viernes, 22 de enero de 2016

Conversations & Peace

By Juan Sebastián Cárdenas Salas
Spanish version: Conversaciones y Paz

From the essay: Meaningful conversations
(Written on May 30, 2015) 

Since this bond would mean both a wide and complex analysis, I just want to address it as the faint part from this essay by introducing the new episode that it has been writing in Colombia (my country) –under big expectations– about the peace talks tackled by the Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Certainly, such event leaves a bunch of questions summarized here: are these dialogs meaningful conversations?

Throughout The General Agreement for the End of the Conflict[1] signed by both parties on August 26th of 2012 -supposedly the outcome from “The clamor for peace from Colombians” (MESA DE CONVERSACIONES, 2015)-, ideal thoughts loom large. Nonetheless, by overlapping what is written with what is shown (every single day) it is unavoidable to think about the traditional political bias. Claims as “The peace is an issue from all over society” or “The equal social development and wellness regarding most of the people” which is essential for “assembling a stable long-lasting peace” and so on, are some of the thrilling enunciations that come up from this record. Moreover, it is not vague to say that the evidence of those conversations hitherto has been an ambiguity widely covered by local media. Most of the startling[2] news, regardless its side, are a pack of lies clearly manipulated by politicking, the social sickness of my country even further painful than the internal armed conflict. Hence, one of the principal questions is: are the Peace Talks just demagogies?

Additional questions appear regarding the circumstances that gave way to the talks. On one hand, it is clear as crystal that the FARC strongly decimated by the Army Forces from the former government[3] were stalemated. Thus, it could be said it was the survival instinct what brought the FARC on the table, not its free will for the sake of the country. On the other hand, in the advent of economic growth (The main issue for a government controlled by Homo economicus) “The Peace” Insight as strategy for soaring competitiveness, foreign investment, and capital accumulation (for few) among other benefits, is a remarkable purpose of value[4]. Thereby, as we can watch on TV spots, listening on the radio, and gazing on several media, is the health of the nation for the Government and the FARC the most important asset to seek living in “a new country”[5]?

There are some historical events that show inspiring conversations of peace that changed the world. Notwithstanding the shady forces which hampered those virtuous purposes, some greater leaders never gave up on hard work, passion and faith, even risking life and limb to pursuing the good for their people. Here we have the “Nonviolence” talks conveyed by Mahatma Gandhi for the Indian freedom. As well as those addressed by Martin Luther King in the name of the equal rights for African Americans, and those meaningful conversations that Nelson Mandela had both with himself, their opponents and their supporters. He was thinking about integration of his folks along the 27 years he was deprived of his liberty. Nonetheless, in regard to the talks in progress, the matter here has to do with the good intentions of both parties: are both the Government and the FARC willing to run all the risks in order to bring peace for Colombians?

These questions are just ones of several that many Colombians have, mostly those who have been directly affected by this mayhem. Are questions that bulk large in those Colombians who –hopefully– are awaiting their disappeared relatives long time ago (or at least their mortal remains). Are those Colombians who are working devotedly and selflessly for the good of the country. Are those Colombians who gave their vote for peace by reelecting the current Government.

From my point of view as from many, I think that the running process of peace between both parties is by no means sane, but let us hope that in the near future –by taking our own actions– they can prove to the contrary, and writing in the history of Colombia, Latin America, and the World that the peace talks in La Habana were meaningful conversations.

Pride (In The Name of Love) - U2

Keywords: Conversations, Peace, La Habana, Peace Talks, Colombia, The End of the Conflict, Round Table Discussions, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, Government of Colombia.

Bibliographic Interactions



[1] You can check the file here:

[2] “Bread and Circuses”…

[3] At this time the present governor was the Minister of Defense., the main reason why he was elected by Colombian people.

[4] This administration stands out because of its immense marketing strategy.

[5] The government’s slogan

domingo, 29 de marzo de 2015

Believe in "God"

By Juan Sebastián Cárdenas Salas
Spanish version: Creer en "Dios"

God the Father by Cima da Conegliano, c. 1515
Source: Wikipedia

Someone asked me whether I believed in “God”… I responded such question regarding other one: What conception of “God” are you inquiring me about?... If you say “God” is a lord both with long hairs, beard and robe as white as snow who is sitting on a cloud gazing what is doing each one of us, and so brings hope, tolerance, happiness; in addition, it makes happy those who are surrounded to you, that is, if such belief increases your virtue; then I have to say [sister-brother] I blindly trust in what you are saying… How does not believe if the very “God” is speaking.

