The Why
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Our culture mythologises creativity while, simultaneously, putting up barriers which prevent people from reaching their creative potential.

As much as “innovation” has been put on a pedestal, enshrined in corporate vision statements and funded by private, state and transnational investors, most companies still do the thing they have always done, in the way they have always done it. We keep hanging on to the coattails of the status quo, for good psychological reasons – fear of failure, various biases – but also because most people, most of the time, do not really understand the direct connection between business innovation, imagination and creativity.

We applaud the achievements of star artists, musicians, designers, architects but that is as far as our appreciation, and our understanding of creativity usually go. The process is reduced to admiration of talent and awards for spectacular success. Creativity is for the chosen few. With talent. And special abilities. It’s just not a thing for average people. Right? Wrong.

We celebrate creativity and applaud the achievements of those star artists, designers and entrepreneurs, but when it comes down to it we accept the new and exciting only once it has been well tested by others.

In the meantime, instead of trying the untried, dreaming up the new, we continue to attend fabulous events and reading blog posts by thought leaders, who continue to tell us that innovation is a good thing, and we must all do it. Yay! It really is like putting lipstick on a pig.

It’s a wonderful idiom “putting lipstick on a pig.” Trying to make something that is too difficult and too ugly seem better by pretending that if you put gloss on it, you’ve done the hard work. Lots of effort, lots of shine, but practically no real effect.

Somehow, putting lipstick on the pig has become the central activity to such a degree that we no longer see the pig, just the lipstick.

If a business is to survive the next five years and then thrive for the subsequent decade, assuming it is in an industry that has a future and that it is run by competent professionals, it has to draw on the collective creativity of all of its people, and all of its customers. It has to see fishing in this collective pool of ideas as a strategic asset, not a thing you do on team building weekends. Can you remember the last time when you spent a week working on something completely new, doing things in ways which were different from the usual ways of doing things, connecting with people outside of your normal circle of colleagues?

Creativity is in part about connecting what is in our heads with ideas from “the edge” and seeing patterns and linkages which may not be apparent to anybody else at the time.

What is required are ways to release the inherent creativity of your people and a system which builds on people’s natural strengths by centering on the psychology of individuals and groups. It needs to be simple in its fundamentals, and a “natural” thing to run. The point of innovation thinking is to allow people in your organisation to have insights about what can be done better, with a system in place to inspire them to do so, collect those insights when they come, and work with them.

Creative professionals have very real value to the business world just beyond that boundary line where art and commerce ordinarily meet.

The value which creative professionals can bring to the table, in addition to providing their specialised services, is in assisting executives in being able to look into the future and to train their people to work in this quickened, confusing, rapidly changing digitally transformed context that surrounds us. Creative professionals can answer the call when someone asks “take me, where I haven’t been.”

Creativity is not about finding new ways to put lipstick on a pig but about ways to make the pig a better pig.

This is the reason why I do what I do – or rather a number or reasons, all pulling in the same direction.

This text is an edited version of a talk I have given several times at conferences large and small, including gatherings of hundreds of bankers, and a dozen or so telecommunication executives. The message is always the same – to innovate you need new ideas, to get new ideas you need people and places you do not necessarily meet or see every day, and the best people here are artists and creatives of all kinds.

Most ideas are never used, or even remembered. They come, flash brightly, and are gone again. The neural connections that generate new ideas are fleeting, electrochemical sparklets easily lost in the flow of conscious thought and unconscious churn. New ideas are formed in the high pressure zone between the known and certain, and the unknown and unpredictable — when we allow our minds to wander freely while attached to some point of reference residing in what we know; anchored, as it were, in the ordered while perusing the disordered.

Creativity is in part about connecting what is in our heads with ideas from “the edge” and seeing patterns and vectors which may not be apparent to anybody else at the time. This is an entirely subjective process, so any framework designed to capture the ideas of those around you needs to take into consideration the simple fact they all those people will probably work in different ways.

“The problem is that the broad world of ideas has become largely separated from the world of business.”

