue that things that are good for the planet are also good for business. Studies from the the Economist Intelligence Unit, Harvard, MIT Sloan, and others indicate that organizations that commit to goals of zero waste, zero harmful emissions, and zero use of nonrenewable resources clearly outperform their competition. Continue reading

September 15, 2013

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People embrace what they create in Istanbul

It was Jamie Lerner the Mayor of Curitiba who when he took office and facing many challenges decided to galvanise his citizens into life to make Curitiba work. Lerner said the work they undertook should be fun, fast and above all non-expensive. The idea that we own, or have ownership over our civic spaces is very important. Home, hearth, kith and kin are all about belonging and identity. So this is a small story about those things. Continue reading

September 12, 2013

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Love your work

Below is a beautiful simple film about the craft of making sake. Why did I think it to be relevant? Because the ‘engaged’ craftsman brings the full power of humanity to bear upon his work. His hand is guided by his eye, informed by his creative mind; his productivity the act of unique creation. Indeed, the master craftsman is adept in using a values based philosophical framework, as well as tools and materials, to deliver useful things to the world. Continue reading

September 11, 2013

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Adaptability: inspiring generations

I don’t want to have an impact on leadership in current organizations. I want to inspire young people. And when a child is two or three and starts farming mushrooms on the coffee waste of mum, then that child will never ever accept that there is real hunger in the world. The child will only believe that there is ignorance in the world. Continue reading

September 10, 2013

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Openness the new model for society

It has been said that privacy is dead. Not so. It’s secrecy that is dying. Openness will kill it. Writes Jeff Jarvis, he goes on, Openness is the more powerful weapon. Openness is the principle that guides, for example, Guardian journalism. Openness is all that can restore trust in government and technology companies. And openness – in standards, governance, and ethics – must be the basis of technologists’ efforts to take back the the net. That said its not just about the net, its about the future direction of our societies, what does an open society looks like? Continue reading

September 7, 2013

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Lone Frank asks big questions around data and genetics

Since genetic information does not determine you, it does not in itself tell you anything really important. It won’t be very important to not have your genetic information in the public domain. It won’t seem very important to people to keep it private. Our sense of privacy is evolving; our pictures, out personal data our views of what needs to be kept private change. So why would our genetic data be different? Continue reading

September 6, 2013

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If data is the new oil where are its wells?

John Naughton in his recent column for The Observer, wrote that in 2006 or thereabouts, a phrase that data was new the oil came into public consciousness. At the time I was sitting on the board of a company specialising in large scale social data analytics (in those days mobile networks were large scale social networks), And I liked to use the term raw data has no value but refined data is the black gold of the 21st Century. Continue reading

September 5, 2013

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Seamus Heaney remembering a great craftsman

It was terribly sad to hear the news of the passing to Seamus Heaney, a craftsman if ever there was one. As not only was he a master craftsman of the English language he embodied the other important characteristics of granite like integrity, and a deep empathy of the world around him and the people in it. A quest for truth is always core to the purpose of a poet, to seek that which others do not see and to express it in a way that we can all understand. Continue reading

September 1, 2013

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The overview effect and a pioneering spirit

Our nonlinear world is about connectedness, our connectedness to each other and in fact to a wider universe. Something I explore in No Straight Lines. I am deeply interested in our humanity and the human spirit. I am interested in humanities capacity for a higher yearning, which inspires us to work towards a greater good. Our pioneering spirit today should be more about the quality of life, and better governance of this planet. When we see the world as a deeper system, we see the world differently as this moving film explains. Continue reading

August 30, 2013

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True knowledge exists in a network

Lee Smolin describes our universe at an atomic level as curved, open, diverse and highly networked, Manuel Castells describes our society as evolving into a networked one which as significant cultural and political implications, Janine Benyus talks about nature as a highly networked open, diverse eco-system from which we as humans have much to learn revolutionising how we invent, compute, heal ourselves, harness energy, repair the environment, and feed the world. Continue reading

August 26, 2013

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A handcrafted particle accelerator

Patrick Stevenson Keating created a handcrafted glass particle accelerator in what I would describe as an act of true craftsmanship. The piece consists of a series of organically-shaped hand-blown glass bulbs – each attached to a pump via a tube to create a vacuum. When the button is pushed, a voltage of 45,000V is applied across two electrodes. Continue reading

August 22, 2013

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Open systems evolve to states of higher organization

I am almost finished reading Lee Smolins book Time Reborn, which is as fascinating as it is challenging. This book is about time and cosmology. A little out of my remit in some ways but I find that at times reading at the far edges of ones knowledge can lead to some interesting insights.
In No Straight Lines I use Openness as a principle, arguing that it can lead to a number of outcomes which are far more beneficial than closed systems; from accelerated innovation, to new ways of organising and providing a more invigorating cultural context for organisations to exist in, even new business models. Continue reading

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Monitor me, data, health and technology

This Horizon documentary called ‘Monitor Me’, is an intriguing journey into what the future of medicine may look like, with blends of cutting edge medicine, technology and data that monitors all and everything, we can imagine entirely different ways in which we can manage our daily health like weight to high performance sport to discovering at its very earliest stages serious medical problems. Continue reading