Keywords: God, Religion, Tolerance, Respect, Mindfulness, Collectiveness

martes, 22 de julio de 2014

The yellow stain: a country’s expression

Source: Terra Sports

The analysis of behaviors conveyed by human communities pursuing a common goal has loomed large on my mind. That is, how either a country or a company, and even a couple, are expressing themselves as a social wholeness. Upon several characteristics by which these systems are known, the cohesion and conflict traits are sweeping in scope, and emotiveness is a relevant one. Thus one of the most appropriate instances for gazing sensible connections among these collective beings, are large spectacles which assemble a substantial number of people, i.e., concerts, religious conventions and sporting events. At the last one where the cult of soccer is placed, there is an irresistible chance of analysis, even further regarding the world cup post depression symptoms which usually drive us to think about either what it was or what it could be. Therefore I want to take a look at the “Yellow stain”, the Colombian collective being which was named that way since it put the team shirt trying to flee from its upsetting politics reality by feeling happiness and passion, having good conversations, and being connected around the recently concluded Soccer World Cup.
I think there was no place in Colombia where the famous yellow stain had not occupied both our minds and heart. It had been shaped during the cup’s classification stage; however, it increased its influence because of the passion of those 23 heroes who left trace in the most important sport tournament all over the world. Just look at news, certainly the term yellow stain bulked large as a common way to call the mass of Colombians fans. So we all were thrilled when the yellow stain filled Brazilian stadiums singing with soul the national anthem, and cheering on their players untiringly.  A popular national journalist conveys such sensation quite well:

“A chill run up all my body when I saw a soccer stadium of almost 74.000 seats full of Colombians cheering their team. Even though I tried to avoid falling into their mesh, I could not refuse to the rising wave of patriotism absorbing me. I was utterly touched by hearing the whole stadium singing the national anthem and I cried with the majority of Colombians without really know why I did […] At stadiums, at airplanes, at airports, the yellow stain gave us sense of belonging in the middle of the distance from our country. Inadvertently we all shared histories, conversations, and emotions notwithstanding our social differences.”[1]
Likewise, I strongly believe lots of Colombians got involved in such spiritual and physical experience, mainly those who had the privilege of being present to worship their team over the several Brazilian temples of Soccer.

When I am referring to the yellow stain as a collective being, I am not using it as a simple metaphor. This systemic expression got life throughout the Colombian consciousness whereby its body, thought and language were materialized. We clearly gazed its physical shape both in Brazil and Colombia.  It danced like the players when they scored a goal. Eventually we saw it at every corner down the cities, at home, at the companies. It celebrated victory and it was sad with defeat. Then, it lined down the streets for welcoming their 23 sons and his leader as if they had won the cup.  Lots of its mind expressions were shown upon social networks[2], mostly on Twitter, the suitable net for identifying collective conversations. Hashtags like: #ManchaAmarilla, #HinchasInseparables,#GraciasMiSeleccion, among many others, demonstrated it.  It is possible to fathom such phenomenon through the interesting Memes theory[3] (replication of the collective memory). To summarize, this hypothesis states that cultural spread -chiefly exposed on language and other inherent cultural manifestations from each society- is analog to genetic transmission and hence it can have an evolutionary effect both on individuals, communities and societies. If this theory is overlapped with the yellow stain, what we did was create a meme or social memory moving onward to the next generations of Colombian partiers who will celebrate with victory and will suffer with defeat of the Colombian team. 
Finally, it cannot be ignored the yellow stain is a phenomenon which has positively touched to Colombia by showing its nice side around a sporting scenario. However, we should be aware of this newborn organism is for now, just an emotional idea. The growth of this movement in something further transcendent than soccer depends on us, the Colombians who want to live in a good country[4]. Nobody has said it is easy, many times we prefer to take the pill for avoiding the ill but it will still there. I think it would certainly worth regarding both the social disintegration and the no memory as two of the most influential memes from our country.

