Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Innovative EU – A message at the end of the Lithuanian presidency

The global innovation and systemic thinking spiral keeps spinning: Slovenia, Portugal, Austria, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Vietnam, Taiwan, Brazil, and now Lithuania. It is interesting to be engaged in discussion on the EU perspective again. Especially, when being exposed to diverse global views for over a year (world-wide conferences, sessions, projects). Can I tell a difference? Yes I can. The EU is quite trapped in administrative, top down thinking. This is even more apparent in the search for the winning approach to innovation.

The meeting in Vilnius gave me an impression that we still believe and are stuck in the belief that the rise of innovation culture in EU could be achieved by a top down approach; by steering innovation through a predefined top down set of rules, when the experiences from the field show that the grass roots needs ought to meet the top down needs in order to achieve a truly sustainable solution. The thrivable projects show that we should be looking into a successful intertwining of both approaches based on the network philosophy. We still put all our hopes in R&D and in patents when it is obvious that innovation is also about emergence, cross-structural cooperation (cultural, industrial, sectorial, regional, …), unpredictability, especially in the realm of the SMEs that seem to be a big hope for any rejuvenation of the EU economy. Yet, we try to squeeze the SMEs into the mind set of big corporations – one of the clear messages given was that only those SMEs that cooperate with the RD institutions will be granted support from the EU. Simultaneously, we see at grass roots level that more and more innovations are emerging from  open innovation circles. More and more SMEs are giving up on patents, and they (we) just ride the wave of being “the first on the market”. The speed of changes, the rise of opportunities, and the lack of resources for patenting are contributing to that largely. Even the administration has to notice that. Let us see the key messages.

Photo: The conference poster Vilnius 2013
Source: Vibacom

I. The Horizon 2020 program starts in December 2013!!

Slovenia, are you ready? This program is a continuation of the previous programs in the field of innovation. Those that were not following the indications of the past will end up stuck deeply in the mud of the banks of the main river. We need action! See what is coming!

The new EU program for research and innovation for 2014 – 2020 has 79 billion EUR available for an innovation breakthrough, The EU is trying to bypass some of the obstacles from the past: namely, by
-    responding directly to the economic  situation
-    an integrated program coupling research to innovation
-    challenged based agenda (clean energy, health, transport)
-    strong focus (20%) on SME
-    open to the world (co-operation with continents are welcome)
-    major simplification (of systems, trust, less reporting,).

It will directly address 3 major areas:
1.    EXCELLENCE In SCIENCE (frontiers, emergence, career opportunities, infrastructure) - individual researches.
2.    INDUSTRIAL LEADERSHIP (nano-technologies, bio-technologies, ICT – the needs of the industries)
3.    SOCIETAL CHALLENGES – communities, fundamental society challenges.

There will be a strong focus on:
-    SMEs: in collaborative projects, a new SME instrument, simplification, eurostars joint program, support measures under Innovation in SMEs.
-    Internationalization: encouragement for collaboration outside the EU – India, Brazil, China, Norway, Switzerland.
-    INDUSTRY: innovative medicine initiative, clean Sky, Fuel Cell and Hydrogen, Bio-based industries, Electronic components and systems
-    JOINT PUBLIC CLUSTERS: Metrology Research, Eurostars, Active and Assisted Living.

It will seek the following simplifications:
-    a single set of rules,
-    simpler reimbursements,
-    faster time to grant approvals, and permissions,
-    fewer but better targeted controls and audits,
-    coherent implementation,
-    simplification in grant agreements.

Photo: Innovation visions of the Baltic States
Source: organizator of the conference


II. Regional development is important and has to me fully supported

We have seen and heard many good, and some not so good presentations on how  regional development, including innovation could be achieved and measured. The fact is, that innovation will become an important topic for regional development. What worries me is that those in charge of the measuring mechanisms (the leading partners) have probably never been involved, or experienced, any regional innovation development. They try to use an old industry innovation model that includes patents and jobs and industry statistics for measuring the innovation level of a region. Quite absurd and not at all relevant. I hope the comments and views of practitioners gave those in charge enough materials to work with in order to sense and comprehend the specifics and the potentials of regional innovation development and that the final proposals will be more realistic and useful.

Photo: Violeta Bulc and the Heart of Slovenia team
at the Innovation Forum 2013
Source: organizator of the conference

III. VILNIUS INNOVATION FORUM DECLARATION

Main Principles for Shaping European Innovation Policy

Adopted by Vilnius Innovation Forum “Innovation Drift” on 4.-6. December 2013

The participants of the first Vilnius Innovation Forum 2013. “Innovation Drift” have agreed upon/concluded the declaration “Main principles for shaping European innovation policy”, which reads as follows:
1.    Emphasises the importance of Member States continueing to increase investments in research and innovation…
2.    Emphasises that European countries have to continue to put joint effort into creating a common European Innovation Ecosystem, and recognizes  first and foremost that united and coordinated European, regional and local innovation policies and adequate R&D funding can contribute to the Europe`s sustainable development and competitiveness....
3.    Stresses the importance of collaboration between European countries, especially increasing synergies between different regional, national and EU research and innovation policy areas...
4.    Encourages the promotion of entrepreneurship, establishing innovative start-up and spinoff companies in European countries; recognizes SME`s as a future engine of economic growth….
5.    Recognizes the need to continue the support under Horizon 2020 to Public-private partnerships (PPPs) as vehicles to encourage the further collaboration...
6.    Underlines that the “2010 Innovation Union flagship” initiative provides a number of valuable...
7.    Underlines the need to implement and develop Horizon 2020 as a program aimed at addressing global societal challenges. Open innovation, demand and user-driven approaches in innovation policies, including green and sustainable innovation...
8.    Stresses the importance of  bridging the gap between research and market ...
9.    Underlines the importance of creativity, non-technological innovation and improved standards for industrial competitiveness, and emphasizes the creation of cross synergies between the cultural and creative industries and the traditional industries.
10.    Stresses the importance of delivering simplification, both in terms of a reduced administrative burden in all public R&D programs...
More: the full text of the declaration


Photo: Over 600 participants at the Innovation Forum 2013
Source: organizator of the conference

And at the end let me say a few words about my experience of Lithuania, or, to better put it, with Vilnius and the participants at the conference. First, many people looked like Slovenians, an incredible facial resemblance really encouraged me to research this phenomena further. Secondly, the architecture of Vilnius is very clean, spacey, and creative. The city is welcoming, open, really well laid out. The touch of design is present everywhere; it has a positive impact on people. Innovation thinkers understand more and more that they have to find their own, unique approach to innovation that will include local characteristics (cultural, history, competence). I saw many very advanced and practical solutions at the expo that enriched the conference: mobile, fast gadget for testing quality and freshness of meat and fish,  advanced dental tools and equipment for assessing the quality of teeth, electrical drive for bicycles and electrical cars, food scanning machine for orthopedic applications, great tools for mobile games, etc. Thank you Lithuania, thank you Vilnius!

