LUXURY IS NOT FOR ALL

16/06/2013

Luxury is not for All– WOW! Look at that Lamborghini! And another one! And there’s Rolls-Royce! Oh my God! How can people live like this?! In all this luxury?! I really need to start earning lots of money and move in here!

These were some of the exclamations of my friend, an entrepreneur from Moldova, who had walked beside me along the streets of Monte Carlo, a small district of a not much bigger country of Monaco. Together with several more young businessmen from Moldova we visited it in May – June 2013 in order to attend a European conference and participate in a social business plan competition with our global movement of makers creating and multiplying sustainable solutions Dreamups. Ultimately we won the grand prize, but this is not the point of this post.

2013.06.01 - Moldovan Delegation in Monte CarloThe point here is that almost all people around me were extremely excited about all the splendour and wealth of Monte Carlo. They were following each fancy car on the road and yacht at the sea with large hungry eyes. They were dreaming of getting at least a piece of this splendour for themselves.

But not me.

Of course, I was observing all the rich businessmen, ladies in expensive dresses, luxury cars, fancy shops, castle-like villas and other elements of wealthy lifestyle around me. However, I was not attracted and excited by them. Instead I was making fun of some of my friends getting envy of all the rich things and people they had seen there. This was because I have different values, attitude to life and perception of wellbeing and personal happiness.

For me the Nature, being together with it and researching its mysteries is the apogee of happiness and satisfaction. Therefore instead of lingering my eyesight on man-made objects, like my companions did, I admired the diverse species of plants and animals in many green areas of Monte Carlo, the rocky top of Mont Agel above the city and the blue Mediterranean Sea washing the shore called the French Riviera or Cote D’Azur. From this point of view the district appeared as quite a nice place to spend some time – the natural landscape was very impressive. Although I would not like to live here permanently, I was quite happy that I had visited this place.

2013.05.29 - Happy to Visit Monte Carlo– What?! You would not like to live in Monte Carlo?! Are you crazy? – You may exclaim.

Well, yes. I may be considered “crazy”, but my personal preference for a residential environment is totally different from such a rich and fancy place as Monte Carlo. I see myself living and working in more natural surroundings: in a small house near a forest, in a research laboratory on an island at the shore of an ocean… or even in a lab at the bottom of the ocean. Why?

Because this is where I can explore the beauty and wisdom of the Nature.

Because this is where I am closer to the natural environment and can contribute much better to its conservation.

Because this is where I can fully release my creativity and write poems and novels in silence and peace.

Because this is where I am truly happy.

This is Where I am Truly HappyTo conclude, luxury can be attractive and desired. It can be the measure of an individual’s social status and satisfaction. It can be something that many people strive to obtain and enjoy. However, everything is relative in our World.

And so, luxury is not for all.

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DENMARK: WHERE ENERGY GOES GREEN

15/04/2012

If you are interested about renewable energy technology, one of the best places to see and learn about it is Denmark. This country has committed itself to an ambitious target of 35% share of renewable energy in the total energy production by 2020 and also promised to increase this share to 100% by 2050. This implies significant investments and innovations in wind turbines, solar panels, which are also called photovoltaics (PV), biomass, smart grids, and so on. However, there are also benefits that motivate the Danish energy sector to go “green and clean”, in particular new profitable business opportunities, leadership on the renewable energy market, more jobs, and independence from fossil fuels and their prices.

In exploring the potential of renewable energy Denmark relies mostly on wind power. Indeed, strong winds, access to seas, and lack of sufficient solar radiation for PV make wind turbines a good choice to pursue. No wonder that the most efficient 3-bladed wind turbine design was “born” in Denmark (the so-called “Danish design”), as well as the most productive wind farm is situated here. Currently there are 12 offshore wind farms in the country.

But what is even more exciting in my opinion is that in Denmark renewable energy technology is open for all… literally. During the year you can find plenty of places and events related to informing public about the “green” energy. The most recent one called “Mind Blowing Copenhagen” and organized on 14th – 15th of April in Copenhagen displayed a good variety of electric vehicles, different applications of wind turbines and PV, as well as the real wind turbine transport and installation ship. Each visitor could find something matching his/her interests. For example, as I am doing an international research project on waste management called “Non-state Cooperation in Environment Protection Area in Developed and Developing Countries: The Case of Waste Management in Moldova”, I got interested in waste bins/compactors equipped with PV and thus working on solar power. Of course, children had most of the fun, as they had plenty of opportunities to play with solar and wind power.

So, if you are excited about the “green” energy, do come and visit Denmark. And if you are in Denmark, do look for such opportunities to learn about how we can implement renewable energy technology in our energy production and consumption. And when you learn this, do implement your knowledge in practice. Because it is high time for our energy to go “green and clean”!

