After 9 years working in the NGO sector, here is a presentation I recently made with 11 recommendations for NGOs and 11 recommendations for private companies that are working with NGOs.
PDF Presentation is available here.
After 9 years working in the NGO sector, here is a presentation I recently made with 11 recommendations for NGOs and 11 recommendations for private companies that are working with NGOs.
PDF Presentation is available here.
As I am ready to start Seth Godin’s altMBA, I cannot say how excited I am to begin.
They sent us 9 books that I really really believe they should have sent us earlier. And then, one and a half weeks before starting, we received this amazing list with +75 stuff they recommend us to know. If you are not very familiar with the subject, it is impossible to read and learn so much in so few days so this is the reason I decided to share this list with everyone, to help you better prepare for an amazing educational experience. Hopefully, the amazing people from altMBA won’t be upset about sharing this.
And btw, they also gave us another list, with ‘just’ 99 amazing books to read that are recommended by The Personal MBA.
Long story short, too much to read, too many MOOCs, TED to watch, podcasts to listen, and not enough time.
But what can we do? I feel being in a rat race and maybe you feel that too.
I am not saying this from the perspective of fear of missing out but from the one of not knowing the optimum recipe for learning and doing. I don’t have any fear of control and I love chaos and ambiguity, I jump in the pool and start learning as I am drowning and so far I navigated my life really nice. But I am an optimizer, in my work life and in my personal life. Why do something harder if there is a smarter way?!
Life-long learning and having a growth mindset are amazing buzz words that may sound easy but don’t get yourself fooled, you still have to put stuff inside your mind.
My challenge and my question: When do we find time to apply the things we learn if there is so much to learn? What’s the perfect receipe for the mix of actions and learning? We just block times and go with the flow?!
Frankly, I started reading very late in my life, at the end of high school. Until then I was sure I don’t like reading because I never liked anything school made me read.
One day I started reading Harry Potter and for the first time I saw that there was nothing wrong with me and then I discovered that I love reading. But it took some years to really learn how to read. The resources above and these two books helped me. Hopefully, they will help you as well.
My recommendation, based on my experience, is to follow the 5 resources I shared above in that order, from easy to harder.
Videos I usually watch/listen to at home, when doing other jobs and Podcasts I usually listen to while driving or commuting. No other tricks here. I tried to use the 1.5x-2x speed but it drives me crazy. This is why I prefer reading to watching or listening.
Thank you for your time.
I hope it was worth reading this.
Btw, I would love to hear what is your approach in learning better.
This was the first assignment from the altMBA I am going to start on the 6th of January. One month of intensive projects, discussions and debates. More about my altMBA journey in a future post.
I am more than excited that I had the opportunity to share my ideas at TEDxBucharest Metamorphosis, which took place on the 16th and 17th of November. For 2 days, around 1000 attendes came to listen to 23 speakers and 5 exclusive performances share their ideas. It was an amazing experience and the best TEDx I have been to.
Here is my presentation, the video recording will be available someday on TED.com website.
I have never bought so many non-physical products in my life (ok, except for Kindle Books and MOOC courses), so I really hope that eventually, the software won’t eat the world. The thing is that all of these apps & services are helpful and useful to me. Continue reading “Education: My 10+ Subscriptions for 2019”
It’s almost 6pm in Dubai and while an amazing sunset is just happening, I am struggling to finish my Eisenhower Fellowships Youth Leader project report, while competing in the world’s most important competition for solar houses and trying to finish something to make household energy production in Romania a reality for as many people as possible.
One year has passed since the Malaga conference in Spain with Eisenhower Fellowships, I just turned 27 a few days ago and my life has never been more interesting.
For the past few months, I have tried to make a video compilation of my last year. I find forgetting very frustrating and this is really a year I wouldn’t want to forget for so many different reasons, for all the failures and things I did well. Ironically, I have been too busy to finish the video detailing how busy I am. But I will finish it soon! I really hope I didn’t disappoint Colette.
