CIIC Keynote Talks

Going forward each CIIC unconference will incorporate a keynote talk that relates to one or more aspects of interdisciplinary innovation and collaboration.

The first two CIIC unconferences in 2015 have already uncovered fundamental stumbling blocks that regularly get in the way of effective interdisciplinary collaboration and deep innovation. It  is important to recognise that most stumbling blocks are recurring anti-patterns that can only be broken by stepping outside the typical thinking patterns and metrics that are used to frame innovation challenges and related objectives.

The CIIC Keynote Talks by internationally recognised experts in interdisciplinary collaboration, innovation, organisational transformation, and thinking tools will focus on specific anti-patterns and on examples of how these anti-patterns can be overcome.


To kick off the series of CIIC Keynote Talks, we have invited Vlatka Hlupic, the Founder and CEO of the Drucker Society London, to participate in the CIIC unconference on 5 March 2016 via a video link.

Vlatka will talk about her latest book, The Management Shift, which was selected by Forbes as one of the top eight business books in 2014.

So what is The Management Shift?

The Management Shift by Vlatka Hlupic is a timely reminder that a growing number of people are independently coming to very similar conclusions on how to create lasting value, not because they all are reading exactly the same research and are attending the same conferences, but because comparable conclusions are being reached from different perspectives, and based on complementary underlying data sets.

However, no matter how compelling the reasoning and the evidence, it is up to the readers to perform the shift. More than 30 years ago W Edwards Deming raised awareness about the deadly diseases of management, and these diseases are well and alive today. Creating a shift in the hearts and the minds of those who lead and manage is long overdue.

Vlatka Hlupic’s final words in The Management Shift allow readers to take a bird’s-eye perspective of human endeavour, and to shift to a flock of bird model of collaboration.

Vlatka Hlupic correctly points out the need for giving up authority.

My recommendation for performing the shift: Don’t lead. Live! Courageously and honestly. Care about the lives of others, and trust the talents and skills of those that live by a compatible set of values. Take the front position whenever required, when you have the energy, and let your peers know when you need a break.

At upcoming CIIC unconferences we will look at further important aspects of interdisciplinary collaboration, innovation, and organisational transformation, and at related thinking tools.

Amongst other things we are intending to cover the topics of the following milestone books that have been published over the last three years:

Reinventing Organizations

Frederic Laloux, 2014

Reinventing Organizations tackles the question of how to create scalable and innovative organisations without incurring the trappings of hierarchies, which include high overhead costs, loss of organisational agility, erosion of innovative capability, and significantly reduced levels of staff engagement.

Frederic Laloux observes that the consciousness of human societies develops in stages, not unlike the stages of mental development of individuals that have been analysed and described by Robert Kegan, Lisa Laskow Lahey, and others.

What makes Reinventing Organizations a unique book that stands out is that Frederic Laloux has taken the time to analyse a dozen of non-hierarchical organisations of substantial scale, across various industries and geographies, to distil the essence of what these organisations have in common, and how their structure and behaviour differs from traditional forms of organisation.

Zero Marginal Cost Society

Jeremy Rifkin, 2014

In Zero Marginal Cost Society Jeremy Rifkin explains why zero-waste value cycles are of extreme importance.  Zero Marginal Cost Society makes the case that vertically integrated industries have no future, and that decentralised networks and collaborative niche construction define the new organisational and economic structure.

Littlebits is a very good example of the changes in innovation that Jeremy Rifkin is talking about, and it illustrates what is already available here and now. Technology evolves faster than most people realise. Vast amounts of software are open source. Software vendors increasingly provide only a thin candy wrapper around open source technology. The wrapper is becoming a distraction, and often contains no value whatsoever.

Open source hardware is not only for hobbyists. Facebook is one of the leading players in the open hardware movement. Electronics and hardware is commoditised, and it is increasingly impossible to make a big margin on technological innovation. Apple is perhaps one of the few remaining exceptions, but it is difficult to see how Apple can survive in its current form for another 20 years. Even over a 10 year period I would not want to bet on Apple or any other technology company that is not fully committed to open source.

Addicted to Performance

John S. Bircham & Heather J. Connolly, 2013

Addicted to Performance analyses the way organisations handle risks, and contains plenty of case studies that relate specifically to New Zealand and to Australia. The title hints at what happens if an organisation focuses exclusively on financial efficiency and profit.

John S. Bircham and Heather Connolly analyse the root causes that lead to  systematic ignorance of low probability risks with a high impact on society and ecological systems.

In particular two kinds of feedback loops in social-ecological systems are often ignored: Feedbacks across different levels of scale, and feedbacks between ecological and social systems.

Typically experts focus on one particular level of scale and assume the next level up or down is well taken care of by experts in corresponding domains/disciplines. There is always room for improving inter-disciplinary collaboration.


Steve Silberman, 2015

No serious discussion on the topic of innovation, learning, and collaboration can afford to ignore the relevance of neurodiversity, and in particular the role of the autistic spectrum.

The  book Neurotribes by Steve Silberman is the most impressive book on autism that I’ve read to date; the first attempt to provide a comprehensive history of autism. Neurotribes explains in depth how the damaging myth of the “autism epidemic” came about.

“Autistics are even more diverse than neurotypicals. Some are chatty, others are easily overwhelmed; others love intense sensation. Really there’s more of a range within the spectrum than there is in ‘normality’.”

One small experiment (at 36:00) goes a long way towards understanding the significance of autistics for progress and innovation. The autistic element is essential for reducing spurious complexity in human societies. Autistics learn and play differently.

Autistics communicate and enjoy themselves by sharing information and knowledge, and not by negotiating social status and reputation.

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