How was it possible that we did not have to lay off anyone as we went through a very tough economic situation a few years ago? It was not clear at the time, but I now realize we were "innovating from the heart." Our focus was not just on product or service innovation, but on innovating the ways we worked together so we could protect our people and still succeed economically. By bringing everyone into the process, we were able to eliminate 50 percent of the costs, expand business and provide stabile employment.
The photo shows our VP of HR, the China Sales Manager and me, the CEO of this high tech German-American joint-venture. Notice the happiness and relief of what we had accomplished, thanks to the willingness of everyone to "co-create our future ... together.
What we had accomplished became even clearer as I was speaking at the World Congress on Intellectual Capital at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada on the 15th of January 2003, the 73rd birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King. My topic: "The Self-Reflexive nature of Human Work in Community, the Key to Collaborative Commerce." His ability to "dream" was and is contagious. And John Naisbitt, in Megatrends reminds us that "The most exciting breakthrough of the 21st century will occur not because of technology, but because of an expanding concept of what it means to be human.
At the very end of 2003 my beloved father, who had taught me about living from the heart, passed away. At this time I'd been preparing to again speak at McMaster University's World Congress, but this time on the topic of Corporate Governance: "Moving Beyond Compliance and Control: Building a Values-Based Corporate Governance Culture - of Mutual Accountability."
Given his death, I was unable to attend, but Dr. Judith Gabor, a close Jewish friend, was so kind to give the presentation for me. Coincidently, her mother, one of the last survivors of the Auschwitz concentration camp, passed on the 23rd of December 2008. Her mother, Cathy Gabor, a remarkable person, stood for the transformation of the feelings of negative emotions to virtous behavior, and mind attunement leading to surrender in terms of allowing her quantum presence to be the governing intelligence over her feelings and thought domains.
So where does our positive audacity come from? This Christmas my step daughter gave me Barack Obama's book, The Audacity of Hope. He deeply honors his wife as a peer partner, holds positive images of the future, envisions the investments in new opportunities, and encourages the willingness to build together a decent way of life for all. Here is another illustration of the "innovation of the heart."
Might our ability to innovate from the heart in a co-creative way help overcome the gloom in the global economy? As King, Naisbitt, Cathy Gabor and Obama still remind us of the need to envision and co-create our future, it is really up to each of us, you and me - please join us in this great venture.