Just coming back after spending few days with a great mix of people in Gothenburg at Social Capital World Forum. For me after working (too) long in the corporate world it’s really great to notice, that we still have passionate, creative, energetic and easy to access people, who really make an effort to make the world a better place to live. You might think that they are all young and enthusiastic people with unrealistic dreams. So it’s even more fascinating to see, that this group of LivingBridges – like they call themselves – is much more diverse. The majority are young, but there are also many elder and more experienced members, who are as passionate, as energetic and as willing to make a commitment than the young ones. And what a combination they are together!

After spending a weekend with LivingBridges and listening to their dreams and studying the already ongoing projects I have to admit that I am impressed and feeling also energized myself.  The difference in their attitude and thinking is huge compared to the corporate world, where the employees are kept in command and control, and where that’s very easy because of the mortgage payments, which are due regularly.

Even the differences between the much praised and currently strong start-up scene actors and Living Bridges are easily noticable. In the start-up world the ”push” is still the power, you are told that you have to be able to pitch your idea in 1 mins and in 3 mins.  Well I might sound maybe a bit provocative, but it feels like the main focus in that world is to get investors interested into your idea – and that’s it. I have seen some of these pitches and sometimes they are so out of this real world and hence funny – that I call all that show ”start-up comics”.

They bond and bridge in order to tap to the global knowledge, where ever it might be hiding

The Living Bridges are really concerned about the societal, environmental, global poverty and sustainability problems and are trying hard to find solutions to them. They bond and bridge in order to tap to the global knowledge, where ever it might be hiding. They are much more concerned about real solutions to real problems than these tech – oriented yuppies who are trying to make the 246.231st App for iPhone, which nobody is really interested in. The great reminder of Living Bridge attitude in Gothenburg was when  always so inspiring Joy Lohmann presented his plan to make project proposal to EU project. After shortly showing the project idea and wondering if it would get funding, he just calmy stated: ”Well, we’ll do it anyway!”

Photo: Joy Lohmann and Sealand Multiversity

Joy has worked hard since we met last time on CastleCamp in Spring, now he has organized a great team around his initiative and have secured the physical presence in this mysterious and souvereign Principality of Sealand, just off the England coast. Sealand Multiversity is an initiave – grazy enough and though intriguing – that it’s easy to get exited about it. And that is a decisive element in order to attract the right people. Really a great ”pull society” effort to  build a platform for edgers and change makers!

We’ll do it anyway!

During the weekend around twenty cases were presented, very practical ones, down to the earth approaches like Vuollerim ’s Anders Y Larson explaining Glocal Future. Or Rafael Reinehr describing the various initiatives in Brazil. The most impressive and touching of them all was Nuestra Escuela from Puerto Rico. Justo Aramburu and his wife Ana Guzman Torres shared a great story. They explained how they lost their daughter at the age of 15, how she kept coming to the dreams of his father and how she had one night given the insight of founding a school for maltreated children.  With no money and support this wonderful couple worked hard and started a school, they applied the principle of ”Love and Respect” as the leading theme for developing a new format of a school – our school ”Nuestra Escuela”.  We had some discussions and Ana promised to write a guest blog and she will explain more of their principles and plans, hopefully we can publish it in near future!

My own serendipity session was this time titled ”Luck, insight – or social capital? Elements of serendipity” For a long time I have been curious to know more about social capital and LivingBridges and I was sure that it will happen in this event. Bonding with great people and having inspiring discussions will always lead to some outcome, and so it did! In this presentation I’ll have some new openings – like the term ”reverse serendipity” from which I will soon write a separate blog. The other ”AHAs” were: 1) finding again the term zemblanity and 2) creating a new metaphora for serendipity: ”Serendipity is like love – the harder you are looking for it, the less likely you are going to find it!”

The term zemblanity is defined as the total opposite of serendipity (I was looking for this because ”reverse serendipity” does not mean the opposite of serendipity – and I wanted to clarify that). Zemblanity is coined by William Boyd and refers to the Island Novaja Zemlya located on Barent’s See – a cold, barren land in many features the total opposite of lush Sri Lanka. And it’s so funny,  because for me the definition of zemblanity ”The ability to make unhappy, unlucky and expected discveries occurring by design”   — sounds just business like usual in corporate world.  Isn’t it about the time to cut  our shackles and free ourselves from the burden of zemblanity!