How Intrapreneurs and Entrepreneurs Can Both Spark Innovation

This article ‘Leaving the cult of entrepreneurship: Intrapreneurs are the true drivers of innovation‘ takes position in the debate between intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs as sources of innovation. I don’t think it is as simple: it all depends what kind of innovation we address and we should not oppose the two categories.

Intrapreneurs have the advantage of being able to mobilize considerables resources from their company to get their idea developed, once it is approved and recognized. Those means will dwarf those of the start-up entrepreneur, however one has to overcome the hurdles of internal approval and politics, and recognize the inevitable longer delays in getting things done in large organisations.

Independent entrepreneurs on their side will be more nimble, able to start on ideas without waiting for more approval than their friends and families’ dime. They can thus start on ideas that may be considered ridiculous by corporate committees. They can also often pivot more easily.

I thus think that intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs are both potential contributors to breakthrough innovation, and that frustrated intrapreneurs can also easily become entrepreneurs. They should not be opposed and both can certainly change the world.


How our Stressful Experiences Leave Traces in our DNA, that can be transmitted to our children

There is increasing evidence that traumatic experiences leave traces in our genetic makeup. An exemple is developed in the article (in French) ‘Childhood abuse leaves scars in the DNA‘; this is also true of other forms of stress – for example this article from the US American Psychological Association ‘How chronic stress is harming our DNA

This has been observed for a decade now in particular regarding the expression of certain genes, and in general epigenetic changes, which can be transmitted although they don’t change the overall DNA codes. Those changes are deeper when stress is stronger and more repeated. There is now proof that these can be transmitted to children, but also that they can in a certain manner be reversible, as proven by certain studies on post-traumatic stress disorder and the actual impact of psychotherapy.

In the field of chamanism and trance, it is considered known that people can bear within themselves the consequences of acute stress suffered by one’s ascendants and some ceremonies are designed to manage this situation.

DNA expression modification linked to one’s environment is all quite a new investigative domain with interesting consequences on the eternal topic of determination and choice. Expect more to be understood and written on that topic in the next years!


How The Unregulated Industry of Life Coaches Raises Questions

This Guardian article ‘I’m a life coach, you’re a life coach: the rise of an unregulated industry‘ explains very well the inherent contradictions of the status of life coach. It is completely unregulated and dominated by a number of well-known figures of sometimes questionable reputation (as exposed in the article). It also obviously responds to a societal need, but isn’t it dangerous to let people getting influenced by unqualified professionals?

Trainings and certifications are diverse in quality and seriousness. The number of candidates to become life coach increases dramatically with each major crisis. In my experience, many do explore this career out of a personal need first, before looking at it as a way to change others for the better. In reality, many life coaches do have a less-than-ideal personal life and happiness, although they try to project a well-balanced impression.

There are drawbacks to a too severe professional certification scheme. It creates institutions that decide what is right from wrong. It can lead to situations where innovative or radical approaches will be rejected while they can be useful. Thus it is not necessarily the best solution in all cases.

At the same time when it comes to mental health, is it reasonable to add a layer of simili-professionalism to general advice on how to feel better? Having a coach implies some seriousness in the commitments taken, but one of the most important functions of a coach is to determine when people need more professional psychological help. It is unsure that all life coach trainings include that element so clearly.

I am definitely in favor of some self-regulation of the life coach industry. The ICF (International Coach Federation) is quite a good and demanding scheme that leaves some leeway in the coaching practices. Similar certifications should be requested from your coaches.


How Luck Plays An Essential Role in Success

This interesting BBC post ‘The dirty secret about success‘ puts back the subject of luck to the forefront. In computer experiments simulating social interactions and including random luck factors, luck was identified as a major parameter of social success.

Luck, Fortune, And Chance

Very often, the most successful people are moderately talented but very lucky“. “Italian researchers] used a computer simulation of success defined by financial wealth to show that the most successful people in the world aren’t necessarily the most talented. They are the luckiest.” As a result, the researchers have proposed ways to improve reward based on talent rather than actual luck.

I am a student of luck as I am certain it defines a large number of outcomes (see for example previous posts ‘What Luck is Really About‘ or ‘How We Constantly Underestimate the Role of Luck in Our Lives‘). It certainly plays an important role, and at the same time we can’t just wait to see what luck brings us.