[1] María Jimena Duzán (Column), Semana´s Magazine. “The Power of Soccer” (EL PODER DEL FÚTBOL) Edition N° 1679, July 2014.
[2] The World Cup 2014 was the biggest social media event ever seen before.
[3] The meme expression has taken popularity as a trend on Internet of spreading messages, pictures and videos. It was stated by the scientist Richard Dawkins on his book The Selfish Gene.
[4] Check this out: Which country does the most good forthe world? TED Talk by Simon Anholt.

lunes, 26 de mayo de 2014

The Anthem that binds to Medellín

“Societies are always in the process of societal transformation both economic and social, and the nature of those transformations is not always easy. Next why cities have to be viewed as living organisms constantly reinventing themselves in response to the changes and the economy in our societies. Medellín is an example per excellence of this kind of reinvention.”

Joseph Stiglitz, World Urban Forum Medellín 2014 
(Urban Solutions Platform, 2014)

At the time of the mid 80’s when I was a child, we were living out of our town, Medellín, because of job-related issues of my father, an honest hard worker likewise other antioqueños[1]. We eagerly expected coming back on vacations, so going back to the place we born, to our lovely city which by this time were already facing up to a shady-misty water flows propelled by obscure forces that were plunged it throughout a dark-cold hole. Nonetheless, in spite of the concerns my parents could have overwhelmed by such situation, we never gave up since loving Medellín were bulkier than fear. We took the motorway upon a journey roughly 8 hours long. I remember my brother was on the age where the common question “are we almost done here?” popped up prior to the first hour of travel.  Although we enjoyed the trip, expectation of reaching our town increased every minute. Thereby when we finally gaze upon the Valley of Aburrá[2] surrounded by its splendid green mountains welcoming us, happiness and something we have called “orgullo paisa[3] thrived big. At that very moment Mom and Dad knew they had to turn on the anthem, not the institutional one but the emotional one which bound on these hard days and still convening the Medellín’s collective spirit. It was a song this city, social system or “living organism” named Medellín spread out onto the consciousness of those who did not turn back notwithstanding difficulties and whose audacity encouraged not only to sing it but also living it as a philosophy denominated “I love Medellín”.

Since last year when Medellín got the prize as the most innovative over the world, the communication of this philosophy took a new breath. Now after the successful Seventh World Urban Forum (WUF7) of United Nations (UN), one of the most meaningful events had fulfilled in Colombia and certainly the most valuable for the City hitherto, loving Medellín has largely consolidated because of the exemplar synergetic model of work both the local government, its private corporations, and academy, set up from those complicated moments, as well as the systematic approach from last administrations, and as the anthem declares, because of the love of several Medellinenses[4] have demonstrated by their land.

The idea of this song loomed large on mind of Michel Arnau[5], “A long-haired, irreverent, and for many people, an odd creative” (La W, 2013)[6] who by this time had already posed the first branding boutique-agency of creative ideas in Medellín. Due his eccentricities, charm, creative vision and passion, several well-know business from Antioquia trusted in this “communication artist” that among his performances produced the unforgettable anthem. Such attempt flowed when Michel decided to gather some friends to think they had to do something for the city they loved.  It was at the context of those creative conversations Michel was inspired. Musical notes occupied his mind, so using pen and flipchart He began to yield the song (La W, 2013). By the time the anthem was launched upon a civic campaign: “Loving Medellín”[7] it had a decisive influence over folks. According to Michel (La W, 2013), it had success because of “praised the proud citizens have by its region and city”, moreover, the active participation they had on it. “It depends on your attitude loving Medellín, doing your job, with your ideas overall.”

As Jorge Orlando Melo[8] states (Semana, 2014), the industrial growth decentralization suffered by Antioquia at the mid 50’s triggered a severe social crisis. Urban growth turned out unstable due to the forced displacement over rural areas. Furthermore, since agriculture was not providing the expected outcomes. The Church “which had taken charge of the discipline and honesty of the citizens”, lost control. Thus Medellín became in “the sin city” conveying prostitution, drug traffic and homicide. By the last decade of 20th century Medellín underwent an unfortunate reputation as the most violent all over the world (Semana, 2014). It was the time of some people likewise creative and innovative yet for evilness. According to some reflections from Juan Luis Mejía[9], the topic “easy money” is not as accurate as “illicit money” to describe the incomes thrived in our land for these days. Earning it was not easy at all yet those “criminal masterminds” came up with ideas to get it. In consequence, drug-trafficking biased the culture. As Jorge Orlando Melo emphasize, “Mothers educated their sons based on the sermon of Horace, the roman poet: ‘Make money, money by fair means if you can, if not, but any means money’.” (Semana, 2014: 17) Nonetheless, in spite of the undeniable performance of some corrupt cells which allowed such infections up, the immune system withstood this social illness because of those innovative good persons that imposed regulations over, and propelled right public administration practices. Therefore, they avoided in this manner prominent corporations from Antioquia were contaminated (Semana, 2014). It was the seed began to flourishing as the principal social spheres were encouraged together the renascence of Medellín.

