Centifolia 2013, “The Riches of a Product”, focuses on radical innovation. It feels quite normal that people from this sector ask questions sourced from their paradigm, and wait for responses intended to match this same paradigm. Hence my attempt to address a list of corporate questions sent by some leaders, and to answer from the new paradigm. A somehow perilous exercise that creates lots of shortcuts if we want to stick to short answers.
Don’t hesitate, dear reader, to share your feelings and your own questions.
We observe falling perfume sales. How can we enhance consumers’ desire again?
Behind its apparent simplicity, this single question contains multiple questions. Let’s begin with the consumer notion, which points to a dying paradigm. This term evokes a big voracious mouth that swallows, absorbs and consumes anything we send into it right after we triggered some desire. Although we will witness the flourishing of new consumers in BRICS countries, this word, consumer, will more and more lose its meaning. Tomorrow people will want to work on their individual fragrance. How can they have a pleasant smell, for themselves and for others? For this they will connect to their tribes via social media. They will ask for coaching, for an experience with perfumers rather than trying to look like such or such star or belong to a market segment. They will want a dialog. The role of perfumers will consist in coaching individuals and tribes through their journey. It will require constant interaction. We leave industrial models behind to enter in the dynamics of the experience economy. The latter uses rich mechanisms of regulation/response, those that we find today on the Net via social media and gamification.
Let’s pursue the question linked to “perfume”. What we call a perfume today comes as an industrial and packaged product. Once more, it embodies all the vision of consumerism built by mass industry. Tomorrow, olfactive consciousness will reappear thanks to personal development that more and more people engage themselves in. Perfumers will become those who enchant cities, who offer an olfactive soul to public and private spaces, who help organizations and people in discovering their fragrances, fluctuating through time and moods. From dynamics built on conformism and belonging, perfume will become a language again.
What is a conscious market?
A conscious market has the faculty to understand and envision the meaning of its actions, and their consequences. In a conscious market, people direct their purchases not anymore on the sole quality-price ratio (industrial age and consumerism), but on a set of multidimensional wealth criteria such as environment, health, sustainability, natural products, GMOs, organic growth, fairness, respect of animal, ecological footprint, ethical behavior, craft, AOC, etc.
The economic landscape has just started to understand this multidimensionality of wealth which still remains in a wild state, without homogeneous information and identification. This will soon evolve. Methodologies allowing to visualize integral wealth like the ones developed by the CIRI, or certifications like B-Corp, offer promising progress.
How to crack the next business model ?
The question, as formulated, falls in the old paradigm and perpetuates it. We can already abandon the term “business model” to talk about “wealth model”. This opens an entirely new and promising path.
We cannot answer quickly such a rich question, however we can say that wealth models in the future will operate on the experience economy, social media, and conscious markets. Most big company leaders don’t have any awareness of this today. Sadly this will have a dramatic impact on their enterprise. Thanks to its commitment to radical innovation, Centifolia will open these new horizons to whoever wants to look at them.
How can we promote co-creation in pyramidal organizations?
Because of their very structure, pyramidal organizations generate an intrinsic limit to co-creation because they rely on inherent scarcity mechanisms, written in their DNA. Scarcity of money, scarcity of leading positions, a territorial view of reality, an asymmetry of relationships, and chains of command that limit access to crucial information. All these forces oppose co-creation. A pyramidal organization can admittedly reach a certain level of co-creation — recent organizations like Google or Apple demonstrate it — but it remains way below what we might yet achieve.
Once more, the answer to this question implies an evolution of the very structure, from pyramidal to holomidal. A utopia? Of course not! We just need to observe the collaboration and mutualistic economy rapidly expanding on the Net to get a concrete sense (recognizing these just as first steps of this phenomenon). Some keywords: clouds of people, tribes, distributed networks, communityware, social media, leadership, accountability, digital self, conversations, crowd sourcing, cross-pollination… Furthermore we can notice that co-creation happens more outside conventional enterprises than inside.
Companies will evolve when they understand that co-creation and innovation happen more in the social engineering side than anything else.
