Friday, January 27, 2012

... sun over the Baltic Sea is arising

... and so the thoughts on what will happen in Dresden in the coming months, years. Back in 1993 when I first visited Dresden-Hellerau, a real innovation pillar close to  Dresden, though not really recognized for its entrepreneurial spirit for decades, the idea was set on fire in my head.

"Couldn't that be possible to reignite such drive as the godfathers of Hellerau and the Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau had done a century ago?"

Listening to RichardFlorida in an interview with JimGoodnight, CEO of SAS, a couple of years ago on his topic of research "The Creative Class", further fueled my imagined vision of Hellerau 2.0.

Staying up here (writing these lines in the days of June 2010 right after the 4th Dresdner Future Forum) in the North of Germany, just a couple of miles from the coast of the Baltic Sea, my brain gets a chance to reset. The quietness of the day and vastness of view outside the porch windows makes me think about what it needs to make the "fire of ideas" go into a broad and sustainable one.

Perhaps we don't really have to reinvent new things rather combine current and already put down research and innovate the future of work and living.

Wouldn't that be cool? I have seen my fellow friends up in Jyväskylä, Finland, who have set up a network around MonkeyBusiness and their folks of TeamAcademy and stayed myself twice up there to entrench the feeling personally. Telling stories is one thing, experiencing it yourself is by far the much cooler way.

So, the question stays, "What to do next? Who are the other stakeholders, who are needed to make the change happen?"

Professor Richard Florida has identified five tactics.
  1. Pay up. "People want work that's challenging, but money matters. Even college graduates won't take a differential to live in a cheaper place."
  2. Outdo the competition. "Make your space the hippest one around. Your building and your environment show off who you are."
  3. Take the guy with the tattoos seriously. " Top talent -- especially young recruits -- revel in their differentness. That new hire with full-on metal in his ears may be the best thing that ever happened to you. He's a visual cue that you've got an open house for talent, no matter what form it comes in."
  4. Hire his boyfriend. (Or help him get a job down the street.) "Our research shows that same-sex partner benefits are intrinsically related to your company's success. It's the number-one indicator that your culture is inclusive."
  5. Invade the backwaters. "Top talent isn't just found at Berkeley, MIT, and Stanford. There are plenty of great people hidden away in the backwaters."

Guess what? This place can be Dresden in the far Eastern part (not quite the ultimate Eastern part) of Germany. Quite a challenge to reach by train (2.5 hours from Berlin), by plane (not too many regular flights into the foreign world, other than charter) and yet this makes a really cool place. Not easy to reach and an awesome setting (on the river Elbe, with the Saxonian Swiss nearby and cool people all around - ask them and they will tell you more :-)).

Where do you see the future of work and life (in your own context)?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bold Minds Change the World

It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents, who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them.

- Charles van der Haegen

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Maya Code is here!

I have always been fascinated by the history of the Maya civilization, by their huge baggage of knowledge in so many different fields and by all concerns their existence. Today, for the first time in my life I saw with my own eyes the better preserved Maya code. I had no idea that such an important treasure is hosted here in Europe and exactly in the beautiful city of Dresden (Germany).
Of the three existing Maya codes (the Madrid Code, the Dresden Code and the Paris Code), the Dresden Code is not only the better preserved but it is also the most elaborated and a highly important work of art. The code, written in a long sheet of paper, in total 39 leaves written on both sides, was probably written before the Spanish conquest.

This code, shows many half-human and half-animal figures in different moments of their daily life. They have in their hands tools and wear jewels and ornaments. Some of these figures are showed in colored panels. All around the figures it is to be seen the Maya hieroglyphic script, tons of small images about rituals (almanacs) and astrology, especially the Venus Cycle, (the full Venus Cycle is clearly shown in the Dresden Code). Venus has been the most observed planet, as the Maya believed it to be associated with wars and started their wars according to the Venus cycles.

Great importance was, however, given also to the observation of other planets such as Jupiter, Mars and Saturn and to the moon. The Maya elaborated a carefully moon calendar and a lunar reckoning. Their lunar knowledge was so impressive that the Maya were able to make eclipse predictions. An almanac for predicting eclipses can be seen in the Dresden Code too, together with detailed information on the planet Mars. The Maya tracked the movements of Mars across the zodiac and the relation between its movements and the terrestrial seasons. This lead them delineate a clear map of naked eye sky watching.

It has been an exciting voyage into a past civilization that is still present in our everyday life.