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My daugther of three is very proud that she is growing. In the car she asked if her sister is growing aswell. I confirmed. Then she asked if her friends are growing and her nephew and niece.. Yes they are all growing. Finally she asked if daddy is growing also.. I said no.. Daddy is not growing anymore. Daddy is growing in different ways. She looked confused.. That look stuck with me..
Later that look suddenly reminds me of how corporations “look” when you tell them that there is a limit on (profit) growth. There is something like an equilibrium. That different ways of growth than monetary/scale are needed..
Just found a great new blog: Chroma! Worth a visit!! There was a nice post on Dole’s new “Dole Organic” bananas:
Want to know where your next organic banana is from? (Of course you do).
Dole Organic Bananas come with a three digit farm code on the sticker. The website provides the “backstory” for each farm: location, the history, see photos. Don’t know if this is new, maybe it’s been around and I hadn’t heard of it, but it’s pretty smart. And it gives you an excuse to use the phrase “transmedia bananas”.
Age of the Individual: this trend is all about being in control. Following high profile corporate scandals and politicians who deny they’ve been up to no good, consumers are looking for products and services made “just for me”. Puma’s custom-designed sneakers and Toyota’s customisable Scion are leading examples of just-for-me products. We also want greater control over our health. With the rise of obesity, juvenile diabetes and other diet related health worries, the wellness industry has become increasingly popular. Alternative therapies and the vitamin supplement industry are allowing us to be more involved in the health decision making process with a focus on “me the unique individual”.
Seize the moment: fast food, fast cars, disposable products. This has been with us for some time and is likely to continue as consumers demand the “temporary”. Life-long devotion to a particular “brand product” will decline as people demand faster product lifecycles; they will also buy “no name brands” more often. Consumers will demand products that help them discover new tastes and flavours, as well as allow us to experience innovative design ideas and products.
Mmmm…I recall my grandmother using nothing but Helena Rubenstein products for years and years. She was never swayed by new cosmetic products or swish advertising. Wonder what she’d think of our ‘temporary culture”!
A Deeper Values Experience: I suspect this trend is originating in the Sustainability movement; and also from our deep suspicion and anger towards politicians, Government – you name it. Beyond the fabulous products out there, we also want to feel good about ourselves when we use them. We want to know that we are buying Fair Trade goods or that a percentage of profits goes towards alleviating poverty. Ecotourism is on the rise as we increasingly seek a holiday experience in a rainforest for example. I did this in 2004, when I went to Nicaragua specifically to take a rainforest tour with an indigenous herbal medicine doctor. In driving rain, I slipped down every path and tripped over the roots of huge trees. I couldn’t understand a word the man was saying as he told me how each tree and leaf could be used medicinally – but it was the best travel experience I’ve ever had and I managed to keep my lipgloss on – gotta look good even when traipsing through the jungle :)-
Back to the Future: for decades we’ve been at the mercy of mass production. Seems everything is “Made in China” and the sizes don’t always fit us. So now it’s back to a time when local craft products were available; when one-of-a-kind shopping experiences were the norm; and when we enjoyed simplicity. Again, back to my grandmother – she used to tell me about how she shopped in the 1950s. She would go to David Jones (department store still existing in Sydney) and enjoy a personal shopping experience. If buying gloves, she would place her elbow on a velvet cushion and the assistant would carefully fit the glove over her hand. Clothes and other items were made in Europe or Australia and often these items were unique. (I was in DJs the other day and glanced over at the perfume section – full of Celebrity-name perfumes. What’s happened to the unique, quality products?). Individuals also want products with labels telling exactly where it was made and what the ingredients are.
The New Fear Factor: just as I was gearing up to do a post on what I think are our current fears, along comes this trend. Particularly, post 9/11 we are living in a world where we are watched, searched and our politicians are creating a fear based society that is getting eerily reminiscent of Orwell’s 1984 environment. This leads to a feeling of loss of control as individuals cope with the demands of heightened security issues and concerns over whether a global database of our fingerprints and iris patterns is being constructed. We may not be able to control these external factors, but we are demanding safer food, especially organic and environmentally friendly products.
It’s Reigning Men: I like this trend! we’ve seen the rise of the Metrosexual and mens’ grooming products. Men can now fully participate in the personal care category as societal opinion no longer views a man who moisturises as being “not manly”. It’s predicted that mens’ products will now be included in traditional female categories like body care.
