Winning in the Age of Bohonomics

Archive for the month “March, 2012”

From Baby Boomers to Bohemian Late Bloomers

“Demographics is the single most important factor that nobody pays attention to, and when they do pay attention, they miss the point”.  – Peter Drucker

“Why does longevity matter?” asks Professor Amlan Roy at the seminar “People Plan: Designing For Finland’s New Economy” organized in the Helsinki City Hall by AmCham  and Mandatum Life.

The governments’ answer is that we need to rise the age of retirement and invest in healthcare. But that is not the answer we hear from Professor Roy. Whilst he does not deny the need for the action presented by the governments he says that the most important question we must ask is “what are people doing during their at least 20 years of life post retirement”.  Prof. Roy repeats “don’t look at people’s ages look at what they do and what they consume” so many times that you cannot but think that he has a point there. Not only does he say it but he presents an impressive study to support his words. Yes, what he says is truly disruptive – yet so Bohemian: people indeed are not groups of different age categories; they are individuals, consuming and working on different things.

The fingers are often pointed at the Baby Boomers. Younger people say that they are afraid what happens when the Baby Boomers retire. Who is going to pay for their terminal care? Seldom, hardly never, have I heard anybody ask: what will they do on their years of post-retirement?

The Baby Boomers is a most interesting group. They are people who perhaps sacrificed fulfilling their dreams to the common purpose of building great societies, infrastructures, markets and democracies – countries and states where it would be good to live in. And they succeeded. Take Finland for example. From a war-torn wreck of a country to a blooming economy, and in a reasonably short period of time. Many thanks go to the Baby Boomers.

Baby Boomers saw the rise of the Bohemian. They experienced  the golden age of the music and movies. On their holidays they travelled to Rostock, Woodstock and Human Be-In.  They saw the rise and fall of the Hippie movement. They shared the vision of world peace and contributed to a better world by working in factories to create the wealth that the nations needed to keep up with the development of the markets and social systems. They wanted to see their children educated with better possibilities for good life than they had received in birth.

But the also the hippies are retiring. What will they do? Is the dream still alive and strong? Will they re-invent the movement? Unite to a powerful tribe with flowers in the hair?

From the Boho point of view the Baby Boomers might just be the best thing that is going on in the world. The Baby Boomers are still looking for a chance to start living the dream they once had. The dream where they will make a difference as a human being, as an individual – as a person who does something that has meaning and value. They are one of the key ingredients of the Generation M. M for Movement, a definition by economist Umair Haque. Haque says: “… generation M is a… growing number of people who are acting very differently. They are doing meaningful stuff that matters the most. ” Generation M is obviously the generation of the Modern Bohemians, Bohos, and we believe that a vast number of Baby Boomers are included in this generation. We might as well call them the Late Bloomers. People who make their talent bloom in the late phase of their lives.

There are already learning programs clearly aimed at the Late Bloomers. Such as The Swing which purpose is to teach the world to sing with a target group of Late Bloomers. Surely many of the Baby Boomers wish to make their artistic talent bloom once they have the time and many also the necessary resources.

Yes indeed. The Late Bloomers are a most potential group to make the Boho vision come true. They once helped to build the material world now they can contribute to the mental and spiritual powers of people. As robotization and automation strongly progress the Late Bloomers will be needed as artists, athletes, inventors, leaders, mentors, thinkers, celebrities, philosophers, scientists, role models, supporters, serendipitors, networkers, connectors, authors, readers. Bohemians. Yes we need them mostly as free souls who detach, break loose from the old patterns. People who come out of the closets and boxes, and show that embarrassment is only a stupid word that can be translated as “barrier to creativity”.

Talent is capital for all, not only for the children and the young. Hidden or latent talent can be awakened at any age and also turned into economic activity and – why not – a career. In fact we need to do so in order not only to help the retirees to enjoy a good life but also to help create a new competitive edge for nations, companies and entrepreneurs.


Cultural Mediocrity and Bohemians as Change Makers of Organizational Cultures

Bohemian persons are often feeling otherness, and often they feels they are in some way misunderstood. A bohemian, who do not fit the typical “average” category, has many challenges and problems, because this “average” category is considered in many organizations the only right category. Many talented people have to deal with the fringes of society in order to realize their dreams and visions.

In many cases bohemians are neglected because of “work place democracy”. However, we know that the limitations of democracy lie in the moral, and even spiritual, quality of the electorate. A democracy is as good as its people and tends to promote a moral and cultural mediocrity. One paradox of today is that modern democratic society seems to be characterized by a rising tide of trivia and empty entertainment. Ordinary citizens may want more, but also bohemians want more, much more.

For many organizations it is typical that they allow the bold thinking only in specific circumstances. Courage to break with can be taken in general in the context of “development Days”, “creativity workshops” or “spring assembly events”. On other days of a year bohemian experts will be “hippies”, “nerds” and “persons with propeller hats”. They are the ones all other in the “organizational chart” can laugh at good will. For a bohemian it is typical that they are not taken particularly seriously or other experts underestimate their performances.