 
Photo: Vilnius by nigh
Source: Vibacom

Let’s move on to 2014 with a creative energy that seeks to, and can, do good for individuals, society and this great planet Earth as a whole. Let us step out of the old models and dare to create a radical society that will allow the prosperity of the  human race in peaceful co-existance with the rest of the Nature. We all deserve that!

We wish you a prosperous 2014, Violeta

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

BIN@BRAZIL – new global experience

New country. New excitement. New surprises. A new adjustment to the global image of possibility. Brazil offers all of these exciting dynamics, and I embraced its vibration with gratitude and inquisitiveness. I took along to the conference  many of our own experiences, views and examples of best practices; Slovenian stories, built on sustainable growth, social responsibility and innovation. Stories of the Challenge:Future projects, The InCo movement and the somewhat unique BTC business system at their invitation. Although Slovenia did not featured in any of their global economy analyses, our discussions successfully overcame the issues of size, distance and unfamiliarity. We focused on the true challenges of innovation, economic development, technological opportunities, obstacles and responsibility. The engagement of the masses and  general overall economic growth is of key interest of many countries (Chile, Portugal, Brazil, Slovenia, Sweden, Peru, Great Britain, etc.). We were engaged in visions of a New World, new global shifts and internationalisation. I am thankful for having had this opportunity. I feel this was not my last visit to Brazil.  The following is my experience of their business world. Obrigada, Brazil!

Photo: Violeta Bulc at BIN@BRAZIL 2013
Source: Vibacom archive

Key realisations:
1. I experienced a vast diversity of people at all levels and in all situations of daily life. I wasn't even  able to clearly see what the prevailing archetypal Brazilian would be!. Even now, I cannot say I that would be able to identify a person from Brazil in a crowd of people. This is especially true when it comes to urban residents.  Their fast growing cities seem like independent and autonomous entities in the vast natural expanses. And yet, they are a tremendously kind and hospitable people. One can tell that their unemployment rate is below 5% by their manner. However, there is also an opposite issue to low unemployment – people change jobs very quickly, often failing to deepen their knowledge and put it to the test.

Street photo Ribeirão Preto
Source Vibacom archive
2. Vastness of the countryside. Hundreds of kilometres of fields (endless plantations of sugar cane, orange trees, cocoa trees, coffee plants, etc.) and forests. Straight roads occasionally passed a farm or a petrol station with a restaurant attached, carving through countless shades of green. I got the impression of a land with a completely different spiritual dimension , and I could not dismiss the sense, that this invisible strength of Brazil has yet to be incorporated in their business philosophy. Their business language is very concrete, logical and technical.

Photo: Country road from Ribeirão Preto to São Carlos
Source: Vibacom archive

3. Extreme focus on economic growth. Their main objective is to penetrate global markets and secure a foothold in the strongest global economies. Having a leading position is a strong motivation, particularly in the São Paulo (location of our conference) state, the economic flagship of the Federative Republic of Brazil. On the other hand, their internal economic policy generally allows entry into the Brazilian market only through production-based joint ventures. This type of self-sufficiency, which is not unique to Brazil, encourages the development of business models that are contrary to the idea of open and inclusive systems of the ‘flourishing planet’. I hope Brazil will find its own development course and encourage new business models capitalising on their exceptional immigrant tradition and diversity, and integrating a strong influx of new ideas from around the globe.

Photo: Group photo at the at the end of the conference
Source: Vibacom archive

4. Shortage of professionals. Brazil is short of 40,000 engineers in a diversity of areas. Knowledge of a second language is rare, even in hotels with a constant flow of foreign guests, English is spoken and understood by very few employees. They view this as their challenge to internationalisation. Even experiences of Portuguese companies, which have a very strong presence in Brazil, indicate that there are many obstacles to developing stable and sustainable business cooperation: a complicated bureaucracy, inadequate professional knowledge, high employee fluctuation, etc.  However, their ever-present good will and kindness help to soften these types of challenges.
5. Innovation is a priority in all strategic guidelines, in the development of the economy, also local and state administration. There is a strong focus on technological innovation, particularly in the areas of oil and natural gas (1% investment in R&R is mandatory by law), medicine, dentistry, pharmacy (particularly in Ribeirão Preto), agriculture and advanced technologies. Large investments are allocated to the development of innovative thinking and entrepreneurship. During a visit to the development centre working under the wing of the University of São Paulo in São Carlos, I was astonished to learn that the city supports the centre with 5% of its GDP. In exchange, the centre launched a project that will facilitate the establishing of 1011 new companies and technological transfers to existing companies by 2022. The government and local authorities also strongly invest in development through support services. These are similar to our own (incubators, entrepreneurial centres, development agencies, accelerators, etc.). However, the difference to our situation is in the constant influx of funds and intensive internationalisation. Brazil is truly a growing economy.

Photo: São Carlos campus
Source: Vibacom archive
6. No deliberate verbalisation of sustainable development, social responsibility or responsible innovation. In the presentations from the local environment, I noticed a lack of eco-consciousness and the inclusion, and consultation with their clients in strategies to deal with proposed solutions to probelms(B2B or B2C). This confused me and it took me a while to incorporate this information in my view of the world. This was particularly difficult due to my experience in Vietnam where the levels of systemic thinking, sustainable development and eco-consciousness were clearly communicated to the public at every opportunity.  On the other hand, following my presentation, which involved innovation, sustainable development and social responsibility, I was approached by a number of young people who have already answered the call of eco-civilisation and responsible development. There are many paths to building a flourishing planet. Many different paths. And it is very important that they exist.

Photo: Final greeting from nature at the closure of the conference
Source: Vibacom archive
I hope I have managed to transfer at least some of the vibration I experienced, and partially, initiated; and I also hope that I have managed to build a bridge between different experiences and frames of mind with respect to innovation of the two worlds: Slovenia and Brazil.

I hope our ties will grow stronger in the future.

Obrigada, BIN@BRAZIL! Osti Jarej, Slovenia

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Friday, November 8, 2013

What an Exceptional Autumn!

With each month our understanding of the foundations of life, our interconnectedness and interdependence grows deeper. We are having to increasingly acknowledge that we are contributing to the end of one civilisation and the rise of a new one, with progressively clearer outlines of its contribution to the development of the human consciousness, and the planet Earth and the foundations upon which future generations will build their world.