I am Mihai, 27, I was born in Cărbunești, a small town in Romania, and I am now living in Bucharest, Romania’s capital city. I believe in social change through smart design —incorporating architecture, engineering and sustainability. I love to create not just products, but experiences and communities to make people’s lives healthier, happier and more productive. In the last 8 years, I have participated in 3 editions of this competition, designing and building 3 multi-awarded houses and I have also changed a law.
When I was 18, due to my sister’s recommendation, I joined the first group of what came to become the PRISPA team. In 2010 I learnt how to dream, but more importantly, I’ve seen dreams becoming reality – Romania’s participation in the world’s most important competition for solar homes ‘Solar Decathlon’. Back then it was a challenge so big and so unexpected for our country that that only crazy people like the PRISPA team could think of it. Their craziness inspired and transformed me.
Being part of an interdisciplinary team unified by a single goal, to design and built an amazing solar house was a life-changing experience for me. I learned that passion can overcome knowledge. To a point.
It was 2010 and we started from scratch, we had to design, to fundraise and build with our own hands the house in Romania. After two months of testing and visiting, we had to disassemble it, transport it 2500 km to Madrid and reassemble it in just 14 days and participate in the competition with other teams that brought their houses to Madrid, the meeting point for more than 600 students across the world.
After 2 beautiful years of complete madness, I’ve learned something more important, that a dream could die as well. Due to financial constraints, we had to sell the PRISPA house to be able to participate in the competition so when we returned home, we rebuilt the house for the owner and the project died. I then realised that sometimes people could live together even with different dreams. PRISPA’s dream was to reach the competition, while my own, personal dream was to make it a long lasting experience for others, to change others as it changed me.
That moment was crucial in the trajectory of my life, how everything I’ve done so far is influenced by the decisions I took when I was 18 and 20. I’ve experienced the domino effect on my own, the best of it.
I really felt that participating in the next Solar Decathlon was a responsibility, to create a context for innovation for others as others created that for me.
As PRISPA died something new had to be born and along with a few old colleagues from the team, we created what came to become EFdeN – today one of Romania’s most important NGOs in sustainability, having more than 10 projects so far and actually changing a law.
We created a context for innovation, a place where students and young people could meet, inspire each other, create a common dream and start building it. I am still fascinated by how powerful this strategy can be.
Give people the tools, and they will build anything. Give people context and they will realise amazing things. Therefore creating tools and context becomes both a priority and a responsibility.
Due to my lack of experience and some decisions we didn’t take in time, we ended next to last in the competition, in Versailles, in Romania’s second participation to Solar Decathlon, the first one for me as a manager.This was disastrous for our country’s officials and universities (even though they didn’t do much to help us along the way),
Some people considered me accountable for this failure and they were right, it was my fault it ended that way. Unfortunately, I did not know any better at that time.
I am still amazed that we got eventually in the competition taking into consideration all that happened and I cannot see any other result in that context.
On the other side this was the year I was supposed to graduate and become a civil engineer, but because I had to decide what was my top priority, I had to postpone my graduation with one year. My parents were devasted, disappointed and upset. Luckily they got over that, and they are now are very proud of what I have done.
Furthermore, all the team vanished after the competition, just 5 of us remained. Our former colleagues have fulfilled their dream to participate in the contest. We were very tired, with a house inside 9 trucks, with no money, bills to pay, we didn’t have a final destination for the house.
That year I learnt how to fail, but not to give up and I wouldn’t change a thing, pain is the best educator. It was a very tough period, physical, emotional and psychological. Having survived 2014, I feel that nothing could make me scared again expect health issues. Transforming a failure into a succes is a good think to know.
In 2014 we come back with the house and in 2015 our house became Romania’s first Research Center for Comfort Conditions, we overcome the challenges and become a success story. After trying to feed in all the energy we were not consuming into the grid, we become frustrated because it was just not possible in Romania, so we decided to tackle this problem as well even if that meant to change a law. One step at a time.