New Consumer-Centric Media: it’s a content driven world and consumers want to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to personalising content and their online experience. Social software is allowing networks and circles of trust to be formed around like-minded people who spread the word about products and services through viral marketing. Online shopping increasingly becomes the norm as online providers trip over themselves to offer you that unique shopping experience.
Just last week, I decided to try buying from an online beauty website (lipgloss again!). I was amazed at the menu of offerings – products from Italy, the US, Greece, you name it – and I could see what other products people were buying from the different categories. My products arrived in just over 24 hours, wrapped in gold tissue paper and with easy instructions on how to return the products if necessary. Certainly beats schlepping around a department store and experiencing often nonchalant service!
Memory Fast Lane: thank goodness, I thought I was having trouble remembering things because I’m getting older. But it seems that our fast-paced, 24/7 lifestyle and being constantly connected is distracting us and causing memory retention issues. This is a problem across generations, not just Baby Boomers, and the vitamin supplement industry is rushing to the rescue with memory concentration aids and brain tonics to help people along the spectrum from students, to online gamers, to senior citizens.
Working Women Revisited: the Womens’ Lib movement of the 1960s and 1970s certainly opened up opportunities for women to have a career. Apparently though a study has linked women’s entrance into the workforce during the 1970s with a significant decline in children’s diets including the onset of juvenile diabetes. So the trend is to eat at home more often (and get in touch with the family) and demand healthy fast-food options (is this an oxymoron?).
The Centenarian Century: with more focus on wellness, work/life balance and services to better support the aging, this will be the century of people living beyond 100 (hope for me yet!). Baby Boomers are currently hitting retirement age and are not about to retire quietly. They will be demanding quality health care, insurance and social services and there will be new products and services to cater for the longevity factor.
My proposal for a ChangeThis Manifesto was approved. Currently my proposal is up for voting. When I have enough votes(I have no idea what enough is) it will be published.
Here is my proposal:
Value Creation: The RIGHT way
The coming years competitive advantage for corporations is created purely by right brain activities: creativity, intuition, emotion, communication and a holistic view of the world. This manifesto is about releasing the strength of the right side brain within businesses. It shows ways to create new value in an emotional driven world. This manifesto has the ambition to support companies to reach their true potential. Not through growth but through self actualization. “A company at best can be itself”
Thanks for voting for this manifesto!
Very interesting stuff!
Please replace person/individual with cooperation… I am very eager to explore to see if Adler’s model of Psychotherapy (See image below) can be used to help cooperations in their current feeling of inferiority. Yes inferiority. Their need to grow comes from feeling inferior(not complete).
Parts from the article:
The scientific paradigm shift and intellectual climate of the 1990’s might well be ripe for a re-discovery of Adler’s original and full contribution to an understanding of human beings and their relationship to the world. He created an exquisitely integrated, holistic theory of human nature and psychopathology, a set of principles and techniques of psychotherapy, a world view, and a philosophy of living.
The core of Adler’s integrated complex of philosophy, theory, and practice was a vigorously optimistic, humanistic view of life. He offered a value-oriented psychology that envisioned human beings as capable of profound cooperation in living together and striving for self-improvement, self-fulfillment, and contribution to the common welfare.
If people have developed social interest at the affective level, they are likely to feel a deep belonging to the human race and, as a result, are able to empathize with their fellow humans. They can then feel very much at home on the earth — accepting both the comforts as well as the discomforts of life. At the cognitive level, they can acknowledge the necessary interdependence with others, recognizing that the welfare of any one individual ultimately depends on the welfare of everyone. At the behavioral level, these thoughts and feelings can then be translated into actions aimed at self development as well as cooperative and helpful movements directed toward others. Thus, at its heart, the concept of feeling of community encompasses individuals’ full development of their capacities, a process that is both personally fulfilling and results in people who have something worthwhile to contribute to one another. At the same time, the concept denotes a recognition and acceptance of the interconnectedness of all people.
These ideas of Adler’s also speak to the current discussion of the relationship between self and society. Unlike others, he saw no fundamental conflict between self and society, individuality, and relatedness, self interest and social interest. These are false dichotomies. The development of self and connectedness are recursive processes that influence one another in positive ways. The greater one’s personal development, the more able one can connect positively with others; the greater one’s ability to connect with others, the more one is able to learn from them and develop oneself. This idea has been rediscovered by recent authors (Guisinger and Blatt 1994).
