Future Day is an annual event of the Zukunftsinstitut, where the name is the mission: helping to shape the future with trend research, fresh ideas, and thought-provoking impulses.
This year's Future Day was held in Frankfurt at the beginning of June and Sycor was there. It offered a multidisciplinary program across industry boundaries, which attracted a correspondingly broad audience. The day was divided into thematic blocks – Mind, Nature, Work, and Space – with diverse speakers from science, industry, art, and culture.
Professor Dr. Gerald Hüther, neuroscientist, spoke about realizing human and cooperative potential in an individualized, complex world of the future:
In a new, increasingly complex world, each person has to develop their own inner attitude that guides them and is developed further each time a problem is solved. Accordingly each person must be viewed and treated as a subject and not merely an object. The key challenge is that every person is an individual, but simultaneously can only exist in society with other people.
Thus the development of a shared goal based on the inner attitude is essential in order to successfully and cooperatively work with other people towards achieving this goal.
Rather than controlling employees with commands and obedience, organizations – especially for complex problems – should promote working independently in order to achieve the optimal realization of employee potential.
Koert van Mensvoort, artist, technologist, and philosopher, suggested an expansion of our understanding of nature from a nature romanticism defined by nativeness to the insight that nature and culture merge.
Using the technology pyramid that illustrates the evolution of technology innovations as an example, the idea that culture and nature are not opposites became clear.
In the earliest stage an innovations exists exclusively as a vision. In subsequent stages it is implemented as a prototype and accepted by users. In later stages a successful innovation is perceived as essential to life and no longer as an innovation. The highest stage is naturalization, with the innovations of clothing, agriculture, and cooking that date back millennia as examples. Instead of "back to nature" there can only be a "forward to nature".
This examination can also be applied to the path of innovations in organizations, until they are broadly accepted or no longer even perceived as such. The path is actively followed with change management and by boldly embracing visions and prototypes.
Dr. Simon Sagmeister, Managing Director at "The Culture Institute", offered insights into the culture of company organizations. In his institute's culture study, the new players (mainly tech companies from Silicon Valley) were analyzed and compared to the traditional players in the automobile industry in regards to their cultural values.
Both organizational cultures had a high degree of "wanting to win" and "knowledge and rational thinking" in common. The new players set themselves apart with the highly defined values of "courage, dynamics, doing" and "farsightedness and vision", while values such as "community", "order and structure", and "humanity" are more highly defined in traditional companies.
The cultural value of "farsightedness and vision" is a crucial factor for employee motivation, since meaning and vision are most effective as reasons for people to act.
As an impulse, Mr. Sagmeister suggested for the audience to balance attention in the company between the "Hungry Beast" (insatiable day-to-day business) and "Ugly Babies" (new ideas, possibly also from other colleagues) so that the Ugly Babies can grow as well.
New, meaningful visions are needed!
New, meaningful, clear company visions are needed to succeed in the future. They have to be implemented cooperatively and courageously to one day grow from an Ugly Baby into an accepted innovation.
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