How can we manage a global brand and remain close to the local customer?
To do this, we have to understand the experience economy, conscious markets, the leverages of integral wealth, crowd sourcing. These social dynamics operate quite differently from consumerism and industrial processes. Only a very few large companies have understood and integrated this today. They would just have to hire a good pioneering team and they give them carte blanche to create a brand that works on these dynamics. A rather small investment compared to the returns in teachings and a potential success. That said, the very notion of “customer”, that involves a supplier or a service provider, will transform too. Clients will fully enter in product and services conception processes of the future.
Is a multicultural product possible?
The conference on the fractal way to look at the world will demonstrate that multicultural products will thrive and will become a major strategic axis, as we cannot think in geopolitical and socioeconomic blocks anymore. Bruno Marion will explain that less difference exists between a 25 years old Chinese and a 25 years old Britisher, than exist between their parents.
How can we innovate (formulas, packs, labeling) in an increasingly constraining regulatory framework that impose longer and longer development plans?
Pyramidal collective intelligence enterprises will find themselves more and more helpless facing this increasing complexity. They have to evolve towards holomidal collective intelligence, distributed, hyper-connected, super-learning, capable of overcoming these limitations.
Does customer experience take precedence on the product benefit and the brand?
One cannot enclose our focus on experience to the client anymore. We must extend it to the whole chain of people who developed the product or service. An experience that reflects itself from people to people. In a conscious market, a client in London wants to know what a salaried person in China lives like, and a manufacturer in Madrid cannot ignore anymore the life conditions of an indigenous community that provides raw material. Therefore we want to embrace experience in its whole spectrum over the entire chain of value creation. There we fully enter the experience economy! An ecosystem of people capable of perceiving each other, a whole that becomes aware of itself… this liberates economic and operational capacities that overrun the ego-centered enterprise from the industrial age.
How can we sell an invisible wealth in current circuits?
First let’s understand that only a minority of the immense spectrum of wealth fits into what can be sold. Do we sell a quality of air, health, biodiversity, joy, trust, a know-how, a label, a reputation? We can measure some of these forms of wealth (quality of air, biodiversity, physiological health…), while others come from an experience we acquire subjectively that we can then express verbally (psychological health, joy, trust…). These forms of wealth cannot materially “circulate” inside a product we purchase. This rightly leads again to the experience economy. In this context, the product doesn’t represent the goal anymore, but a catalyst that triggers a chain of experiences between the people who design and the people who use. In this human network, people communicate and dialog via social media and communityware. Feedback loops operate everywhere, beforehand during the conception phase of a product, during its use phase, until its end. The famous “Cluetrain manifesto” had already foreseen this phenomenon in 1999, in its famous quote “markets are conversations“.
Can we be value driven and generate optimal profits?
We cannot raise this question without including the time variable in it. On the short term, we often get that we can obtain higher margins if we put aside a certain number of values. On the middle and longer term, experience has proven exactly the opposite. It becomes even more true in the Internet age, where transparency becomes almost impossible to avoid. Conscious markets will increasingly punish the lack of transparency. Many brands have already experienced this, and this trend will just increase.
Making profits that rely on strong negative externalities (make others pay the harm we cause on the environment or on populations) has a boomerang systemic impact that will result in pay back someday or another. How long will civil society put up with paying negative externalities created by companies, in a time when we can almost trace everything?
Finally, as we shared in other responses, we must now evolve into wealth assessment and not just financial balance sheets. Financial profits will remain an important component, just like the arterial pressure in the body, but it will come in a multidimensional space of wealth, much more evolved and efficient for companies’ strategic evolution.
How can we maintain competitive margins by selling “made in France” products?
In regards to margins, the previous question offered an answer. Let’s focus on the “made in France” part. The “Made in France” label offers the opportunity to convey specific values leading to integral wealth that widely go beyond the sole quality-price ratio in which exhaustion awaits everyone. Rather than competing for the exclusive cost reduction of labor, we should rather develop our creativity on integral wealth that the “Made in France” label can embody and carry. This happens through the development of charters enhancing integral wealth that coordinate with the holistic steering of future economic systems. The State has definitely an important role to play in this process. Here again the research work of CIRI should help go in this direction.
