Guest blog by Christoph Hinske, ISC Senior Fellow
In my work over the past years with the Ecosynomics framework, I have taken very distinct pathways to integrate and experience the material and make it part of my worldview. I did so because I firmly believe that a framework is only as good as it effects my reality and inspires my own thinking and acting. Accordingly, I tried to apply and reflect on the impact of the framework on a frequent basis. After a while I started to understand that the framework itself is a powerful aid to see the world in a completely different way than what I had been taught to see.
This learning and integration process has not always been easy. I had to unlearn some major things, like starting with assumptions of scarcity rather than assumptions of abundance. You can bet that trying to understand the infinity of the universe gave me a similar headache (the universe still does so). In this blog post I want to share some of the practices and interventions I have used to unlearn and learn. My intention is to inspire and challenge to take on a similar process for yourself.
While the whole Ecosynomics framework felt intuitively right, in the beginning it was mostly abstract theory to me. But, since I firmly believed that the Ecosynomics research and work was not just “another nice theoretical framework to make my money as a consultant,” I tried to dive as deep as I could imagine and noticed that I took the red pill as Neo in The Matrix http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zE7PKRjrid4. I noticed that my imagination (of what is possible) was just a small fraction of what is actually visible if applying the right lenses.
The following practices helped me to dive, integrate, and yes… also start make a living out of the research.
1. Getting Interviewed
See if you have contacts in small publishing agencies, magazines or specialized journals. Ask them if they are interested in interviewing you about our research and how it relates to their focus. Thus, you have minimum amount of work, and they have an exciting and cutting-edge story. This is how I got an amazing interview at Tattva Viveka (see English translation). Additionally, I started a great relationship with wonderful people bringing out an impactful magazine I did not know before.
2. Specialized Conferences
See if you know people that organize conferences addressing a rather closed or specific community related to the research findings and your deeper interests. Thus, a wonderful friend of mine proposed me as a speaker to the organizers of the Berlin Change Days 2013. The conference targets consultants and people generally interested in the dynamics of change. It is a very casual and “unofficial” conference hosting a passionate and committed community of people from around the globe.
3. Small, Innovative Universities
Approach contacts you have in smaller universities that are interested and in the need for cutting-edge research and hands-on cases. Small universities are often very interesting places for “magic to happen.” I did so with the University of Sustainable Development in Eberswalde. I started my relationship by offering to give a presentation of our research and to do a “simple” Harmonic Vibrancy assessment of the course group I would work with. They were very open and interested.
The students took the survey in advance and received hands-on insights of cutting-edge research of a Harvard and EGADE-associated research institute. They experienced a process that would normally cost between 15.000 and 18.000 Euros (my European rates for business clients). The relationship even developed further and one of the professors was very excited to reflect on how the work with the framework both increases the student’s ability to perform and increases their chances in a very competitive job market. You can see the interview in one of the later chapters of the Ecosynomics online course.
If you would like to offer such an interactive diagnostic and course, I can provide you with anything you need: invitation mails to students, ppt presentations, group dynamics and you could even compare the results of your course with my courses or also with the courses of other ISC fellows.
A few days after the interview, the Prof. offered me another job and invited me to co-create a specialization branch within the study program that will focus on Ecosynomics.
4. Gift-based Intro Courses
Ask friends and clients if they are interested in having a 1-2 day introductory course on the research and findings in exchange for a donation to the Institute for Strategic Clarity. I focused the course on reflecting and finding ways for them to apply the framework and findings in their concrete contexts. Out of these courses many recommendations emerged. One led me to do a 3-day strategy workshop and another to do a well-paid interactive speech at a university.
5. Smaller Consultancies
Look for contacts in smaller consultancies working on innovation, performance, creativity and group dynamics. Many of them are struggling with integrating the benefit of their work into business-relevant matrixes. With the “costs of scarcity” framework you can offer a powerful and yet simple painkiller for their pain.
You might want to offer them 1) to given them train-the-trainer sessions and deeper-dive intensives, 2) to accompany them in the process, and finally 3) to connect them to the bigger community of the ISC. I have had many good experiences using this three-step process of engagement and the first contacts are already moving into step 3. For me this is the most exiting part since they start being independent of my input. In the last 6 months, I successfully did so with 5 organizations.
6. Mediating Contacts
Invite your contacts into conversations around your work with the frameworks (meetings, calls, Skype etc.). While I still have not generated much revenue out of these possibilities, they helped me to tell a concise story (which is worth gold). And, some of them have recommended me into their networks and arranged meetings with their clients. I started to understand that my first circle contacts are mediators to get in contact with future clients. One of the results is that I was able to realize a project for the major German player in the field of international cooperation. Another result is that several of my friends have started working with the Ecosynomics frameworks and engaging me in their projects.
7. Smaller Industry Associations
Contact smaller industry associations. Most of them are struggling to continuously create new offers for their network members. Offer a gift-based speech or introductory course. I did so and now have started into my 2nd year of working with one in Germany.
8. Online Diagnostics
Offer first and simple diagnostics (only the online version) to your contacts. The Institute for Strategic Clarity is happy to provide you with the basic materials you need (letter of invitation etc.). Other colleagues at the Institute and I are happy to guide you through your first analysis of the data. It is around 2 days of content-related onsite work for you. The rest depends on the quality of the relationship you develop with your contact. I experienced it with good contacts to be 3 days over a time horizon of three weeks. You could either present the results online or get invited to do it in person. This is how I started to earn around 20.000 Euros in just a few months, get great contacts, position myself and learn of how to frame it in front of different audiences.
These are eight of the ways I have taken on the practice of applying and reflecting on my own use of the Ecosynomics framework over the past few years.