That new ideas are vital and that there are not enough of them may seem self-evident. Unfortunately, as with many things in life, just knowing the problem does not necessarily get us any closer to solving it. A study by the eminent recruitment consultancy Robert Half found that a third of Chief Financial Officers in the US see lack of new ideas as the biggest barrier to their companies becoming more innovative. It would be too easy to giggle smugly at that statement as being obvious, but let us consider its heft for a moment. Top managers believe that their companies are not innovative enough because their people do not have enough new ideas. This is after we have had decades of creative thinking training, long yardage of shelves filled with creativity books by top notch specialists, and study after study pointing to the economic importance of innovation. Rick Wartzman of the Drucker Institute has been quoted mirroring that sentiment: “The problem is that the broad world of ideas has become largely separated from the world of business.”

An ideation workshop at an e-commerce company.

Part of the problem lies not in there not being enough ideas, but in not enough ideas being captured. Jennifer Mueller, with Cheryl Wakslak and Viswanathan Krishnan, in their 2013 article “Construing creativity: The how and why of recognizing creative ideas” in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology put it simply: “the bottleneck in innovation is increasingly in the recognition of creative ideas as much as the generation of ideas.” The Robert Half study, with understatement typical of high-end consultancies, adds “Getting your staff to think creatively isn’t always easy.” Indeed. Can it be fixed? Well, Robert Half put “give your employees a reason to care” as the number one way to “encourage creativity and innovation in your team.”

This is an indication that creativity grows out of engagement and we know that engagement grows out of having a purpose — a purpose beyond showing up, going through the motions and collecting the pay. Interestingly, the №2 on that list is “Empower your employees to make decisions and take action.” Empowerment, engagement and creativity are, evidently, all to be imbibed from the same vessel.

The COVID19 crisis has, with stark relief, lit up the inadequacy of the many systems which surround us, and leaders in many organisations are finally realising that it is time to address issues other than the easily calculated bottom line. The choice before us is a simple one — try to return to “the way things were” or push through to create systems which actually serve us.
The fallout from the disease is going to be broad and deep-reaching. Estimates of intermittent lockdowns till well past the end of 2021 are now getting their hearing so even here, in crisis control, it is clear that what is badly needed is imagination — a chronic lack of which has got us to where we are. Stubbornly pressing on to return to how things were before the virus, will only get us back to that same point where our lack of imagination will be sure to lead to another crisis.
Without imagination, we are not going to be able to deal successfully with this crisis, or with any other crisis that is just around the corner. Without imagination we will try to force our way back, instead of visioning a world that could, and must, come to pass. This is true as much on an individual level as on a nation-state level but this writer is concerned with business, so let’s take a look at that a little more deeply.
As much as organisations resisted it, the process of change has been forced on us, and it is happening faster than even the most ambitious futurists ever dared suggest. People who work in this field called innovation have been repeating like scratched records, for decades, that change is inevitable, change is happening all the time, change is the only constant, change is something that you need to work with, not against, that change is fuel, not a reason to be terrified, change is the defining principle of our times…

READ MORE on the Boma Global Medium page

In a time of extreme uncertainty, the natural tendency to stick to the tried-and-true may seem like a good idea. Unfortunately, almost everybody else will be heading down that path. Some faster than you, some cheaper, all of them almost equally motivated. The only thing entrenched viewpoints guarantee in a time of extreme uncertainty is more competition. A better way seems to be to “out-terrify” terrifying reality by learning some new tricks, both individually and in terms of the organizations we lead.
Orthodoxy cannot usually be fought head-on. The visionary engineer Buckminster Fuller knew this when he said:
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
The most essential new trick we can learn—as individuals and organizations—is to decrease our tolerance for same-think, and simultaneously increase our capacity for handling diversified teams. That a broad diversity of backgrounds and opinions enables better decision-making has been amply demonstrated. It may take longer for a diverse group to coalesce into a true team — which is why management orthodoxy has usually seen diversified teams as unnecessarily expensive — but diverse teams pretty much uniformly produce better results, even if they take longer to get there. Disagreement and discussion fuel necessary bursts of innovation.
Sustainable innovation, however, requires diversified teams plus an organization suffused with a culture of openness to creativity and discussion. That requires long-term effort in building up the internal systems, tools and methods that support such a creative culture. And most importantly, it means identifying and enabling a group of people who will usher the process along — your Ambassadors of Change.
Admittedly that phrase is a bit grand, but the key concept I want to introduce here sounds more esoteric still: the “mycelium of innovation.” Bear with me. Mycelium, the “root structure” of mushrooms, is extraordinary. It is delicate, ever-changing, yet penetrates deep into the substrate, carrying with it the next generation of mushrooms. As mycelium does its work of spreading, enlarging, and penetrating, it changes the ground above it, to enable the build-up of ever-deeper layers of soil. This makes it possible for ever greater forests to grow above.
Creativity is the mycelium of civilisation and, at a smaller scale, of organisations. It permeates and grows in all directions, enabling organisations to build something new and great on top of what has gone before.
READ MORE in The Journal of Beautiful Business on Medium

