De-emphasising Trust in Open Innovation and the Future-of-Work

Brian Heinen, speaking at the Blockchain and IoTS World Congress

I participated in several thought-provoking sessions at the PMCampBCN, Global Open Innovation Forum, Design Thinking, ICO, and Blockchain and IoT Solutions World Congress with forward-thinking experts from Fortune 500 companies, colleagues from cutting-edge cryptocurrency, IoT and Blockchain development, design thinkers, and entrepreneurs looking for the next disruption in their industries, overall, just an inspiring group of achievers.

After participating in seven events, over ten days, and discussing at length about open innovation and the future-of-work, I want to share my thoughts on three themes that I found myself contemplating:

  • · flexibility/ adaptability

  • · inclusion

  • · mindfulness


Deemphasis of Trust Diagram by Brian Heinen


I see the value in de-emphasizing the traditional need of building “trust networks” for evidence-based (inclusive and decentralized) business productivity in the future. And to nurture our professional reputations beyond institutionally-based (closed and centralized) metrics to focus on disruption that will not come from within our cultural silos.

I feel that our professional identities need to be measured by an individual’s interconnected presence/ mindfulness and their personal creativity in an ever-growing automative world.

I challenge that great leadership should be about a vision of the future, or analyzing the actions of the past, but more on achieving a clear, more inclusive focus on the present. That does not mean we should dismiss the lessons of past experiences, nor lose sight of future goals, but that the choices we make need to be removed of those biases of past threats and future rewards.

True collaboration is the moment when our perspective is being challenged, and we process the real-time feedback we give – and receive –  to ask better questions that will bring everyone involved onto the same page. This is the in-the-zone moments that all athletes talk about.

This collaboration leads to sustainable and innovative growth when leaders include the most diverse range of profiles and opinions in their feedback process. And then being mindful of taking decisions again based on the strategic needs of the present moment. Organisations and individuals should be careful not to be motivated by antiquated business practices and cultural fears that build barriers around sharing information with outside contributors.


Evolution of Production by Xavier Pi, Enginyers de Catalunya

As our world becomes more automative, the future responsibilities of workers in contributing to mass production will become less and less necessary.

In the short term, this will place immense strain on the psyche of professionals – blue collar and white collar – to value their identities in society. I have discussed in previous post and with many colleagues the need of expressing their concerns around the psychological price of entrepreneurship, but in the immediate future-of-work, I see these anxieties only increasing. For me, the result of further transparency across our business support networks will benefit professionals by increasing access to collaboration and reassurance to communicate these feelings of anxiety and depression. Both achieving a healthier society, and increased bottom-line, double and triple-bottom-line results in productivity.

But in the long term, through adaptability/ flexibility and encouraging curiosity, I theorise a future where the professional will return to focusing on individual skills and highly rewarding personalised creativity – like craftsmanship, music, creative writing, inventing, statesmanship and philosophy. And the variety of products – locally sourced – will be increased exponentially.

The metrics for evidenced-based innovation must be about achievements, instead of mere participation.

Let´s unpack that somewhat. How do we identify value, de-emphase trust and encourage curiosity?



The commodification of trust through transparent, traceable, smart contracts on a real-time, incorruptible, decentralised and distributed ledger.

“Blockchain as a historical fabric underneath recording everything that happens exactly as it occurs.

Then the chain stitches that data into encrypted blocks that can never be modified and scatters the pieces across a worldwide network of distributed computers or “nodes.”

Blockchain always has an immutable “ledger” that you can see, verify, and control. At the same time, it has no single point of failure from which records or digital assets can be hacked or corrupted.

Because of its distributed-ledger technology, blockchain has applications across every kind of digital record and transaction, and we’re already beginning to see major industries leaning into the shift.”

Rob Marvin, Blockchain: The Invisible Technology That’s Changing the World (2017)

Business and entrepreneurs will no longer need to have concerns regarding the trustworthiness of a transactional commitment, as all business details will be hashed onto a blockchain, removing the needs to continually build a trust network, and can be free to build a true collaboration network.


Slow thinking is the process of collaborating through more deliberate and logical processes, instead of emotional and instinctive reactions.*

Slow Thinking by Karen Schmidt of Over the Fence


Karen Schmidt, of the OvertheFence Organization, presented her slow thinking methodology of uncovering better ways of collaborating in interdisciplinary projects.

Questions before Answers

Observations before Evaluations

Change of Perspective before Point of View

Self-Reflection before Criticism

*”Fast thinking” and “slow thinking” refer to the work of Nobel Prize in Economics winner Daniel Kahneman, who has researched the dichotomy between two modes of thought (“system 1” and “system 2”).


1.     Further emphasis on Networking, Social Selling and being creative in your professional choices.

2.     Contribute to networking groups outside your industry or culture – I am a big proponent of networking as a tool to challenge your comfort zone.

3.     Walking meetings – schedule your next meeting walking in the local park or by the beach, but without a set destination.

4.     Start a blog/ journal of your professional insights, even if you do not share – although I am sure you will be surprised with how many people will find your thoughts useful.

5.     Travel, and look for work in new location.

6.     Take an improv acting class – whether you are a CEO or inspiring actor, this is the best business class you can take.

7.     Take up several hobbies – cooking, sewing, painting, singing, guitar, coding, writing work shops, yoga; hobbies that you need your head and hands

8.     Focus on giving more value to colleagues, clients and employees for their diversity of skills, their enthusiasm to learn, desires to challenge and ask critical questions, their communication skills and openness to take calculated risks.

9.     Embrace the value of failing – for me you are not even valuable as a professional until you have tried and failed at something.

10.   Learn how to say no to a client, to assumed opportunities, to colleagues and/ or yourself.

11.    Small Wins, Big Promotions – try not to change the world, but what you change, have passion and let people know about it.

“Don´t Worry About Playing Alot of Notes, Just Find One Pretty One” – Miles Davis


1.     Avoid those institutions, companies, projects and organisations that seem to always look to hire, promote and share only from within their organisation or culture

2.     Avoid managers that hire or contract people from a pool of similar profiles as theirs; such as their friends, university contacts, candidates all from the same country or cultural background, or organisations that they belong.

I understand that this could seem to contradict my previous point regarding networking, but you should ask yourself, is the value of a network just a pay-to-play, or is the value of the members based on achieving measurable contributions to promoting inclusive and open collaboration?

3.     Avoid those profiles who look to talk-over and past their audience. Learn to know your audience, and make sure you are learning as much from them as you think you are sharing.

Goal: Mutual Value

Here is one of the best at explaining complicated subjects without trying to talk past their audience.

Author: Brian Heinen

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