Contemplating the Air Element

trees light air

What’s a tree made of?

When trees are placed in soil with a controlled environment and the soil is later weighed, it’s clear that trees build themselves mostly out of sunlight and air.

Imagine being told that trees are made out of air.

Would you have ever thought to use air as a building material?

Me neither.

But trees do it.
~ Tony Reno

The Science of Happiness and Vitality

All the evidence that we have indicates that it is reasonable to assume in practically every human being, and certainly in almost every newborn baby, that there is an active will toward health, an impulse towards growth, or towards the actualization. Abraham Maslow

“Positive Psychology is the scientific study of the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive. The field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play.” (The Positive Psychology Centre)

Applied positive psychology is the practical application of evidence based positive psychology interventions. This includes positive health interventions, focusing on promoting people’s health assets – strengths that can  promote health and living longer.

The science of happiness includes positive neurosciences, positive health as well as environmental health. Maslow called his work positive psychology, and developed a list of “being” values that are generated through near-peak experiences where we experience “awe”.

Happiness is a unique burst of positive emotions that is also experienced as a sense of being “whole” in body, mind, soul and heart.

We are wired for happiness… This is why

Positive neurosciences and the research on the value of positive emotions show us that positive emotions broaden and build our cognitive and creative capacity.

Our search for Happiness causes us to search for pleasure, joy and for that which relieves suffering…which we gain through self-care and care of others. In the search for the good life millions of people transform themselves, their lives, communities and their environment as they deepen their understanding of the inter-connectedness of their happiness and that of the world around them. Happiness is at its’ optimum when it is shared.

“ Confucius taught a new way of finding the meaningful life through the cultivation of jen. A person of jen, Confucius observes, ‘wishing to establish her own character, also establishes the character of others’. A person of jen ‘brings the good things of others to completion and does not bring the bad things of others to completion’. Jen is felt in that deeply satisfying moment when you bring out the goodness in others.” Dacher Keltner

The state of awe, which is when we have an experience that is beyond what our best positive self could have imagined, has been demonstrated to provide enormous benefits for creativity as well as the desire and motivation to spread good feelings to others – spontaneously. During “a state of feeling awe where we experience ourselves as powerful, charismatic humans, our experiences in nature – are all founded on the sense of vastness and transcendence of the world” such “vastness becomes awe-inspiring when it requires accommodation – the process by which we update and change our core beliefs.” (Dacher Keltner)

The search for happiness is a natural and healthy state and pursuit for the mind, body, heart and soul, and essential for vitality and change agility. We are at long last be able to let go of outdated mental models that that humans are inherently flawed,  and that the search for happiness for ourselves, for our loved ones, at work, our teams and communities is  “inappropriate” or  idealistic, best left to those with rose-tinted glasses.


Vitality and the Digital Economy

We need energy and creativity  to thrive in the digital economy

Vitality originates from the Latin word: Vital, which means “life”. It is recognized through some form of dynamic expression. Vitality is more than just physical, it is also an internal experience. It is felt as deep energy, clarity, joy, stability, comfort and a sense of confidence and overall wellbeing.

Wellbeing should be seen not as only the absence of illness and disease, or the presence of health.

WellBEING refers to a healthy state of the nature or essence of a person.

Well refers to healthy, good, quality, plenty, enough

BEING refers to essence, existence, essential nature of a person.

Therefore WellBEING means a healthy and quality existence.

“You recognize your own path when you come upon it because suddenly you will have all the energy and imagination you need.” – Jerry Grilles


Swarm Organization

“A swarm organization is a decentralized, collaborative effort of volunteers that looks like a hierarchical, traditional organization from the outside. It is built by a small core of people that construct a scaffolding of go-to-people, enabling a large number of volunteers to cooperate on a common goal in quantities of people not possible before the internet was available.

Working with swam requires you to do a lot of things completely opposite from what you learn at an achetypical business school. You need to release the control of your brand and its messages. You need to delegate authority to the point where anybody can make almost any decision for the entire organization. You need to accept and embrace that people in the organization will do exactly as they please, and they only way to lead is to inspire them to want to go where you want the organization as a whole to go.”  from the book Swarmwise by Rick Falkvinger (2013)

Life’s Principles (According to Biomimicry)

What would organizations (autonomous or human) designed to follow Life’s Principle’s be like?

Applying Biomimicry to Digital Transformations will enable distributed scaling of change, while allowing for innovation and adaptability to be designed into the change. The ultimate goal is to establish the principles for vitality and anti-fragility into the essence of the organization, enabling it to develop adaptive and regenerative capabilities.

Requirements for living systems

“This hypothesis, of a basic conflict between life (syntropy) and the environment (entropy), leads to the conclusion that living systems need to satisfy 3 vital conditions:

1.acquire syntropy from the microcosm;

2. combat the dissipative effects of entropy;

3. solve the conflict between entropy and syntropy. ” (Vital Needs Theory)

“Bio means “life”.

The ultimate goal of good design is to enable life.

Biomimicry Design applies three key elements: Ethos, Re-Connect and Emulate”

What would a world designed to follow Life’s Principle’s be like?

What would organizational change designed to follow Life’s Principles be like?

Here are the design principles to enable life – from the Biomimicry Institute.


Artist Innovators

There is a kind of refusal to serve power that isn’t a revolt or a rebellion, but a revolution in the sense of reversing meanings, of changing how things are understood. Anyone who has been able to break from the grip of a controlling, crippling belief or bigotry or enforced ignorance knows the sense of coming out into the light and air, of release, being set free to fly, to transcend. — Ursula K. Le Guin

“The report, Great Minds Don’t Think Alike: Artists as Innovators in Business, Government and Society, defines Artist Innovators as artists who work outside the studio, the theater and the concert hall bringing their distinctive talents and skills into business, government and the social sector.”

“Artists have used their imagination and foresight to anticipate and catalyze dramatic shifts in human endeavor over centuries.

Painter and sculptor Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) sketched diagrams of helicopters, tanks, and parachutes hundreds of years before such technology became a reality.

Science fiction writer Jules Verne (1828-1905) not only predicted the moon landing a century before it happened, but closely approximated the weight and cost of the spaceship, the site of the launch and the ship’s return to earth, and the feeling of weightlessness the astronauts experienced. Verne also anticipated videoconferencing, skywriting, submarines, and live newscasts. With no formal background in technology, Verne relied on imagination and intuition to pioneer these vivid concepts in his fiction. Though mostly remembered for his work with the peanut, George Washington Carver (c. 1860s-1943) initially studied art and piano at Simpson College in Iowa. It was only after his art teacher recognized his talent for drawing plants that he was encouraged to pursue botany and agriculture more seriously.

Heddy Lamarr (1914-2000) achieved fame as a film actress before developing a patent for “spread-spectrum radio” during World War II. This technology sought to make torpedoes more effective by preventing radio signals from being jammed. Not only was this breakthrough adopted by the US military many years later, but it also served as an important precursor to subsequent inventions like WiFi and Bluetooth.”