Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
in the ways that you imagine. Like Chris, I am mostly on the outside of the system.

Because of past projects, I can get in a lot of doors because people still remember who I am. But, once inside, I have to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to persuade people to even slightly change their ways. It is exhausting and I often find myself compromised.

For instance, I deal quite a lot with brand issues and yet I believe that branding (as it is understood today) is dead. What I try to persuade companies to do is to look at who they really are and who they want to be (and why they want to be) and then try to alter outside perceptions to fit the 'real' personality of the company. However fiction keeps intruding because companies are so scared - they want to be someone they can never be. My compromise is in having to deal with this - and coping with such things as mission statements and vision statements that are just self-serving crap that consume huge amounts of corporate time and then are put in a drawer and forgotten.

I feel genuinely embrrassed to take their money. The guilt is only softened by the fact that I can then buy time to work on the things that I believe in.

I have come to the conclusion that bottom-up is the only way things are going to change. Or perhaps middle-up/middle down. So I focus these days on trying to convert people whose minds are not yet closed by power, but still have enough knowledge to understand the system they work in. It's slow.

In a couple of weeks I will face 30 very heavy institutional investors. I am going to try to explain SOS to them in 30 minutes. Daunting. I'm going to attempt it by humour and a lot of visuals. All there is to hope for is to plant a seed of doubt, supported by the use of a name they might recognize - Charles Handy has been rated among the Thinkers 50, the most influential living management thinkers. He co-founded the London Business School.

This is what he has said:

"It is a paradox that in our democratic societies it is only the corporations that are resolutely undemocratic.  This will become more blatant as the front-line workers find their voice - a voice that organizations will ignore at their peril...

In this new world people want to be regarded as belonging to something, not just used by it, as members not employees, citizens not human resources.  They want a voice in what concerns them, the chance and the right to make a difference".

It will be a drop in the ocean, of course. But even if just one of these people wants a chat afterwards, it will have been worthwhile.

OK this has been my usual I,I,I, rap. But the point I wanted to make is that humour and visuals are powerful tools for sneaking in mind-benders. The most difficult part of the communication process is the last 5 centimeters. And another aphorism "It's not what you want to say, but what people are ready to hear"

These are all things that should be remembered here at ET. Being right is not enough. Having all the facts is not enough. And we should think more about Changing The Game, than playing it.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Nov 21st, 2006 at 04:01:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspected you would say this. I knew Jerome did not take the well-traveled politically-connected road out of X, and that Chris Cook fell out with the financial industry.

Let's start talking seriously about changing the game then. Like Barbara said, the strongest vibe that ET gives out is that of underutilised talent. That's probably in many ways a misperception but still...

And we should think more about Changing The Game, than playing it.

I want to understand the meta-game so I can change the game.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 21st, 2006 at 05:09:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the meta-game is how do you relate to your fellow humans, and beyond?  The Capitalist Game is "Say what you want; feel free...as long as you relate via money-based intermediaries...it's cool."  

The Simpsons are on Fox, is what I mean.

But we are separated geographically.  So the meta-game for us is linguistic in the first instance, hence the "magazine" appearance of ET: writing words in such a way that they have effects in the world...word magic.  I think building up a discourse around sustainability...what does it mean, what do we all HAVE to do if we are activists towards a sustainable Europe?  (That's where I see the focus.)

So changing the game is changing the use and focus of language.  We all post for different reasons, but if there is a focus on...well...I'd say a focus on getting away from the moneyman intermediary.  Not that abstract exchange value (etc.. Chris/Jerome, I bow etc...)..ya know, money is sometimes useful and often necessary.  But if my power if free, my food grows around me, my house is well insulated against excess heat/cold...and I have access to the latest information...the latest wisdom...

Not sure I'm helping here, but I think as Sven says, the game starts with our own intentions, desires...our own ability to step outside of our various boxes, take a look around...

(Sven can explain how us not having a homunculus affects this ;)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Nov 21st, 2006 at 05:26:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Re: The Individual..

On Radio 4 this morning, the 8:10 topic was Nuclear Fusion.  The conversation was between an expert from (I think) California and (in the "reactionary" postion) a guy from Friends of the Earth.  The conversation went something like this.

Nuclear Guy: The technology isn't there yet, but we're working towards it.

Friend of the Earth Guy: The timescales are too long; we need to invest in renewables now.

Nuclear Guy: I agree.  We have our funding (From the U.S., Europe, Russia, India, and China) to build and run an experimental fusion reactor.  I also think we should invest in renewables now.