At this point, I could discuss stories of collapsing imperial mentality, corruption, obsession of the old structures with power, ownership of resources, real-estate and human souls. I could discuss the ignorance of many a decision-maker with respect to the potentials of the new, fresh, useful and humane. But I choose not to!

Instead, I will use this opportunity to discuss a light that frees the spirit. A spirit of  courage to seek originality, manifestations of beauty, creativity and the good. A spirit that re-energises hope and encourages cooperation, diversity and the fundamental love of life. A spirit able to identify the potential of global cooperation and incorporate every unique feature for the good of a flourishing planet. This is the story of autumn 2013! These are the events that have left a lasting impression in every one of us who participated in them. We are sharing them with you in the form of key points listed below:

1. Slovenia is a creative environment open to social innovation, new business models and original thinking. It is the intuitive heart of Europe. This is one of our key features. We must allow it to flourish by cleansing the emotional and spiritual blocks of each and every individual active in our environment.

Two events that reinforced our summer experiences in the Netherlands, Vietnam and Taiwan:

- Following the successful international launch of the book about the InCo movement entitled "The Magic of Contribution"  (at the 57th World Conference of the International Society for the Systems Sciences in Vietnam), we decided to present the book to the Slovenian public as well, namely on 3 September 2013 in front of the "Druga Violina" restaurant (Highlights are available at the gallery). The event publicly presented the experiences, approaches and tools obtained and developed during the 7 years since the movement was founded; it presented the knowledge and wisdom learned through our activities in the field, workshops, focus groups, conferences and all participants in the InCo innovation ecosystem. The example of the InCo movement presented in the publication serves as proof of the power of cooperation in achieving our common goals and acting for the benefit of individuals and the society.


- Live streaming: a live web interview on the foundation and experiences of the InCo over the past 7 years at the vŽivo.si portal.
 

Photo: Presentaion of the book "The Magic of Contribution", Ljubljana
Source: Vibacom
2. Slovenia possesses the energy of integration and  love that is bringing together people from around the globe. In Slovenia, people feel safe and respected while our natural environment continually surprises us with its beauty. The young generation is aware of this and intuitively continues to return to Slovenia and its kindness, friendliness and insights that are so important for the future.

- At the end of September (20 - 26 September 2013) the C:F Summit 2013 took place in several Slovenian cities (Maribor, Ljubljana, Bled) with the aim of bringing young people from around the world together and give them an opportunity for joint creativity and finding solutions for global problems. This year, more than 35,000 young people who were organised into 1,389 teams sought solutions to challenges in three categories: 

"My dream job" (award recipients: IGNITE, Good Riddance and Achievement 2022)

"The future of work" (award recipients: fYOUture, HOW Consulting Group and spirit)
• "Make it work" (award recipients: MICHAEL IYANRO CYCLE, Button and winners team)

The C:F Summit opened with C:F Academy entitled "Global Jumpstart meets Star:up Maribor" aimed at personal and professional development of young participants through project work with the goal of finding solutions for selected Slovenian companies, through which the participants learned about the challenges and opportunities of the actual business world. This was followed by "Out of the Box C:F Youth" - presentation of projects for creating jobs, economic growth and in social welfare in the 21st century. The main event of the Summit was the C:F Business Forum entitled "Big Ideas for boosting Growth and Creating Jobs" whose aim was to bring together and establish connections among political leaders, young people, entrepreneurs and innovators from various fields and identify the key local and global advantages and growth opportunities for Slovenia. The talented youth from around the globe were joined by Slovenian politicians in a search for innovative ideas for a breakthrough of Slovenian economy. The C:F Business Forum 2013 was based on the so-called "crowd innovation" principle which actively involved all participants in the activities. The creative task was based on the following question: "How can I use a billion euros for the breakthrough of the Slovenian economy". The most insightful ideas were presented to the Minister of Economic Development and Technology, Stanko Stepišnik. The Summit also included the "C:F Educators Forum" and a Gala Evening, where winners of the C:F Challenges were announced.

Photo: Business Forum C:F, Ljubljana
Source: C:F
- At the beginning of October we contributed our knowledge to the NETFORK Academy 2013 whose purpose is to train managers in the use of internet; we also actively participated to a workshop for leaders.

- Together with Tičo Zupančič and his inner circle we participated in brainstorming on using the "Beyond leadership" method in the Slovenian environment.


- We attended the opening ceremony of the 19th Slovenian Science Festival, entitled "Creativity Brings Hope". 


- At the 6th Entrepreneurship Days 2013 (organised by Technology Park Ljubljana and Data company) we participated to the opening atmosphere of the conference and a roundtable entitled "Financing entrepreneurial projects in 2013 and 2014". The aims of Entrepreneurship Days establishing contacts, exchanging information and experience and acquainting young entrepreneurs with available sources of financing, business topics and challenges.


3. Slovenia has a flat hierarchy which allows it to quickly and efficiently connect various interest groups in the pursuit of the common good.

- In the middle of October the InCo movement and the Managers' Association organised their second annual public debate, entitled "Systemic thinking - the path to accelerated implementation of good ideas". The key aim of the debate was to gain understanding of the interdependence of innovation, intuition and systemic thinking. In the opening part, the challenges of modern management were presented and the InCo concept as a part of global trends of systemic thinking. This was followed by a workshop for learning how to ground ideas: the U-method, intuition key, Beyond the Leadership and associations. In the closing part, the development trends in systemic thinking and systemic approaches in practice were presented. The debate was broadcast live via the vŽivo.si portal. A video recording of the debate is available here. You can also view highlights of the event in the gallery, while individual speaker presentations can be found at InCo's debate web page.

Photo: "Systemic thinking - the path to accelerated implementation of good ideas"
Source: Vibacom
- On 21st October 2013, a breakthrough conference, entitled "Finding Energy for Successful Leadership" took place at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia. Our central message at the conference was that energy of the heart encompasses and powers all other types of energy. That there are a lot of good things in our environment and that it was time we spoke and cooperated with positive development forces. The main speaker at the event was  Yuri Yatsko, a doctor of physics and a psychologist (his interview is available in Sobotna priloga insert of the Delo newspaper). 

- In the evening of the same day we highlighted some important experiences of our cooperation with managers and development strategies for corporate environments at the monthly members' meeting of the Slovenian Association of Facilitators on the topic of "Moderating support processes in the shaping of strategies".


- An important impulse was released into the Slovenian environment by Maria Anselmo and her team at the Bisnode - B4B (Bisnode For Business or Best Four Businesses) event whose aim was to motivate the business community, encourage entrepreneurship, present success stories and facilitate networking and establishing new contacts. 


- At the environmentally conscious "Your Office Can Be Green": to create a green office practices, recycle products, work from a remote location and use sustainable office products.