August 17, 2013

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Open source manufacturing

I picked this up from the wonderful p2p Foundation wiki about open source manufacturing, interesting to me as principle 3 of No Straight Lines in Open and Openness – Openness is resilience. I came across the idea and practice of open manufacturing when writing the book, exploring how far openness as a principle and practice can take us, and how it can play a key role in the transformational re-design of business Continue reading

August 16, 2013

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Humanness of network knowledge

when we see things really scale up on the net, as we do with Wikipedia or some of the large collaborative projects like Linux and Debian and the like, the decision making changes, and rather than thinking, oh, we’ll find one person who’s smart enough to make decisions, no, we have a network, let’s do this in a networked way. And what are networks good at? Well, if a decision can be kept local, the person who knows most about the thing is the person who is dealing with it every day, the local decision. Continue reading

August 11, 2013

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Seeking authenticity and a nonlinear life

I am a big fan of David Boyles work, and this book is one I think is as relevant today as it was when he wrote it in 2004. In this book he writes about the determined rejection of the fake, the virtual, the spun and the mass-produced, in the search for authenticity. Continue reading

August 9, 2013

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Crowdfunding, goteo, localism, and non-linear innovation

Goteo demonstrates a people / community centered design approach to getting stuff done, bottom up networked, where everyone has something to give and something to gain. If we are looking for a pattern one can also point to Mosaic Banking on the sun, a community investing in sustainable energy. Collective crowdfunding is also part of a global movement to go around those institutions that people believe have failed them. Embedded in such design is a philosophy of networked sociability, and trust. As none of this works without it. It points to an alternative model of funding local projects which also mitigates risk. Continue reading

August 7, 2013

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Rupert Sheldrake and the dogmas of scientific materialism

TED banned this talk, I wonder what was so controversial? Of particular interest to me was the idea of variations in light-speed and gravity the big G. Sheldrake goes onto talk about the big idea that the laws of nature at an atomic level are never set, are not constant as Newton proposed but are in a permanent state of evolution. Continue reading

August 5, 2013

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6 steps to transform the way we do business

Published in The Guardian Sustainable Business. Our institutions, organisations and economies were conceived, designed and built for a simpler more linear world. Overwhelmed by complexity, these have become disrupted and unsustainable. There is an urgent need to transform our societies, organisations and economies by better design to thrive in what I call a “non-linear world”. Continue reading

August 3, 2013

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What do we know about participatory cultures?

Henry Jenkins interviews Aaron Delwiche and Jennifer Jacobs Henderson about their new book The Participatory Cultures Handbook. This is of great interest to me because Principle 4 of No Straight Lines is Participatory Cultures and Tools in a recent article for The Guardian (Six steps to transform the way we do business) I briefly explained the principle and why I believe it is a key component to our non-linear world, Continue reading

August 2, 2013

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Time, space, place, love, reflection, nature, craftsmanship

Sometimes, we need to feel something rather than analyse it. To feel time, to feel space and pace, the feel love and to reflect, to touch and go into nature and revel in the crafting of of something unique. Sometimes we need to be open to a new experience, to take its crooked path to a deeper meaning about who we are, and perhaps where we belong. Sometimes its good to feel humbled by nature and reflect on how we only exist within her nurture, as much as we might abuse it. Sometimes its good to feel the mystical as it as much a part of our non-linear world as our current obsession with technology. We have not harnessed the cosmos. Continue reading

August 1, 2013

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Where do big ideas come from?

Recently I was participating a workshop that was exploring the question, where do big ideas come from? We were a group of 20 people and asked to bring with us 2 ideas each that we found intriguing, ideas that we were undecided about but wanted to explore. Then through an intense collaborative process over 2 days we explored those ideas, digging deeper into them, exploring their emergence, their context, their potential for good and also disruption. We explored patterns, connections and looked systemically at these ideas. Continue reading

July 30, 2013

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Edward Snowden and the battle for internet freedom

Who would have thought even in 2005, that consumer politics and societal politics would revolve around data, who has it, who owns it and how it is used, combined with the legal frameworks that protect us as citizens. our destiny with data is complex. There are legitimate concerns about who actually owns this information, and when our identities can be pieced together via data flows, privacy becomes a key battleground. And there will be a pressing and increasing need to respect the sovereignty of the individual whether that be in a commercial or civil context. Continue reading

July 29, 2013

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Doug Englebart and what world he was trying to create

In No Straight Lines, technology plays an important role, it must do. Because to deny our umbilical relationship with technology is to deny ourselves. But it always seems a struggle to get people to reconcile the important philosophical, anthropological and societal relationships to technology that we indeed have – where it comes from, what drives our longing (on a large scale) which consequently affects what we imagine, create and make. Doug Englebart died recently, Continue reading

July 16, 2013

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Are we naked with or without data? Edward Snowden asks a big question

As the shape of our world evolves, we are also in political transformation, both in terms of the political relationship between the individual and commercial organisations and the large Politics of how we organise and run our societies. What should government look like in a non-linear world? Are we creating and running the right systems in the right way? How does data change/impact the process of democracy and civil organisation? Continue reading

July 10, 2013

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Is it solutions or transformation that we seek?

This where I think organisations need a more nuanced approach to Transformation – being able to describe a new destination, with if necessary new organisational capability. They need innovation to be interwoven into the organisation to deliver business model innovation Continue reading

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