Leading from the emerging future, from ego system to ecosystem economics

Ecosystem economics will become the new black.

What is your transformative purpose?

We recently started to use “Exponential organisations” with our clients. One of the key points of the book is about businesses finding their “Transformative purpose”. It really resonates with our clients. When you get involved in staff engagement, it eventually always boils down to why you matter and why the company you work for matters.

4.0 economics

That is how we came across “Leading from the emerging future”. Most books we cover take an individual and organisational perspective. This book takes a macro perspective and then brings it back. It is about 4.0 economics or a 4.0 society.

Why is 4.0 economics important?

Here are some really frightening statistics:

    • We leave an ecologic footprint of 1.5 planets
    • Food prices are expected to double by 2030
    • In the USA 1% owns more than the entire bottom 90%
    • 25% of kids in the USA live in poverty
    • In 2000 twice of many people died of suicide as died in wars
    • There are 200 million people unemployed going to 600,000, most of them young
    • Every one in five people lacks access to safe drinking water
    • One-third of our soil has eroded and have become unproductive
    • 90% of industrial production in health sector concentrate on diseases that are lifestyle driven

Bubble economics

In 1995 the 6 largest banks held 17.1% of the USA GDP in assets. By 2010 that has risen to 64%. The value of global foreign exchange transactions in 2010 was 1.5 quadrillion (one quadrillion is a 1,000 trillion). What do you think the value of foreign trade is? It is 20 trillion. 1.4% of the transactions. No wonder we have economic bubbles.

System break down

The system is failing us. We need to move to a different model. The authors call it the 4.0 model. A co-creative ecosystem model. From inflexible, centralised control to a spontaneous, decentralised grassroots movement. From GDP to GNH (Gross National Happiness). From economy to social economy. From entrepreneurship to social entrepreneurship.

The solution

We need to move to biomimicry (how would nature design the economic process?). We need to move to zero waste. We need to move to solar (nature operates on 100% renewable energy). We need to move to a closed loop design. We need to relink work with purpose. We need to accept that ecologically, economically, socially and spiritually we are all interdependent and connected.

The Barcelona FC approach to economics

We need to unleash the distributed collective intelligence. We need collaborative conscious consumption. We need a Barcelona (or Ajax in the good old days) model of economics. It is the economy versus society conversation. Closer to Boston or Berlin. An economy that is not run as a business (and a badly run one at that).


Imagine banks operating like the Triodos Bank, imagine basic income as a concept, imagine local barter systems, imagine technology actually solving problems and liberating people. Imagine leaders moving from individual targets to focusing on the well-being of the whole. To make their point, the authors quote Nietzsche, Cicero, Gandhi, the Dalai Lama and lots of other smart people. It uses linguistics, philosophy, economics, biology, neuroscience, etc. and gives examples and case studies of organisations and governments that have started using 4.0 thinking. For example, a village in Namibia tested an unconditional basic income as a concept with amazing results (crime down 40%, entrepreneurship up 300%, child malnutrition down 200%).

The questions you should ask yourselves

The authors hope that the emergence of new spirituality will change the world. What is the purpose of life? Why do we exist? What is your karmic assignment? Which is also asked in books such as the earlier mentioned “Exponential organisation” but also in “Reinventing organisations” and “Out of our minds” of Ken Robinson and “Poke the Box” by Seth Godin. How do you get meditation, Zen and Tao applied to global economics in a holistic way?

We are optimistic

We are optimists. A lot of the current literature seems to support that thinking. There are thousands of app in the mindfulness space. Businesses are starting to adopt this thinking. There is the shared economy movement. Collaborative consumption. Millennials are driven by these values. We do think that technology will solve a lot of the issues. The authors disagree, and we think they are missing the exponential speed of technology development.

It starts with you

But it starts with you. Here are some personal tips in the book:

  • Practice, don’t preach
  • Observe, observe, observe.
  • Connect to your intention. Intention is not a powerful source; it is the only source.
  • Follow your heart, do what you love, love what you do.
  • Always be in dialogue with the universe.
  • Create a holding space of deep listening.
  • Learn to sense what wants to emerge
  • Try fail, try fail, iterate, iterate
  • Use different language with different stakeholders.
  • If you want to change others, you need to be open to changing yourself first.
  • Never give up. You are not alone.
  • Energy follows attention.
  • Open your heart.
  • Stop the noise in your head.
  • Be transparent and open.
  • The whole universe is just one big self.

Macro perspective

And on a macro level:

  • Close the feedback loop of production and consumption (recycling, closed-loop design, earth to eat).
  • Close the feedback loop from jobs to passion.
  • Redirect speculative capital into investment in ecological, cultural, creative renewal.
  • Apply technology to societal needs.
  • Focus leadership on the merging future of the whole.
  • Close the feedback loop from economic output to the well-being of all.
  • Close the feedback loop from ownership rights to the best societal use of assets


The book uses a lot of the innovation and strategy language we have seen in other books and then stretches it further:

In short; why does your company matter?



sensemaking cover


Sense making; morality, humanity, leadership and slow flow. A book about the 14 books about the impact and implications of technology on business and humanity.

Ron Immink

I help companies by developing an inspiring and clear future perspective, which creates better business models, higher productivity, more profit and a higher valuation. Best-selling author, speaker, writer.

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