If EFdeN was a project for a big team that consumed a lot of time, the reality was that in energiaTa there were two of us, with some member help from time to time. As we did not have time or money, we had to create a context for change, to crowdsource. How we did that is a longer story for another time but we used the same domino approach we always did, the Pareto principle: the small rock that can move a mountain. Meanwhile, we created Romania biggest prosumers community,
I got scared for my country’s future. And I mean really scared. Automation, digitalisation and AI will lift productivity and economic growth, but millions of people worldwide may need to switch occupations or upgrade skills. In the next 25 years, around 47% of today’s jobs will disappear according to Oxford, anything that is routine or repetitive will be automated. Furthermore, a research by Dell told us that 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t even been invented yet.
No country is prepared for the 4th industrial revolution, but while some have already started to address the challenge, Romania is still in denial.
Romania’s educational system is a mess, we have the biggest percentage of emigration in the world, in a time of peace. It looks like everyone is abandoning the sinking ship and robots will make all this worse. Low skilled labour will be almost completely replaced and people with high skills are leaving the country, tired of fighting against corruption, living in a country with a bad health and social infrastructure, tired of spending their life in traffic (Bucharest is the world’s 3rd most congested city) and for many other reasons.
The house we designed and built in Romania this summer is now one of the 15 solar houses producing energy in Solar Innovation Centre, just 15 km away from Burj Kalifa, an amazing and innovative home created by a team of students and young people in Romania. You can visit our house and 14 others until 29th of December.
I love technology and as the fire was used to change the world for the better it can also be used for bad things. Technology is a tool and it is our responsibility to use it wisely. Our mission at EFdeN in the past few years was to create a context for innovation, a place where people with energy could meet and learn that they have the power to transform their ideas into reality, to get all the resources they need. We are preparing people for the 4th industrial revolution, not just to survive, but to thrive.
Our mission at EFdeN has always been to create sustainable homes and lifestyle in order to have better cities and happier people. We are doing this by empowering the youth to dream, design and build products involving organisations and institutions in an interdisciplinary and practical collaborative experience. We believe that we have a responsibility in creating the future we want, we do not simply wait for it to happen.
In 2015 I was invited to COP21, in 2016 in the European Parliament, in 2017 to One Planet Summit and in 2018 I attended World Urban Forum – four experiences that have had a profound impact on my life, that made me want to get involved in protecting climate change by changing the built environment, to create communities that sparkle civic involvement.
Furthermore, Eisenhower Fellowships, Future Energy Leaders, or the Aspen Community are all context I got involved. We collectively shape the environment and the environment shapes us back. I believe that we need to create the society we want and for that, we have to care, to act, to resist. Working together for a higher purpose than ourselves is what energises me and keeps me moving. Love and hope are the drivers for happiness.
As EFdeN is now an established organisation, being one of the most important NGOs in Romania, winning more than 25 national and international awards in the last years, I am very excited about my next adventure. 2018 was the best year so far and I plan for a better and more amazing 2019, this will be the 3rd year of my 50 years plan!
My goal is to create better living by creating affordable houses that proudly represent the 21st century. Houses that are Safe, Gorgeous, Sustainable, Intelligent and offer an amazing User Experience.
”Stay young, stay foolish.” as Steve Jobs said a while back.
Tori‘s invitation yesterday to Impact #HubTalks event: ”Who’s afraid of technology” got me thinking more on how much should we be fearful of technology, how much of our privacy we have to give up to and how much we’ll still have? These are questions people somehow always asked, nothing is new besides the technology itself. Some of the things here I already told yesterday, but for those of you who didn’t get to the event, there’s a 5-minute version you can check below.
It is natural to be afraid of new things and technologies because we are afraid of dying and accidents. Being too precocious is also dangerous on long term survival. There is no black and white, or hero and vellain, there are strings of possibilities.
Fire is technology, one of the most disruptive that have ever been. Technology has always been just an amplifier that we can use it to do good or to do wrong, being deeply helpful or hazardous. A knife is a handy tool which with we can cook or do surgery, but we can also stub someone and kill. Is there an option ar a proper option to forbid knives? Can we testify against knives or fire or TNT’s importance in humans progress? No, and we shouldn’t.
