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The 21st century is unique in our history of entrepreneurship. Our entrepreneurial mission has transformed. Within the core human values driven democracy, referred to as Sustainocracy, we create innovative value continuously, together with a large diversity of partners. These innovations did not exist before because they address issues that have reached our awareness and need for change to produce sustainable human and societal progress. Once available they become of economic and political interest due to the trade-ability and transformative characterstics of each innovation in multiple formats and with many trade supporters. We have called this way of working the 4 x Value discipline since we ask ourselves four basic, values driven questions:
First: What does our entrepreneurship contribute to the wellness of the human being?
This is a difficult and transformative question. In our current care driven economies we try to make people dependent on services, social securities and technologies out of political or economic interests. Entrepreneurship is hence an economic instrument, not humanitarian even if we try to convince ourselves it is. As a consequence people become less alert, lazy, subordinate, disengaged and non-productive. We tend to take away their self reflection, creativity and wit to favor our own financial wellness. This is not the 21st century entrepreneurship.
Our entrepreneurship is not a money driven occupation, it is core human values driven, creative and meaningful. Collective self-sufficiency is a core human value in Sustainocracy in which people do meaningful things in and for the community that fullfill basic and general needs. So our entrepreneurship should help people be able to take responsibility for their own quality of life rather than taking it away from them. We then see their health, their engagement and productivity increase which is good for them, society and the economy. Our entrepreneurship is hence focused on helping people create their own wellness.
Second: How do we contribute to society?
Also this is a difficult one to answer. Who are we trying to please? In our current society the public dominance is mastered by political and economic interests. Our Sustainocratic foundation however is focused on our human values. This represents a different kind of accountability for both the citizens, governance and entrepreneurship. When the 5 core human values are respected than the society itself will be resilient to all kinds of issues. We therefor need to enhance society from a core values point of view, not political or economic. Then we see that politics and economics show interest and start relating to the sustainocratic values to sustain themselves and their initiatives. Which is good. So by being creative in the field of core human values we also gradually transform the political and economic discourse. We contribute to social cohesion, public engagement and political and economic management of wellness. In fact we created a leadership movement of change within a managed culture of political economic conservatism.
Third: How does our natural environment benefit?
Our current lifestyle and political economic steering produce pollution, destruction of our natural habitat and the restroing capabilities of our environment. In fact we are a parasite of our host, planet Earth. Our entrepreneurship is hence focused on turning this around to become a symbiotic partner of the environment of which we are part and of which we depend. How do we deal with innovation to take away, avoid and eliminate our polluting activities? How do we use natural resources in a cyclic way? What can we learn from our living environment that presents solutions which took over 4 billion years to evolve and often show must better results than whatever our human wit can come up with. Whatever we do in our entrepreneurial spirit it should not damage but heal and interact with our natural reality.
Fourth: How do we generate enough money as means for our continuity?
Within our entrepreneurial processes we distinguish two clear patterns. The first one is the creative part of thinking of meaningful innovations that make a difference within our Sustainocratic mission. Since we create something that cannot be bought, simply because it does not exist yet, we can only invest in our venture. As we use our 4xValue method to guide us we enter the path of other entrepreneurial members of society who have no business interests but do have societal or environmental challenges (government) or intellectual interest (universities) to deal with. Business partners are interested in participating to see if they can lay hands of the innovations to include them in their commercial activities as soon as they become visible and tangible. In this phase these partners invest money and their own talented contribution to effectively design our innovations. Money is a means here.
As soon as the innovations come to existence they have a number of properties that can be fragmented again among the participating partners: new products, services, policy modifications, new knowledge and experiences, educational values, etc. All these can be incorporated in economic patterns of social cost savings as well as business development. Each enlargement of the use of the innovations contributes to both the economic growth as well as the overall global change for resilience. Money is again a means to provide continuity through new investment patterns or the creation of an innovation fund (royalties or donations) for continuity of both the 4xValue processes as the continuous delivery of meanful entrepreneurship. Our innovative drive is therefore the main attractive force for the diversity of partners to participate with investment of resources and financial means.
4xValue as mirroring tool
We have now noticed that employees, stakeholders and investors start using the 4xValue criteria to see if the company they work for (or with) is producing integral value. If not than people ask themselves if they want to work there or invest in it? Salary or divident is often not enough anymore and people want to get reassurance of their own meaningful contribution to society and the multiple positive reciprocity of their engagement.