What story telling for a product X sold on the other side of the planet?
“Story telling” represents an attempt, often clumsy, to link integral wealth to a product, as we instinctively know that any story and any myth creates such forms of wealth. Story telling has a role to play, but it must also incarnate something deeply reflected upon and tangible. Here and there we see many myths pulled out of the air.
In a time of globalization, our actions need to become driven by universal values. Do such universal values exist? Yes, they do! We have covered this essential fact during a Centifolia 2013 conference, on Beauty, Goodness and Truth, the primary values. The latter offer a way to coordinate added value circles by linking diverse cultures and segments of humanity. This works for story telling too, that must carry Beauty, Goodness and Truth.
How can a conventional company, used to dealing with “markets”, evolve towards the new forms you describe?
Rather than torture ourselves in launching heavy change management programs that generally give poor results with colossal investments, we should better invest in a startup, or a small team of pioneers to whom we provide all necessary means to launch and work for the time necessary.
We should not think of these new holomidal collective intelligence organizations as we do classic companies from which we ask a quick ROI in pure cash. These new collectives operate through integral wealth, they transform the whole economic ecosystem and co-evolve with it. Supporters of these new company species should learn how it works and open their mind to these new paradigms.
How can we face the shortage of raw material?
Let’s first clarify what we call “shortage”. Natural shortage exists, because of the natural scarcity of an ingredient, because of climate issues, etc. Then we have situational shortages, essentially linked to market laws and competition. We cannot address these two shortages in the same manner. For natural shortage, we have collective intelligence techniques at our disposal that allow us to optimize the distribution and repartition, following agreed rules among every player, and not just the purchasers. As for situational shortage, it invites us to examine the human contexts that provoke them: the market and its laws, and the outcomes provoked by this technology called “money”. Today, the market looks like the only known means for the circulation of material wealth, and money its unique technology. Yet today we have tools at our disposal made to build economic ecosystems that operate in a much more powerful and efficient way than markets. Once actual economic players will have drained their own forces, and the ones of the environment through ferocious competition, they will begin to show interest in these new tools and methodologies. Unless others have done it before them. A space like Centifolia-Centisophia opens our sight in the direction of these new horizons.
How can we move between the different regulations that exist between Europe (REACH) and the other countries?
The very principle of “regulation” belongs to a specific form of collective intelligence: the pyramidal one. This latter builds itself around centralized power, chains of command, scarce money, competition. Individual and collective behaviors get contained by laws and regulations that operate in an exogenous way, from the outside. Until these laws have come into a written form, everything remains allowed. We just have to look at all the moral and ethical abuses that perpetuate themselves in the world until some laws and regulation come to contain them. It looks even more insidious when these damages come from collective emergence while no one, individually, has made a legal or moral transgression. Once more it reminds us the deep stakes of collective intelligence.
Evolution leads us to ask the following question to ourselves: do endogenous dynamics exist? Dynamics that emerge from the inside of the collective, that generate virtuous behaviors that don’t need external regulation anymore (those regulations that will always infinitely complexify themselves). Such collectives pop up everywhere. They move in contexts that have more complexity than exogenous regulations (that become useless). Let’s draw a parallel with driving, with the difference between an eco-centered driver that commits all possible abuses if we don’t place signals and controls everywhere, and a responsible, sensitive, adaptable driver, capable of driving very well with no signs, simply because his conscience, therefore its potential for action, has more vastness. The discipline of collective intelligence shows us the emergence of these conscious organizations. On the one hand they hit the wall of infinite regulatory complexity, but on the other their endogenous collective consciousness open new possibilities that conventional legal systems cannot understand or embrace. We enter into juridic voids that current paradigms cannot understand, just like religious dogma in the past had the capacity to arbitrate the scientific method.
How to approach BRICS countries that move from suppliers to consumers?