Even though technology also amplifies bad people’s power, we should˜t waste our energy on worrying. We should focus on making more good-people and less bad-people by better and more accessible value-based education, mare a more just and inclusive world, promoting equality and solving social disparity, amongst others. Our actions are changing the world, not technology. Technology’s purpose is either to make things more efficient, to advance our comfort or health, or to entertain us one way or the other.
We have all kinds of abuses happening. In the last 2.5 millions of years of human existence, even if we have evolved a lot, we are still having a lot of animal instincts that are driving our actions. The questions on dependence and use of technology revolved now around AI and the psychological consequences of creating a virtual-society in which we came to live. We have to be the masters of our desires and actions, stopping blaming the mayor, the country, the president or the climate for everything is not working well.
Not too much into the future, we will be able to create simulators in which we could be our own worlds creators, destroyers, the gods we always dreamt of being, without any consequences to the real world, without having to work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. The ultimate game, the only one could beat the previous world largest and longest game ever played called Religion – just one of many great insights I read in Yuval Noah Harari’s book: Sapiens, that I recommend you read it.
The world we are now creating will generate one of the most significant challenges we have ever encounter, competition from another entity that can do things better, faster and cheaper than we can and we cannot out-smart it. And it is not that stupid, it can generate millions of simulations to pick the best choice, can test rapidly and incredible trial amounts of iterations, it can work simultaneously with a massive amount of data. It doesn’t get sick, holidays, children, cold or bad days, cheaper to maintain. It just works.
So how do we compete with machines? We know we cannot stop technology or progress and either way this would be dumb. There’s no option to live without technology, we are stuck forever. In the next 25 years, around 47% of today’s jobs will disappear according to Oxford, anything that is routine or repetitive will be automated. Furthermore, Dell tells us that 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet. At first, we were afraid of fire. Now we are so scared of cyborgs in a word that cyborgs exist for tens of years in forms of peacemakers, mechanicals arms or legs, or different kinds of implants.
The main difference in this 4th industrial revolution on is that low skilled labor will almost disappear entirely. Fascinating thought, home caring will last longer than almost everything else because being kind, warm and empathic is just something that machines could not easily do. Before the Industrial Revolution, about 80% of the world’s population was engaged in farming, today in the U.S. less than 1% of people list their occupation as farming. All these people migrated to other low-skilled jobs, easily finding other working places. Today ‘the other jobs’ are starting to require high skills and the education system today is not preparing people for this future.
Echo-chambers and social bubbles are some significant destructive things in our society today that are amplifying the belief we already have out of which some are wrong. Is not only we are not having others points of view on the world, but we are losing the ability to change our minds and be open to the possibility. I am not afraid because it is a trap quickly to escape. You have to find the courage to push the X button and disable your mobile notifications, get out your comfort zone and talk to our neighbors and people from other places, social, economic and cultural backgrounds have to say.
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. – Nelson Mandela
What will be humans’ purpose in a world in which you don’t have to work anymore? How this will change us, this is something that never happened in our history of 2.5 million years. It will be for the first time we will go from the auto-pilot called: education – work – parenting – retirement – dying to a new model of living. Spirituality, art or culture could be answers to this search for purpose. Therefore we have to go back to the hard questions of life and philosophy.
If you are not creating the future, at least don’t let it take you by surprise. We have to read and share as much as we can about what we are passionate about, as vast in time and space as we can.
It would be a good idea to keep an eye on what futurologists have to say about it – the future. Predicting trends while trying to anticipate the future is no wizardry, the most prominent tech companies are employing these people, an example being Ray Kurzweil who is one of the most famous futurologists. You can read some of his predictions here. According to Kurzweil, “the singularity” will occur in 2045, he is the intellectual and inventor who predicted — among other things — the fall of the Soviet Union and the rapid expansion of the internet back in 1990. Or watch this video with Jerome C. Glenn about the State of the future report. I would also suggest learning more about the product as a service and the future of owning nothing.