Value driven entrepreneurship is the 21st century innovative way of proactively connecting to our reality. It has very different characteristics than the product or services driven past. Having pioneered with it for over 15 years now, even up to the level of creating and working with a totally new society model (Sustainocracy), 5 books, 4 cooperative initiatives, world wide publications, speeches, etc it is time to connect to the world through a series of international webinars.
The webinars will be in English:
* Duration of 1 hour
* At 2 different times for Eastern and Western hemisphere coverage from the Netherland’s point of view.
* Every webinar is stand alone but can be structured at will to become a value driven coaching and interaction program.
* Webinars are limited to a certain number of participants depending on the level of interest and interaction required.
* Webinars will be repeated as often as interest is confirmed.
I will initially deal with the following topics seperately:
1. The piramide paradigm of value driven entrepreneurship
2. 21st century leadership versus management
3. How does AiREAS work?
4. The economy of 3 value systems
5. Starting a business without money
6. Three levels of ethics
7. The awareness cycle
If interested in being invited (without need to participate) please react to this post or send a DM to email@example.com.
Entrepreneurship got a special status about 300 years ago when industrialization took over from specialized individual craftmanship. We can distinguish four phases since then:
1. Product manufacturing and sales
2. International growth and cost optimization
3. Marketing on sentiments
4. Speculation on shortages
The first three phases brought us consumer wellness and a transfer from global agricultural to industrial and logistic processes around retail. They all built up towards the fourth phase (making money without doing anything other than keeping wealth away from others) which brought us finally the crisis situation today. The fourth phase could not exist without the preceeding three.
For 300 years morality has followed the industrial era through the development of a care taking government (education and health regulation) to counter the greed and self interest of industrial kingdoms. Wars have been faught and political systems developped with left and right wing challenging each other through argumentation. Constitutions were written for human rights and governance while economic systems grew causing concentration of humankind in urban megastructures.
The phase of speculation finally unified greed up to a clear break up of human balans. The ecological and social consequences were so large that a fifth entrepreneurial phase announces itself. It is an entrepreneurial phase that does not just affect business but also governance, education and the individul awareness. behavior and mentality. In fact, the fifth phase is not a linear continuation of the former four, it is the very first post industrial and post economic phase announcing the global transformation.
Entrepreneurial phase 5 is dedicated to save humankind within its natural habitat.
This phase I refer to as sustainocracy, the compulsory focus on the sustainable preservation and continuation of the species.
It is a complicated phase because it ends a periode of perceived global luxury to replaced it with the indvidual and collective need to take responsibility. It puts the world upside down for most people and institutions. The phase is therefor preceded with a large period of overall political, executive and public negation which will cause death and disaster beyond any historic precedence. Those who are to blame will still be alive when all this happens and judgment day will surely confront them publicly in due time.
This entrepreneurial spirit of the fifth phase is however already building up throughout society, as my AiREAS venture (air quality, human health and city design) shows. It is not just individual anymore but also affecting the motivation of the large powerblocks of current humankind. These many people who use their personal motivation also in their institutional jobs to make a difference, have reached the point already of enlightenment and personal commitment to a new future. Sustainocratic processes lead the way, even if they are still small, fragile and extremely localized. Step by step these purpose driven ventures based on phase five of global entrepreneurship will build up enough power to break through the lethal dominance of the speculants of phase 4.
Important for everyone is to recognize and understand phase 4 and the transformative phase 5. Then the process will only speed up reducing the potential human suffering of phase 4 to an absolute minimum. Anyone can become a phase 5 entrepreneur. And when you do you’ll become aware that there is a lot of entreprenerial work to be done as simply everything made and organized by human beings needs to be changed. It will keep us passionately occupied for centuries to come.
Today I received the news that my paper on the “universal working model for sustainable progress” was accepted for the “Sustainability and Spirituality” conference in Hungary on Sept 21-23 2012. It is great to gain some international exposure for a method that I worked out in theory and also put into practice in my own living laboratory (The city of Eindhoven and the The Netherlands).
Many of the individual people involved in the related processes do it whole heartily. The institutions that I involve have still a strong dependence in the economic world and often lack sufficient backbone to show a sense of value driven responsibility. Here we encounter the true complexity of the paradigm shift from a money dependent society to a value driven one. The first is packed with institutions that have learned to uphold themselves artificially by the chain of financial dependencies, forgetting often the true original purpose of their existence. The value driven community of my model demands from the entities a commitment based on their true identity and contribution through application of competences and responsibility to the results we seek.
There are two moments when institutions become aware of their mismatch with sustainable progress and their confrontation with their lack of genuine and meaningful identity:
- When they fall over when their financial stakeholders withdraw their support in a crisis,
- When they get involved in value driven, co-creative processes and get blamed of incompetence due to internal bureaucracies, hierarchies and lack of capability to commit to true results.
