I think, therefore we are
More of I makes life freer. And the world more complex. Everything is easy. The community helps. An Essay by Heidelberg Congress.
Honestly, what’s up? The kids are not freaking out because of every petty little matter. But they do because of the big climate catastrophe. Sofa and baggy look are business as usual. Office, company car and frequent flyer card are out of service. In Germany, education is being feminized, unemployment is becoming more and more men’s business. On virtual crypto-art-marketplaces originals made of pixels generate millions. Electroshock: with a Porsche you can speed up on electricity. In ghost restaurants no serving is going on, only cooking – for digital brands on food delivery platforms. Tourists do not want to be tourists anymore. And rather have a good sweat helping with the apple harvest in Havelland than lying on a beach in Koh Samui. Living la Vida Local. Female shift, neo- ecology, new work, digitalization, urbanization, new mobility. Change is booming. Never before has there been so much trend.
The superstar among mega trends: Individualization. Freedom to choose. What you like and what is important to yourself. How you want to live and work. When we choose freely, we also must decide on our own. But how? How orient myself? When old rules and accepted truths vanish. How can I be unique and truly innovative? When new is normal. What are the values of positions? When everything is in motion. What are the consequences of my actions? For others. Freedom is beautiful. And quite complicated in our complex world. Or to say it with the Duden: in the “mashing of many characteristics”.
Reduce complexity. The usual way. Thinking in terms of reliable contrasts. Black or white. Right or wrong. Good or bad. Feasible or not. A tidy house, a tidy mind. Alone, routine does not overcome challenges. And simplification is too simplistic – for a society celebrating diversity. Where old white men are not managing their privileges, but multifaceted talents are creating a colorful world. Full of innovative ideas and experiences. Absolutely nobody could foresee that.
Can we have it complicated?
Well, we are fortunate! The problem is also the solution. Create something with complexity, not reducing complexity. This is the diversity watchword. Feel like a surprise, instead of avoiding the unpredictable. Not trying to overview the big picture, better understand the connections. And thus, discover unimagined potential in our complex reality. And completely new alternatives. Agility is a must. But agility does not offer the answers to our questions. It helps us find the answers.
We still must think ourselves.
We need places, that give us freedom to think and understand. Giving way to exchange ideas, try out, interact. To be rebellious, naïve, and creative.
On our own, we easily get bogged down. In the thicket of variety. Communities are that necessary cosmos. Where divers people meet. But having the same goal: contact, friendships, recognition, orientation, identity, fun, making business. Who am I and who could I be? Who can help me along, and who will help me out? The community has everything its members need. Impulses, resources, and people who team up and interact in hybrid ad hoc relationships. Sometimes virtually, sometimes in the real world. Useful at any time.
Obstinacy not stubbornness
Helping one another, cooperating, collaborating, motivating mutually. There is something going on in the community. But self- determined, free, flexible, spontaneous, authentic. Do your thing! The common motto, everyone interpretates in his own way. Just the way individualists are wired. Connected in a structure that’s neither linear nor fixed, unknowing upper side and lower side, not striving for standardization. Wherever the managing board of conventional organizations would have the final say and authority figures would give clever hints, the community is doing this on its own. On an equal footing. As an egalitarian community of exchange. And typical: in the community, partners don’t stay on their own very long, they connect with each other. The more heterogeneous the mix, the more dynamic the teamwork, the better will the community leverage its qualities.
Let’s all be part of the change!
Free of hierarchies, rich in contrasts, loaden with energy. Openminded to the unknown and in permanent spirit of optimism. Communities are organic science labs and enabling spaces, that constantly offer new test arrangements and tools. To continuously reflect developments. To react to changes with agility. And to create access to real innovation. To do things no one ever managed to do before. When everything is in flow, ideas are flowing, too.
What is keeping the wild troupe together? Established companies and organizations draw identity from their origin and history and a value system deriving from it. Community is happening now. With a glance at tomorrow.
Dialogue, social interaction, and cultural codes generate identity. And a common vision. This is binding. Even the most unconventional minds. But first and foremost, it creates mutual trust. Playing out individual freedom and personal characteristics, uninhibitedly, in co- operations and collaborations is the basis within larger groups. Realness instead of adaptation. Impact instead of defense. Orientation instead of orderliness. Creativity instead of control. Complexity feels cool. In the community. As simple as that.
A pity, actually.