The Engineer

Cogman_with_bg02

 

If I do this here that happens over there. At the simplest level who doesn’t enjoy the process of selecting the stone, throwing it into the pond and watching the ripples ride outwards from the centre? The realisation that all things are connected is such an overwhelming concept the most aware, astute and enlightened struggle with the enormity of it. Think about it, everything!

Knowledge of oneself as a wilful progenitor of causal factors is so deep seated that for many it is as good as forgotten, barely registering as being what it is. However, even for those conscious of this active force and its powers, it is one thing having ideas and abstract concepts, it is another calculating the means by which to actualise thoughts of this nature and yet another to action such thoughts, to see them materialise in the manner envisaged.

At the various stages on life’s journey, whenever faced with or actually being shunted along the path well travelled, invariably meant finding oneself in a queue, crowd or heap of some description, and more often the former being barely distinguishable from the latter. It always saw one at some point either by lack of personal resolve or systemic process – in most cases the latter being a major contributor to the former – being required to seek and or gain validation from a third party, and on many other levels ceding control. The deadly first step in the process of entrainment towards the absence of autonomy.

Any value that may be assigned to such situations is lost on me, with any of the assumed benefits vastly outweighed by the ‘costs’. Costs such as increased stress and its associated maladies of mind and body, lack of self worth, erosion of the capacity to think for oneself, the creeping inability to make major or even minor decisions, the tendency to develop an over cautious outlook derived from a mentality based around lack, and conformation to the prevailing homogeneity blueprint. The compounded effects of which prove mightily expensive over time. Needless to say Ive made it a point to strenuously avoid anyone, thing or situation where I detect even a whiff of the structures that induce the mentality or associated behaviours described above.

However, having taken this perspective one is faced with the prospect of forging ones own way in the world, and it is at this juncture that the majority having opted to follow the same route, where not gifted with the requisite foresight, fortitude, talent or social connectivity to make perseverance a viable option, invariably make a u-turn, tail between their legs and seek sanctuary within the confines of organisations that regardless of the trappings can do nothing but offer an existence replete with binds and limitations.

While freedom is the desired for state it too comes with its attendant issues, which may range from the existential (the category I believe most who actually achieve it find to be the source of their greatest ‘challenges’) to the confused ie “which way should I approach the challenge/s Ive set for myself”? Analysis paralysis ensues, the common response to which is to do nothing, a state which in natural law is in fact impossible, so whether or not the individual is aware of it they find themselves in a mode of recessive degeneration and most certainly no nearer their goal.

While for the unswervingly self determining there remains, as William Blake famously asserted, ‘the need to build ones own system’, it brings to the fore the questions why, how and in what form?

Cog CollectionWhy: Let’s as the famous thought leader Simon Sinek advises start with why. Remaining abreast of the many movements, events and developments within the wider and fringe segments of the socio-cultural arena, and reasonably well versed in the causes and sentiments that underlie them, I can nevertheless only speak with absolute authority on behalf of myself regarding the issue of my personal why. Though I do so under the assumption, as is nearly always the case, that I am not the only one who either passively desires or actively aspires to bringing about the changes I wish to see occur within our current socio-economic and cultural paradigm.

I am by inclination an optimist. This leaning brings with it the tendency to view the world from the glass half full perspective. Being optimistic Im of the opinion that there is no reason why the half full glass cannot be filled to the brim, or at least that is what life should be spent attempting to do. Call it what you like, expansion, continual improvement perfectionism, aestheticism, abundance. Why settle for “that’ll do” when “that’s absolutely fantastic” is just as achievable? The only difference being a little more thought and surprisingly in the long run a lot less effort. It’s nearly always the case that the residual effects of the “that’ll do” mindset winds up costing a lot more if that attitude is allowed to prevail.

I am non partisan having long since seen through the Westminster (UK) based political charade which having replaced the church as the foremost component of state socio-political machinery, all of which designed to serve no other purpose than to maintain the status quo, its ultimate agenda being how the very (extremely pernicious) few retain control over the many.

I do have a thorough belief in and high regard for the power, truth and value of ‘the market’, it in essence being the collective voice expressing its beliefs, desires, needs, whims and fancies as they arise. Likewise the value and relevance of the skills employed in servicing those needs. I also firmly believe that all of the solutions sought to address society’s ills, as well as see it progress to the soaring heights of which it is possible, are to be found in the harmonious balance of these elements interacting with each other.

While I can see a time when fiat money is not the dominant currency used for transacting trade between the parties on either side of the market I do believe it serves its purpose in facilitating trade and rewarding the efforts of those who provide value.