If there ever was a time in our lifetimes when we needed new ideas, it is now. But when you need an idea, what kind of actions do you take to keep generating better ideas, to keep them coming? Especially when cortisol and adrenaline are washing through your system in bucketloads, limiting your very ability to synthesise concepts and to roam the landscape of your mind in search of such concepts in the first place?
Here are three suggestions I give clients, and — taking my own medicine — use myself when stuck for ideas: the right environment, the right level of concentration and the right amount of data and distraction. BV (Before Virus) it was relatively simple to find at least two out of the three. AV (yes, that’s what it means, After Virus) our ability to look for the right physical environments is, at least for a while, severely hampered. To keep those ideas coming, therefore, we need to consciously construct virtual environments which are actually conducive to creative thinking.
Given that in order to have a few good ideas you need to have many ideas, it is necessary to get into a mode of thinking has been best described as “open” — your mind is free to wonder, synapses are clicking and buzzing with connections — and stay there for extended periods. This is a “Goldilocks state” level of stimulus — not too much, not too little, just right, and that is highly individual.
For me a fundamental building block is music, and the choice depends on what I’m doing. If it’s conceptual work with research, concentration, writing, generally working with words, it’s ambient or instrumental jazz. If I’m doing layouts or working with visuals (form rather than text), it’s grunge or fusion and usually rather loud. This is just something I have noticed — and it works for me. It is also a rather excellent reason to explain having a CD library of over 2000 titles… and a pair of rather pricey studio quality Denon earphones. That’s my excuse. (My friend Paweł Szczęsny has been writing about this just recently, and so now I know that science is on my side.)
Sound, the aural environment, is often neglected, or at least overlooked when designing work spaces.

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE in the Journal of Beautiful Business on Medium.

On Monday, March 23, 2020, Boma Global’s network of partners around the World staged a rolling 24-hour Global Virtual Summit to energise multidisciplinary conversation about COVID19 and its broad context. By the end, hundreds of thousands of viewers from 152 countries would see the transmission. This is how it came together. 

Half way through the combined Japan / Germany session of the Boma Global Virtual Summit, Marconi Pereira saw what he had been dreading for more than a week– a blank window on the Boma Global website where the live stream should have been. This was only the second session of the Summit, the programme was streaming just fine on Facebook, but the Boma Global website was buckling under the load.

An experienced engineer and SysAdmin, Pereira struggled with the server for an hour, increasing the performance specs of the system and testing it repeatedly. It kept failing under the steadily growing demand. Finally, he migrated the website to a dedicated server with five times the performance specs of the original and adjusted the configuration to be more elastic and responsive. That worked. The stream flickered into life. It would continue to work flawlessly through the rest of the 24-hour transmission.

Pereira could only smile to himself. “In the run-up to the Summit, there had been indications that the transmission would be popular but we had not anticipated a 6300% increase in traffic.”

Ten days of intense effort of some seventy people in twelve countries around the World had come to fruition. Expert speakers from over twenty countries were sharing their knowledge and wisdom on not just the disease itself but also its broader context and likely consequences. Pereira, sitting in front of the computers in his Porto apartment and feeling a mixture of relief and anxiety, watched a global experiment finally proceed as planned. So far so good. Twenty hours to go.

