This post is inspired by 2 different things, the first of which is very British. I’ve always been a fan of Monty Python and they did this great sketch about gangs of old ladies which I’ll insert (though I forgive non-native speakers for not understanding). That’s where the “Make tea, not love” slogan originates from and which I’m re-interpretating here.
The second thing which I also found very inspiring, but not quite as entertaining as Monty Python, was at a banking conference (sounds crazy) a few years ago.
Having worked in the financial sector (and with no disrespect to all those people I know who are still in it), I often found myself at conferences surrounded by people wearing the same shade of grey suit as me with an occasionally colourful tie. That in itself was ok as despite the conventional dress, many were interesting and fun. What was more problematic for me was that the content of the conferences seldom excited me. There is one exception to that rule. A number of years ago I was in Hong Kong and had the pleasure of listening to Guy Kawasaki http://guykawasaki.com explain innovation to a few thousands bankers who were desperately in need of it (this was in 2009 and just 1 year after the collapse of Lehman Brothers!).
Make Meaning (donner du sens)
He wore a bright Hawaiian shirt which broke the monotony of the grey suits around me (mind you I did get a tailored suit made while I was there … but that went “tits up” and may be the subject for a future post about why customisation isn’t always the solution). The topic of his presentation was “10 steps to innovation” and he delivered it brilliantly. The step I remember most of all is Step 1, not because the others weren’t interesting, but because it reflected the direction I want to head in myself and which I’m trying to do now. MAKE MEANING. I haven’t been able to find the Sibos video but here’s another one which is actually shorter anyway so more suitable for this blog:
Make meaning to make mone
My assertion is that if you want to build a community around a business and you want that community to actively collaborate, then you must make meaning. In fact, I could probably rename the post to the title just above. I have a very healthy relationship with money, I enjoy it and I definitely think that it is vital to the economy. Where my views may diverge from many others is that I think we need to “make meaning to make money” rather than make money first and perhaps run a fancy public relations stunt to illustrate how we make meaning. Many companies which are actively making billions from extracting our natural resources are also investing in renewable energy in an attempt to “make meaning”.
I believe that this ingredient of “making meaning” is a key success factor for the collaborative economy. It is arguable to what extent Uber, Airbnb or other large collaborative economy brands are doing this. That should not taint the fact that hundreds, if not thousands, or other smaller, local, collaborative businesses are doing so and this is what I hope to promote more of in Belgium.
The meaning I would like to create is “Put relationship and responsibility back into the heart of economic activity”. If that makes meaning for you, share the blog, comment and reach out to me so I can integrate you into my grand plan for achieving this.