Adler saw the connections among living beings in many different spheres and on many different levels. An individual can feel connected with another, with family, friends, community, and so on, in ever widening circles. This connectedness can encompass animals, plants, even inanimate objects until, in the largest sense, the person feels connected with the entire cosmos (Müller, 1992, 138). If people truly understood and felt this connectedness, then many of the self-created problems of life — war, prejudice, persecution, discrimination — might cease to exist.
The feeling of interconnectedness among people is essential not only for living together in society, but also for the development of each individual person. It has long been well known that if human infants do not have emotional connections with their caregivers they will fail to thrive and are likely to die.
Furthermore, individuals need to acknowledge their connectedness both to the past as well as to the future. What we are able to do in our lives depends very much on the contributions made in the past by others. A critical question that Adler saw facing each person was, “What will be your contribution to life? Will it be on the useful or useless side of life
The title that Adler gave to his system, “Individual Psychology,” does not immediately suggest its social foundation. It does not mean a psychology of individuals. On the contrary, Adler’s psychology is very much a social psychology in which the individual is seen and understood within his or her social context. Accordingly, Adler devised interventions not only for individual clients but also for families and schools.
In German, the term Individualpsychologie means the psychology of the unique, indivisible, and undivided person (Davidson 1991, 6). What Adler meant by this is that, first, Individual Psychology is an idiographic science. How an individual develops is unique, creative, and dependent on the subjective interpretations the person gives to life. Second, Adler meant to convey that an individual behaves as a unit in which the thoughts, feelings, actions, dreams, memories, and even physiology all lead in the same direction. The person is a system in which the whole is greater than and different from the sum of its parts. In this whole, Adler saw the unity of the person. In the symphony of a person’s behavior, he discerned the consistent melodic theme running throughout. This theme may have many variations in tempo, pitch, or intricacy, but it is nevertheless recognizable. Thus, to understand a person, we must look at the whole person, not at the parts, isolated from one another. After we grasp the guiding theme, however, it is easy to see how each individual part is consistent with the theme.
Been busy working on a model for value creation. Nowhere have I found a model that I truely believe. Most of the current models about competitive advantage, blue oceans and innovations have a left brain way of solving the problem. It is often based on rational decisions, cause and effect, schematics and matrices. Well we have a right brain problem..and we try to solve it with left brain answers..
So after some investigations in how the brain works and how people self actualize I tried to create a wheel that seems more balanced between right and left brain activities and internal and external activities. The current model is 3/4 right brain and 1/4 only left brain. Alot more in balance to operate in this holistic, creative, emotional and communicative age. Hard to sell that 3/4 of the time people in your company are not productive in the traditional sense?
Something I am confident to share is that the first phase of the wheel is what I call “
Imagine Intuition”. In this phase you create your wish, belief or challenge. This basically changes your perception. This is in my opinion the biggest achievement of the whole creation cycle. Many companies describe their goals through cause and effect( 10% more sales than last year, higher penetration in..) or they create a very functional mission(making the best shoes). BAM..There it just went wrong.. It doesn’t change your perception. How difficult is it to change if your perception of yourself in a larger context did not change. Therefore impossible to self actualize..(right?) Let go of your current situation. David Wolfe of Ageless Marketing wrote this about corporate selfactualization: “Maslow would view FoEs(Firms of Endearments) as having reached the organizational equivalent of self-actualization. To reach that level in human life requires “letting go” of the ego. With ego in recession, a person’s worldview changes from self-centeredness to others-centeredness. This doesn’t mean the sacrifice of one’s self-interest. Self-interest is all the better served at the highest levels of maturity. This is true of companies as well as human beings.”
So what I preach in the first step of the wheel is to wish, believe or challenge yourself. Free from form or function. This first step, often ignited by an event, is crucial in the process. Those who fail will describe themselves as” I am a moneymaking machine” those that succeed in this phase describe themself as ” I (wish) to support people in…” for example.
Have trust and let go. Believe that the rest of the creation process will fall into place. A company at best can be what it is.
Soon more on the subject. Any feedback or opinions are more than welcome..