Luck is important and should not be neglected. One of the limits of the approach though is that nowadays, success more often happens in teams rather than individually. How to account for collective luck, at several scales (individual / team / organization / society?). Certainly a topic for further research!


How Browser Fact Checker Extensions are Coming

With the spread of fake news, fact checking is becoming a hot subject. In this Gartner blog ‘Fact-checker Extensions Should be Standard on Every Browser‘ a possible evolution of browsers is described where news would be automatically rated according to their truthfulness

A pop-up warning that a news item or website contains dubious or disputed information will not save us from bad information, but it will at least get people thinking. They will need to make a conscious decision to ignore the warning. Hopefully they will instead consider the links and references provided to more reality-based sources. This is basic digital literacy.

It happens that many of those plug-ins seem to be already available (at least in English) and some are mentioned in the post. They will provide warnings and truthfulness indexes to sites and news consulted by the user. At least this would prompt verification across sources.

Of course this will not prevent some people from believing that this would be some additional conspiracy preventing them to spread their truth, or people just igniring the warnings. Fake news are not new: what’s new is that they can spread globally and exponentially for zero cost. Identifying fake news is a first step in regaining our freedom.

I am looking forward to good quality fake news checking to become standard. Of course in this weapon race fake news will become better at evading the checks and there will be an ever continuing race to uphold real facts.


How to Take Delight in Uncertainty

Leo Babauta in his post ‘Delight in Uncertainty‘ explains how most people have difficulties with uncertainty in our lives, and highlights the positives associated with appreciating this uncertainty. As a recovering foe of uncertainty, this certainly resonates with me!

We don’t like uncertainty, we want to avoid or control uncertainty, we get stressed when we can’t. And uncertainty is unavoidable: everything is uncertain all the time!

So what can we do? First take stock that certainty is too boring: “We might instinctively dislike uncertainty, but in truth, we would be so bored without it.” Uncertainty is also the place to learn and to grow.

It is not easy to welcome uncertainty, and it does require an amount of practice. The usual corporate world generally does not provide it. Personally, I am practicing since I have started my company and I am not quite too sure who my clients and what my activity will be in 3 to 6 months! And I end up enjoying it because I know this provides space for unexpected opportunities.

Leo Babauta insists on some practices to learn to welcome uncertainty: notice the uncertainty, dance with it, set the joy in it and dance with it.

Whatever your approach, it is very satisfying to have a confident relationship with uncertainty. And yes, it takes time and practice because our Industrial Age education taught us about how to behave in a certain world. Nevertheless we can embrace uncertainty, and dance with it!


How Languishing is the Dominating Emotion of the Covid Times

In this excellent New York Times column ‘There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing‘ the author makes the point that languishing may be the dominating emotion of the Covid times.

As we increasingly don’t get excited by anything as we are confined in our homes, “it wasn’t burnout — we still had energy. It wasn’t depression — we didn’t feel hopeless. We just felt somewhat joyless and aimless. It turns out there’s a name for that: languishing. Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021.”

And indeed personally I have been caught by languishing in particular during the toughest periods of confinement, not coming out of my home offices weeks at a time.

Languishing seems to be a precursor of more serious disorders in the future according to some studies, hence the need to overcome this state. The article proposes that “flow” could be the antidote. “People who became more immersed in their projects managed to avoid languishing and maintained their prepandemic happiness.” This, of course, requires that one has a project that keeps occupied. Another approach is to ensure to keep uninterrupted time to oneself, which allows to concentrate on something of interest.

Languishing seems to be quite the descriptor of the mood of many people at this moment. As vaccination increases and we are able to have more and more social relationships, we need to be able to escape this mind state. What are you doing against languishing?


How We Get Closer to Having a Second Virtual World

In this post ‘Epic Games Raised $1 Billion to Fund Its Vision for Building the Metaverse’ I discovered that some companies are actively moving into creating that virtual second world of Ready Player One fame. Epic Games is one of the largest companies in the field of video games.

In the context of Epic Games’ announcement, the metaverse will be not just a virtual world, but the virtual world—a digitized version of life where anyone can exist as an avatar or digital human and interact with others. It will be active even when people aren’t logged into it, and would link all previously-existing virtual worlds, like an internet for virtual reality.”