“In the hardest moments Medellín lived 25 years ago what kept us right was the collective conversation” declared Claudia Restrepo Montoya, the Education Deputy Mayor of the City, in one of the dialogs from the 7th World Urban Forum (WUF7). “We did not give up… we stayed in Medellín despite difficulties… instead we were willing to find the north of the City, its vision.” Well-know Antioquia’s business leaders expressed this way supported by the local government in one of the fruitful Forum’s talks[10]. Moreover they underlined both Proantioquia[11] and “Medellín, what’s going on?[12] as main keys for assembling systematic work among the governmental, private, and educational areas upon a common aim: Welfare State. Accordingly, one of the lots of voices came from the universal consciousness visited Medellín these days said: “What we did was make sure to hear the City awareness; we knew the way of thinking on it.” Thereby Medellín could achieve the accolade as the most innovative all over the world, chiefly because of the meaningful creativeness which allowed the recovering of this resilient city.

To explaining the turn of 180° Medellín had early at the present century, it is due to highlight the attempts of other passionate innovator, a mathematician who not only with pencil and paper began to resolve City problems but putting into practice formulas that bring it forward on the way to social innovation. First analysis Professor Sergio Fajardo did, resided in the necessity of getting involved in government affairs to face up to politicking. Consequently, he and a cabinet made up by other 50 enthusiastic less-known personalities on the politic field yet bulk recognition over corporative, academic and social realms, were committed to arranging an independent civic gather for taking Medellín on their hands. According to Fajardo, upon politics are taken the most important decisions of a society (Bedoya, 2013 – Fajardo, 2008). “All of us reached a conclusion: consistently we have been talking about what is due as another people are taking decisions for us” (Bedoya, 2013). Thus, by the time of 2003’s elections -led by the mathematician- they finally shifted such paradigm for the wellness of the City. Thereafter the new government wave began boosting the formula for diminishing the 2 most overwhelming issues Medellín had underwent until that moment: violence and social inequity. To reducing violence the Mayor applied a basic equation he called “take off and on”: take off brutality and take on opportunities, that is, gradually close the doors to the violence to opening spaces for social development based on equity, where education was the principal input. This thought was translated into the essential promise of Fajardo’s administration: “Medellín, from fear to hope” (Fajardo, 2008), where fear = mayhem, and hope = chances of social fairness. Eventually, emerged the valuable catalyst of it: “Medellín, the most educated” which pointed out the reinforcement of public education, the generation of places for knowledge, the construction of integral urban projects, and the drive of an entrepreneurial culture. These strategic pillars mostly supported the poorest urban areas and their people. Alike a kid when is explaining his new doll to other boys, professor Fajardo expose to an amazed audience the design of one of the park libraries named “España” (Spain) which was built on the most unprivileged and violent slum of the City. Subsequently, this structure won the price as the most prominent architectonic award from Iberoamérica among 2004 and 2006 (Bedoya, 2013). It is just an example (among many additional ones) from the common denominator whereby Medellín was recognized as the most innovative all over the world, mainly because of its lateral thinking for recovering marginal areas. The factor is: Honest people working hard to avoiding corruption.

Paisas[13] conventionally said: “We need to go out from these mountains to undergoing the world”. However, since we were designated as the host city for developing the 7th World Urban Forum (WUF7), what we did was bringing the world to us. By this time Medellín was the capital of the world. “We felt very proud of being paisas during a week.” Said Joan Clos, the executive director of UN-Habitat, who additionally pointed out this assemble as the best of all performed hitherto (WUF7, 2014). Throughout the Forum further than 20.000 people of whom 8.000 were foreign (, 2014), convened in Medellín to conversing and sharing acquaintances with urban, social, political, and economical issues thus encouraging future changes mainly related to social justice over cities around the world (the big common global issue). Cities for life was the call to action of this remarkable event Medellín could achieve because of the eager attitude of the local government supported by the National Ministry of Housing, in charge of the Mayor Aníbal Gaviria and the Minister Luis Felipe Henao consecutively (both paisas).  The balance sheet of this event exceed further than positively what the City expected. “A considerable number of people I have met tell what they have seen and experienced of Medellín, is better than they had read about” expressed Gaviria without ignoring the inequity problems the government still deals with (, 2014). The Medellín’s letter or the agreement the WUF established for the City, not only underlines the best practices last administrations have picked up these years, as well as it becomes in a new seed which should flourish on equity and progress for all.