More and more I gather evidence that the very core of a company is what I call the “Broad Thought”. The broad thought gives companies a sense of purpose. It is close to a religion. A beliefsystem. The Broad Thought influences the company culture and creates stability. The difference with a Mission Statement in my idea is that a Mission Statement is focussed on the functional excercise of the Broad Thought. An example of a Broad Thought is “Against Throwawayism” from Iittala
A well defined and effective Broad Thought has in my opinion a couple of characteristics:
1. It creates freedom to innovate(level of abstraction)
2. Not bound to function or form(so immaterial)
3. Emotionally charged(Fueled)
4. Passionately carried out by Top Management
5. Value focussed and not growth focussed
6. Defined from a serving(supporting) perspective
7. any ideas…?
The benefits of defining a Broad Thought are:
1. Bridges the gap between society and corporations
2. Offers roads to innovation (differentiation)
3. Creates room and guidance for CSR
4. Creates a subject for co-creation without the pressure of existing products
The biggest pitfall for a broad acceptance among employees of a Broad Thought is that it is communicated.. YOU SHOULD NOT COMMUNICATE THE BROAD THOUGHT… Here really comes to the big eye opener:
YOU SHOULD MAKE EMPLOYEES FEEL IT THROUGH EXPERIENCES..
More on the Broad Thought soon…
More and more signals are coming that CSR is at The Tipping Point. Mc Kinsey wrote in last year’s quarterly that 84% of executives from around the globe who participated in a McKinsey survey said their companies should pursue both shareholder value and creating a broader public good. At Futurelab just read an article from John Makower where he quotes the Guardian that states that BUSH(yeah Bush) might agree to a U.S. cap on greenhouse gas emissions for the first time. Next to that we have Al Gore, Bono’s RED, and also a group which call themselves 3C Initiative for Combat Climate Change. The goal, says 3C, is:
to underline the need for urgent action by the global community and to influence the post-Kyoto process by demanding a global framework supporting a market-based solution to the climate change issue. This can be achieved by getting as many companies as possible aboard and by getting our common platform well known and well understood.
All together many many forces drive towards a more structured and strategic approach on CSR and sustainability. I feel that the pressure is changing quickly from corporates towards governments. Adapted legislation is needed to facilitate strategic CSR. Just hope governments take this momentum and act on it swiftly and adequate (for a change)..
Vattenfall: We have a vision and a plan for how to move forward, which could result in almost 80 percent decrease of carbon dioxide CO2 emissions, that would stabilise our atmosphere.
in “Strategy and Society” Porter and Kramer explain how a company can use competitive strategy to plumb the opportunity of corporate social responsibility—and in the process strengthen its own long-term competitiveness while producing much more social good than traditional CSR does. Please visit the links:
From Strategy and Society from HBR:
Strategic CSR. For any company, strategy must go beyond best practices. It is about choosing a unique position—doing things differently from competitors in a way that lowers costs or better serves a particular set of customer needs. These principles apply to a company’s relationship to society as readily as to its relationship to its customers and rivals.
Strategic CSR moves beyond good corporate citizenship and mitigating harmful value chain impacts to mount a small number of initiatives whose social and business benefits are large and distinctive. Strategic CSR involves both inside-out and outside-in dimensions working in tandem. It is here that the opportunities for shared value truly lie.
Many opportunities to pioneer innovations to benefit both society and a company’s own competitiveness can arise in the product offering and the value chain. Toyota’s response to concerns over automobile emissions is an example. Toyota’s Prius, the hybrid electric/gasoline vehicle, is the first in a series of innovative car models that have produced competitive advantage and environmental benefits. Hybrid engines emit as little as 10% of the harmful pollutants conventional vehicles produce while consuming only half as much gas. Voted 2004 Car of the Year by Motor Trend magazine, Prius has given Toyota a lead so substantial that Ford and other car companies are licensing the technology. Toyota has created a unique position with customers and is well on its way to establishing its technology as the world standard.
Urbi, a Mexican construction company, has prospered by building housing for disadvantaged buyers using novel financing vehicles such as flexible mortgage payments made through payroll deductions. Crédit Agricole, France’s largest bank, has differentiated itself by offering specialized financial products related to the environment, such as financing packages for energy-saving home improvements and for audits to certify farms as organic.
Strategic CSR also unlocks shared value by investing in social aspects of context that strengthen company competitiveness. A symbiotic relationship develops: The success of the company and the success of the community become mutually reinforcing. Typically, the more closely tied a social issue is to the company’s business, the greater the opportunity to leverage the firm’s resources and capabilities, and benefit society.
Typically the more closely tied a social issue is to a company’s business, the greater the opportunity to leverage the firm’s resources—and benefit society.