Winning in the Age of Bohonomics

Archive for the month “November, 2011”

Bohos in Co-creation: Meeting the New Criteria of Quartet Helix Model

Many people say that there cannot be many “chief cooks” in a kitchen. This old wisdom is so strong that some people really behave like this wisdom should be realized everywhere in the society. Personally, I claim that questioning this old wisdom is a critical gate to better results and to new breakthrough innovations. Co-operation of people who are “able to make a difference” is a key challenge for talent management. If we don´t see this challenge, many promising possibilities are lost forever.

Co-creation is one key concept of today´s management sciences. Interactive value-creation is one element of co-creation. How to make co-creation process work? This strategic question is in many smart minds of management gurus.

The power of co-creation will be a big challenge for 21st century organizations. Famous scholars Venkat Ramaswamy and Francis Gouillart (Free Press, 2010) are talking in their book, “The Power of Co-Creation” about the co-creation (CC) principle. This principle means: “engaging people to create valuable experiences together while enhancing network economics”. According to the authors, co-creation principle has four components: (1) Experience mindset, (2) context of interactions, (3) engagement platforms and (4) network relationships. All these components are critical for the winning teams.

For example, Apple embraced co-creation principle to enhance the speed and scope of its innovation, generating over 1 $ billion for its Apple-Store partner developers in two years. Also Starbucks has launched its to create and tap into new ideas from customers. Many other successful corporations (like Nike and Unilever) have adopted the co-creation principle. We can say that the co-creation principle is already working and bringing good results. We can expect that many other organizations can get nice results with the adoption of the CC principle.

Ongoing ubiquitous technology revolution includes different kind of innovations, not only technical innovations. We will need new technical innovations, new business innovations and social innovations to “survive” ubiquitous revolution. Also the relative importance of systemic innovations is growing because of the ubiquitous revolution. Autonomous innovations are not easily developed in the ubiquitous technology environments. New innovations are built in multidisciplinary teams.

But can the CC principle work even better with the bohos? Yes it can. Co-creation means the adoption of Quartet Helix Principles, which is more challenging than Triple Helix Principle. The traditional Triple model with industries, the government and the academia is not enough for a successful innovation system. We must add consumers and users to the innovation game. Well educated and informed consumers are ready to take advantage of choice.

Mass consumption society is over, at least in post-industrialized societies. We must pay more attention to both supply and demand side of the business networks, we must take also very critical and smart lead consumers into attention. Can we do it without boho energy and knowledge? The answer is “no”.

Modern organizations need discovery-driven planning and pilot experiments. The rigid supply chain management is not enough. We must understand complex interactions of stakeholders. With the little help of ambitious boho teams we can understand d many things in a better way. How this will happen?

Moves towards the Quartet Helix Model are like baby´s walk to innovation success.

The steps are small but strategically important ones. There must be incremental goals, but also visionary goals. We must be able to set incremental goals which embower hot boho teams to make a difference. Starting small and manageably is a key issue in the co-creation processes. We must be able to specify clearly what the user and service professionals expect to do. One motivational challenge is to keep joint records achievement and performance success.

A big mistake is to give just one option for the boho teams. It is better to present many options through which they can achieve the goals and visions. The one road model does not work in the boho team management. It is also important to frame the strategy in an aspirational way to excite ambition inside a boho teams. Wise managers also understand that also bohos need role models and peer-to-peer support to build personal confidence. Information, incentives and resources are needed to make remarkable changes. Anybody understands this basic fact. We cannot expect top level results in the Mental Olympic Games without these resources. The next Prada collection is not created without information, incentives and resources. Aspirational brands are based on these kinds of special resources.

Building inner special resources inside the boho team is key issue for the management of boho teams. Boho teams needs “safe places” for co-creation processes. As we noted above, experience mindset, context of interactions, engagement platforms and network relationships are the four critical elements. All the elements are connected to the “safe places” thinking. Any place for co-creation does not work, because mental images are a critical element of co-creation process. Confidence with personal mental images plays a very important role in creative interaction and co-creation. Craze, mania, rage are words that are often used in the context of new idea creation. We cannot expect these words to be realized in dull and non inspirational environments.

We must be very critical concerning “safe places” where we will work. For very successful boho teams this issue is a critical pre-condition for innovation success.