Only twelve days earlier, the global virtual summit appeared as an idea during one of the regular Zoom calls attended by the Boma network’s country partners. Michel Levy-Provençal, Boma co-founder and the leader of the French team, pushed to get full team buy in: “We absolutely have to do this, to prove to ourselves and the World that it can be done, and it can be done well.” He did not have to push very hard. In what has been typical Boma fashion, inception of the idea was followed by several very quick declarations of “we’re in, of course” coming from teams spread across the globe.

Of course we would embark on creating a high-quality show of continuous programming, interviewing experts in a dozen time zones, and orgnising it from a cold start, in under two weeks, working from our homes. What else would we be doing, stuck inside, “social-distancing”?

What we had not known was that we would also be testing a fundamental concept behind Boma itself —  whether we could build on a tribal bond we had formed around the core ideas of excellence, reliance on scientific enquiry, sharing, social cohesion and common, if loosely defined, goals. Pereira had a word for this organising principle — the Portuguese portmanteau caórdigo; organised chaos.

Boma had been set up as a distributed network, called into being by Lara Stein, who eleven years earlier had founded TEDx for TED and grown it to a global phenomenon. She then grew Singularity U’s global outreach for some years and still managed to find time to increase the impact of the Women’s March. Stein had founded Boma with three experienced TEDx organisers, who were soon joined by others from that extensive global community. From the outset, the network’s distributed nature had been seen as a great strength by all the partners but we had not had an opportunity to test it at scale. Now that chance was here, provided by a terrible global crisis which was unfolding faster than anybody could make sense of it.

Kaila Colbin, the New Zealand Country Partner and a Boma co-founder, had remarked during an all-hands meeting “We have been preparing for this for two years.” Someone else countered “actually, we have been preparing for this for eleven years”, referring to the length of time many of the Boma Country Partners had known each other.

For Stein, the Summit would be yet another proof that great collective power would come from letting go of centralised control. She had seen it in her other global projects and it was about to happen again. On the Saturday, right before the Summit, she wrote in the team’s general Slack channel: 

“I woke up this morning and realized, on March 23, 11 years ago I officially launched TEDx, with TEDxUSC. Something strangely poetic about the fact this Summit is happening on March 23rd.”

On Monday night New Zealand time, organising teams from twelve countries were sitting in front their laptops and monitors — separated by distance, but united by technology and a common trust in the process. We had worked around the clock and now the show was rolling, proving that the official name for our modus operandi, a “global network of local partners” was not a hollow phrase but a name derivative of its function of being real, credible and useful.
Work stations set up at our homes had been adjusted, relying in part on experience, and in part on improvisation. With the rest of the French team stuck in their various Paris apartments, Levy-Provençal was working alone from a house which he and his wife had bought not much more than a year before as a quiet place to spend weekends, some 100 km from the capital. Now he and his family were hunkered down there in self-imposed isolation, and in their living room he had set up a makeshift studio, complete with a green screen.

In Berlin, head of Boma Germany and the fourth Boma Global co-founder Stephan Balzer closed himself off in his walk-in wardrobe, the only place where his new-born baby might not suddenly, and loudly, make its presence known. In São Paolo, Juliana Elorza had considered using her son’s bedroom, where one of the walls had the exact colour needed for an effective green screen effect but finally decided in favour of her usual work station. A true Brazilian, glamorous even with limited resources, she set up two lamps either side of her laptop, and covered them with shoe bags, to diffuse the harsh light.

In Warsaw, Boma Poland partner Filiberto Amati was looking after the team’s technology. For him, as for many people in the network, the major challenge had been not so much in preparing the Summit in ten days but rather doing it while simultaneously home-schooling three highly energetic children. For Pereira, the challenge was similar: “Lockdown started just as we were beginning this project. Luckily, we had put in a 200 Mbit fibreoptic, and beefed up the wifi as my wife works remotely and I provide the tech support, while studying for my Master’s degree. We managed to set up game licenses and consoles ahead of the lockdown so our boys, 17, 16 and ten years old, would only kill each other virtually. Counterstrike would take some of their energy.”