Photo Credit: ImpactHub – a place, btw, I totally recommend.
If you want to receive a monthly newsletter, you can subscribe here. In the next article, I will try to tackle ”How technology will change buildings and cities”.
I am thinking a lot about how can you introduce this kind of policy into an organization and what others tweaks you have to make to function correctly. I see this as the best way to achieve a growth mindset, in which you are responsible for anything even though you have to admit that no one is controlling everything.
Even though the chances for something to occur were 1 in a million, when that happened I always believed it was my fault because I didn’t anticipate and I had no excuses for that. I am not saying this should be stressful, painful, or damaging in any way, I am thinking about how you could incorporate this mindset into an organizational culture.
On the other hand, you have to be able to understand the reasons something didn’t go as planned, so you have to remove excuses for someone’s bad decisions, but not to remove all the process that led to that. It is critical to sincerely analyze a situation to be able to repair it or optimize it for future use.
Furthermore is essential to create a safe environment in which people could experiment, fail and repair, discover new things and innovate, even though excuses are not allowed.
We put way too much value on ideas and way too little in implementation. Do not get my wrong, ideas are critical, but implementation is the real challenge. iPhone was not the first smartphone, or the fist touchscreen phone. It was the best implemented. iPod same. iPad the same. Tesla also.
I am not saying you should go and share you detailed plan, financials and analysis, or explain your trademark technology. This is the implementation part and it’s your work and share it wisely. But please don’t be afraid to share ideas, because people will help, give feedback, get on board. Test your ideas as often as possible. You may be wrong.
I am not a fan of bad publicity is good publicity, because reputation is more important now than ever, but you have to become a person others know, you have to make your idea known into the world, a world that you choose most appropriate to. If someone search for references about your, it is important to find them easily and elogiative. The way people talk about you when you are not around is the personal branding.
If someone will steal your idea and implement it is actually a good thing. It could show you it was something easy to do and you always had a lots of competition for easy to do stuff. If he or she will fail then you will learn out of that what worked and what didn’t, or if the market was too small you won’t find your place.
They are usually doing a favour, they are teaching you the hard way. This doesn’t imply that if you want to do good you should steal, there are other way to maximise your impact that doesn’t request you to do immoral or illegal acts. But this is another story.
Questions open new worlds, while answers just shut them down. There are not many questions I really love and find very useful, critical to a person’s development, but there are a few. Why is one of them and it is a very generous questions you can always use. What more can we do is an other one. How might we is the third one.
I would add some more: Is there any better way? Is there any possibility for me to be wrong? Is this really true in any situation? Who could do this better than me? It’s a check system, check for failure, check for success and anything.
I am more focused on good questions than on good answers, the better the questions, the harder the answer. Interesting though, even if it is harder, is more useful and make decisions easier on the long run because if cuts through all the noise and capture the essence of the situation. We live in busy world, information flows everywhere and competes for our attention. In such a world to be able to sort out what is really important became an extremely valuable skill.
Why is the questions so important is that drives you to be curious, to search for more, to really believe there is more than meets the eye, that there are other possibilities, other ways, other solutions, there is more to be pursued. And to get more, you have to do more and here it is the second value in this questions, that evolution is a function of us, you cannot have it done for you, but you have to go down in the trances and work your way up to success.
Asking questions is not a weekend hobby or an exercise for when you are bored. Asking questions should dictate our every moment, to create a habit of questioning everything in any way we feel appropriate to. Questioning is about learning, about understanding particularities and the process that concentrated into a decision, but also anticipating its consequences. Leaderships is neither simple, nor complicated, it is complex.
We do not have a receipt for leadership, we have frameworks, experience and questions and we should use them wisely, with hope and love.Follow the questions sincerely and pay respect to truth, don’t try to question or answer to prove something. Only then you can be freed and search for an answer, not only for you approval or orher’s dissproval.
That hard questions in life are not easy or fast to answer so be patient. If you don’t have the correct answer, let the question unanswered. Usually this is better not to know than to knot wrong, because you continue to search and someday you might find the correct answer(s).