Maria Toro, Wellbeing Project

What is actually going on here? Not only has Cordelia just left her prestigious job at the big corporation, Marie is also quitting the company she founded herself and Susanna is leaving the law firm. They are all training to become coaches. Lea enrolls at an institute to become a systemic consultant while still a student. Sonia founds her first business, a platform where young adults can get mentoring and coaching.

For some time now, and increasingly during the Corona pandemic, it seems as if many people around us, especially talented, energetic and motivated women, are withdrawing from their previous…


In this article I differentiate Purpose, a term used inflationary, from its more modest sibling Meaning. Whereas Purpose is an attractor, calling us into manifesting a latent future, Meaning refers to the resonance effect between what is important to an individual (matches their values) and the values they meet or do in the world.

Purpose — the guiding star

Purpose is the new Black. Every week I seem to get an invitation to speak at a conference about Purpose, to do a podcast about Purpose, join a newly founded Purpose community. Friends, working as coaches, organisational developers or therapists, tell me about an avalanche of clients approaching them to find their individual purpose or identifying and strengthening the Purpose of their company.

Me and my friends are not alone. At the time of writing,„Purpose“ features in over 1167 TED Talks. The Global Purpose Movement connects activists and social entrepreneurs and helps them find their purpose. Germany’s Purpose Foundation is…


In this series of case studies I am looking at widely known companies in the tech industry. In two posts I already explored Slack and Airbnb, to understand the values that underlie each company, as well as the dynamics that they enforce. Take a look at the intro to the first case study if you want more insight into my approach.

Social Networks

Two adaptations of George Eliot’s novel Middlemarch, which explores the complexity of social networks. On the left, Middlemarch: The Series, photograph by Rebecca Shoptaw. On the right, an illustration in the 1910 edition published by the Jenson Society.

Social networks are not a new idea. They have existed as long as humans have lived together. It is through our social networks that we grow and mature, testing out what kind of behaviour works and what doesn’t. The small dramas that unravel within these webs teach us about judgement, boundaries and self-expression. However, with the birth of digitisation these networks have changed. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WeChat (among others) didn’t introduce a totally new concept into human life, but they did drastically expand the ground on which our dramas unfold. Our thoughts, opinions, gossip, pictures, and videos are…


A Theory of Manifestation

Our world is on fire — looming ecological disaster, a widening gap between rich and poor, rising nationalism and xenophobia, existential angst and dystopian digital monopolies. The latest wave of innovators, digital entrepreneurs in the mode of the Silicon Valley, have contributed to and deepened this negative trend. Their hugely successful companies, rhetorically claiming to „make the world a better place”, have made a small group of founders and venture capitalists immensely rich, while largely ignoring their harmful consequences for the wider society and the environment.

At the same time many people and communities around the world want to create…


In this series of case studies we are looking at widely known companies in the tech industry. In the last post I looked at Slack, and here I will be exploring Airbnb. The goal is to understand the values that underlie each company, as well as the dynamics that they enforce. Take a look at the intro to the first case study if you would like further insight into my approach.

Apartment in Barcelona, Spain, offered through Airbnb.

Description
Airbnb is an online platform that allows people to rent short term accommodation. This ranges from regular people with a spare bedroom, to property management firms who lease multiple rentals. However, the platform has expanded by partnering with car rental services, restaurants, entertainment and tour sites, among others to become an all-in-one travel site. They brand themselves as an online ‘travel community’, allowing guests to have a local experience in exotic locations.

Impulse
The original idea for the company began in 2007 with roommates Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia. They had recently moved to San francisco and were looking for…


After having applied the innovation methodology outlined in Post 4 to a few lesser known companies and organisations, such as CRCLR or The Wellbeing Project, I am now turning to a series of studies of widely known tech companies in order to understand the values that underlie them, as well as the dynamics that they enforce. In the first post I will explore the communication tool Slack.

I will attempt to parse the initial impulse of the company from their current manifestation. Through this process we can see if the end product transmits the original idea of the founders. This process will also help us understand if the company is truly innovative in its work. Perhaps the idea for the company is new and exciting, but during the process of implementation the idea is reduced to a repetition of existing habits in life, business, or consumer behaviour. The innovation that I look for does not always mean entering the yellow level on the AQAL chart (check Part…


So far, I have mentioned the realm of consciousness and mindset only incidentally. But one of the key arguments in this series is that external change has to be accompanied by internal transformation in order to be sustainable and healthy, instead of leading to an anti-humanistic dystopia, where algorithms govern humans. Accordingly, in this post, we will take a closer look at this “inner side”.

In previous posts I alluded to the fundamental shift in mindset and consciousness that accompanies our digital age. Digitisation opens up a space for us to perceive and relate to the world and ourselves in novel ways. As we confront an increasingly complex external world, we need to develop a „larger perspective“, a „broader awareness“ and a „more conscious society“, attributes I described in the blogpost Where are we coming from, where are we going to? as part of the „yellow“ woldview and the metamodern perspective. …


Social activists have a disproportionately poor quality of life. Many struggle with depression, burnout, and chronic diseases, high divorce rates and financial pressure. This is why Aaron Pereira created the Wellbeing Project. Its mission: “To change the culture of the field of social change to one welcoming of inner wellbeing, and to catalyse an infrastructure to support everyone working in the field.”

At a retreat of the Wellbeing Project in Switzerland

It is rare to meet someone accomplished who stresses what he doesn’t know. It is also rare to meet someone with a mission, who founded an organization that has an expiration date of three years. And it is still rarer to meet someone who is radically devoted to co-creation and letting other people shine.

Please meet Aaron Pereira and the Wellbeing Project.

I first met Aaron at a gathering of the BMW Foundation, where he presented the project together with one of his co-leads, the social entrepreneur Bart Weetjens. I was immediately hooked by their mission: “to change the culture…


The challenges of a highly interconnected world need systemic answers

Leonardo da Vinci, Town plan of Imola

To be effective, the kind of innovations we need to develop for some of the most urgent contemporary challenges — among them environmental destruction, the wealth gap and the loneliness crisis — need a wider perspective which takes complexity into account. We need to look at problems not in isolation, but in their context: the broader system they are embedded in. In a highly interconnected world, the relationships between cause and effect change. Instead of being linear and predictable, phenomena are non-linear and thus difficult to predict. …


Ekskäret Island in the Stockholm archipelago, Sweden. Image: Ekskäret Foundation

A premise of the Future Sensor exploration is that human consciousness — the awareness of ourselves and our natural and social environment — is evolving, historically as well as over an individual’s lifetime. This contradicts conventional wisdom, which assumes that adults are more or less fully developed by the time they reach a certain age, somewhere around the mid twenties, and that all subsequent changes are relatively marginal. In Where do we come from? Where are we going to?

Keks Ackerman

Keks Ackerman is a metamodern writer, and entrepreneur, building a systemically healthy society and economy.

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