It all started in 1996. In this year I was asked to become a member of the HP Corporate Advisory Board, the ESPRIT Advisory Board and the W3C-Advisory Board. Suddenly I started to talk with very high level executives about the Future.
ESPRIT is a huge program of the European Union. It invests money in Research all over Europe. Every four years the priorities are formulated and I was asked by the Dutch Government to be the Dutch representative.
The panel was constructed by combining Country and Branch. I was the Netherlands and Banking. Another member came from the UK and was an expert in the Future of Medicine. We were asked to give a presentation about our expertise. Later all the presentations would be merged in next sessions.
It was a big surprise to the managers of ESPRIT that we were telling more or less the same story. Finding a shared view always took many discussions but we finished in one day.
I asked my manager if I could visit my colleagues of the panel to dig deeper in what they were telling. At that time I was responsible for Corporate Search. I had to define the Future Strategy of the Bank. After some explaining he agreed and I traveled Europe.
What we found out was that behind the scene a new shared foundation was visible. Every Industry was moving to a Center and out of the Center completely new Industries would emerge.
In 1996 I wrote the first English document I ever produced. It was about the Future of Banking. A few citations:
“By definition, the bank has always been a facilitator of trading processes”. It means that the bank must try to penetrate more deeply into the sales and production processes of the suppliers”, “the role of the intermediary will have to be investigated, and the positioning of the bank at the user-interface of the client (in the first instance, private client) defined. What is more, it is recommended that we do not sell only our own products. In the private client market, the struggle will revolve around the user-interface and ‘convenience’. Customers must be captured, seduced and retained. The ‘convenience’ is created when the ‘network organization’ (bank + retailer + producer, if there is one) finds ways of relieving the customer of certain troublesome matters“.
The document was discussed on many levels in the Company. To my big surprise the majority of the senior managers found the document interesting but in essence they did not believe “this” would ever happen. Banking would stay the same “for Ever”. It was a nice Vision but it was not based on Reality. I produced many other Presentations and Documents to show what was happening. I even build a Demonstrator together with Scientists of the Erasmus University (Eurides, Ron Lee & Yao Tan). It used Deontic Logic. The Demonstrator was financed by the EG ESPRIT Fund.
A year later I left the bank. My first job was to create a lobby office of ABN AMRO in Brussels. My ESPRIT-contacts proved to be of great help.
The new emerging foundation came back in many activities between 1997 and today. In March 2006 I finally saw the Light. To share my insight I wrote a document called “The Moving Boundary” (Dutch, De bewegende grens). Suddenly I saw that we were not only moving to a new foundation but that the foundation, the Center, was “On The Move itself”. I used a new Prediction of the Dutch Cultural Planning Bureau (SCP) to prove my point.
The SCP showed that five (!) factors were the main drivers. They called the drivers Individualization, Intensivation, Globalization, Automation and Informal-isation. I mapped the five factors on the Model of Will McWhinney and hoped one of the five factors would disappear. At that time I believed in four World Views.
Suddenly I saw that the factor Informal-sation was related to a Center. This center is pushed by four forces Equality, Diversity, Uniqueness and Cooperation. They are trying to find Balance. Until that time the Centre is moving in many directions. Every time we think we have found something to “Hold On” it moves.
I found out that we are moving from the time of the OR to the time of the AND. Before the Center started to move we had a Choice.
We could be in favor of Equality (Conservative, Christian Democrats), Uniqueness (Liberal) or Cooperation/Solidarity (Socialist) but the old boundaries are disappearing.
The Old Parties are holding hands in the Political Democratic Centre of The Hague but also Centralized Democracy is not a concept that is there to stay.
The AND-process in politics showed itself for the first time in 2002. A completely new party led by Pim Fortuyn took over Dutch Politics like an Earthquake. Unfortunately Pim Fortuin was killed just before the Elections. Many people believe it was a Political Crime.
The Netherlands are still in a very incomprehensible process of political restructuring. New parties grow and die. Old parties are splitting and restructuring.
The central structure of the EG is falling. Many “old time” politicians are playing strange games to show that people of Europe like what is happening in Brussels. They all know they are unable to hold the European Center.
The same is happening with NATO and the UN.
The Center is Moving!
Much later I discovered the Final Secret.
The Center is now moving at random but is trying to Jump to a new Level.
The Jump can be a Fall or a Rise.