Indeed much of the socio-economic infrastructure I intend to bring about through the work I do is designed to serve as a transitional bridge between the era of fiat money and whichever methods society deems most appropriate to manage and conduct commerce (if indeed commerce remains the chosen model) based trade in the medium to long term future.

My ‘why’ therefore stems from my ideological stance which is itself anchored in my personalised set of life principles, these being:-

creative expression: the faculty by which out of seemingly nothing, guided by our own conscious processes we are able to bring into being an infinite array of unique and distinct creations. As such it must be prioritised, encouraged, nurtured, facilitated and in as many ways as possible be allowed to flourish.

innovation: the natural law of efficiency – whereby matter perpetually seeks the most efficient route to arrangement of its constituent parts so as to function with greatest effect in its current surroundings. With this principle playing out on the material plane in which our society exists, in the form of mainly incremental (which doesn’t necessarily lessen the impact) and to a lesser degree, significant changes to the existing modus.

With the effect that it equates to what in current jargon is termed ‘continual improvement’.

inclusion: to my mind securing access to and being free to draw upon as much of the necessary resource pool required for successful execution of any plan requires little consideration. We are of course referring to human affairs where the ability to garner greater breadth and depth of perspective and insight can rarely if ever be discounted. Put simply it means inclusion equates to not only common sense but intelligence at its most fundamental. caveat: carefully filtered inclusion is what is being both referred to and proposed here. The ultimate objective takes precedence. One bad apple can ruin the whole barrel.

meritocracy: the force multiplier of inclusion, essentially serving to further filter and streamline the gathered resources for the purposes of optimising their value and impact and thereby achieving the most effect from their employment.

resourcefulness: very often neither the required resource/s nor access to them are immediately attainable. We see a number of responses arise from those faced with this scenario. The default response is to begin the search for finance from sources other than that from ones own reserves. A long, hard and winding road and in my experience soul destroying one. For most it winds up as the dead end of a route way littered with the corpses of those who failed in their search.

Those who do eventually obtain funding from third party sources more often do so under terms so onerous as to extract any pleasure that may have been had from its obtainment, or the reason it was so obtained in the first place.

Once the decision is made to investigate the alternatives, counter to the perceived wisdom, that sees a frantic search during which no stone is left unturned, the actuality sees the majority of the activity taking place on the internal plane, wherein the process of identifying, conceptualising, envisaging, calculating and planning not only the desired outcome but the means by which said outcome is to be attained occurs.

Faced with the self as the sole resource in that moment, one is forced to conduct a thorough and honest audit of ones own capacity and how it is to be best utilised in pursuit of the goal.

This process and the chosen modus that emerges from it call upon a latent characteristic, one that is to be found among all humans given the right stimulae, that which is commonly referred to as resourcefulness.

Chief among the faculties called upon when adopting this approach is creativity, followed closely by tenacity and the much less talked about but equally essential ingredient commonly known as grit. The ability to persevere lies behind all of the great achievements of our time, twenty years for the iPad, 10,000 attempts at the light bulb etc.

Not to distort the message the actuality of resourcefulness means affecting a form of strategic polyamory, being open to all and every resource one can lay claim to, cobbling the various components together into the most relevant package by which to achieve the desired effect at any point on the journey. This of course includes money.

value: during the course of human affairs where it arises that one is required to be of service to an individual or group whether for monetary recompense or not, commitment to this principle is the greatest achievement a person can make. Seeking to maximise the value delivered is the short cut to engineering the world and the things one would wish to see occur within it. If not in that instant then through the multifarious route ways through which information travels the returns that accrue are numerous and well beyond that which one would have imagined. There is also added reward firstly from an internal knowing that the best that could be delivered was, and secondly through the satisfaction of seeing others enjoy and appreciate what you have provided. In the commercial realm the latter equates to one being the recipient of patronage, for it to continue one must continually provide value to those who are or would be ones patrons.

excellence: of all the principles listed this one is the most abstract. What or how something is classified as excellent is not subject to democratic process or determined by academic qualification. The sole and only arbiter of the excellence specific to any given thing is the person who created it, with only they being possessed of the knowing concerning their initial and ongoing intent, level of input and abiding commitment to achieving the standards of excellence they set for themselves in regards to attainment of the end result.

