By Founder and CEO, Chung Jaan Hao
I hope that 2010 was as interesting for all of you as it is for me. Just before Christmas last year, I took a short business trip to Stockholm, Sweden. It probably wasn’t the best time of the year to go there as temperatures reach a low of negative 20 degrees Celsius but the context of the trip was insightful and I had a lot of fun meeting with different people who shared similar wavelengths as me.
In between the rushed meetings, we managed to squeeze in a short visit to see the Vasa, a salvaged Swedish warship commissioned by the late Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus back in the year 1626. It was a grand warship designed to carry 300 soldiers and had the most broadside firepower of 267kg at the time compared to any ship. The Vasa was built to fight as well as to impress, with its elaborated ornamental carvings that took 2 years to make. It was the flag ship that was supposed to display the authority, wisdom and martial prowess of the monarch and to deride, taunt and intimidate the enemy.
Now here comes the interesting thing about the Vasa. It sank 2 km from the port of Älvsnabben during its maiden voyage. It was only rediscovered and salvaged in 1961, and has become one of the main tourist attraction in Stockholm today.
The story goes that a gust of strong wind toppled the Vasa. Apparently there was a design flaw with the grand warship which made it top- heavy without enough ballast. What is most intriguing was that the shipbuilders knew about the problem but no one brought it up to the King who was enthusiastic about finishing the ship as soon as possible to join his Baltic war campaign against the Polish. A royal inquest was carried out immediately after the sinking and everyone blamed everyone else. In the end, no one was found guilty and the blame was mostly put onto Henrik Hybertsson, the shipwright who passed away one year into the building of the Vasa and the disaster was described as an act of god.
If I were to analyze the historical lesson from this, I would say that stuff like this still happens in this modern day, weather in the governments or corporate sector. It’s probably a classic case of top down management with poor planning, over-stretched resources and poor communications. Only in this case, it was an over-built warship which took with it the lives of 30 to 50 deckhands. But the Vasa was indeed a beautiful ship and we will probably be awe-struck to see it sailing our way today let alone in the 17th century.
It has been about a good 7 to 8 months since the idea of mnc:playlab came along. While the culture change has been slow, the momentum has gained considerable speed in the last few months. For those who missed our feature on mnc:playlab and what is it all about, it is about working as a community to harness collective intelligence in a single goal which is to create innovative and creative mobile and internet media services with exceptional end-user experience in an open sharing environment both digitally and physically, all while having a fun time doing it. Sounds like a mouthful, but really it’s about making the workplace more open, more creatively conducive, injecting fun into our work and having strong ideals for great user experience. For me it is building MNC Wireless 2.0.
This year will indeed be a challenging year as we put our vision to work and there are a lot of operational preparations including the need for a major shift in the mindsets of our people. But it is suffice to say that the world has changed and so must we.
Community culture rules above individual skill sets in the world of mnc:playlab and we are revamping our human resource systems while raising the bar in our future recruitments to ensure that only people who fit into the culture are hired. The ideal person to work at MNC Wireless would probably be someone who embraces the use of social media, passionate about how the changing mobile and internet landscape and how to be a part of it, open to sharing of ideas, always looking to offer assistance to help a colleague, love cool gadgets and always yearning for new experiences and knowledge.
To sum it up nicely, I am borrowing some words of wisdom from Soren Gordhamer the founder of Wisdom 2.0 Conference on the 5 Paradigms of Shift for a Socially Engaged Company.
The Old Paradigm: “Force people to do what you want.”
The New Paradigm: “Give people what you want them to offer.”
Old Paradigm: “Just put your body in the room.”
New Paradigm: “Show up with a creative, open mindset.”
3. Group Wisdom
Old Paradigm: “All wisdom exists at the top.”
New Paradigm: “Listen and make space for various voices.”
Old Paradigm: “Do what is normal.”
New Paradigm: “Approach space creatively to serve the purpose.”
Old Paradigm: “Work to get a paycheck.”
New Paradigm: “Make your work about something bigger.”
Keep reading our blog to find out what we do next in our great experiment to combine social media behavior into a real life working environment. Check out our photos of mnc:playlab office concept too. It’s still very much work-in-progress but anyone is free to drop by and chat with us by appointment. Freshly brewed Italian coffee is on the house.