Oct. 2011, I participated in the making of an event called Centifolia. This event gathered players in the perfumes & cosmetics industry in the city of Grasse, South of France, known as the world capital of perfume.
What did I do in such an event, and what interest should I have in this sector of the economy?
First, my co-creative partners and I had 100% freedom to design the event in order to increase its collective intelligence. Second, the perfumes & cosmetics sector, that many people consider as superficial and useless, occupies in reality an important place in our everyday life, and in the economy in general. Indeed, viral ideas and collective intelligence actions can potentially provoke an inspiring and leveraging wave, in this sector as well as in other sectors. Yummy! So we played.
Lipstick and gloss?
Many people, specially among the cultural creatives and generation Y part of society, have a negative and alienated understanding of the perfumes & cosmetics sector. They see it as lipstick and gloss. Wrong. Cosmetics go from make-up to toothpaste, sunblock, shampoo and soap. You can define it as any product that comes in contact with your body. Cosmetics have always existed and will always exist.
Important to know: heavy weights in this industry don’t just do “perfumes” and “cosmetics”. Take a look at P&G, Givaudan, Firmenich or IFF… These guys also play in the flavors & fragrance field. They decide how our food, our drink or our detergent will smell and taste (well, you don’t want to taste the detergent).
That said, this industrial sector (like so many others) shows quite some alarming facts:
- Some products come from the extraction or exploitation of natural resources from all around the world. In many cases it affects ecosystems and hurts local populations (farmers, indigenous people…) who often operate under the control of local mafia. Child labor, degrading working conditions and wage slavery appear as common cases, from India to Haiti, from Australia to Madagascar.
- Some products affect our health
- Some products affect the environment (packaging, chemicals…)
- Some products rely on animal testing
On a more systemic and global point of view, humanity has built its economies with a scarce monetary system called “money”. Scarce money provokes an incentive to “hunt” for… money. Such an activity requires the laying of “money traps” everywhere. Many, if not most, products on the market have this unique function of attracting this scarce money. We find no humanistic goal, no spiritual value, no healing function whatsoever, although these products do claim to serve a need. Therefore in many cases the making of a product comes with the making of a need. The products create the need, and not the opposite. To do so, the use of manipulation, temptation and lies to create the need have become a common and accepted practice, regardless the systemic consequences or the moral issues. This mechanism induced by a scarce monetary system leads to consumerist societies and consumption based economies.
Supermarkets and TV commercials offer a good observation field. We see in a live way how lie and manipulation principles operate.
Enter in any supermarket, observe and ask yourself how many products have a real humanistic, environmental or spiritual function? How many products provoke an immediate stimulus (pleasure), and how many trigger a genuine happiness? You will likely conclude that humanity could thrive and have its highest needs served without most of the products aligned in the aisles. Also take a look at the packaging… the messages, the flashy colors, the subliminal words and images, the chosen spots in the store… Does it speak to your higher self or does it titillate your reptilian brain?
Watch TV commercials, and count the number of mind-numbing and debilitating messages. Observe how they manipulate, how they trigger the most basic drives in human psyche (hunger, sexual desire, etc) or invoke the highest spiritual values (freedom, self-realization…). This dynamics, now fed with more and more neuromarketing data, institutionalizes a societal practice of lies and manipulation. “This cream will make you look 20 years younger“, “this toothpaste will give you a Hollywood smile“, “this soap will make women happier“, “this shampoo will make you look like a star“, etc.
Neither blaming and censoring the big brands, nor doing social activism against them will escape the whole system I just sketched. Only a global, distributed, systemic, innovative response can transcend it. Rather than becoming more terrifying players inside the current rules, why don’t we change the rules themselves and play a much funnier game?
Hence, the way we consider health and well-being can evolve. The way we define wealth can evolve. The way we trade with one another can evolve. The way we create economic ecosystems and currencies can evolve. Entrepreneurship can evolve. Information transparency can evolve. The whole game can evolve. It just takes a handful of committed visionary people who decide to play in another field and to show that they definitely have much more fun there.
What happened during Centifolia 2011?
So, back to Centifolia 2011… This event swirled around the idea of the “Perfect Product”. A perfect product embodies and manifests Beauty, Goodness and Truth, which we call universal primary values (like primary colors). Hence this conference that I gave (see below). In a nutshell it says that from this universal human value system called “Beauty, Goodness and Truth” we can build new, juicy, generous, innovative, sustainable businesses that support the emergence of conscious markets.
If you feel like exploring a little more, you may watch this conference called “Our Species Evolves, and You?” I gave it for the opening of Centifolia. It explores some of the current trends of our society: where do markets go? Why do they become “conscious”? What any CEO should know today (that about 100% of them don’t even suspect)? What opportunities do we have ahead of us?