4. Slovenia is haunted by its historic fears. The land the Slovenian nation has been living on for several millennia has been claimed by many different empires that aggressively enforced their will, laws and authority. In our desire to survive, we yielded to aggressors knowing their downfall would come sooner or later. This fear is transferred genetically from generation to generation and influences our personal and business decisions. It is also probably the source of a very negative view of failure. It is very important that we have started to address this negative element in our society. 

- At the end of October, we shared our experiences and insights at the "Fear&Fail" conference which brought business people from Germany, Hungary, Slovenia and Austria to the wonderful atmosphere of  Antique Palace Hotel&Spa. Exchanging stories of failure and business mistakes was a refreshing and profound experience that brought to our awareness the importance of demystifying failure, and the related fear in the business world. If you are unable to manage fear and failure consciously, to turn it into an opportunity, then you cannot grow.

I'm sure you will agree that this autumn has been very eventful so far. All of the above stimulating  events have something in common, regardless of their topics and participants: we have held it with the old frame of mind, and positions of power forced on us hierarchically. Life can be different and we can shape a new and more egalitarian form of it.

This autumn is not over yet. I will soon report from Brazil where I have been invited to speak at a conference on innovation and present Slovenian experiences, insights, models and results of innovation ecosystems.

Take care,
Vibacom team (Violeta, Kaja, Barbara)

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Involution & Evolution – Taiwan 2013

When prof. MingFen sent me an invitation to be one of the keynote speakers at the International Conference on Social Environmental Education for Emerging Eco-Civilisation, I responded positively with a great pleasure for two main reasons (at the time):

1) Taiwan was for me one of the leading high-tech countries in the world. Being a computer engineer by my formal education I was excited to learn more about the computer industry in the country. To be able to see how people in Taiwan relate to global trends, how they think, how they make decisions, how they get their systems in place to cope with the challenging new world, how they maintain the humanity aspect of life.
International Conference Social Environmental Education for an Emerging Eco-Civilization, Enacting Unbounded Collaboration and Evolutionary Development for “Glocal” Eco-Communities: A New Paradigm of Public Engagement and Social Innovation
NTNU, Japan, Taiwan 21 – 22 July, 2013
Language: English, Chinese

Glocal = Global and local
2) The topic for my paper, which was proposed to me by the organizers, caught me by surprise, and challenged me to think beyond my regular paths; opening a new point of view of the work I had been engaged in.

Paper: & presentation: “Connecting Evolution and Involution to Create a Positive Foundation for an Eco-Civilization”, V. Bulc,  NTNU, Taipei, Taiwan 2013.

Workshop: Collective Dialog on Green Social Innovation; Participants: 60 representatives from the Industry, Government, Academia, Research, and NGOs; Hosted by: MingFen Li & KingKong Lin, Alexandr Laszlo & Violeta Bulc

Evolution is the change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organization, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution, June 2013

Involution (Meher Baba), the inner path of the human soul to the self
Involution algebra, a *-algebra: an algebra equipped with an involution Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Involution, June 2013

Photo: Taiwan faculty transparent
Source: Vibacom
Once I arrived to Taiwan I had learnt quickly that the title of my paper was not the only surprising moment that I was going to be exposed to at my visit. A week of Taiwan offered much more. The experiences I hold are deep, profound, and inspiring.

So, let me share with you few of those moments and hopefully they will be articulated well enough to bring you on board of this important journey.

1. The people and the architecture
My first touch with the country was through the people and the architecture at the airport.  
The architecture: the airport was spacey, bright, and clean with a big, colourful dragon looking at us from below the ceiling and smiling.  This was our first exposure to modern Taiwan in a series of many that followed: the second tallest building in the world, some faceless buildings that reminded me of Slovenian ones from the same era, profoundly designed housings with refreshing green areas and ecologically conscious details. At the same time I was able to see that the society is trying to be conscious of people and people’s well being, too.  Recycling in Taiwan went a step further. It is hard to find a trash bin in the city. People have to take their garbage home and recycle it properly. 

The people: The students that welcomed us at the airport made very colourful and happy signs with our names on them. We have to smile even though we were very tired (arriving straight from the conference in Vietnam). In the hotel room was waiting another little surprise from our hosts - little goodies from Taiwanese cuisine. And that set the pace for the entire week – through out the conference and the associated business trips around the island, our hosts made sure that we noticed every single detail about their culture, their progress, their way of thinking, understanding and acting on the local, regional, and global level.

Photo: Mango ice cream
Source: Vibacom
I really loved their profound thoughts about life, collaboration, participation and sensitivity for the communities. I could sense the influence of the Buddhist teachings as an underlying spiritual layer of support in their relationship with the ever-changing life. Meeting with the director of the Buddhist institute, who surprised us all with his curiosity and willingness to listen and learn, just confirmed my initial thoughts.
Photo: The new Buddhist Center (Chung Tai Chan Monastery)
Source: Vibacom
In Taiwan I often felt like at home in a very positive way: I could sense their  high respect for culture, I could see many practical solutions used to deal with every day life issues, I noticed gardens everywhere, I could feel the respect for ecologically produced food, openness, and pride in small things that have a very deep vibrations. Like our visit of a local artist that is consider to be the greatest ceramic master of our time, getting closer to the ancient knowledge of ceramic crafts than anybody else before him, and who lives a simple, dedicated life in his workshop in the Puli region. Many times only the Chinese writings reminded me that I am actually in a foreign country. A deep bow to my hosts for all the experiences, knowledge and wisdom I was exposed to and had a privilege to embrace on this trip.

Photo: Master of cheramics
Source: Vibacom
2. The conference
The conference that brought us to Taiwan had an exciting title (as shown above). The content exposed by presenters through out the conference, and later on followed by the workshop, supported the title fully.  The stress of the conference was on holistic and systemic practices for eco-environmental sustainability, on cross-cultural cooperation and innovation of “glocalized” eco-communities, on the importance of systemic thinking in public engagement and in eco-development, and on capacity building for green social enterprises.

I was very happy that the Slovenian cases, which I presented as part of my presentation: Challenge:Future (C:F), Heart of Slovenia, InCo Movement and BTC sustainable strategy, caught a lot of attention and admiration.

All 4 presented cases have several points in common: they all have imbedded in their business model social and/or a business innovation (unique way, passion, inspired by the source, serving individuals and groups) and systemic approach; they all have identified and connected points of prosperity; they all intertwine evolution and involution in their process.

My main point was that there is an intertwining relationship between the development of an organization (projects) (evolution) and the development of an individual(s) (involution) that are part of the project, especially of the one who was the owner of the initial idea.  I also pointed out the core behaviours that are encouraging me to believe that the emergence of a new civilisation is already occurring, i.e., open (innovation) ecosystem, global values, awareness, conscious, networks, value creation by cross structural co-operations, participation, rise of systemic thinking.