When India’s session began, the analytics dashboard on one of Pereira’s screens immediately demonstrated the validity of his earlier decision to go to a dedicated server. “All graphs went into a straight vertical climb. India pulverised every other country’s viewership.” Now we were humming. During the French session which followed Poland’s and preceded his own, Pereira sent a Slack message on the global channel: “Guys, this is the pilot. The plane is now flying steadily and we’re not expecting any turbulence.” With that, he turned to the Portugal / Kenya session ahead of him. He had been up since 5 a.m. and would remain at his computer till 4 a.m. the following morning.

Two and a half hours later, Juliana Elorza had meditated, taken a long shower, and eaten a light meal. She sat down, ready to moderate the Brazil session, and her concerns ran not so much to anything going wrong with the technology but rather to a worry attached to what had been going in São Paolo. Since the previous Tuesday, Brazilians in towns and cities of the country had been staging nightly protests, bashing pot and pans to express their anger at the country’s president’s mishandling of the coronavirus crisis. This panelaço was scheduled to go off again at half past eight — right in the middle of the Brazil session. Still, if that happens, she thought, we will just talk about it, share it with the audience. After all, that is our reality.

Elorza settled in, with her three-year- old pug Nico napping in her lap. (Since pugs have a tendency to snore, she laid out a supply of dog treats out of the camera’s view, and muted her microphone.) She watched as the speakers one by one entered Zoom’s Green Room, where everyone’s audio settings would be adjusted, and visuals checked before being directed to the live room. By then this procedure, common to all teams, was polished and smooth, or so she thought.

On the hour, Marco Brandao, running tech support from his house in Rio de Janeiro at the other end of the country, invited the speakers into the live conference room, and Elorza began to introduce the first guest. Within seconds, she realised she was speaking into a void. The speaker had somehow not made it into the live conference.

Not everything always runs according to plan at a live event, and in the real world speakers have been known to end up not only in the wrong room, but in the wrong conference. As it turned out, a speaker could lose his way even in a virtual environment, if anything, underscoring the newness of this way of working for all participants. With the Brazilian audience tuned in, Elorza went on to introduce another speaker instead. “I told them, he’d just gone to answer an urgent phone call. Not that far from reality, really, given how crazy busy all those people have been.”

Finding speakers is never an easy job, and as experienced event organisers most Boma Partners are painfully aware of this fact. The need to balance contents and form is always present, with no allowance to skimp on either if you want consistently high quality. Since public speaking is frequently mistaken for merely speaking in public, outwardly impressive but ultimately vacuous speakers with not much to say are easy to find, while highly knowledgeable people who can present that knowledge to a roomful of strangers are rare gold to any event organiser. This is even more true in an online event, for the simple reason that we all are just learning the ropes in this new virtual, yet very real reality.

It had been a scramble to fill the programme with what would end a roster of some sixty multidisciplinary professionals, high-profile scientists and technologists, policy and public health experts, artists, bloggers and many others. Country teams chose a range of formats and approaches in the process, and every session eventually took on a life of its own even as the development of the content progressed. New Zealand’s segment would be a freewheeling moderated public discussion with two scientists approachable and personable enough to fill the two hours with engaging, informative conversation. Poland’s choice, from the beginning, had been to not have medical professionals on the show but rather to concentrate on addressing the urgent question of “what comes after” and speaking with a total of eight people, among them a policy professional from Warsaw, an English distance learning expert, American travels bloggers based in Berlin  and an Italian investor.

Todd Porter in Japan and Stephan Balzer in Germany, working in tandem, filled their two hours with a diverse international line-up to highlight collaborative action around the planet. France would present a range of public administration professionals and scientists.

Canada’s Jess Weisz and Dan Jacob planned to pick up many threads of discussion with a large range of speakers, and weave it into a cohesive whole from a highly personal perspective. In China the team led by Ellen Cheng and Yvonne Li took on the difficult task of drawing out individual experiences from a wide range of different people, while in the US, Daniel Kraft placed the emphasis on high-profile individuals able to present scientific and technological perspectives. In India, Puja Puja and Deep Bali would create a conversation around mental health and well-being during and after the crisis.