Finally, I would like to invoke ideas from several romantic, creative and innovative people in diverse realms, so by working together realize “a new song” yet not for Medellín but for our Country, which long time ago have borne social diseases mostly because of the traditional politicking bias and its selfish behavior. Despite it has not interfered economic growth over last years, as a matter of fact it has eroded a sustainable hence healthy development of our nation. The formula for boosting such issues has been demonstrated upon Medellín and it is not incompatible to other regions. Let’s go then to compose the anthem that bind to Colombia.  

*The song

First version (1980)

New version (2008)

Bedoya, J. “Sergio Fajardo / Medellín, from fear to hope (Conference at TEC of Monterrey, Mexico)”. 08 Jul. 2013. Web. 14 May. 2014 <>.

Foundation Loving Medellín and Antioquia. LOVING MEDELLIN. 03 Ap. 2008. Web. 27 Ap. 2014 <>.

Foundation Loving Medellín and Antioquia. Loving Medellín New Generation. 06 Nov. 2008. Web. 27 Ap. 2014 <>. 

Fajardo, S. “Del miedo a la esperanza, Alcaldía de Medellín 2004/2007”. 2008. Web. 14 May. 2014. <>.

La W Radio. Entrevistas W: Michel Arnau autor de la canción "Quiero a Medellín". 01 Mar. 2013. Web. 27 Ap. 2014 <>. “Quienes somos”. 2014. Web. 25 May. 2014. <>.
Montoya Acevedo, M. El “Un canto a Medellín y Antioquia”. 19 Jun. 2009. Web. 27 Ap. 2014 <>. “About Proantioquia”. 2014. Web. 17 May. 2014 <>.

El “El anfitrión y su balance final del Foro Urbano”. 10 ap. 2014. Web. 17 May. 2014. <>.

Semana Magazine. Ap. 2014. Special edition: ANTIOQUIA, GENTE 1A. Publicaciones Semana S.A.

Urban Solutions Platform (2014, 11 de abril). “Joseph Stiglitz Conference (WUF7)”. 11 ap. 2014. Web. 20 ap. 2014.  <>. 

World Urban Forum - WUF7. Seventh session of the World Urban Forum Closing Ceremony. 2014. Web. 11 May. 2014. <>.

[1] People from the region of Antioquia in Colombia.
[2] Sub-region from southerly latitude of Antioquia shaped by 10 municipalities where Medellín is located.
[3] Proud to be from Medellín.
[4] From Medellín.
[5] Michel Arnau, is a well-known publicist and impeller of the advertising wave from 70’s Colombian advertising. Subsequently he was the Chairman of DDB Colombia, the Multinational Advertising Agency.
[6] Introduced so by a Journalist in an interview the day Medellín won the award as the most innovative all over the world.
[7] Non-profit foundation that foster citizenship, ethics and democracy. 
[8] Historian and Dean of Social Sciences at the University Jorge Tadeo Lozano (Bogotá, Colombia).
[9] Ex-minister of Culture, current rector at EAFIT University (Medellín), erudite of Antioquia’s History.
[10] Talk: The Role of Private Sector as Agent of Change.
[11]“Proantioquia is a non-profit, privately operated foundation, established in 1975 by a group of prominent entrepreneurs from Antioquia. Its goal is to contribute in the building of an increasingly competitive and equitable region, and an integrated and peaceful society, with opportunities for all the citizens.” (, 2014)
[12] Private institutional collectiveness aims evaluation and follows up to the welfare of the City. (,2014)
[13] Inhabitants from Antioquia.

jueves, 5 de diciembre de 2013

Peter Senge & Organizations as Living Systems

By Juan Sebastián Cárdenas Salas

“Business and human endeavors are systems…we tend to focus on snapshots of isolated parts of the system. And wonder why our deepest problems never get solved.”[1]

Peter Senge

When Peter Senge launched his materialized vision about the management of organizations in 1990 with a famous book called The Fifth discipline: The Art and Practice of the learning Organization, he encouraged a revolution on defined paradigms linked to what an organization is. In this book Senge introduced the innovative concept of Learning organization which is basically those who are immersed in a constant process of adaptation, improvement, and evolution, where people are constantly setting up their collective intelligence “learning how to learn together” (Senge, 2006). This is the key point to understanding how his vision impacted the paradigms of business more than 20 years ago, and how it is still sowing a new conscience around the business practices.