1 Ramaswamy, Venkat and Gouillart, Francis J. (2010) The Power of Co-Creation: Build It with Them to Boost Growth, Productivity, and Profits. Simon and Schuster.
2 Ramaswamy, V. (2009) Leading the transformation to co-creation of value. Strategy and Leadership. Vol. 37 No. 2, 32-37.
Apple Store
3 Web:
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6 Web: Web
7 Web:
Triple Helix Model
8 Web:
9 Etzkowitz, H., Leydesdorff, L. (eds.) (1997). Universities in the Global Economy: A Triple Helix of University-Industry-Government Relations. Cassell Academic, London.
Quartet Helix Model
10 Kaivo-oja, Jari (2011) Futures of Innovation Systems and Systematic Innovation Systems: Towards Better Innovation Quality with New Innovation Management Tools. E-book 9/2011. Turku: Finland Futures Research Centre.
Ubiquitous technology
11 Weiser, Mark (1991) . The computer for the 21st century. Scientific American, 265(3): 94—104
12 Greenfield, Adam (2006) Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing. Berkeley, CA: New Riders.
13 Jurvansuu, Marko (2010) Roadmap to Ubiquitous World. Where the Difference between Real and Virtual is Blurred. VTT Research Notes 2574. VTT: Helsinki.
14 Web:
Aspirational brands

Innovation Flow: A Process of Making a Difference

One of the most puzzling mysteries of contemporary culture is how do changes in style and taste come about? Who are those people creating changes? There are some predictable socio-cultural patterns behind trends which shape our futures.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, the famous “boho of jazz swing time”, noted:

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.

Boho people are able to live with paradoxes and ambiguities. The rational one variable model is not a key issue for the bohos. Without bohos, it is not possible to lead an organization towards excellence because excellence requires the ability to live with paradoxes and ambiguities. Bohos can live easily with ad hoc groups, playfulness, temporary structures, hubs, unusual weak signals, technology of foolishness, shadow organizations, skunk works, cabals, wild cards and unjustified variations.
We know that trend creators and trend setters are not the most conventional people. Often they are bohemians (bohos), or geeks or even freaks. They are extremely innovative and inventive. They are not prisoners of the past. They are children of the future. They invent the future. That is why Richard Florida and other city researchers have invented “tolerance index” because they have found that bohos are needed for innovations, development and economic growth. The bohos create the bohemian city.

These groups of people are not big groups, but they are small special groups in our society. Trend creators are not homogenous group, they are very special personalities. The anatomy of emerging trends is based on trend creators and trend setters. There are both micro and macro trends. Some people create new ideas and inventions and trendsetters want to adopt these ideas and inventions.

These two special groups are at the very top of the trend model. Very often these groups are having many bohemian people – people who do things in a different way – going “out of box”. “Out of the box” is an expression that describes nonconformal, creative thinking. These people are responsible for creating or doing something special that can offset the trend.

Trend creators and trendsetters must have the potential skill that is the basis for both emotional and social intelligence. The mind involves a flow of energy and information. Some people talk about the innovation flow. Innovation flow is a psychological issue, the foundation of all innovations. It is a very interesting psychological issue, because it is a fundamental source of new ideas and inventions. Energy is the capacity to carry out an action. Energy is moving out limbs or it is an embowering though. Ability “to do stuff” is a key issue for changes in our society. Energy, information and innovation are inter-related issues in an innovation flow process.

There are many forms of human energy. We can feel radiant energy when we sit in the sun. We can use kinetic energy when we walk on the sunny beach or go for a swim. We can utilize neural energy when we think or when we talk or listen, or when we read. By definition information is anything that symbolizes something other than itself. Energy and information are complementary things in a dynamic innovation process. Without energy and information it is not possible to develop new ideas and introduce new inventions. Energy and information go hand in hand in the movement of our mind and mindsets. Our minds regulate innovation flow as well as energy and information flows. We can feel the reality of these two forms of mental experience.

We can feel energy levels and rich information flow. These two critical elements, energy and information are always present in an innovation process. We can even claim that energy and information flows create innovation flow. Because they change across time, we can sense their movement from one movement to the next movement in a dynamic, fluid and moving process. The mind´s regulation creates new pattern of energy and information flow.

Thus, we are not just observing these moving processes. We are both monitoring and modifying. The mind is real. Also our mindsights are real. The mind is a regulatory process. The mindset is creating many regulatory processes. Without strong mindsight, life becomes deadened.