The individual...you have to start somewhere--with yourself?  But individuals live in groups...they aren't found in isolation.  That mix of group and individual...the stones on the Go board...the particle/wave strangeness...I think they're all connected.  I think there is a way to map our knowledge of the intimacies of nature ("outside"?) to the human situation ("inside"?)  I cannae do it because I know too little about the "outside" part...but I think mapping across, using the knowledge to greatest effect...

When man is born, he is tender and weak;
   At death, he is hard and stiff.
When the things and plants are alive, they are soft
   and supple;
When they are dead, they are brittle and dry.
   Therefore hardness and stiffness are the companions of death,
   And softness and gentleness are the companions of life.

Therefore when an army is headstrong, it will lose in a battle.
When a tree is hard, it will be cut down.
   The big and strong belong underneath.
   The gentle and weak belong at the top.

I don't think this is mumbo nonsense, I think it is another attempt to...to eff the ineffable, as melo put it.  Yet if this is indeed how nature works, then we can update 2000+ year old attempts at talking to the human condition with our latest knowledge...

For me, these are all means, if used correctly, to closing the gap between self and other, between individual and community...but I'm too dim to make the connections (as my Go playing demonstrates!)

And I may have wandered off topic (moi? ;) so ignore, move on, I just wanted to say something along these lines to try and clarify my thinking somewhat--I thank ET for the space to do so!

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Nov 21st, 2006 at 05:43:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To a certain extent - for me any way - ET is a refuge where I have learned a great deal as well as being able to tune up my own thinking in the company of tolerance, as well as transdisciplinary expertise. But I'd certainly like it to be much more than a refuge.

We've hit a small wall with the SOS project. The key guy on funding issues just took a job as communications director at one of the largest consulting groups in Finland, and I guess it will be a year before he has much spare time. He will take the hundreds of hours of discussions on SOS and changing the game that we've had, into that new job, and I trust that he will do what he can with it. But I am useless with the official funding application requirements of legalistic BS. They make my blood boil.

So I am thinking now of opening up the SOS discussion here. I'll talk it over with the Man from Lyons tomorrow. The university and business school connections remain solid - maybe I have to persuade them to come here to ET. Give me a little more time.

The students at Kaos Pilot business are the most interesting bunch I've met - and in the end it is they who will change the game (and indeed it was they who invented the slogan). The change is something that will happen with the next generation - the ones who will grow into organizations taking a natural facility with the networking technology that, to me, is driving the phase transition we have entered.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Nov 21st, 2006 at 05:48:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, and after you have given your presentation, would it be possible to present it here as a diary? If not, do I get a private sneak peek?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 21st, 2006 at 05:11:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps hard to do as a diary since there are many elements to a presentation - including the live speaking - that function together. eg I have arranged for fake waiters at the event to take part in the experience. I can't reveal how yet.

But I could try to distill at least the audio-visual part into a diary.

Oh how I wish it were possible to just drag and drop animation into ET. I know the servers get loaded - but come on, a giga is less than 60 cents these days.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Nov 21st, 2006 at 06:14:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At the heart to this is a Schizophrenia in the nature of the Corporation itself.

It's Smeagol vs Gollum (just saw the Lord of the Rings cycle on Channel 4 these last 3 weeks - bloody brilliant)

On the one hand is Smeagol -the raison d'etre of the enterprise itself. eg Boeing  came into existence to build good aircraft that airlines wanted.

Then there is Gollum, the Shareholders, driven by the Ring of Power.

The former is what the stakeholders identify with, but the shareholders (driven by the imperative of the Ring = Deficit-based Money) enforce - through their Nine Riders (the Directors) - a drive for short-term profit at the expense of all else.

The problem lies in the nature of the Corporation itself.

It is only if we can set up Corporations without a Rentier Monkey on the shoulder that the Brand dichotomy can be transcended. Businesses like John Lewis (owned by the Staff) achieve this, as can Coops, but businesses owned by "absentee landlord" shareholders are always going to be in trouble.

As you know, I believe that the "Open" Corporate (of which the LLP is the first example) enables us to achieve the participative outcome you describe.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Nov 21st, 2006 at 05:40:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And that is why your ideas are so goddam interesting! I now get the basic insight you offer - but still parts of it seem esoteric to me. Just as discussions of banking or energy markets seem esoteric to me. But then if I started to talk about channel modulation, or the differences between captive and non-captive audiences, or subliminality or any other communications theories (which seem obvious to me) then you would regard these as esoteric too.

Which leads me to the question: do we all need to understand everything? Can we rely instead upon a community back-up? Can we be united? This is why I like Migu's idea of an ET membership that can perhaps do more than discuss.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Nov 21st, 2006 at 06:06:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Occasional Series