We see this in most institutions, business, government and public services especially. In the second situation they “may” develop the awareness at senior executive level to transform into something that has a deeper meaning then just financial survival. In fact they start looking for genuine meaning and purpose, which is spiritual process. To take this executive action out of the sphere of abstraction I created the practical and measurable pyramid for multi-dimensional, value driven identity development and positioning of any institution.
When a company or institution remains at the traditional ground level in the base of the bottom triangle, it will develop and maintain an old fashioned a deteriorating strategy of financial dependencies. When it starts rising into the pyramid it will include much more value driven commitments that keep the organization alive and connected to a daily reality. The company become more sustainable if it finds a meaningful link with the surroundings.
To develop a true multidimensional value driven image (i.e. moving up the pyramid) represents a complex transformative process that affects the entire structure of the organization and all people related to it, internally and externally in the surroundings. As the value driven processes reposition the organization in society it will encounter a huge amount of organizations that are trying to do the same. The shake out is intense, driving organization to the kernel of their existence with a challenge to excel in their commitment to values rather than financial growth. Money becomes no issue anymore nor profitability. Profit becomes much more relative to results than just financial benefits.
From a multidisciplinary co-creation perspective only such companies will survive and link with value driven ventures in a sustainable way. It are not the products that make the difference but the set of values the company represents. Since these values represent the multiple inner meaning providing purpose to the commitment there will no customer relationships anymore but partnerships with other competence and responsibility driven institutions compatible with one’s own ideas.
Spirituality involves the profound understanding of a cosmic reality (matter, energy, purpose, finite limitations and abundance, her and now, eternity) and an evolutionary reality (dependence and independence, leadership, adaptability, sustainable progress). Business based on profound spiritual meaning is called multidimensional entrepreneurship. The difference can be summarized as follows:
When we place business development in the context of a content economy and focused on sustainable progress, it develops some very unique characteristics that are very different from what we know from business today. The era of industrialization has taught us how to produce products in standardized manufacturing processes in local competition. Globalization has made us efficient in these processes adding supply chain management, open border competition, cost optimization and consumer marketing to our business processes. Modern communication techniques with the end users has changed our life with constant consumer information on choices that we can make among seemingly equal products. The global productivity and consumption has eventually become so speculative that it has crossed some natural lines of the acceptable introducing a totally new paradigm for business too: business that does not use humankind and our planet but starts serving it meaningfully.
It is very interesting and logical that the transformation of business and society both coincide in time and space. They both depend on each other and both enter in crisis together, even influencing each other in that. So far they evolved together in the era of material growth to support the money driven processes of centralized power structures. For many years the financial balance of consumer growth was higher than the consequences of overconsumption in society but this has changed drastically. The costs of our imposed lifestyle have become structurally destructive for our health, vitality and stability affecting directly the stability of the economies as we have all been able to witness for years now, not to mention the climate and resource issues that keep us busy too. When an economy cannot grow anymore it will have to base its existence on different parameters. When we start working on a content economy based on sustainable progress business necessarily has to reposition itself as a consequence. It has become a chicken and egg issue. What transformation comes first? Business or Government?
When I started to become aware about all this back in 2001 I was convinced that business would have to take the lead in the process of change. Entrepreneurship is in my view the creative spirit of humankind, the type of institution that is always ready for change to outwit competition and position itself on a winning track through foresight and proactive vision. So why hadn’t they reacted long before the credit crisis created the first chaos? Well maybe they were not so entrepreneurial after all.
And I did not see democratic government to become the motor of change either because they are elected by a population that want the same as before and no change. Sustainability is a great hype but far away from the individual who may feel responsible but not really powerful enough to make a difference. If you ask a people to choose between a tree in the rain forest of Brasil and a pack of money they will go for the money. The tree is far away and the money can be touched and used. Politicians that promise the sky in financial stability and conservative continuity have everything to win in elections by manipulation of the public conservative mind, placing the responsibility of disaster on individual lifestyle and not on the system that they try to keep up with capital injections.