Portugal’s segment would serve as a particularly instructive example of our way of working. It started out as a conversation around hacking the crisis with technologists and bio hackers, but eight days out several team members around the World remarked on a gaping hole in the programme — we needed more Africa voices. Pereira agreed and after several fruitless approaches, called Stephanie Busari, a CNN anchor from Nigeria, while Lara Stein contacted several people around the continent, including Nivi Sharma, an internet infrastructure entrepreneur in Kenya. “You have 12 hours to find speakers” they told them on Friday. Remarkably, Busari and Sharma delivered, and a four-speaker Portugal session became a shared Portugal / Kenya session with eight speakers, including drummer and singer Mouthoni, though their final run of the show would only be ready by Sunday, leaving little time for preparation.

Whether going through “official channels”, fishing out existing contacts from their address books, or pulling favours from friends and acquaintances, everyone filled their desired speaking slots with people of impressive substance, and were rewarded with speakers freely sharing their knowledge. The speakers, too, took away useful insights of the value of working with professionals from other fields. One epidemiologist, initially not convinced about why he should take part at all, eventually enthusiastically commented on how valuable and refreshing it had been to talk to an economist on the show.

This, of course, reflected one of the deeper reasons why Boma exists at all, and that is to help people and organisations to smash intellectual and professional silos. Multidisciplinary collaboration is important at any time, but really shines in a moment of crisis.

Boma’s Head of Global Partnerships Becca Pace, put it most succinctly: “This was a global conversation which needed to happen. Closing of borders and nationalistic tendencies will not help — viruses do not respect borders, and this problem will not be contained till it’s eradicated. We need deep, ongoing collaboration.”

As the 23rd neared, the multitude of Slack channels built up to a steady 24-hour hum of conversation, filled with information, editorial ideas, notices of rehearsals and, particularly appreciated, news of successful partnerships or particularly impressive speakers snared, in the Winning channel. To Deep Bali, this all seemed like “a distributed New York Philharmonic, with people taking turns as conductors and as performers.” Bali was the latest addition to the Boma global network, and found his head was spinning at the sheer energy and commitment of the team members. “I would see a Slack message come up in the middle of my afternoon and realise that people were texting at 2 a.m. their time. The passion, or rather obsession, with the desire to get this done made the air crackle with energy. And that passion was infectious, if you pardon the expression. We were getting commitments from some truly extraordinary speakers, who could sense that this was something they needed to be part of, even if they could not fathom how we were putting it all together, aligned and synchronised across the time zones.”

Key to this synchronisation, of course, lay in investing as much time as possible in preparation. Every successful event is built on a foundation of weeks and months of pre-work, including coaching speakers in order to draw out their best, and hone the clarity of their delivery, but how much preparation could we put in when people who had been working their entire careers towards exactly the kind of moment were expending all of their time and energy on helping patients to not die?

So, since we could not fully control the preparation of the speakers we had to be fully prepared ourselves. That meant repeated technical run-throughs and rehearsals with support from the Zoom and Facebook technical teams — and that level of close collaboration was new territory even to them. We ran multiple rehearsals for different geographic areas, with regional Zoom reps answering a multitude of detailed questions. Trouble was, of course, each answer would usually generate two or more new questions. By the Saturday, at the end of one last session of practicing hand-overs between the Polish, French and Portuguese teams, we thought we had practiced enough to be able to not make a total dog’s breakfast of the Summit. We were ready.

In the end, albeit with minor technical glitches, it worked. Mutual trust made it possible for this distributed network of motivated individuals to deliver a complex project, on zero budget, within a time frame that stretched the definition of “agile.” This was a good example of the sharp distinction which organisational theorist Karl Weick had drawn some decades ago, between heedful action and habitual performance. Heedful, because the team’s attentiveness to the goal, the details, and each-other, provided the fulcrum of thought and energy around which the entire project revolved.

