Professional amateurs

30 years ago, only 25,000 Americans finished a Marathon. In 2009, 467,000 finished it. 10 years ago, climbing the Mont Ventoux by bike was for the innovators. Now everybody asks “How many times did you clime it in one day?” 30,000 amateurs at the 20 Miles of Brussels, 20,000 amateurs at Tour of Flanders, 50,000 amateurs at the Dubai Marathon, 68,000 amateurs at the JP Morgan Race in Frankfurt, …

Open door: Individual amateurs are looking for mass events to do sports and have fun! In the back of their mind, they all want to be heroes, like Emil Zatopek.

Fabulous!!! Individuals have discovered that doing sports is good for them. That comparing their results with others is motivating them. Companies have discovered that they can use sport to coach people in their daily job. That healthy people perform better. That good causes can be linked to those events.

I wouldn’t call that a trend though. These events have crossed the chasm, convinced the early majority, and the late majority is now discovering it.


So, what’s next? In my opinion the most important trend in this area for the next years is: Collaborative Competition.

All the events mentioned above, focus on the individual. They focus on nurturing the ego.

When you look at the real world, it’s changing from an individualistic world, to a collaborative, community-driven world. A world were hyperconsumption is not done. Where ethics are high on the agenda. Where authenticity is back. A global world where people care about nature, not just their own short-term profit. A world where people start sharing again. Where new cooperative structures will see the light of day. Where family values make a difference. You get the picture right?

You don’t feel comfortable with that thought? Don’t worry and don’t be scared because it’s a good thing. It just hasn’t crossed the chasm yet and you are probably in the group of pragmatists or conservatives. Nothing wrong with that. It will take a few more years before it will hit you, but it’s inevitable.

Don’t believe me? Just look at what’s going on everywhere in the world at extremely rapid speed and think again…

How do you know if something crossed the chasm? I tend to use the general writing press or TV as a barometer. When they start to talk about it (first in a patronising tone and later more seriously), it means the late majority has discovered it.

So, in a few years from now, it will all be about doing sports with teams in a collaborative competition. Call me an early adopter surrounded by innovators. Until then, we are happy to welcome over 8,000 corporate people in teams on Hercules Trophies all over the world. You guys rock, you’ll change the world into a better place, because you are without any doubt innovators and early adopters! Kudos!!! CU soon!

Third Industrial Revolution

Fabulous interview with Jeremy Rifkin on the future. A must see. Hope it helps to see we are in the middle of one of the most challenging times ever. Hope you feel it too! Thanks for the tip Robby! I don’t like the word “Third Industrial Revolution”, I would call it the “Collaborative Revolution” or the “Distributed Revolution”. But hey, what’s in a name?

Collaborative Competition

“I’m not competitive”, some people tell me. Ahum, yeah right.

I’m paying a visit to the Datanews Awards tonight. The “crème de la crème” of the Belgian ICT sector will be present. The Top of the pops. The “place m’as tu vu” for 1000 people in black tie (except for the ladies)…but they are not competitive noooooooo sir. “It’s just for the networking and the fun of it”.

One month later – you could call it business before pleasure – the ICT Trophy, powered by Datanews, ADM and CIO Forum. Must be the 10th edition already. Over 1700 ICT people participating…but they are not competitive noooooooo sir. “It’s just for the networking and the fun of it.”

Be honest: we all want to win those Trophies!!!! There’s nothing wrong with that.

What's Mine is Yours, Book CoverI love competition. However, it’s something you have to use with care. If you would create a culture for employees to out-compete their colleagues, I’m pretty convinced that it would kill innovation. People will keep ideas to themselves to score at the right moment and the company would become slow.

That’s why I like the idea of Collaborative Competition. Stop watching all that rubbish on TV and read “Collaborative Consumption” to find out for yourself. We are in the middle of a shift from a very individualistic, narcistic, overconsuming, ego world to a Collaborative World. Swapping, sharing, bartering, trading and renting are being reinvented. Ever heard of Zipcar, Rent-a-toy, Bag Borrow & Steal, Netflix, Neighborrow, Zopa, ParkCirca, Eatwithme, and so many others? Check them out and feel the vibe.

After the great recession, people start sharing again. They feel that the ego-world is not getting them anywhere. You see the early adopters changing everywhere. The followers will follow. They join clubs again, work more in teams, share ideas, spend more time with family, don’t spend money on “stuff”, think about nature and wellbeing, innovate to outcompete…OTHER COMPANIES.

Trust becomes more important than fear, community more important than isolation. Collaboration has become extremely easy through social media tools. So why wait? Let’s all compete collaboratively 🙂

Have Herculean Datanews Awards and may the best team win!