It is possible to create a culture where mindsight is absent. In this kind of society we can become stuck in the physical domain, blind to the internal reality at the heart of our lives. In this kind of society no new ideas and inventions are created. Blind minds cannot lead the change. A blind mind cannot lead other blind minds. We must have bright minds and mindsets. Bright minds with energy and information flows are the foundation of innovations and innovation dynamics.

Thus, big challenge of innovation management will be deeper understanding of innovation dynamics of contemporary network organizations, fast companies and mega corporations. Understanding innovation flow, bohos, boho team dynamics and the origins of trends will be long and fascinating intellectual journey for us.

Innovation Flow
1 Web:
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F. Scott Fitzgerald
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Ad hoc
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Weak signal
7 Mendonça, S., Cunha, M.P., Kaivo-oja, J. & Ruff, F. (2004) Wild Cards, Weak Signals and Organisational Improvisation. Futures. The Journal of Forecasting, Planning and Policy, Vol. 36, Issue 2, pp. 201-218.
8 Web:
Out of box
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10 Siegel, D.J. (2010) Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation. New York: Random House.
Dan Siegel
11 Web:
12 Vejlgaard, H. (2008) Anatomy of a Trend. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Micro and Macro Trends Created by Boho Queens and Kings

It is not easy to define who is having a bohemian personality. Actually we can say that some people are obvious bohemians and some others are not so obvious bohemians. The borderline between these two social groups is in transition. New social micro trends tell about new social changes. Mark J. Penn has studied micro trends. Good examples of such micro trends according to him are in the U.S.:

  • People are retiring but continuing to work.
  • Teens are turning to knitting.
  • Geeks are becoming the most sociable people around.
  • Women are driving technology.
  • Dads are order than ever and spending more time with their kids than in the past.

These micro trends are interesting and there are many other micro trends too. They indicate that society is changing and new behavioral models are going to be more popular. We can identify many new micro trends in the field of love, sex and relationships. Work life is also an interesting field of new micro trends as well as race and religion.
Some people also create new micro trends in the very special fields of health and wellness, family life, politics, teen culture, food and diet, lifestyle, money and class, looks and fashion, technology, leisure and entertainment, education, international relations and so on.
Micro trend research and trend spotting analyses are revealing a new frontier of societal development: The colorful boho culture with creative lifestyle solutions. Mark J. Penn, the man who first identified “Soccer Moms” as a crucial constituency in President Clinton´s 1996 reelection campaign, identified in his book “Microtrends – The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow´s Big Changes” about 70 new micro trends. There are relatively small patterns of behavior in our culture – which can wield influence on a global scale.
Thus, there are many new micro trends emerging indicating one big thing. People tend to have more bohemian lifestyles in many arenas of the society. Many people are thinking “in a different way” creating micro trends. Bohemian lifestyle is not any more for artists and scientists. Bohemian ways of thinking is now “normal” also in many other segments of life. There is not anymore the “big society” with strong macro trends although some tend still to believe so, for example in the United Kingdom, where Conservative Party had a Big Society Plan as the flagship policy idea. There is a colorful society of small micro trends. This is actually a new fresh issue in social and cultural research fields.
What can we say about the impact of new emerging micro trends? We can say say that we are more and more living with very personal boho kings and queens. They create often new ideas of life and then many others will follow them. They are also trend creators.
First trend is micro-level trend and soon it can be macro level trend. Because of Internet and digital revolution these micro trends have a huge potential to be also macro trends.

1 Mark J. Penn
2 Microtrends
Penn, Mark J. & Zalesne, E. Kinney (2010) Microtrends – The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow´s Big Changes.
3. World macro trends
4. U.K. Conservative Party Big Society Plan 2010

Bohemian Attitudes and Actions

One way to define who is a bohemian person is that a bohemian person is living an unconventional life. People who are living very conventional lives are not bohemians according to this definition. This definition is including a hidden assumption that bohemian people have unconventional attitudes and they perform unconventional actions. Bohemians have many subcultures.

Attitudes, values and actions are together creating a certain kind of lifestyle. An attitude is a hypothetical construct that represents an individual’s degree of like or dislike for something. As we know an attitude matters. Lifestyle is a way of life or style of living that reflects the attitudes and values of a person or group. Bohemians have their own bohemian lifestyle. Bohemian lifestyle is a term to describe the way a bohemian lives.