 

Sources:

Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Building, 2012. DK Energy Agreement, March 22 2012 [Online]. Available at: http://www.kemin.dk/Documents/Presse/2012/Energiaftale/FAKTA%20UK%201.pdf [Accessed: 15 April 2012]

Iscenco, A. 2012. EU Climate Change Policy in an International Context. University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen

Mind Blowing Copenhagen, 2012. Home [Online]. Available at: http://mindblowingcopenhagen.dk [Accessed: 15 April 2012]


INTEGRITY

15/10/2011

Let me continue the thread about sustainable business started in the posts “GLOBALLY RESPONSIBLE LEADERSHIP” and “3 IN 1”. This time I offer you to look at integrity – the concept widely discussed in the corporate and non-corporate world nowadays. For instance, it was one of the core topics at the Daimler World Dialogue 2011 organized in October 2011 by the well-known manufacturer of the Mercedes-Benz cars Daimler AG.

So, what is integrity? And why does it receive so much attention? Here is my opinion.

Integrity is one of the essential components of globally responsible leadership. Being consistent in own vision, mission, expectations, goals, values, principles, methods, actions, etc. allows your organization to progress steadily in the desired direction and earns trust from the side of share- and stakeholders and other economic agents. This trust is the foundation of the long-term successful cooperation, which, as has been mentioned, is necessary to address all international and global issues.

Integrity is also related to the holistic, or systemic approach, when, for instance, international business is viewed not only as “sell – buy” relationships between the organization and its clients in different countries, but as a complex system of economic agents, processes, methods, principles, the environment, etc. and interrelations between them. Operating as part of such system requires the previously-mentioned consistency.

Another aspect of integrity in international business is represented in incorporating the socially accepted norms, values, morality, and other elements of ethics into the decision-making and operations of the organization. But, considering the international character of affaires here, the organization should be consistent with ethical principles and norms not of a single country or region, but of a global society. Truly, a huge challenge, but very awarding indeed!

And last, but not least, integrity means not only acting consistently with vision, values, methods, etc., but also providing trustworthy information in a timely and transparent manner. An organization incorporating integrity in its information delivery actions has a consistent and unambiguous image among clients, partners, competitors, policy-makers, and other agents.

 

Image is taken from here.


3 IN 1

29/08/2011

I will start from rather far away. Each year I set an objective for myself to visit three countries I have not been to before. In this way I slowly, but steadily move towards the goal to see and experience all countries of our beautiful and amazing World.

In 2011 the International Baltic Summer School (IBSS) represented a wonderful opportunity to achieve the above-mentioned yearly objective, because it takes place in three Baltic countries: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. And I had not been there previously. In addition, there was some strange feeling that I should go for this opportunity, because I might learn something important. So, in spite of rather high costs, my decision-making on this topic resulted in the submitted application for IBSS and further taking part in this Summer School.

However, this article named “3 IN 1” is not about the interesting company visits to Skype and ICT Demo Center in Tallinn, swimming and sunbathing at the beaches in Parnu and Jurmala, adventures of being homeless in Riga, playing in the “fun room” of Swedbank high above Vilnius, admiring the treasures of the Trakai Castle, and in general enjoying the 3 countries in 1 Summer School.

No, the post is about what I have learned and experienced concerning business: Knowledge, Skills, and Ethics – the 3 components that an entrepreneur should possess in order to create and run a modern and successful international business.

1) Knowledge:

This is the most obvious and frequently used “compound” in the formula of entrepreneurship. No wonder there is a saying “Who possesses the information, rules the World”. During IBSS we were taught the peculiarities of doing business in the Baltics, entrepreneurial environment and developments there, as well as shown examples of successful companies on the Baltic market. This knowledge will surely be valuable in the process of establishing business in the region, but it will also surely be outdated by the time the decision on doing it is made. So, the task of an entrepreneur here is to ensure the constant receiving of the relevant and updated knowledge through multiple channels, both physical and virtual.

2) Skills:

Raw knowledge is not enough without the necessary “tools” to process and use it for the entrepreneur’s advantage. These “tools” are specific skills and abilities, both innate and developed through personal and professional experience. Skills to think “out of the box” and come up with the unique idea, skills to identify the business potential in this idea and to make it real, skills to establish and benefit from a large international network, skills to convince other people in your idea and business and thus obtain the customer base, skills to manage yourself and the pressure upon you, and many more. Some of them we have already had, some we have discovered and developed during IBSS, and some will come with experience further on.

3) Ethics:

This component is often omitted from the entrepreneurship formula. Some even say that there is no such thing as “business ethics”. I do not intend to argue with them, because my opinion is that common human ethics is enough to make person respected, business deals trustworthy, and business itself successful. If to wrap it up in a philosophical veil, as it is usually done, I would say that while knowledge is the key to the door of success and skills are the hands that are able to turn this key, ethics is that “inner voice”, which suggested you to choose exactly this door and to obtain exactly this key. But it is quite hard to learn to listen to this “voice”, and many people choose even not to try it. Why bother, when there are so many temptations around?! Nevertheless, the environment, including the business one, constantly tests every one of us on following the ethical way. At the Summer School I was somehow put into conditions that allowed me to check my ethical principles, values, goals, and dedication to them. I suppose I have passed this trial. At least it made me think about all this stuff.

All in all, my key learning point from the International Baltic Summer School (IBSS) was that in order to achieve victory on the “business battleground” an entrepreneur should have all 3 components – Knowledge, Skills, and Ethics – armed and ready. And not only HAVE them, but also USE them every day and in every step towards own business. The 3 components – the “key”, the “hands”, and the “voice” – for one door to success.