How to transform organizational cultures of the 21st century

Martina Schlumpf and Marietta Scheuermann from euforia on how to transform organizational cultures of the 21st century.

euforia is an independent, youth-driven social innovation enterprise. We believe that the world needs more people who come together to imagine, design, and implement bold solutions to today’s most pressing social, environmental and economic challenges. That is why we engage the unengaged, transform our education system and connect people who would usually not meet, across generations, business and civil society. We do so by providing fun events and trainings, which inspire and empower people to move from passiveness and good intentions to activeness and changemaking.

By 2020, millennials will form half of the global workforce and as recent studies show, 90% of them seek jobs with meaning, while 85% would like to contribute to society in their profession. At the same time organizations from all sectors feel the need to change the ways of working and for more wellbeing at all levels: individual, team, institutions and society. A transformation is taking place – Theory U Innovator Otto Scharmer speaks of turning attention to “the place from where we act”. James W. Tamm and Ronald J. Luyet talk about the “inner side” of business. Frédéric Laloux speaks directly of “reinventing organizations”.

At euforia, we have experimented with this mindshift with thousands of youth since 2007, within our own organization and together with other companies. We have identified a couple of key drivers of this transformation at an organizational level:

  • The rate of change & need for constant innovation: Globalization has made the wheels turn ever faster, fostering a sense of increased competition. But: Innovation and constant reinventing of organizations can not happen among a couple of CEsomethings. It needs both the sensors and the idea-power of the collective organization.
  • The increased transparency & need for authenticity: Digitalization means that the reflection on and creation of information is being democratized. For employers this means a greater need for authenticity instead of employer “branding”. This entails both being truthful about what is and ensuring more participation in the creation of what could be.
  • The sense of interconnectedness & need for responsibility: Globalization means that an organization’s sphere of influence has substantially increased. Digitalization means that even the furthest influence is linked back to the organization in (social) media. Trust goes further than control. How to ensure this personal responsibility at a human level rather than just through systems?
  • The changed mindset of Generation Y and need for rethinking leadership: The generations Y and Z have other needs and values than their predecessor generations: flexibility and purpose, for example, are more important to them than security and a high salary. Moreover, most of them wish participation, flexibility, self-responsibility and a trust-based cooperation. This is rather incompatible with traditional management philosophy and calls for radically rethinking leadership.

New ways to meaningful careers and organizations
We believe it is high time to mainstream new ways of learning, working and innovating that are adapted to the challenges our economy, society and environment face nowadays. With “The Unleash Project”, we have developed a transformative and experience-driven learning program that empowers like-minded youth, individuals and organizations from all sectors to embrace the emerging era of digitalization, innovation and purpose. It provides future and present decision-makers with the experience, tools and mindset it takes to move from careers to vocation: living wellbeing and impact at the personal, team, institutional and societal level. Where they live their values, do what they are passionate about and use their key strengths to address needs they truly care about in the world.

The program starts on 25th November. More information: www.euforia.org/unleash.