Green Bond Markets Need Connected Thinking and Concerted Action

Seeking breakthroughs to more sustainable capital markets

The Multitude of Loneliness

The Multitude of Loneliness, painting, oil on canvas, by Vilma Machado (c) 2015

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Attack Your Bank: Creating Breakthroughs from Within

Attack Your Bank – Disruptive Solution Design at Rabobank

How to mobilise talents and create the best disruptive ideas to innovate a bank’s business model and performance? Rabobank uses moonshot campaigns, start-up boot camps and also created the “Attack-Your-Bank” event series.

Attack Your Bank: (re)designing solutions for the future

This year, the “Attack Your Bank” event culminated in twelve pitches from twelve teams, for the larger part consisting of colleagues of the millennial generation. They made strong and sometimes confronting calls on senior management to do things differently, presenting new ways to organise business travel faster, cheaper, and more sustainable. Matchmaking apps were proposed to staff business projects with colleagues with the right skill set; and new models were shown to share the bank’s assets such as buildings and vehicles with members of the community to better meet their needs.

What strikes the eye in millennial solutions

The “ Attack Your Bank” movement does not only create a fresh set of seemingly simple solutions for complex business challenges. They also show remarkable similarity in how the millennials define and redesign current business models.

An app for everything
The innovations proposed were fully integrated combinations of a value proposition, a business process design, and using exactly the information that is required. Millennials do not seem to have any interest in looking at the organisational pyramidal structures when redesigning business processes. For example, finding colleagues with the right skillset should be handled by an internal dating-like algorithm connecting demand and supply of skills.

Connected thinking: solutions display a high sense of purpose
For example, challenging ideas were put on the table on how banks of the future can play a role in fixing disease prevention challenges of an increasingly ageing population.

Mix and match: shared use of assets, not on ownership
Millennials consistently propose to ‘mix and match’ people and resources directly, preferably through smartphone apps: preparing a credit proposal, booking a car from a car sharing service, or staffing projects with the right colleagues should be done in a snap. The message is that ehicles, buildings, office space, in-house or client experts could be shared much more flexibly.

Intelligent solutions: all information built into services and workflows. Millennials, who have learnt to manage their social networks and task with dedicated apps prefer services and products that uses and calls for all standardised information needed to realise a business process as part of the workflow. A specialist using unstructured knowledge from intranet pages or other unstructured and separated knowledge sources seems something odd and ‘ old school’ to them. And when there are large amounts of unstructured knowledge to use, the Attack Your Bank teams prefer to search it quickly with content tags. Millennials take a fast food approach to specialist knowledge.

Final observations

Overall, the “Attack-Your-Bank” event certainly mobilises a greater part of the workforce than without events like these. They give a voices to ideas, thoughts and talents that, for some reason or the other, do not appear otherwise, and challenge colleagues to mold their ideas into implementable services and products for the bank. They also inspire other colleagues to think and use their talents to design totally new solutions. And convey the message that it is ok, and even expected, to be involved in taking your organisation or business to the next S-curve of viable, future-proof business. How to leverage even more on the energy and knowledge created, how to ‘connect the dots’ and link up with other innovational initiatives, and how to further build leadership that fosters learning from being ‘attacked’ from within seem questions to further explore.

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The Narrative of Narratives: Management Lessons that Stories Teach

Floating Models – Olaf Brugman (c) 2016 – aquarel on paper

How can we use narratives to make our business and our societies’ systems function better and be more viable-sustainable? There is a story, or narrative, for every woman and man, for every politician and for everything. Narratives provide arguments to accept or reject human activity as the major source of climate change, they create heroes or fire up political scandals, they visualise the positive or negative social or environmental impacts of businesses. This article discusses how narratives are important to accomplish collective tasks and challenges, regardless of whether they share fictitious stories or stories about real events. Continue reading

A Systems View on Food and Agriculture to End Hunger and Poverty

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, FAO, has recently published its vision document Future of Food and Agriculture. Trends and Challenges.

The Future of Food by UN FAO in causal loop diagrams (c) Olaf Brugman.

The Future of Food by UN FAO in causal loop diagrams (c) Olaf Brugman.

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Fiction Books that Teach Valuable Lessons to Managers

Stories, or narratives, can teach valuable lessons to managers who have to act in times of complexity and unpredictability. These stories do not have to be descriptions of real life events, such as the story of what led to the sinking of the Titanic. Even fiction can provide these valuable insights. Here are some examples on good fiction that teach valuable human lessons to managers. Continue reading