As with value, the benefits that accrue through continued adherence to this principle can only really be fully known and appreciated by the individual who so opts to live in accordance with it.

sustainability: self sustaining is the more accurate description but sustainability is the overarching principle it falls under. By self sustaining Im referring to the capacity for an entity, resulting from its embedded mechanisms being able to exist and when and where necessary grow without reliance on exterior systemic components for its sustenance. In the case of enterprises, ’embedded mechanisms’ encompass the internal processes by which products and or services are delivered to a paying customer and the fiscal resources acquired during the transaction are retained for use within the enterprise.

self reliance: If you want to go fast go alone. Trait, disposition or modus? Im not entirely sure which category the term falls within, probably a healthy combination of all three. Suffice to say where present and active in people, it is I believe the mindset that leads to adoption of the principles of value and excellence and likewise spawns the principle of sustainability. Where fiercely adhered to it serves as the proverbial heel clicking performed by Dorothy as her means to return at will, in an instant to her home in Kansas from Oz, with the inference being she and by extension anyone, has inherent within them the power to do whatever they will to do from their own reserves of power, they only need will it and take the necessary action for whatever is desired to become a reality.

leverage: if you want to go far go with others. What I find to be most effective is to the best of one ability combine the two modes –fast alone/far with others – to varying degrees whereby whichever benefits are to be derived from either mode are set to work in the most appropriate and complimentary manner. Devising and perfecting the gestalts specific to this topic is a minor obsession of mine.

Leverage is a powerful force and as such it underpins the most strident and powerful commercial entities on the planet today. Put simply leverage means to build upon or utilise what already exists, seeing the integration of the existing elements into the operations of the newer addition with the intended effect that it multiplies its reach and overall impact force of the combined entity.

This is the principle at work in what in today’s enterprise vernacular is referred to as ‘The Long Tail’, where the power of social connectivity is leveraged via the major social networking platforms to enable exponential niche content creation and the scope for monetising it through targeted advertising.

How: What are principles if not applied? Extrapolation of these principles onto the macro social canvas provides much by way of justification for my deeply held beliefs. The sphere of enterprise has always been challenging with its ever changing vista, assuming what are typically muddy waters are clear enough to see it. Concurrent to which the typical enterprise has many moving parts that require both sufficient resourcing and harmonious synchronisation just to be able to exist in its given market. Regardless of the ease with which the resource to establish an enterprise is obtained, the ongoing demands upon the entrepreneur are such they are forced to operate or draw upon to some degree most if not all of the aforementioned principles.

The world which we inhabit has always been subject to forces, so immense, while not beyond comprehension, they are so beyond our control that we as good as ignore them acknowledging that for our very existence we are at their mercy. While we acknowledge their force and influence we are not fully accepting of them, making strenuous effort to control if not their emanating power then to ameliorate their effects.

Non compliance then is the expression of the underlying sentiment of revolt against nature and the driver of man’s determination and relative success in mastering his environment. The means by which this has been achieved more often sees the requirement to not only master the specifics of an aspect of the natural environment, but then through a process of engineering seek to manipulate them so as to impact another. Most often these activities designed to deliver improvements are conducted alongside the existing means by which man draws his sustenance from and or ensures his survival on the land.

One can draw parallels with the above scenario and the predicament of the entrepreneur who as he purveys the scene becomes aware of the immensity of the forces impacting his world; the market he operates in, the moment by moment changes in the behaviour of his customers, the rampant march of the internet and the efficiencies its innovations bring and how these drive down prices and increase competition for custom.

Assuming an individual is an entrepreneur and assuming they are a reasonably seasoned one, the speed and nature of these developments while daunting can still be quantified and understood in regards to which aspects of their business the changes relate to and impact. Responding to them requires learning new skills, many of which have considerable learning curves. Time spans and activities that can make considerable inroads into the more often stretched resources of the entrepreneur.

The less discerning, or poorly informed entrepreneur will in essence ignore them, or do their best to, soldiering on, to remain at the mercy of the ebbs and flows of forces well beyond their comprehension or control.

The stubborn entrepreneur, while actually informed, will fight the tide, knuckling down on what they know worked in the past and by golly will work in the future. Among this last category unable or unwilling to cope with the new realities, we find the tragedies, basket cases and frauds.

The astute person will find a way to counter the onslaught of the new, recruiting persons in possession of the new skills, taking time to study and test the innovations and their worth, and where viable upgrading their operations to include new processes. In this scenario the pressing issue is the requirement to maintain current operations while the updates and changes are simultaneously studied and then where necessary integrated.

Successful integration of new processes can open up opportunities that simply did not exist before providing scope for expansion and growth of a business well beyond what could have been dreamed of prior to the incorporation of the innovations.

The above is concerned with the realities facing today’s entrepreneurs. As a subset the entrepreneur is among the more wily, self reliant and alert, needing as they do to live off their wits to stay if not ahead of the game then simply to stay in it.

Imagine then the plight of the individual who is not so inclined, the long term employed recently made redundant, the recent graduate, the formerly employed individual returning to the workplace after childrearing or injury, whose skills are no longer required by the market or needs to retrain to be of use. Such people all of whom as job seekers also face a world of rapidly moving parts, but are on the whole far less likely to be equipped with either the skills, experience or inclination to approach the arguably more monumental task of competing with the large number of other candidates seeking the same job opportunity.