While many things change, most things remain constant. Everything is not changing. For example, there have been bohemians in societies a very long time in history. Only their attitudes, values and actions have been changing.
We can say that a person is Bohemian or lives a Bohemian life, if s/he lives her/her own way, without following the conventional rules of behavior accepted as normal by the society. Typically writers, artists, poets, musicians and philosophers could commonly be found leading bohemian lifestyles in 19th century Paris, France. In Paris, drugs, alcohol and a freer attitude towards sexual expression were considered special part of the subculture and lifestyle.

Conventional way to understand bohemian lifestyle and culture is expects that bohemians are mostly artists including painters, poets, musicians, etc. who live that kind of unconventional life. There are bohemians in many occupations.
Classical examples of bohemians are Lord George Gordon Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, the famous British poets, who were Bohemians, because they did not live the way most other people of their time did. For example, Lord Byron was said to be “mad, bad and dangerous to know” as Lady Caroline Lamb described him. Poet Shelley was famous about his “uncompromising idealism”.

Idealism as a philosophical school offers an explanation of reality or human experience in which ideas or spiritual, non-materialistic elements are central and important. From this perspective we can outline that historical contexts define who are living like a bohemian lives. Bohemians in history had different attitudes and values than today´s bohemians. We can note that idealism is always based on ideas. New ideas are the foundation of bohemian thinking. In the field of arts, similarly, idealism affirms imagination and seeks to portray a mental conception of beauty, a standard of perfection, in distinction from naturalism and realism. Many bohemian artists share this kind of thinking.

Typically we can expect that who is a Bohemian just do not care what others think of their way of life. They like to be free individuals, ultra type individuals. Extreme attitudes and extreme actions are typical for bohemians. One definition of a bohemian is that a bohemian person is one who lives an artistic lifestyle, placing freedom of self-expression above all other desires, including wealth, social conformity and status.

All the bohemians are not going to be successful in their actions, although they may have a very bohemian attitude. Thus, talent level does not necessarily correlate with the level of bohemian lifestyle and associated habits. Some people end up just leading Bohemian lives without becoming great “some ones” (like great innovators or admired artists).

…all the bohemians are not winners, reaching grand victories.
Winner is one that is successful especially through praiseworthy ability and hard work.

A win is a victory. It is good to know that all the bohemians are not winners, reaching grand victories. Winner is one that is successful especially through praiseworthy ability and hard work. Bohemians are often having many abilities but they are not always hard workers. Usually society and power elite does not tolerate Bohemian attitudes, but when the person who is Bohemian is really top talented, it gives them the regard due to them.


1 Attitude
2 Value
3 Social action
4 Lifestyle
5 Bohemian
6 Bohemianism
7 Bohemian lifestyle
8 Lord George Gordon Byron
9 Percy Bysshe Shelley
10 Idealism.

The New Bohemians – The Game Changers

Yes, we want to be free.
Yes, we want to create.
Yes, we want to do what we feel passionate about.

And we are many.

Change starts never as a water-fall. Change starts from small bubbles. It emerges from those tiny movements in grassroots. From a susurrus in the willows.

Microtrends. Weak signals. Weak connections. Seeds of change. Signs of a new era where humansize is the new economics.

People want to become who they are – who they were born to be. They want to live, work and act like the Bohemians. Free and creative.

They want to win with their own unique talents and follow the mission that strikes a chord with their values. They want awesomeness instead of strongholds.

The New Bohemians are the future, they invent the future. 

Bohobusiness is a blog. It will grow into a book.  Boho is a new way to look at business. It is an eyeopener and a ticket to the outside of the box. Boho shares a new visions how a world, where the Bohemian attitude is the key to excellence, looks like.

The authors Jari Kaivo-oja “The Academic” and Cristina Andersson “The Bohemian” are experienced in studying the future and in creating ideas, inventions and innovations.

Jari and Cristina will meet the gurus, the leaders, the artists, the influencers who have the Bohemian code in their DNA. And they will share their knowledge, ideas and wisdom  to transform the Bohemian energy into a winning business.

They also want to communicate with you. You are warmly welcome to comment the blog, follow Bohobusiness on Twitter or join the conversation on Facebook.


What is life?

It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.
It is the little shadow which runs across
the grass and loses itself in the sunset.
– Crowfoot, chief of the Canadian Blackfoot tribe 

***** . order to maintain your Bohemian status, you must walk to the beat of your own handmade drum...


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