Photo: The conference poster
Source: Vibacom
I realized that the conference participants share the awareness of the same global challenges (even on a local level),  and that we need to continue building a global network of good-practice cases to be able to learn from each other and together create thrivable solutions. Those can be created only in an open innovation space, beyond geographical borders and political barriers. Such thoughts are the foundation of the emerging global civilization.  With every successful implementation of a collaborative solution, I can feel the energy of the new civilisation be more and more present in our day-to-day lives. 
The workshop with the participants of the local innovation ecosystem in the “I-see-you-café” just re-confirmed that. Even though many did not speak English and neither I nor Alexander could not speak Chinese, we were able to, with some on the site translation, build a very active, dynamic, participatory workshop where people exchanged their views on selected topics.

At the end we even built a simple action plan. All cases were real, proposed to the audience by the local NGOs or communities. The core challenges were similar to those that we encountered at the workshops in the Heart of Slovenia Region or we could read about on the C:F portal (identified by the youth): lack of education, lack of communication, lack of  the right information for decision making, lack of collaboration and innovation.
Photo: Mid-workshop results/posters
Source: Vibacom
We overcame them by identifying the participants model, the core challenges, the core enablers, and the core actions. It was great to see how many teams used the “U” method (also used by the members of InCo movement). There was a lot of joy, laughter, lively discussions, and proud presentations in the room. Thank you Taiwan for this experience and a privilege to be part of the team of moderators.

Photo – Taiwan workshop
Source: Vibacom
3. The system science 
The conference and the supporting program in Taiwan just re-confirmed that system science and system thinking is strengthening all over the world, offering a platform for sustainable and thrivable solutions. Only when you connect all participants that are involved on the input or output or on a supporting level in problem solving, you can come up with a sustainable solution. Many state administrations have learnt that, as well… I can only hope that Slovenia will move into this direction, as well.

Photo – Taiwan workshop
Source: Vibacom

When I look back, I can see that we were exposed to a really large scope of diversity in Taiwan. We met incredible people, we learnt about many interesting projects, we saw beautiful nature, museums, Buddhist centres, local elementary and high schools, we met artists at work and people in action. I forgot to even ask about the high-tech industry. If it was not for the fact that I had the HTC mobile phone that was made in Taiwan (what many people proudly pointed out), I would have completely forgotten about the high-tech side of Taiwan. Maybe that information itself could make us think, too?!

Oj, Violeta

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News
  • New book "The Magic of Contribution" avaible. Order now here.
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Monday, July 29, 2013

Systemic approach for emerging societies, Vietnam, 2013

When a year and a half ago the Chairman of the International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS), Alexander Laszlo, invited me to lead the team for designing the programme of the ISSS World Conference, I accepted the task with utter respect and curiosity, without assuming or having a vision where this task would lead us/me. It was a challenging but exceptionally enriching experience, particularly from three key aspects:
1. managing a global project (team members came from all continents),
2. the launch of our new book about the InCo Movement, “The Magic of Contribution”, in Vietnam and
3. an exceptional experience in Vietnam through the people, the projects and the opportunities Vietnam sees for its further development.

Photo: Vietnam the design team
Source: Vibacom

I will address all three points, but let’s first cover the ISSS conference and the core messages that created a space form me to act upon:
  • Systemic thinking and systems science are becoming the mainstream thinking; they give a solid support for the development of a new eco civilisation.
  • Systemic thinking is emerging in the direction of systemic consciousness and the systemic self, with understanding of the significance of an individual as an active and autonomous part of the whole.
  • There is a growing emphasis on intelligent relationships and balance between the collective and the individual, wherein systemic thinking can be very helpful.
  • We are witnessing a shift from planning activities to shaping conditions and environments permitting the birth of the new.
  • Leaders and managers are faced with an important challenge of shifting towards ensuring an environment that permits unpredictability, introduction of elements of surprise and diversity, an environment that permits forming personal views without predefined frameworks of thinking and reasoning (or as now former Chairman of ISSS, A. Laszlo, highlighted in his closing speech, "the contribution of systems sciences to the development of a thrivable planet is not in planting the seeds but in preparing a fertile field to ensure healthy crops”).
  • Our future is in integration, co-creation, understanding our interdependence and active involvement on local and global levels.
The underlying message of the ISSS Conference in Vietnam can be summarized with a single sentence: "Be the system you want to live in." 

Managing a global project

A. The Team: the virtual team I accepted to manage was a rather large one. Initially it even appeared unmanageable. However, after a few Skype sessions, in which we consolidated our expectations, understood the goals with which the team members entered the project, consolidated terminology and clearly defined the project's framework, the work commenced. Today, on the final day of the conference, I can confidently say that that the structure and content of the Conference supported the activities on the floor and allowed a sufficient space for socialising and establishing personal contact, while constantly changing the conference dynamics.
Members of the team: Alexander Laszlo (President of the ISSS), Jacqui Wilmshurst, Pamela Buckle Henning, Barbara Widhalm, Kathryn Bottrell, Todd Johnston, Palma Vizzoni, Karri Winn, Will Varey, Ockie Bosch, Irma Wilson, Violeta Bulc (Coordinator of the Conference Design Team), Nam Nguyen (Coordinator of the Conference Organization & Logistics team), George Por (Coordinator of the Collective Intelligence Enhancement Lab team), Stefan Blachfellner (Coordinator of the External Communication & Coordination team), Jennifer Wilby (Vice President for Administration and the central reference point for the official ISSS activities)
B. Advantages of managing a virtual project: a virtual project can be managed from one's office (or living room sometimes); the time used for meetings is more efficiently spent (after two hours, concentration starts dropping, so meeting usually don't last more than two hours); all notes and comments are recorder live and simultaneously amended and supplemented; if you get too tired or if you have other obligations, you can leave the session quickly.  
Disadvantages of a virtual project: participants' concentration is more difficult to maintain (in order to improve the efficiency of telecommunication lines we often turned off video and one could feel that the members were performing additional work on their computers, which affected their focus on the discussed topics); entering and exiting teamwork sessions was a matter of a single click, which was problematic at times (lesser discipline); there is no direct personal contact (no direct flow of energies), which affects the level of spontaneity and creativity. Challenges of leading a global team: big time differences and consequent problems with scheduling meetings (e.g. late night in Slovenia and South Africa, early morning in Australia, middle of the working day on the west coast of the USA); ensuring consistency within the team (attendance, engagements, involvement), coordinating all the comments and contributions of the virtual team members, sensing the team atmosphere and being able to intervene when the discussion ventures too far off the topic or becomes too time consuming, etc.
More about the conference:
Twitter https://twitter.com/intent/user?query=%23isss57&screen_name=B_original_me&tw_i=358106657630330880&tw_p=embeddedtimeline&tw_w=345452960295305216
https://twitter.com/intent/user?query=%23isss57&screen_name=Alex8er&tw_i=358194619462332417&tw_p=embeddedtimeline&tw_w=345452960295305216
Local news: http://www.baohaiphong.com.vn/channel/4905/201307/van-dung-ly-thuyet-va-tu-duy-he-thong-trong-giai-quyet-van-de-hang-ngay-2256835/
CIEL http://cielcolab.com/
ISSS www.isss.org  
C. Innovative achievements: I found it very encouraging that in spite of the comments above related to the management of global projects, we were still able to find innovative solutions, break through patterns of behaviour and understandings. We genuinely had fun while working. It needs to be said however that an initial meeting of six team members in Linz in the spring of 2012 significantly contributed to the process, because we have a very clear basic directions and points of references for our teamwork. The key innovative contributions to the Conference in Vietnam (compared to the previous ISSS conferences) were the following: 1) planetary speakers (systemic scientist from around the globe participated on-line and significantly contributed to the understanding of the development of systemic science and systemic thinking in different parts of the world);
2) first-hand experience of a living laboratory on the island of Cat Ba (with systemic approaches where the entire economic and social development was restructured for the good of its inhabitants, tourism and natural environment protection)