When one talks about bohemians, there are often presented different characterizations of a bohemian person. Typical classifications for bohemians are:

• The diversity of competences,
• spontaneity,
• robustness
• living in the moment,
• artistry,
• ambivalence, and ambivertism,
• the ability to be inspired,
• vagary,
• angularity,
• roughness, and
• a strong character.

These characterizations are certainly in the right direction to characterize the bohemian tribe. In the reality, however, bohemians can be found from very different social and ethnic origins. Bohemians may be both men and women, as well as a bohemian can also be found in different age groups. Actually, there is no single psychological standard definition for the bohemian people. Bohemians are special kinds of people who also want emphasize the specificity of their own.

Bohemian man can be extroverted, but there are also inward-looking bohemians, not so expressive. Bohemian people work very often in creative professions and have broad innovative potential of the toughest technical and social applications. Art, science, sports, and economic life are attractive fields of life for bohemians. Bohemians can provide creative contributions to these important areas of life.

A bohemian is a person who is often not suitable for the average person’s profile. Bohemians often want to consciously stand out from the masses and have different social contexts and “tribes”. People see and perceive bohemians usually strange – even the difficult people to handle. The authenticity and the inner voice, listening oneself are important things for bohemians. Bohemian people are generally interested in unconventional ideas and novel practices. They are interested in new ideas, inventions and proposals.

Generally, they are often called to invent and re-invent different policy areas and to be pioneers of new ideas and ideologies.
In many organizations, bohemian life style is a challenge and many organizations have difficulties to rigid adapt organizational systems and relationships to bohemian styles. Many corporate organizations and public sector organizations want – consciously or unconsciously – to recruit – not so bohemian employees, who work quietly to make standards things and projects routinely and in a mechanical way like in old industrial organizations. In the future, these types of people and organizations trying to be mechanic robots and robot societies will be easily substituted with robots and new smart technologies.

Many organizations are also such that bohemians cannot easily present their new ideas and take active initiatives on new challenges. Rigid hierarchies and inflexible organizational silos prevent organizations from obtaining access to the best creative human capital. New, bohemian types of organizations are first facing major challenges to do the right thing. If bohemian personalities are allowed to take creative and new roles and flexible job descriptions, they also tend to engage actively in these roles and job descriptions.

Bohemian persons are able to change schemata in the organizations. Schemata, whether plural of schema, are knowledge structures a person forms from past experiences. Bohemian can create new forms of schemata and reformulate old schemata.

Incentive structures of bohemian organizations are different compared with industrial organizations of Taylorism. “Synthesized workflows” approach of Taylorism is not the right approach to create unique products and services. So called “scientific management” must be reformulated, if we want to keep members of creative class inside the box of scientific management. This challenge is not a small one. We must re-define organizational paradigms, control systems, organizational structures, power structures, symbols, organizational rituals and routines. Even stories and myths of organizations must be re-invented.

For many business organizations would do well to think about it they are able to offer reasonable opportunities for bohemian talents to make a special contribution in their organization. Without re-inventing their organizational systems, leadership patterns and management styles this will be a mission impossible. Why organizational cultures develop in organizations is due to external adaptation and internal integration. Bohemian people play a special role both in external adaptation process and internal integration process. That is why bohemians´ role cannot be neglected in the post-modern organizations. External adaptation reflects an evolutionary approach to organizational culture. Internal integration is an important function since social structures are required for organizations to exist. Thus bohemians are key players from the evolutionary and functional organizational perspectives. Bohemians can create strong cultures inside organizations. The “average approach” leads to weak culture. Weak culture means that there is little alignment with organizational values and control must be exercised through extensive procedures and bureaucracy. Strong culture is said to exist where staff respond to stimulus because of their alignment to organizational values.

If the organization’s culture is too “average oriented” and favors “middle of the road” recruitments, bohemians of the creative class do not offer their unique talents to such organizational structures and cultures. In this old-fashioned organizational culture scenario, they will have to seek new dynamic organizations or start-up their own businesses. General and very typical assumption is that the workers should be as robots. This approch will not help to attract bohemian talents, because they do not want to be like robots. Permissiveness, tolerance and deeper cultural understanding of diversity are important issues for organizations that really want to get top experts and keep them in their organizations.