Peter Senge is currently senior professor at MIT and founder of SOL (Society of Learning Organizations), a non-profit organization composed of researchers, consultants and corporations constantly working for the enhancement and wellness of organizations (Senge, 2008). Because of his achievements in the field of organizational management, he was named the “Strategist of the Century” and one of 24 personalities who has boosted the way business is led today (Smith, 2001).

I strongly think it is a fact that those who work -or are interested- in the realm of organizations are familiar with Peter Senge’s statements. However, the concept of learning organization requires going beyond the criteria of management. It requires thinking business as a Human Community[2] or a living being whose intelligence, continuous capacity of adaptation, and evolution, depends on its cells: People. As is known “Cells are the smallest form of life—the functional and structural units of all living things” (Machalek, 2011). Therefore, as human beings we are those essentials forms of life from organizations. Our human behavior, as an integrated system of cells, defines the biopsychosocial[3] state of business that we are shaping, and this system affects whether or not an organization is healthy (has a sustainable life) or has a type of disease. In that way, business, similar to humans, can have a long healthy life, or die of cancer (cells degeneration). So to understand organizations as living beings is quite relevant, as is being conscious of its developing and improvement as a human. 

In order to explain the concept of business as a human Community, Senge starts by thinking about the principal issues where organizations are involved: energy, climate change, food, water, materials waste and toxicity. In concordance, he considers business are “the most powerful [institutions] in our modern society,” (Senge, Oct. 2006) whose influence has a huge impact on developing and sustainable progress of our planet. On one hand, Senge affirms that:

“Many good business are naturally concerned about their impact on their local environment, both the communities in which they operate and the natural systems… you could define a good business by its sensitivity to its environment.” (Senge, Oct. 2006).

On the other hand, many of them because of the capacity of power and control used in order to privilege a few at the expense of many, are negligent of “philanthropic gestures” (Senge, Oct. 2006) and do not truly care about these issues. They instead focus on getting the maximum monetary profit. Hence, according to Senge (Oct.2006), “the ones that survive for a long time are relatively more responsible and sensitive than those that aren't.” Those that are conscious to invest in social- environmental capital will have a profitable life generated by trust from its stakeholders.

In addition, to keep clarifying what the “organic model of the corporation” is, Senge (Oct. 2006) describes the origin of the problem which, according to him, comes from the last more than 80 years of education on business schools whose “dominant mythology” has been focusing in the main aim of a business is maximizing “return on investor’s capital”. If we stare two centuries back, this foundation, indeed, starts with the Industrial Revolution where developing machines to enhance industrial process released a “monster of progress” which was devouring all resources for getting the maximum monetary income regardless whether it implies a sustainable process or not. Therefore, according to Senge (Oct. 2006), it established the mythology of “companies as [machines] for making money” whose outcome we can compare to the famous fable of The Goose With the Golden Egg where the owner, because of his desire for power, killed his company -The Goose- breaking its sustainable process: one golden egg every day. Thus, Senge affirms that making money is not related to making profit:

“For a human community, profit is the consequence of being effective in pursuit of your purpose or mission. Or, is a company first and foremost a machine for making money, and the people and relationships among them is secondary, they are simply "human resources" needed by this machine.” (Senge, Oct. 2006). 

I consider it is one of the most important statements to understand an organization as an intelligent living being. A machine does not have conscience, whereas “as a human community we have an ethical foundation based on our empathy and compassion for the larger living systems within which we as a living system exist.” (Senge, Oct. 2006). 

It is a fact that putting in practice this vision is not easy because it is not only related to business but has to do with the whole systems where we coexist with others in life. This demands a high level of sustainability and responsibility. Moreover, our human complexity is a factor which is not even totally clear to understand. However, the curiosity, innovative spirit, and passion of some visionaries who habit this whole system that we know as the world, have allowed us to pick up the produce of progress and evolution despite the barriers of conscience and uncertainty to which we are constantly exposed.