The technology needed to build the metaverse is already available.” And many companies are heavily investing in virtual reality.

The article comes with a world of caution: like in the book and movie, we may be tempted to escape the real world into the Metaverse, and there will definitely be a challenge to find the right balance between virtual and real life.

Anyway, high quality virtual worlds are coming faster than we realize, and this will be a substantial disruption in our daily life.


How We Should Not Be Fooled by Greenwashing

In this interesting Fast Company article ‘Don’t be fooled by brands that do one good ethical thing, say economists‘, the issue of a particular form of company greenwashing is exposed. All companies want to highlight some ethical action or initiative, but sometimes this hides a whole set of quite inappropriate behaviors.

Greenwashing is a new term: “a form of marketing spin in which green PR (green values) and green marketing are deceptively used to persuade the public that an organization’s products, aims and policies are environmentally friendly.” (Wikipedia). And this seems to be quite widespread, at least more or less consciously.

Still, studies show that “A company touting its One Ethical Behavior will likely manipulate you into a purchase“. This is linked to a psychological aspect: “Understanding our minds’ tendency to accept one positive behavior is essential. It’s commonly used across advertising and politics to mask significant ethical issues.”

Be wary about greenwashing and the good deeds that are communicated by organizations and companies, it is quite essential to understand whether it is just superficial chatter or the reflect of a deep culture. And if that is the case, those organizations may be those that communicate the least!

Greenwashing is an issue nowadays and let’s not be fooled by superficial communication on good deeds, rather examine if ethical behavior is deeply rooted in the organization!


How Security is Mostly a Superstition

I like this quote by Helen Keller: “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing“.

This quote brings forth several aspects. The first is that security is a superstition, and although we strive for it and try to get it in modern society, we need to be aware that this is not a natural situation and should be careful not to become too naive.

This immediately brings logically the fact that it is not good to constantly avoid danger. While one can be prudent, it is quite useful to be adventurous.

And in any case, being adventurous brings us new discoveries and enlightens our lives.

Definitively, security is a not a natural state and we should not let ourselves become complacent. Life needs to be an adventure.


How We Need to Have Principles to Protect the Long Term

I like this Seth Godin post about having principles: ‘Principle is inconvenient‘. It reminds us that principles is helping us keeping a longer term and navigating short term temptations. It is all about the short-term vs the long-term.

A principle is an approach you stick with even if you know it might lead to a short-term outcome you don’t prefer. Especially then. It’s this gap between the short-term and the long-term that makes a principle valuable.”

I also find that principles are a significant help against decision-making fatigue. Strong principles avoid having to use significant resources for taking certain decisions, and this keeps us the right energy to navigate through daily issues.

Be clear on your principles. They are key to the protection of your long-term impetus.


How To Address Your ‘Freedom in the Mountain’ Yearning

Escaping from the turbulent city life to rebuild oneself in a remote, quiet corner in the countryside or in the middle of the mountains is a widespread aspiration, as demonstrated by its popularity in works of fiction in books and on the screen. I must confess I do suffer from it and am hoping to follow this wish as soon as possible, and hopefully quite sooner than retirement. Luckily in this post ‘Find Freedom of the Mountain in Everything You Do‘, Leo Babauta explores how to address this longing at your current home. It’s all about your feeling of freedom.

What we (and many others) crave is not really the mountain, but freedom. Simplicity and space and the liberating feeling of freedom. We think if we simplify and let everything go and get our lives free of the burdens, we’ll feel free. But what I’ve found is that getting rid of everything and living a simple life doesn’t necessarily give you that freedom.”

A teacher a few years ago gifted me with a liberating idea: find the freedom in your current life, without having to change a thing.” There is more detail in the post about to achieve this state of freedom in your current situation without moving to this remote un-connected location of your dreams.

Although I believe this post only addresses one side of the yearning (the other side being to live at a slower pace, in a less crowded location and without the traffic jams and dense public transportation), it provides quite an interesting insight into this widespread yearning (I do not agree with the term fantasy used by Leo Babauta).

Anyway it is worth remembering that we can do much to increase our sense of freedom where we are right now geographically or otherwise, and that we should focus on developing it.