1 Beyond mediocrity
2 Organizational culture
3 Schemata
Mandler, J. M. (1984) Stories, Scripts, and Scenes: Aspects of Schema Theory. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Widmayer, Sharon Alayne (2012) Schema Theory: An Introduction. George Mason University.
4 Organization research
Handy, Charles B. (1976) Understanding Organizations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Barney, J. B. (1986) Organizational culture: Can it be a source of sustained competitive advantage?. Academy of Management Review, 11(3), pp. 656-665.
Shein, Edgar (1992) Organizational Culture and Leadership: A Dynamic View. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Zhang, Xibao (2009) Values, Expectations, Ad Hoc Rules, and Culture Emergence in International Cross Cultural Management Contexts. New York: Nova Science Publishers.
5 Frederick Winslow Taylor
6 Scientific management

Challenging Futures of Human Beings and Creative Class: Visions of Robots, Bohemians, Bohemian Robots and Robotized Bohemians

The concept of robotization was presented in 1927. Robotization is the process of turning a human being into a robot. Close synonyms of robotization are mechanization and automation. In the on-going process of robotization humans will be made persons who are machinelike, as in giving responses or performing work. Robotized assembly lines are good examples of robotization. Robotization has not reached saturation point.

Just as William Whyte’s 1956 classic book The Organization Man showed how the organizational ethos of that industrial age permeated every aspect of life, Richard Florida described a society in which the creative ethos is increasingly dominant. The rise of creative class is today´s reality in the global economy. Millions of people are beginning to work and live much as creative types like artists and scientists always have done. This “creative class” is found in a variety of business fields, art to science, research to development, biotech to education, from engineering to theater, and architecture to small business. In this way the scale and scope of bohemian cultures is broadening. In the future, members of the creative class will determine how workplaces are organized, what companies will prosper or go bankrupt, and even which cities will thrive or wither. Bohemians of the creative class are really important social group. Our mind sights, core values, tastes, our personal relationships, our choices of where to live, and even our sense and use of time are changing radically.

Now robotization is coming to other business and societal areas, to more complex work tasks, even to the works of creative class. For example, robotization of war and robotization of many welfare health services are going on. In the field of information technology applications, ubiquitous technologies make robotization more intensive and fast. Robots will be combinations of hardware and software. Ubiquitous technologies combine hardware and software systems.

Now, it is actual situation to reflect what human´s destiny is in the highly robotized society. Reorganization of the labor market is in front of us. For example, we can just ask, what China and India will do with the on-going robotization process?
Bohemians are very different compared to bohemians. Bohemians are not as obedient as robots. An obedient worker is still the ideal employee compared to the bohemian workers. Bohemian employees are expected to be more sick leaves compared with the robots. Robots need just technical maintainers. People need more extensive support services, for example, occupational health services and holidays. Robots do not go crazy. Robots can also work on weekends. So robots are having a lot of advantages compared to the bohemian people.

In the robotized society leadership, management and strategies will change significantly. The term “singularity” was coined by science fiction writer Vernor Vinge, who argues that artificial intelligence, human biological enhancement or brain-computer interfaces could be possible causes of the singularity. Especially people’s own self-management strategies and models will be important issues. The big challenge of post-modern societies is the thorough preparation of the fact that robots are superior workers compared to humans. We can reasonably argue that in the conditions of robotization, people should become even more human, unique and special. Man cannot survive in the competition with robots in other way than by highlighting her/his own special human characters.

Actually all the humans will face a strong pressure to be more bohemians, very special persons. A bohemian robot is a future vision, which is not so easy to engineer or re-engineer. Avoiding becoming an average is a big challenge for people in the robotized industries and business life. Always some of the medium must be matched. This problem will remain.

A bohemian robot is less likely to be the future mission that a robotized bohemian. Actually both “robot” missions are still challenging. We can expect that in the futures there will be all the variations of robotization.

And machine intelligence, a product of human design, will be far more intelligent than its human creator. Thus, there will be bohemians, robots and robotized bohemians and bohemian robots. How long this process takes, is still an open question.

Technological singularity refers to the hypothetical future emergence of greater-than-human intelligence through technological means, very probably resulting in explosive super-intelligence. Singularity expert and scholar Raymond Kurzweil notes that the expected milestone year will be 2045 in terms of when he expects computer-based intelligences to significantly exceed the sum total of human brainpower.

Kurzweil predicts also that silicon-based life forms with the thinking capacity of humans should start arriving on the scene around 2029. This technological forecasting estimate is based on Kurzweil’s theory of “time and chaos,” which suggests that evolutionary time is accelerating. To sum up, there are very good reasons to think the future of robotized society. The bohemian alternative is one way to create counter forces and alternatives for a robotized society.

1 Robotization
2 Robotization of war
3 Willian H. Whyte
4 The Organization Man
5 Richard Florida
6 Creative Class
Florida, Richard (2002) The Rise of Creative Class. And How it’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life. New York: Perseus Book Group.
Florida, Richard (2005) The Flight of the Creative Class: The New Global Competition for Talent. HarperBusiness, HarperCollins.
Hoyman, Michele & Faricy, Christopher (2009) It takes a village: A test of the creative class. Social capital and human capital theories. Urban Affairs Review. Vol. 44, pp. 311-333.
7 Raymond Kurzweil
8 Vernor Vinge
9 Technological singularity
Kurzweil, Raymond (1999) The Age of Spiritual Machines. New York: Viking.
Kurzweil, Raymond (2005) The Singularity is Near. Penguin Group.

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