Photo: Island Kat Ba
Source: Vibacom
3) participatory approach for defining the leverage points of  the emerging eco civilisation and capturing the key challenges of its formation;
4) the structure of the programme (several morning and evening activities aimed at participants' reflection, exchange of experience within smaller interest groups, contextual daily focus topics, etc.);
5) the process of shaping the programme of the Conference (evolutionary, participative, co-creative approaches);
6) additional important innovative activities were developed around a creation of a virtual IT support tool for participative integration and cooperation (CIEL – collective intelligence evolutionary lab);
7) another new event was the parallel competition of students from Vietnam and Australia in a virtual game – Ecopolicy.

Launching “The Magic of Contribution” book published at the 7th anniversary of the InCo Movement

Launching a book at a global level, with a 30-minute presentation at the global ISSS conference and with praise from the audience, was an exceptional experience. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the book and everyone who open-heartedly accepted its key messages: www.themagicofcontribution.si.

Photo: Launch of the book, Vietnam
Source: Vibacom

Photo: Front page of the e-book
Source: Vibacom

The Vietnam Experience

I felt a composed excitement when I was preparing for my trip to Vietnam. I knew I was setting off towards an important experience in a country I knew little about. However, at the same time I felt that I was going towards a familiar vibration. Now I know why.

Photo: Violeta Bulc, Island Kat Ba
Source: Vibacom
The experience was unforgettable. Exceptionally kind and delightful people. Very professional participants with expert knowledge. A nation of over 80 million people quickly developing in the direction of its virtually unlimited potential – natural and human potential, the country’s ambitions, history and future.

It is a country of scooters, but it is also a country of high sensitivity to interconnectedness and interdependence, yet simultaneously increasingly open to individuality. The mix of socialist spirit, which gave me a sense of familiarity, and their sincere desire to place their country shoulder to shoulder to China, Indonesia, India and other important regional players in the development of Asian economy, create an impulse of the new age and hope, and create an environment for development of multitude of technological, business and social innovations.

In terms of tourism, Hai Phong has not reached its full potentials; however, it is already a strong economic and political centre of Vietnam. It also has rich cultural heritage. The inhabitants, unaccustomed to tourists, are curious but non intrusive. Walking in the hustle of streets overflow with scooters, pedestrians, cars and cyclists and feeling safe and welcome were truly a delightful experience.

Photo: Buddhist center
Source: Vibacom


Photo: TK wiring
(it is difficult to believe that high-speed communication
 is possible with such installations – but it is!)
Source: Vibacom
From the aspect of our project, it was quite refreshing to learn that the highest political leaders were so open and respectful towards a system thinking and system science. They use it very successfully for restructuring their economy and society as a whole. A significant role in this has been played by prof. Ockie Bosch and dr.Nam Nguyen from the University of Adelaide, Australia.

Photo: Hai Phong leadership
(the establishment of the International
Association for systemic science in Hai Phongu)
Source: Vibacom


Photo: V. Bulc, Mr.Thanh, a member of the
Committee of the Republic of Vietnam and the party secretary
Source: Vibacom

In general, the streets of Hai Phong where we spent a week are like a giant anthill – people, trade, restaurants, animals and the weather socialise and cohabitate. They together create a great example of emerging conditions for development of sustainable innovation ecosystems.

Photo: Pulse of the Market
Source: Vibacom

Photo: Selling fruit at The Market
Source: Vibacom

Vietnam is a destination I would certainly recommend.

All the best, Violeta


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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Responsible innovation from The Hague

Things are changing.  All over the world Universities have started asking themselves a similar question: “Are we teaching our students the right things?” In addition, more and more companies are saying that they have to re-program young people before they can start participating in the innovation processes and ecosystems in a useful manner.

Along the same token, engineers are asking themselves “How can we ensure that our inventions and innovations will be used responsibly?” And it is not only about tools and models and processes. As  Jeroen Van den Hoven, the keynote speaker at the conference, has pointed out “…the key question for each innovator should be, which of the grand social challenges his/her innovation is helping to resolve”. So, are we all wrong? I realized that I should be asking myself a different question. Which are the indicators showing us that the world is changing, that it is evolving, moving on? So, instead of searching for wrights and wrongs I started to listen, even when I was giving my presentation, I was listening more that speaking, to the audience’s body language, people’s eyes, and their comments/questions.  Before I share my observations, let me first share with you the comments about the conference made by its organizers.

Photo: Ronald Ortt
Source: Archive Vibacom
V: So, what has prompted IEEE and the ICE associations to organise the yearly global event on responsible innovation and entrepreneurship? Dr. Roland Ortt: “Both of the associations had innovation on their agenda. So, we decided to join forces and to address the topic together. So, after exploring the subject we became aware that there are many unaddressed issues around the innovation; besides the happy and glorious stories there were many less successful ones. There are many trail and error cases in the field of innovation, especially in the invention phase; there are losses, bed investments, and failures on all levels of organizations and in all phases of innovation life cycle. We are constantly searching for the borders and at the same time we try to be socially responsible, too. We wanted to address that. I was also inspired by a story of an author that was invite to write about the greatness of innovation for an American magazine. He found out that not all of the innovations out there were brilliant. He also pointed out some of the side effects of innovation. Because he did not show only the glory of innovation, his article was rejected, never published. So, you can see how this topic of responsible innovation evolved. It came naturally. “

V: What do you want to achieve with the conference?
Dr. Roland Ortt:
“There were 3 types of goals that we were after:
1) the organizational goal  (connect together 2 different communities - ICE as an European organization and the IEEE crowd is an old engineering organization - addressing the topic of innovation, normally scatters over many different fields),
2) the content goal (to raise the awareness about the need for responsible innovation),
3) the structural goal (to launch an European based conference that brings people together from all over the world and has a sustainable future; at the same time we wanted to offer not only presentations but also workshops that would bring academia, public servants and businesses together at the same table).”