“About Peter Senge” April 2008. Web. 07 Nov. 2013. <>.

“Biopsychosocial” Merriam Webster Dictionary Online. 2013. Web. 21 Nov. 2013. <>.

Machalek, Alisa Z. “Preface: The Microscopic Metropolis Inside You.” National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIH). 22 Apr. 2011. Web. 09 Nov. 2013. <>.

“Peter M. Senge Quotes” 2013. Web. 08 Nov. 2013. <>.

Senge, Peter. “Business as a Human Community - Interview with Peter Senge” Oct. 2006. Web. 07 Nov. 2013. <>.

Senge, Peter. The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization. Revised ed. Random House LLC, 2006. Web. 08 Nov. 2013. <>.

Smith, Mark K. “Peter Senge and the learning organization”. 2001. Web. 09 Nov. 2013. <>.

“The Goose With the Golden Egg” 2013. Web. 21 Nov. 2013. <>.

[1] Look reference “Peter M. Senge Quotes”

[2] Look reference “Business as a Human Community - Interview with Peter Senge”

[3] “Relating to, or concerned with the biological, psychological, and social aspects” (“Biopsychosocial”). Businesses as living systems are Biopsychosocial systems.

Sensitive dialogs through communication strategies

By Juan Sebastián Cárdenas Salas

We are shaped to be connected with others, and communication is the essential feed to achieve this connection. As humans, we are connected with this world through the senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. As a result, some people are more visual, while others are more auditory, or kinesthetic[1]. Hence, communication is not only related to talking, it is related to all the senses. Thus, a brand communication plan requires an accurate work to outline a strong, coherent and touchable sensorial identity. As a strategist in this realm, I want to expose a tool that I called “the emotional rational” which has been useful in my different endeavors regardless of the type and weight. I developed this tool looking for how to ensure a conscious rapport with costumers, the key of an effective communication strategy. It is basically divided in four segments whose aim is identify the specific communication needs in relation to the company’s culture and its identity: Proposal of value, Personality, Sensorial perception, and Inspiration-projection. I will expose each one of these steps.

Before defining the strategy, you should ask what the brand difference is. This question allows to identify the proposal of value[2] through three relevant factors. The first is to identify the strengthens, weaknesses, opportunities and treats (SWOT[3]) according to the brand that you want to communicate. All of these factors are related to innovation processes, learning lessons, challenges, enhancements, skills, competitors, etc., that make the difference to boost the strategy. Next, you need to check what rational attributes (functional benefits) are merged in the mind of the stakeholders related to the usability of your product/service, i.e., the functionality. For instance: Starbucks’s Teas are refreshing products with tasty flavors. Then, you have to check what emotional attributes could affect the audience, i.e., the positive sensations. For instance: in Starbucks I feel comfortable in a great atmosphere where I can study or work for a while. This previous analysis allows you having great basis to structure a well-planned strategy. 

As human beings, brands have specific traits, so the second and most important step is to define the tone and style for your plan, asking who the brand is, in order to clarify its identity. You will develop an effective tone and style to start the dialog once you know what personality and verbal expression traits are linked to the brand. You ought to ask basically two questions: If this brand/product/service/event were a person, what adjectives would be describing it and how would it develop a dialog and why? We could easy deduce that Apple[4] is a creative, innovative, smart and artistic brand. Its verbal expression could be emotional, assertive, influencer and inspiring. Thus, you are going to have the hint to establish a relationship with your stakeholders through the actions or activities that you define in your plan. 

Things around make sense when you can feel these. Next, it is important to check how you the brand is going to connect with people through the senses. Therefore, you should ask your clients or costumers what type of images, sounds, scents, and sensations of weight and textures are in their mind when they are thinking about the brand. When I think about Disney World, the first image that comes to mind is Mickey Mouse, then, Cinderella’s Castle. Regarding sounds, immediately I hear to Tinker bell in the Disney’s audio books. When I´m planning to go to the cinema, I start thinking about the smell of pop corn, and if I think about ice cream, I feel the softness in my mouth. As a result, you can enhance your call to action and communication activities using all this background of sensitive information. 

