Davos 2019: A great project from Zimbabwe made it to the World Economic Forum. The “Friendship Bench“. Because there is too little psychological care in the country for people suffering from depression and anxiety (12 psychiatrists for 14 million people), volunteer social workers take this into their own hands. For three weeks they are specially trained to be able to offer people a helping hand and supportive conversation on – actually – benches that are located near clinics across the country. The now 400 volunteers are called “Community Grandmothers” – because they are all female, with an average age of 58 years. Here you can see how it works. A first bank is now also in New York City. Because there is a need for more “we” all over the world.
The 20 to 29 year olds are in charge of the German “Z2X”, the “festival for visionaries” of the time. Many of them are doers, “we” experts and can organize themselves very well. The series of events started in 2016 – and while the editorial team was still thinking about a digital infrastructure with which the participants could network, they had long since taken it into their own hands and organized not only their workshops, but also a documentation of the “basically undocumentable Z2X ”wrote Zeit editor-in-chief Jochen Wegner. And states: “There is a difference between conformism, which this generation is occasionally accused of, and determined cooperativity,” and the Z2X participants would have worked it out vividly. The self-organization of the Z2X swarm could be felt in all workshops and question and answer sessions where the group simply took over. The community lives on between the meanwhile three festivals. That gives hope for the future.
Mindfulness now also on the board? “Yes” say Charlotte M. Roberts and Martha W. Summerville in strategy + business. However, they inflect the term somewhat differently. For them, a “mindful board” has one thing above all else – the capacity to think together in a deep way and to take as many perspectives as possible. For them, success includes: space in which everyone can make their contribution without fear, in which everyone can take action without waiting for an invitation and the obligation of each individual to draw comprehensive conclusions and make reliable decisions. The group is thus more than the sum of individual opinions. We can only hope that this type of communication spreads quickly.
Motivated to work with others. Even if you are physically separated from them. That’s what researchers at Stanford found out. The experiment: While a group of test persons worked alone on a puzzle and received “tips” from seemingly colleagues, the comparison group worked all alone. The former had 48 to 64 percent more stamina, a greater interest in the task, were more committed and performed better. Conclusion: The social context in which one works plays an essential role – even if it is only a psychological construction and not a “real” reality.
Old power structures were based on authority, centralization and exclusive access to resources. New ones use the power of the community, crowd funding and decentralization. In their book “New Power” (2018), Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms describe how success could be defined differently in the future. Because, from her point of view, success will only be achieved by those people, managers and organizations who can best channel the participatory energy in their environment. With many examples they illustrate (similar to my trend study on “we-culture”) how this works, but also what can go wrong – and why some movements and platforms in their DNA are actually driven by “old power”, even if they are look like a network on the outside. A must-read for everyone who is not yet aware of the new world of participation and the power of movements