Photo: "A different view of the world"
Source: Archive Vibacom
The conference was really full of presentations from all over the world, opening up many interesting, general and specific topics in the field of innovation. Here is what I have learnt and re-confirmed:
  • Responsible innovation is becoming a serious topic in engineering circles: even though that you can hear comments like engineers are here to solve technical challenges, or army is holding back many excellent technical solutions that people could benefit from, the overall atmosphere was very much in favour of responsible innovation and entrepreneurship, and systemic thinking; all three should be included as part of engineering education programs all over the world.
  • There are many similar challenges appearing all over the world: like, how to engage people in an effective bottom-up approach, how to increase the level of responsibility, how to shorten the development cycle and make it more responsible, how to recognize the real needs that have a long term effect, how to bring ethical and cultural characteristics into product development, etc.
  • We are still not really making a lot of effort to learn from each other; we are still mostly informing each other about what we do, and less search for possible solutions that might exist around the world. We still try to re-invent everything by ourselves. However, when we do that, we often imbed in our solutions the old mindsets and the old mental architectures, missing an opportunity to learn from the global pool of knowledge that already exists out there.  In other words, there is a really interesting opportunity for cross-structural exchange of challenges and solutions. I strongly believe that it is time to connect better and use effectively all the knowledge and experiences that we have as a global community, to address at least the common global challenges.
  • I can see that with globalization and open systems more and more challenges are becoming non linear, and unpredictable in a sense of established understandings of co-dependencies. There is a need for a new type of educational systems that are sensitive for the new conditions and opportunities. Education that will equip people with knowledge about systemic view, about sustainable innovation concepts, about the consequences of development. Education that will encourage people to create new, sustainable visions for the ”flat” world we live in.
  • And some additional messages:
a.    Focus on pains: “Build a team around the key pains. Responses from your customers are not the end of your product story”,
b.    Recognize the true nature of entrepreneurship: “Entrepreneurship is not about management”. There is a large difference between the knowledge and tools that one needs to master to be a successful entrepreneur, comparing to those that one needs as a successful manager. One of the most harming steps in the entrepreneurial path is to push an entrepreneur to start the new business by writing a business plan; similarly harmful situation appears when an entrepreneur does not step away when the company is big and matured enough to be lead by a manager,
c.    Resource based product platform: “Resources are an input factor for a product platform development. At the same time product platforms are important part of company’s resources. For a development of products it is good to have a resource based product platform to act efficiently and quickly.“,
d.    I-Schools: There is a realm of new skills, competences, concepts, and models that we need to support the emerging world of innovation. The new concepts like, ”design thinking”, “agile software development”, “lean entrepreneurship”, “systemic thinking”, etc.”, as stated by Nathan Furr, are emerging faster in practice than in academia; they are challenging the educational systems to refocus and follow the needs of people,
e.    Content alignment: There is an increasing need for joining the world of values, norms, ideas, ethics, and principles, together with the world of artefacts, architecture, materials, standards, and systems into a common solution for the core issues of our society,
f.    Mass innovation: there is a growing need for mass innovation, collaborative networks, and spontaneous engagements, when new challenges appear. When I presented Vibacom’s experiences and the InCo findings I realised, that in many circles they still do not differentiate mass innovation and collaborative networks. However, with a growing need for the bottom-up innovation and the already accepted needs for collaborative networks, the world is gradually moving towards a development of mass innovation ecosystems.
Mass innovation – a critical number of people (more than 30%) from an organization involved in innovation processes.
Collaborative networks – two or more people involved  in cooperation.
(Vibacom, 2012)
And I? One of the most important reasons for me to be part of this global conference was to share my views and to see what others are doing; to position my work within the global community, to learn and to allow others to learn from me. I am grateful for the invitation. And I can say, that in Slovenia we are challenging the right borders and contributing valuable experiences and visions to the global family of progressive knowledge. I re-confirmed that we are jointly moving towards the visions of a thrivable planet.

The Hague 2013
Source: Archive Vibacom
Let’s continue with our contributions, and the openness for cooperation and co-creation.

Let me end this issue of Aktualno 2.0 with the key message from the Dean of Leiden University from his welcoming speech, “We need to become stronger in visions and weaker in boundaries”.  How true.

Oj, Violeta

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Western Balkans – An Awakening Region

As a person who grew up in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, I often reflect what we have learned and experienced with the disintegration of our former country. I am not nostalgic or emotionally blocked due to the dismantling of a political entity. Quite the opposite, this experience has provided me a very rich pool of understandings, lessons, and wisdoms. These are some of the learning:

- I realised quite some time ago that society is a dynamic structure that is constantly changing, adapting and transforming. It is permanently transitioning between order and disorder (thus, the challenges of the European Union are quite familiar to me). They are typical for an attempt of trying to unite diversity into a federation, and to draw up political borders. Such attempts – in their endeavour to establish control cover the driving forces of integration – fail to appreciate that the essence of any integration, which lies in the understanding of the need for it, and creating an added value from it. Added value that must be shared among the partners driving such development,
At the times of rapid change, diversity and infinite possibilities, it is important to maintain an inner balance. To be able to collect our thoughts, focus and to know what we want.; to recognise our inherent structures that enable us to hear, see, feel and seize opportunities that suit us most. Opportunities, which in a world of infinite possibilities help us realise goals that exhilarate us and bring joy and a deeper meaning to our existence.  This is valid for everyone – individuals, organisations, communities, partnerships, networks, regions and continents.
It is a fact, confirmed by lessons of our history, but is also evident in the opportunities of today. 
- it is clear and natural that public administrations and governments are also living organisms striving for growth and sustainable development. Unfortunately, at this point most of the European countries and communities are like adolescents who want to learn everything by themselves,
- history is a good source of knowledge, but not something we can live on. We need to act every day, generate value over and over again, and adjust accordingly.
Summit100, a meeting of South-eastern European business leaders is a unique concept developed by the Serbian Association of Managers (SAM), Croatian Employers' Association (CEA) and the Slovenian “Manager “ Association which represents a strong cohesive force in the future economic integration in the region and a concrete contribution of top managers to intensified economic cooperation and improved competitive position of business in the territory of the former Yugoslavia. More...
In the light of the above, a meeting of business leaders from the Western Balkans at the end of May in Montenegro was truly refreshing. Serbians, Slovenians, Bosnians, Hercegovinians, Macedonians, Montenegrins and Croatians shared a venue bursting with constructive energy. Inquisitive, exciting, optimistic and joyful attendants broke through the glass ceiling of tragedy and gloom of our recent past. We should never forget the past. It should always remind us of the threat of destruction, hatred, pain and cold-heartedness. However, we should ensure that it remains what it is – a memory.