We will need all of that heedful attentiveness going forward. Traditionally, or as are now coming to call it, in the BV era (not hard to guess that this stands for Before Virus), most money in corporate events had been in private label productions, and many of the various Boma teams around the World had made some or most of their revenue from those. This has now been thoroughly disrupted.

Speaking a week after the Summit, and immediately following a successful live streamed discussion which he had just concluded, Michel Levy-Provençal reflected on the frugality with which we were now living. BV, staging such a live stream would have cost thousands of Euros, and taken days of preparation. Instead, the discussion which ran on the French Huffington Post site to an audience of over 14,000 viewers, had taken four hours of his time and cost nothing.

Of course, it also made nothing. If we are to remain a sustainable, relevant voice, we need to find new methods of generating income for our team members or our ability to fulfil our proclaimed mission of facilitating intelligent debate and helping to find solutions to really big problems will be short-lived. Still, “we did impact the World” as Marconi Pereira said to me when I spoke to him in the course of working on this article.

Yes we did. And we will do it again, soon.

In this three-part interview I talk to Mark Krawczynski, Polish/Australian architect best known for turning the Sydney Opera House into an actual Opera House 😉 (you’ll have to watch it to find out the details.) The main thrust of the interview, however, as the title would suggest, was sustainable architecture, and in particular Mark’s energy-positive building designs collectively known as Elemental Flow Towers.

WATCH the interview on YouTube

From the Boma Global blog:

“The extraordinary speed and the unsettling complexity / ambiguity of the online business environment, profoundly affects not only leadership requirements but also other key managerial processes, including communication, decision making, and vision.”

That’s a quote from an article in The Leadership Quarterly written by management scholars Michael Brown and Dennis Gioia. They wrote it in 2002.

Nearly two decades later those processes have become even more complex and certainly more rapid. We are building our future reality at high speed. In 1965, John Diebold — pioneer of information technology and inventor of the word “automation”— told the New York Times: “Today’s machines, even more than the devices of the Industrial Revolution, are creating a whole new environment for mankind and a whole new way of life.” What would he say today?

READ MORE/ on the Boma Global blog

This is an interview with me by the Editorial Director of Boma Global, Brad Dunn.

We hope that by gathering a wide range of people from all walks of life, we’ll find new ways to bridge the enormous chasms that are now dividing our society — and threatening our future. We want everyone in on this conversation: explorers and scientists, actors and musicians, business leaders, politicians, monks, historians, students, storytellers, hippies, venture capitalists, inventors, you name it. We need positive future-minded people to come together and take meaningful steps to put us on a better course.

READ MORE/ on the Boma Global blog

A post on the Boma Global blog:

The Medici knew how to get the maximum value from their artists – by working with them, and not just commissioning their works. Commissioning by itself is, of course, a wonderful thing. It keeps artists fed and watered; the patrons are satisfied with how their support is translated into creating beautiful, meaningful objects; and the critics and dealers get their wheels greased. However, that is just the beginning of what the relationship between business and the Arts could look like. 

Working Artfully: How Art Can Help Your Business

READ MORE on the Boma Global site

From the Boma Global blog:

There is an interesting — and growing — body of research that supports new ways of looking at recruitment. Generation X and Generation Y will select their place of employment according to how a given company ranks in terms of its social values, and whether or not the potential employer is interested in providing people with real opportunities for personal development and meaningful work.

Towards the end of 2016, the software maker Adobe carried out a broad survey of over 5000 adults of various ages in the US, UK, France, Japan, and Germany to measure the sentiment people had towards broadly understood creativity, especially in relation to broadly understood success. The survey, titled State of Create 2016 and released under the headline “Creativity Pays” found that investing in creativity bears measurable benefits. In the US, 85% of all respondents reported that creativity was a substantial factor in attaining what they deemed “success,” both in the work sense and in personal life.

In an interview with Inc., Mala Sharma, Adobe’s VP of Creative Cloud, noted that this research is a kind of canary in the coal mine for traditional business practices. “This survey provides a big wake-up call to businesses that they need to think differently and give employees the tools and freedom to be creative. […] An investment in creativity and design is simply good business,” she said.

READ MORE/ on the Boma Global blog