TOMORROW is being made today

Tomorrow conference

Tomorrow conference was held at Helsinki music centre on 10th of June 2015.

I as a student had the privilege to attend to this thought-provoking and networking event with world-class speakers from diverse fields. Thanks to Lauri Ahonen, the event organizer and the front seat guests that made the participation for students possible.

For those of you that where not able to participate, I share some of the messages from few of the speakers.

FACING UNCERTAINTY

Pekka Haavisto, a Green member of Finnish Parliament and Member of Committee for Foreign Affairs, opened the conference. He encouraged us to know other continents cultures better by being open minded, exploring the world and stepping into the shoes of foreigners to see the world from the different angles. It was a good message to export field – knowing the culture and its people is the first priority to have successful business abroad.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the author of The Black Swan and Antifragile, raised issues like how companies that love errors are more likely to gain in the world where uncertainty is reality. When competition is everywhere the least expected happenings, the side-effects, can more often be the ones that lead to new business. Those that concentrate to lowering risks are also lowering their variability which means in the long run that their are dropping they ability to survival. Too centralized big countries, companies or projects are more fragile than the small ones.

For individual point of view I see that being always curious to new things, doing many things you love in life, having many incomes from different fields makes you strong and “antifragile”.

MAKING IDEAS HAPPEN

Write the futureTuuti Piippo, the author of Futuremakers, spread positive energy when describing the hero`s journey.

You do not need to know everything, but you definitely need to have the passion to learn. Everybody can be a hero. You need to have the courage to explore exciting things that you may be little scared off. Ask a lot of questions to learn and be humble to ask help. Then you need to be strong enough to go through the challenges in the journey where you are making failures and standing up again and again. I love her attitude.

I think her message raises a question for all of us: Are you the hero, the pilot, of your own life or just passenger?

1 billion gamers from all over the worldJane McGonigal, the author of Reality is Broken and SUPERBETTER, said that we should take games seriously. My first impression where that I do not want to see people playing more, drinking energy drinks, eating junk food and just lying on sofa in dark room. But then I let myself to rethink and really listen to her message.

She told how 1 billion gamers could be powerful resources for solving world challenges. Currently 81 % of people are not engaged with their work – that`s sad and costly. She said that the reality is broken when workplaces cannot engage their workforces. In gaming there is always clear goal. Challenges and learning new motivates gamers on the way to the final goal. And what is important they are fully engaged when playing. The picture below shows what kind of inspirational emotions are involved when gamers play.

Positive Emotions

Jane told about ReMISSION game designed for young people that are fighting against cancer. The study results show that specially designed game can have positive impact for healthy behavior. The second example she presented was alternate reality game that engages to play the future without oil in reality. People told their stories in videos, pictures, emails, blogs, comics and even phoned to tell how they live their lives without oil.

Gaming can be used as an efficient service design method acting as common platform for solving big worldwide issues. Super powered individuals that love gaming can generate ideas that are life changing innovations in the future. How? Firstly it is the power of diversity, the ordinary people from different cultures with variable skills, needs and motivations. Secondly, the innovation environment gaming creates naturally with all those positive emotions.

Collective intelligenceThis is a message to the game developers to sell to the potential customers: the companies, organizations, governments and associations that need such collective intelligence power. What would they like to ask from 1 Billion super powered individuals?

And if you do not like the selling part ask me to help.

REINVENTING ORGANIZATIONS

Karin Tenelius, the owner of TUFF Leadership Training, stated clearly what it takes to have business without managers and how can you make it work. Making flat organization is hard, but rewards are big e.g. efficiency, profitability and service quality is much better in flat organizations. What is important it fosters innovation, creativity and business development. She warned that change is not easy. It would take long time and need fully committed leaders and organization. Open working culture is important: there is no right or wrong, only what works and doesn´t work. People need to feel this is my business. Feedback culture needs to be safe and empowering not correcting. Results are so good that TUFF is actually expanding to central Europe! As an entrepreneurial minded person I would love to work in a company that trusts its employees to do the excellent job, gives them the responsibility and decision-making power. I think that passion is an exceptional powerful growth driver and organizations which understand it and know how to keep it are the winners now and the future.

Reaktor

Sami Honkonen from Reaktor, the main sponsor of the conference, told about their company`s culture. On the left side picture you can see their company values and principles.

They are gaining from disorder which actually gives you the strength and the competition advantage. You could sense the passion – the intrinsic motivation.

Dave Gray, the author of Gamestorming and The Connected Company, encouraged us to draw with him as people tend to remember better when they visualize things. First he shook us a little bit. History is already written and future is still a story, so where can the change happen? Here and now. You can create your future, but first you need to design it and before you design it you need to imagine it.

When reinventing organizations it is good to understand why we act as we act and for what we pay attention. Liminal thinkingWe have our own pyramid of beliefs that are raised from our experiences, theory and judgement. Dave draw a picture of many pyramids with different beliefs conflicting with each other. Why? We have this self-sealing logic bubble, which only accepts ideas that have internal coherence. The ones that we do not understand and see obvious to us we tend to reject. Usually  persons with same kind of experiences are living in a same bubble. To gain something new and innovative you need to come out of that bubble. Staying inside of the bubble means being safe and protecting oneself from the outside fog and fear, the uncertainty. So in other words protecting oneself from the new ideas that come outside of the internal coherence.

Dave told that Liminal thinking is a skill that is important when connecting people and ideas as it expands our way to understand the world, to see and to communicate better. It is important skill as nobody knows everything. Your belief pyramid, the one you think is the ground, the whole reality and the obvious truth can be narrow or wide depending on your experiences. First it is good that you start exploring consciously your belief pyramid from top to down which you have unconsciously built from down to top. After then you can also try to understand how others belief what they believe by suspending judgement and disbelief. When you are hearing something you think is crazy or does not make any sense, you need to understand that what you are hearing makes sense to them. So you are missing something if it does not make sense to you. Ask yourself what would I need to believe in order to think that.

When thinking about Dave`s message it is clear that those that are living in the bubbles and think they do not need to change or be open minded and explore alternative beliefs are those that are not going to survive in the long run. The narrower the pyramid is the narrower your reality and understanding is. So if you have lived all your life in the same place or e.g. worked in the same company/industry your experiences are usually narrower than persons that have either seen the world or seen many industries.  I think companies could benefit from this kind of thinking widely in business development e.g. when innovating new business with customers, but also when changing company`s culture or e.g. when recruiting new staff.

My final conclusion how to face an uncertain tomorrow is simple by being curious, open minded and enthusiastic to explore new things.

Written by Marjukka Rantala – Laurea, Helsinki, Finland

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