Statement_5If you were to ask the average entrepreneur or job candidate what if it could so be granted would they request in relation to the scenarios described above? The universal response would Im certain be something along the lines of “show me the way to effectively game, manipulate or by some means engineer the factors that constitute the world in which I have chosen to make my living so as to be more favourable on my behalf”.

If you were to follow that question with another such as “what do you imagine that device or mechanism might consist of”? The response would not be so concise, if you were to garner one at all. Its understandable, chiefly because the factors involved are not only numerous but complex and require specialist knowledge to understand individually let alone collectively.

Note above I said the average entrepreneur or job seeker. The reason I highlight this point is that the above average ie the exceptional or as people in this category are increasingly referred to as, ‘anomalies’, find a way to crack any system and make the world work in their favour. This skill or trait as I believe it to be, is as stated rare and so leaves the vast majority whom constitute the bulk of society, and thus the representatives within any sector, market or profession, at a distinct, structurally reinforced disadvantage.

When viewed from the purely economic perspective the impact of these inefficiencies on actual GDP are hard to quantify. Organisations big and small suffer by way of reduced productivity, lack of motivation and confidence among staff, while their capacity to compete in international markets is significantly hampered.

These being events that play out in the sphere of human affairs means their greatest impact is psychological. We are whether we are aware of it or not a collective consciousness. This means that on a macro social level we are collectively aware of the inconsistencies, failings and shortfalls in our socio-economic construct, and only too aware of the dearth of either structurally feasible or culturally sanctioned mechanisms to address them.

What: Not being above the fray, I frequently subject myself to the process of giving deep consideration to the numerous issues entrepreneurs face, believing as I do that enterprise based, creative innovation, applied within and around the sphere of not only enterprise development infrastructure, but extended to macro social thru cultural development, given the right conditions, is the source from which society’s major issues will derive its solutions.

Time after time as if in a predetermined mental feedback loop I arrive at a single word; ‘culture’. Put simply it means the way we do things. There’s a second term which I find crops up a lot during investigations of this nature ‘culturally sanctioned’. Now before you go and engage in a round of self flagellation at the realisation that the hardships we endure are self inflicted, or that we have consciously agreed to adhere to the norms that see us trapped in structurally dysfunctional socio-economic matrix, Im not suggesting that.

What I do believe and this is the crux of my argument, is that the factors impacting this and nearly all other aspects of our lives – food production, dating, on demand entertainment, same day delivery – have arrived so quickly, and their impact has been so widespread, multifaceted and hard to gauge that they have left everyone floundering with respect to what is the functioning norm, being as we are conditioned and still operating in adherence to economic and socio-cultural protocols first introduced and best suited to the 19th century.

In answer to the questions I ask myself concerning these topics, I too find myself adopting the mindset of the engineer while envisaging, conceptualising, considering, calculating evaluating…….not only the why or the how but the what.

The one thing about which Im certain is that it must be accessible for, usable by and deliver tangible benefits to everybody, meaning that regardless of the stage, phase or circumstances an individual or enterprise is at, the what will be available to them with the relevant components to meet one or more of their current needs.

This is the second in a series of articles concerning a socio-economic movement which our company e2 Advisory is spearheading, called e2, wherein we are placing the ‘enterprising individual’ operating within a broadly distributed ‘enterpriser economy’ developed around protocols we’ve termed ‘enterprise culture’ as the means by which the many can remain stakeholders, operators and beneficiaries within the macro economy as it develops in the modern era.

We are building a socio-economic innovations advisory business based upon these e2 protocols. This sees us providing an integrated multi application tool (the enterprise engine) learning content (webinars) and enterprise development blueprint (literature),all of which have or are being designed with the intention of enabling

(i)mass inclusion in the digitally enabled modern economy

(ii) local community management of macro and micro civic investment and infrastructure

(iii) development of regional enterprise ecosystems.

You can follow the progress of the e2 movement via Twitter at @e2engineer under the hashtags #Me2 , #enterprisereconomy and #enterpriseculture. We also welcome your Likes and comments on /. Facebook.com/pages/e2-enterprise-engine/

We have a number of opportunities to work with us for people seeking to gain experience, secure a job or build a business and who are motivated by our social impact objectives. These include:-

(1) digital database development

(2) research and data management

(3) graphic arts

(4) video editing and videography.

(5) hosting a podcast

If any of these opportunities are of interest to you send an email to e2enterpriseengine@gmail.com titled ‘e2 opportunities enquiry’.