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We Need a Declaration of Interdependence

Source: Library of Congress

Source: Library of Congress

Here in the United States we’ve just completed our annual celebration of the signing of The Declaration of Independence – on July 4th, 1776, the day our founders declared themselves an independent country. We then fought a long, bloody, and bitter war to separate ourselves from Great Britain.

Yet today the United Kingdom and the United States are mutually supportive allies with many close personal and institutional connections.

In spite of that awful war the two countries obviously have common cultural traditions, common ancestors, common values, and strikingly similar – though not identical – laws and governance structures. Our leaders today understand that we also have common interests, and that, “United we stand, divided we fall.”

In short, the United States may have declared its independence from Great Britain in 1776, but in reality the two countries remain deeply interdependent. And the same is true for our relationships with many other countries.

In fact, I think it’s fair to say that every relationship, at every level, includes strains of both independence and interdependence. Read more

There is only one of you

Ponder this for a moment:  as big and as global as the Internet is, every single human being is born with a far more impressive network. It’s called a brain.

I learned last week from author Steven Campbell (Making Your Mind Magnificent) that the human brain has  more than 100 billion neurons (that’s not a typo!). But, as Campbell says,

…this is nothing! Each of those neurons has an average of 10,000 connections to other neurons. This computes to 100,000,000,000 connections! That is a quantity found by multiplying 100 billion times 100 billion, times 100 billion…ten thousand times. As a comparison, 100 billion multiplied by 40,000 is a number larger than the number of stars in the Milky Way. We truly cannot fathom the number of connections our brain has.

(Making Your Mind Magnificent, p.4)

Campbell is describing the network inside just one human brain! And there are upwards of 7 billion human beings alive today – most of them in possession of a functioning brain.

Read more

Is the Future of Work Hidden in Germany?

Over that past five years the United States has lived with high unemployment that rivals what this country experienced during the Great Depression. As we all hear in the news almost daily, there are now millions of long-term unemployed, many of whose jobs have disappeared and will most likely never return.

However, the picture in Germany today is very different. As New York Times op-ed contributor Glenn Hutchins observes:

In 2009, Germany suffered a more precipitous drop in gross domestic product than the United States, but it experienced almost no change in unemployment.

(see “Work Like a German,” March 14, 2014)

While unemployment almost doubled in the United States after the Wall Street meltdown, in Germany it hardly budged. Today German unemployment is actually lower than it was before the “Great Recession” and – even more impressively – long-term unemployment is virtually non-existent. How could that be? Read more

Future of Work Agenda Newsletter: November/December 2010

This is the November/December 2010 issue of our free monthly newsletter, Future of Work Agenda. We welcome comments on any of these articles. You can also access the newsletter directly on our website, at this link.

“Two roads diverged in a wood. . .” (Robert Frost)

Believe it or not, this is the 100th issue of Future of Work Agenda. [continue reading...]

Future of Work Agenda Newsletter: July-August 2010

This is the July-August 2010 issue of our free monthly newsletter, Future of Work Agenda. We welcome comments on any of these articles. You can also access the newsletter directly on our website, at this link.

By the time you read this newsletter it will be almost August, followed closely by September. Where did the summer go?

Actually, of course, if you are anything like us, you may slow down just a bit during the summer months, but it’s generally more satisfying to stay busy (we know we’re ignoring our friends and colleagues in the southern hemisphere, but we hope you’ll bear with us). [continue reading...]

Future of Work Agenda Newsletter: March 2010

This is the March 2010 issue of our free monthly newsletter, Future of Work Agenda. We welcome comments on any of these articles. You can also access the newsletter directly on our website, at this link.

Here in North America the harbingers of spring (birds, flowers, earlier sunrises) are becoming more and more evident. And we even saw a picture last week of crocuses popping up in London. [continue reading...]

The Triple Bottom Line

This is a reprint of our Feature article from the November issue of Future of Work Agenda, our free monthly newsletter. You can also read the article within the newsletter, at this link, or download a .pdf version, at this link.

This is the third part of a six-part series on Business Community Centerstm (or “BCC’s”—see “Business Community Centers as Third Places” for a detailed description of the concept and our basic business model). [continue reading...]

Future of Work Agenda: November Issue

This is the November issue of our free monthly newsletter, Future of Work Agenda. We welcome comments on any of these articles. You can also access the newsletter directly on our website, at this link.

It’s hard to believe the extended “holiday season” is just about upon us. It’s been a tough year for just about everyone. However, we’re seeing some encouraging signs of a genuine recovery. [continue reading...]

The Power and Potential of Peripheral Vision

This is a reprint of our “Compass” article from the October issue of Future of Work Agenda, our free monthly newsletter. You can also read the article within the newsletter, at this link, or download a .pdf version, at this link.

Pay Attention! To What?

by Jim Ware and Charlie Grantham

“Predictions are really difficult, especially about the future”—Yogi Berra.

How many times have you heard the term “uncertainty” in the last year? We preach  about the importance of corporate agility precisely because the future is so uncertain, and virtually unpredictable.

Just think about how many “experts,” pundits, and industry analysts didn’t foresee the economic implosion of 2008 or the failures of “rock-solid” firms like Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and General Motors (among many others).

We’ve all heard about the importance of having an explicit business strategy and an aligned, engaged organization fully capable of implementing your vision, but what good are well-defined goals when you are (metaphorically speaking), in a windowless car hurtling through a dark night with no compass, no x-ray vision, and no sense of the outside geography? It’s way too easy these days to be blind-sided by completely unexpected events or unknown competitors.

Read more

C.K. Prahalad Discovers Corporate Agility

I was very pleased to read C.K. Prahalad’s back-page commentary in the September 21 issue of Business Week (“In Volatile Times, Agility Rules“).

The message is a basic one:  when the future is uncertain, you’ve got to be able to shift both your strategy and your operations in a nanosecond.

. . . Terrorism and pandemics pose threats of major disruptions.

[continue reading...]