Finally, when you already have a good background of inspiring and useful information to define the strategy, you should apply benchmarking to identify how other similar brands could inspire your plan, not in order to copy it, just to have a wide vision about styles and communication impacts. You must define a time to make real the goals as well. With an accurate timetable you will able to define a well-structured and measurable action plan. You should define your economic resources according to the impact that you wish to get, for this reason, before defining the action plan from your strategy, you have to ask what amount of capital you are willing to invest to get what you want. Remember that the creativity to define it should be even more important than capital. Moreover, with all this prior background of relevant and strategic information which has allowed you to know many things about you, you should be definitely able to be creative. 

In consequence, using this practical tool/survey which is a channel to understand your brand before to communicate it, you will shape an effective dialog to ensure a good and profitable relationship with your stakeholders in all the senses. As human beings, organizations are living beings which need to express an identity. As a strategist of communication and branding you always have to make sure that this expression through communication strategies will be coherent and honest with the promises and actions from the company where you are in charge. People almost always avoid having trusted relations with liars, in the context of organizations it is the same, keep that in mind.


[1] Look at NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming)

[2] David Aaker’s statement. David Aaker for several years has been a well-recognized strategist in the theory of marketing and branding.

[3] Well-known Marketing tool

[4] Think different is the promise which we can see in its innovative products.

domingo, 15 de septiembre de 2013

Big brother practices from the U.S. Government, are contagious?

By Juan Sebastián Cárdenas Salas

In the Sci-Fi cult movie “The Matrix”[1] life is an illusion created and controlled by machines. This control is represented by the Service Secret Agents of the Government as guardians inside that illusion whose mission is spying and keeping control over whatever sign of liberty and rebellious behavior against the system by humanity. It is not odd at all The U.S. Secret Service practices surveillance over humans had been the best inspiration for the creators of this movie since this entity has characterized several years ago by the reputation of keeping the world under control troughout spying practices.  For these days (as in the past... and it will be in the future), the polemic about the Government tactics to invade the privacy of people has released the discussion about United Sates as "The Country of the Liberty” once again. The question is will it have a possible solution? On the one hand, there is a background of terrorism attacks and threats which could justify to some extent these intromissions avoiding future possible attacks against The U.S. system and people. On the other hand, is stated the polemic about how “the paranoid”, which has become in a kind of illness truly contagious have infected other instances from The U.S. (especially companies). In my opinion, regardless the cause, the answer is the “Big brother”[2]  practices will continue infecting society, not only in The U.S. but over the whole world.[3]
After the fatidic attacks upon the world trade center at 9/11/01, all The United States was vulnerable. The Government Intelligence Services (The Pentagon) failed in its task to protect the integrity of its nation. Thus, the main learning lesson (undoubtedly) was increased intelligence tactics and procedures of surveillance. In that way the “Big Brother” practices -spying procedures- were considered as an effective tool approved for The Government to weed out whatever sign of terrorism and destroy it, regardless what they needed to do for getting it to protect the country and their people, even going against constitutional rights of privacy and liberty, to preserve “the liberty”. This is may be a great paradox whose complexity is not easy to understand, but for governments or mechanisms of power[4] is really useful to keep propagating this illness. 
Therefore, the background of terrorism attacks and threats which has had The United States, might be a good reason to be paranoid about the possibility of dangerous attacks everywhere (mostly for The Government) and this somatic marker seems to have infected a considerable range of entities which are investing and using technology to spying on people. One example could be the discographic firms. If you download a song -without pay- using one of these open source softwares you can find surfing online, it is possible you receive a legal threat from one of those companies. In addition, could be a considerable amount of companies –including universities- which are surveilling on their people digging into their emails, callings, etc[5]. That is such an additional considerable hint propelled by this contagious effect.

The reality is we all are being watched by the whole system through “agents”, that are not only from governments but from different instances, and our privacy and liberty seem to be an illusion as in “The Matrix”. This surveillance situation won´t has a closely solution since we started to be infected at the time we enter to be part of “the system”, or to be part of this kind of Matrix which is not fictitious. That is the reason why intrusions in the existence of others, distrust and need for control, have been  convened upon the setting up of our human nature… If you had a ring with the power of making yourself invisible, what would you like to do?

[1] One of the most iconic Sci –Fi films from the end of the last century (1999).
[2] The George Orwell’s Novel - 1984
[3] It is important clarify this problem is not only related to U.S., many governments could have the same illness
[4] This type of excuse doesn’t apply only for U.S. Government.
[5] There are several cases which support this affirmation…do the exercise to find some surfing the web (ask to Google).