Centifolia 2013: “The Wealth of a Product”
Oct. 23-25, 2013
Many congresses, fairs, shows, conferences and conventions talking about perfumes & cosmetics happen during the year in different places of the world. Well, Centifolia 2013 will NOT look like any of these events. On the contrary. So I should make myself very clear here: people who want to do business as usual won’t find any interest in attending Centifolia 2013.
This year’s theme? The Wealth of a Product.
Check the official website.
What wealth can a product really create, provoke, attract? In this context, we use the word wealth in its broadest and deepest sense. Wealth as for value creation, benefits, satisfaction, health, environment, society, entrepreneurship, joy, relationships, trust, interconnectedness, universal values… In 3 words: Beauty, Goodness and Truth. We call it integral wealth.
On the societal side, can we imagine products that don’t create winners on one side and losers on the other side? Usually the “losers” side includes the environment, indigenous populations, and the society at large (alienation, consumerism…). Sellers and buyers (not always) compose the “winners” side. Actually, not true indeed for the winners’ side: from a systemic perspective, everyone loses. It just depends on which scale of time we look at these things. Only conscious markets can attract and sustain these no losers enterprises. Good news: conscious markets grow everywhere, mostly throughout the Internet. We will make a clear demonstration of this evolution during the event.
We can then ask the following questions:
- What kind of organization does it take to enter in conscious market’s ecosystem?
- How do we create a no losers company?
- Where do we start from now?
- What can conventional companies do in order to evolve?
We will address these questions through conferences and interactive spaces.
We will invite speakers that play at every levels of the chain of value creation. From indigenous producers to R&D, from purchasers to recyclers, from marketing & sales to final client, from CEOs to noses (well, not just the nose, but also the person following it)… Even more: we want to hear the voices of society and the environment. Both have amazing insights and value proposition for tomorrow’s markets.
This web of experiences will help everyone build a holistic understanding of the current human ecosystem of the sector. And when an ecosystem becomes conscious, extraordinary evolutionary capacities begin to manifest.
On the methodological side, we will implement different spaces that trigger collective intelligence, creativity, consciousness, entrepreneurship. This includes:
- TED like conferences: short, innovative, with super-prepared Ninja keynote speakers. They will inspire us with their stories and experience (check Centifolia 2011 conferences to get a sense of it)
- World Cafés: one of the most efficient way to connect while enhancing collective intelligence in the room
- Circles: to build a sense of the collective and see what wants to emerge
- Informal time: to give space to the unexpected and the invisible
- Delicious meals: to celebrate and enjoy each other’s presence with organic food (of course )
- Online spaces: to invite global collective intelligence and connect with the world
- Medias: to film, interview, collect experiences and insights
- Graphic facilitation and cartooning: because no one can seriously create and innovate without them
- Art, music, fun, humor: because we don’t want our right brain to look like a raisin
Our highest expectation? That attendees leave Centifolia with thriving ideas, innovative concepts, new connections, an open and exciting vision of possible futures, a joyful and concrete sense of no losers businesses.
Centisophia comes as an obvious next step.
Centisophia, the next step for pioneers!
Friday Oct. 24 afternoon – Saturday Oct. 25 evening
Centifolia, we talked. Centisophia, we do.
It will gather people who want to move on, people who want their hands on innovative projects that embody the visions shared in Centifolia. People with a pioneering drive.
These pioneers want to operate via the next forms of collective intelligence (we call it holomidal collective intelligence), that have a much higher capacity for innovation, learning, decision making, resilience, anticipation, and wisdom-driven action. Attendees feel an irresistible attraction for integral business models and conscious markets. They come to share their direct experience and unveil concrete visionary projects, existing or future ones.
Centifolia had open doors for everyone, Centisophia will require candidates to apply for their participation. We expect motivated people and we want to make sure that everyone has a clear understanding about the objectives of the event. The applicant’s social status (global CEO or humble entrepreneur) doesn’t play any role here. Only motivation and open-mindedness count.
In regards to designing our interaction spaces, we will continue with the same dynamics as during Centifolia, but in a more advanced way. Our spaces will become super interactive. We will also play with new ways to engage with one another in order to harness our creativity.
The outcomes? It depends 100% on participants. For knowing a number of them personally, I can tell how motivated they feel and the senior experience they have. Some of them had global CEO positions in the old economy, today they decided to play like young excited teenagers in the new economy. I like it.
If I had to describe Centisophia in a few keywords? Out of the box, provoking, inspiring, outstanding, pioneering, a space of its own, business not as usual, collective intelligence, conscious markets, integral wealth, next opportunities…
Please drop me a line if you feel like playing !