Western Balkans Political Summit
Source: Summit100 archive, 2013
"This region is without a doubt a key region for Slovenia for most of our investments are within it (70% of all Slovenian investments in 2011) and a key partner in terms of trade, second only to the EU. All our major companies are present in this region, while small and medium-size companies that are focusing on market niches are also increasing their presence significantly
Stanko Stepišnik, Minister of Economic Development and Technology of the RS,  Summit100, Montenegro 2013
Because, life is inviting us all into a creative process. Into cooperation and joint creation of the present and the future. We realized that together we can obtain business that can create sufficient added value to ensure a development and prosperity of the Region, and that for achieving it, we do not need a political frameworks.

While it was encouraging to see and hear Western Balkans' political leaders sharing roundtable thoughts on prosperity of the Region, this also provided us with a confirmation that without a solid economy, this Region has no actual significance in the global community.
Mr. Petrovič, what inspired you to launch the Summit100 event?
Integration is a precondition for growth, which is the primary motive of Summit100, a forum of regional business leaders. Individually, each of the countries in this region is small and almost insignificant with respect to the global market. Foreign investors require economy of scale in order to restore investment activities that are needed by the region. Integration turns our countries into a territory of 22 million inhabitants and it is up to us to win big projects and business deals. More...
Milan Petrovič and Duško Knežević 
  Source: Summit100 archive, 2013
Personally, I came to the following additional conclusions:
  1. certain markets outside the dominance of the Anglo-Saxon influence are contributing significantly to the new economic map of the world: Russia, parts of the Middle East, Africa, and SE Europe,
  2. the Balkans has the potential for growth within at least two basic business models: (1) a model that is based on transit (telecommunications, energy, traffic, etc.) and (2) a model that is based on systemic approaches in relationships with key customers (construction, agriculture, tourism, banking, areas requiring dynamic, educated and multilingual professionals, etc.),
  3. our shared history in the Balkans has built invisible bonds among people that hold great potentials for creativity and success based on economic needs and market opportunities. Our strength is in our incredible adaptability, resourcefulness, professionalism and sincere desire to improve our lives. Our hugs have remained sincere, hearty and they still hold a sense of familiarity, safety and trust. The depth of the Slavic soul, its exceptional intuition, passion and empathy are the qualities of the new evolving societies. Therefore, it's time for partnerships in the Balkans, based on economic interests and business excellence,
  4. in a global economy the key to success lies in weak networks and partnerships based on market needs, specific projects, complementing abilities and simple desire for business success and establishing prosperity for people and communities.
This region that lived in a strongly tied common country for several decades and consequently developed inter-compatible and complementing competencies and capacities, which is partly still valid today. We have to learn how to open the region among and to ourselves. This will enable us a stronger position at the European and global levels. 2. Summit100, a meeting of business leaders from SE Europe last week lay and built on important foundations. Our priority now is to focus on innovative concepts and realisation of specific partnerships, e.g. in construction, which is already in a process of integration under the scope of Feniks, but also in infrastructure and energy tourism.
Iztok Seljak, MSc, Chairman of the Management Board, Hidria
Iztok Seljak, Hidria
Source: Summit100 archive, 2013
Our artists, sportsmen and scientists constantly prove to us, that our way of thinking and working can be exceptionally successful. It is time that our businesses also start manifesting this potential. Feniks – as the first network arising from the Summit100 – is already paving an optimistic path for economic integration in the Western Balkans. May there be many other economic ties in the future. The time is right. The time is NOW.
The Feniks International Construction Consortium, established at the end of January 2012  in Belgrade, unites 45 excellent Slovenian, Serbian and Bosnian companies with an annual turnover of EUR 5 billion and over 30,000 employees. This project was initiated by PSP Farman from Serbia and Hydria from Slovenia. Last year, this consortium of initially only Slovenian and Serbian companies was joined by companies from Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the recent Summit100, the consortium was joined by important partners from Montenegro. The key aim of this project  is a joint appearance on third markets  (particularly in Russia, broader Eastern and South-eastern Europe and Middle East).
The Feniks project carries great potential for the entire region, which is also reflected in the unreserved support it received from government representatives from all participating countries.. Within the first year of Feniks' operation several companies participated in the Russian projects executed by Feniks' Serbian partners, particularly in the construction of universities and hotels in Sochi and of a science and research centre Skolkovo in Moscow. In its second year Feniks will be conducting serious negotiations for project in Northern Africa and Middle East. Another success that needs to be mentioned is the project of building a new CSKA stadium in Moscow which will be used for the 2018 football world cup. The project worth over EUR 160 million was won by PSP Farman
"Neither the Devil nor the Church, the nation will write its own judgement," wrote Ivan Cankar, one of the greatest Slovenian writers, a man of global dimensions who was thoroughly critical towards the Slovenian soul, who was constantly provoking and holding a self-reflecting mirror up to our nation.  We need to see inside ourselves to understand who we truly are. To be able to constantly seek new opportunities for improvements and progress based on our own identities.

I am proud of my nation and the region where I grew up, and from where I am successfully engaging in the world from. I am proud of the experiences and the way of thinking of my Region. I derive my strength from my personal and the geographical transformation and the constant progress.
My vision for the Region:
We hold multinational inspiration in our hearts
My mission for the Region:
West Balkans Region – the model of emerging thriving societies
I know we can do it! Slovenia, West Balkans, the broader Balkans and SE Europe. However, if we don't act, all we will have is potential.  I'd like to thank the organisers for the invitation. Thank you for the opportunity for highlighting the role that media, innovation communication and innovation journalism could play in the Western Balkans' breakthrough on global markets. I hope our spark will keep shining and our abilities will grow strong wings to be able to fly.
 
Round table: Media as Catalyst of the New Deal for a New Age
Sonja Šmuc, Branka Đukić, Violeta Bulc, Theodore M. Kyriakou, Ljupčo Zikov
Source: Summit100 archive, 2013

Take care, Violeta

More about the meeting here.

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