We have enough studies that show that evolution can only happen by repeating the whole sequence, one step after the other. A human being, from his/her first particles up to its stem cells and then a fully formed body, sees the whole history of the universe playing again in him/her, in an accelerated way. Collectives work the same: they can’t skip any single step of the ladder. BRICS countries, like other countries that preceded them, like the countries that will follow them, go through the phases of high industrialization — mostly manufacturing — followed by high tech, the tertiary sector, and consumerism. It doesn’t solely apply to economic models, but also to paradigms and ways to see the world. However we already see the rise of post-industrial tendencies in these countries, even in a marginal scale. Yet different things vary. On one side, because of systemic constraints of the planet, the consumeristic phase should have a much shorter life. Then, Internet, that makes culture, values and behaviors interpenetrate, generates a fractal world in which we cannot think through big geopolitical blocks. A conference given by Bruno Marion will cover this point quite precisely. He will offer tools to build strategies that follow this evolution.
What about the lack of transparency in the exchanges within current transactions models?
This lack of transparency benefits some –because it exists– at the expense of others. It takes place in a paradigm where the enterprise only sees its own interest in an ego-centered collective psyche (meaning focused on itself), just like children or limbic brain forms of life do (birds, mammals…). Because they want to maximize their profits within classic market laws, few collectives have, until now, known how to develop and act upon a holistic consciousness of the world, while more and more people can do it individually. A group of conscious individuals doesn’t make a conscious collective. We call this the “tragedy of the commons“, a well explored phenomenon in sociology, economy and game theory.
Today we have the means to create super-conscious, holistic enterprises. They no longer rest on pyramidal collective intelligence anymore, but on holomidal collective intelligence. It represents an evolution for our species. Nothing theoretical here: everywhere we see such organizations flourish via the Internet. It turns out that classical companies don’t understand and don’t see them, just like the caterpillar doesn’t understand or see the butterfly. These new holomidal organizations operate on tools, methodologies and technologies partially borrowed from pyramidal CI, but diverted from their original use. We give the name socialware or communityware to these online software that allow such collectives to navigate, do their governance, build a collective memory, develop a mutualistic economy rather than a competitive one, collect knowledge, etc. Today conventional companies should support these new holomidal organizations. The success of the latter will provoke a migration flow of people who want to evolve, and to hand over to the next generation. We can do it in perfect harmony. CIRI develops the processes and methodologies to facilitate this movement.
What should we do about the impact of our practice on the environment (use of natural resources that belong to all)?
The answer to this question appears in the previous question. The use we make of resources mostly depends on the consciousness behind it. It works for individuals as well as for collectives. An ego-centered consciousness doesn’t make the same choices, and doesn’t see the world in the same way as a world-centered consciousness, especially in the case when individual advantage in the short term conflicts with collective advantage in the long run.
The use of strategic compasses such as Truth, Goodness and Beauty allow the making of enterprises that act not only consciously, but in a much more efficient, resilient, learning and rich way compared to conventional companies. Centifolia will cover this intensively.
Globalization favors the abandonment of local food-producing. What she we do?
We will reverse this trend when we have developed tools that allow the vizualisation of integral wealth. By this we mean all aspects of wealth: material and immaterial, exchangeable, measurable, acknowledgeable. The quality of environment, trust, joy, education, biodiversity embody many forms of wealth that belong to humanity’s dreams. Any logic that excludes these riches in its reasoning dooms itself. The market and its underlying technology –money– embody this logic of non-integral wealth. They don’t have, in their structure, the means to blend in and develop integral wealth. Who has already seen a corporate balance sheet built on integral wealth?
Organizations that will develop themselves around integral wealth will show an extraordinary capacity to include the needs of populations and ecosystems in their way of working, because of simple pragmatic reasons. Local food-producing should grow again once this transition has happened. No science fiction here. We see this new DNA sprouting almost everywhere! New labelling processes offer quite a visible example. We will see an example of it with B-Corporation, whose their representatives will come to talk during Centifolia.