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

How can we cooperate
Where we can meet global

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 vŽ 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 vŽ 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)

Additional links:

How can we cooperate
Where we can meet global

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