But now things have changed. In the money driven economies business entities became like speculative banks run by financial experts rather than creative entrepreneurs. For decades they would have had an opportunity to position themselves in a global shift and take the lead. But now the consequences of the money system have dug so many holes in the governmental budgets that it is politics that is taking the lead in looking for change while everything seems to crack under their manipulative feet. While capital injections are still being used as main instrument to keep processes going, the public is increasingly becoming aware of the giant flaws in the system and governments are frenetically looking for alternative solutions behind the scenes. Europa has every chance to fall apart temporarily due to the budgetary crises of all the members of the union and the deep debts they get into over the backs of their populations. They are forced now to look at the other values that keep the European Union together, other than the financials. How about social cohesion? Security? Immigration? Wellness? Partnership or Competition between the members? But nothing can be done to avoid the bursting of the large economic bubbles and governments need to react now by taking proactive actions for the first time thinking of true values rather than fake money. How to compensate with 80% speculation in the currencies that hold up the old economies? You cannot let go and cannot hold them up.
We still hear calls for economies of growth but they do not grow anymore, they deflate under our noses because there is nothing anymore to sustain them. Governments are not ready yet to adopt the strategy for developing a content economy but they are close. They will have to open their eyes to reality and place a big cross through their finances and concentrate on social and government innovation. Banks and stock exchange represent no value anymore just insecurity and speculation. They should not be listened to anymore.
Meanwhile the business executives are still concentrating on squeezing their financial sponges trying to make a short term positive impression on their greedy and blind stakeholders. They lost the opportunity to take the lead when they still had a comfortable financial basis. Now they get to deal with rapid declining public spending and a rapidly changing consumer attitude to personal safety measures. Sustainable progress is not a competitive issue but one to take corporate responsibility and reposition the company accordingly. That takes time and above all, it takes the shaking off of the short term pushy attitude of speculation to start concentrating on true meaning. Large corporate entities are expected to fall fast and have no executive backbone to deal with it. We are facing a fast shake out of old executive power positions by real entrepreneurial new comers in the field. The credit crisis brought a financial crisis to the markets and a collapse in business that produced in turn a collapse in government finances. Now the government instability and remaining bubble in all financial institutions create the next business collapse which will again have a domino effect on everything else. Our economies of growth have ceased to exist. It is over. Back to the drawing boards, not just business or government, everyone.
As explained in my previous blogs the content economy is based on a society that has no economic growth but a quest for the highest (100) level of public wellness in which the population (business and public) is challenged to maintain it through constant meaningful modernization, experimentation with sustainable progress and adaptation to external influences and (un)expected natural challenges (s.a. climate change, lack of resources, natural disasters, etc). In such a community the business development is not related to product sales or competition on price, availability or quality. In a content economy people tend to search ways of being independent of external power positions through a high level of self-sufficiency in their own productivity for their own needs. Lessons learned from the centralized power positions of the old business paradigms were that they had the power to speculate with shortages to raise the cost price or even cut people off from supplies all together. This was in cases immoral and even lethal for large groups of people living in poverty around the world. The morality could not be questioned when the culture and paradigm justifies such behavior. The only natural counter reaction of populations in fear of being cut off from supplies or perceived abundance is to become either angry, invest in self-sufficient or search for alternatives that are abundantly available. This is a natural process that eventually turns into a content economy where the population has the higher purpose to assure their own living standards by being productive and inventive themselves. People have no problem in laying off excess external material wealth if they can keep control of the basics of their own quality of life. They tend to take responsibility fast. We have seen the capacity of organization of populations against their dictators. There is no reason to assume that they will not do the same against financial or other dictatorship when the time has come.
Such a population is entrepreneurial through all their members as all interact together to produce sustainable progress for their ongoing wellness. The satisfaction of being able to decide for oneself is of course very high and the social interaction makes progress a challenge for the entire community. This works fine for the productivity that requires average knowledge and physical abilities. Social innovations are introduced through the free, purpose driven interaction within the community but when we wish to introduce technological innovations it has to be related to the results that we want to achieve.
The very first thing for technology to evolve is that there has to be a motivation to invent anything new, meaningful. Military encounters have mostly been the trigger for the inventiveness of humankind creating tooling to kill or defend. In ancient times the worshiping of Gods has also been a stimulus to find solutions to the challenges of building huge monuments. So our fear for shortages, for each other or for the unknown has been an ancient engine for innovation and technological progress. Now that we have reached a point that we can eliminate fear by using and implementing technology for abundance in all content driven wellness communities there is a potential lack of motivation to invent anything new. This in my view is not entirely true. Also now we face sufficient challenges to innovate and implement it:
1. Result driven entrepreneurship. The entrepreneurship that is developing is one that concentrates on the effects of innovations on human wellness, not the innovations themselves. Within a holistic approach any change would have to be positioned within the local complexities of the human organization. This means that the technological supplier will have to become so adaptive as to include the ability to modify the innovations to suit the integration in an unique local situation. Every change induces new changes and this works both ways. The challenge of the innovator is to become as motivated to change as the community introducing new wellness aspects all the time. They become local partners and learn to work together.
2. The sustainability issues of a growing human population in a content economy are not related to sales of novelties but the modification of the existing within the context of environmental challenges. The competition is going to change into the level of access to natural resources to sustain the content economy. Even self-sufficiency is an entrepreneurial challenge that requires the wit and innovative powers of a community to enable them to maintain a high level of wellness. There is no reason anymore to produce goods and services in a globally centralized way because this leads to speculation and vulnerability for all involved, even the power position. But producing local for local self-sufficient securities is to be learned and needs modification of national and regional jurisdiction and mentality. Getting the public involved again in producing their own needs creates commitment and investment of local talents and energy but also a new business elan that helps community to become self-sufficient instead of selling them the goods. Business that serves people and our planet will become booming positioning themselves as partners of local government and the public rather that self-centered structures driven by their dependence on obsolete money and sales of products. The latter are facing a hard time to come. It is all a matter of attitude.
3. Technology is abundantly available to challenge us to look beyond the horizons and confinement of our planet Earth. We are already undertaking exploratory voyages to nearby planets for scientific purposes but in reality we are looking to see if we can expand beyond the confinement of planet Earth. We can become much more ambitious when we decide to work globally with the content economy as driving force. Wellness and sustainable progress has also an evolutionary component and our fear of disappearing as a species because of our local vulnerability by our cosmic dependence on a small rock in space can get us to invest in such purpose driven progress too. We would not need a war or confrontation to advance but the sense of responsibility to prove to ourselves that we can live and work properly and in peaceful progressive harmony in a small place (Earth) to validate our journey into the vastness of the universe with the highest awareness and wisdom of a conscience.
Key in any ambitious content economy is that entrepreneurship is a way of progressive life with genuine, sensible purpose as key motivators. There is no need for money in such environment since value is measured in wellness and abundance that is maintained through the investment of talent and energy of the population itself. If therefor these ambitions are raised it is the population itself that gathers the talents and means to achieve it. Creativity, intelligence and purpose driven energy of the human being in teamwork is endless and the most important asset of humankind. Being paid back with wellness and evolutionary progress is probably the most satisfying salary that one can achieve simply because it is the direct fruit of one’s own efforts. If a value system needs to be put in place then it would most certainly have different characteristics that what we know today. It would value our talented contribution to the end result.
From a business point of view the human world is wide open for those who are willing to join in with no strings attached to the old hierarchical formats. A new era of cooperative, result driven, innovative entrepreneurship has started and governments are opening up to partner up, not for the sake of economics but for sustainable human progress. No one is in the lead now, we are all in the same mess and share the same opportunities. Let’s go for it.
Most business policies focus on welfare and growth communities because that is where the money goes around. Hardly any of the business plans involve the markets of the poor. The companies that do actually included those markets structurally in their policies tend to score better on the Multidimensional Index of the 5K Group. Why is that?
There is nothing noble about combating poverty. It is good business practice. During the credit crisis we have seen the down fall of big, so called “solid”, institutions s.a. banks due to a moral crisis rather than financial. Typically this moral crisis was caused over the backs of the financially unstable and unwealthy. Does this indicate a contradiction in my argument? Not at all.
The risktaking of the banks by entering bad credit zones was caused by greed and self interests of high level executives who covered their backs by insuring bad credits with others misplacing the trust relationship in the chain. As the entire chain was based on the same material principles of greed the business was a pure speculation that unnoticed inflated the ballon of risk until it exploded into the face of the world. One can hardly argument that all this was a policy to help the poor.
When we design a policy to develop markets with poor people we do that from the moral multidimensional principle of the ideal market development through healthy and motivated people. To achieve this poverty needs to be eradicated from the entire world. We do not talk only about poverty in complex, unstable, tribe oriented third world countries. We talk also about the growing poverty in the rich welfare countries. When a company decided to address this market too, not just by making products available to it but by truely developing a strategy to address the issue effectively, it shows moral integrity. Nobody will ask the company to finance such development our of their own pocket because such strategies of sensitivity to the reality of the world finds many partners in government, institutions and foundation to join forces for a common goal.
The willingness to address such markets by connecting with other organizations and creating serious policy shows and develops an authentic and responsible company culture that is filled with sense and that subsequently will radiate also into the wealthier markets where competition is strong and one does not distinguish anymore through price or quality but with company integrity and authenticity. And this is the basis of any sustainable success and therefore the reason for a company to score high in our Index.