Wisdom 2.0 is an highly original organization: It tries to think about the links between wisdom and technology. The aim of Wisdom 2.0 claims to tackle one of the greatest problems of our times. It wants us to be able to handle the ability to be connected to one another but to do it in such a way that it is beneficial to our wellbeing. Now that’s a thought that will probably make busy people sit up, at least for a moment, and take notice. Wisdom 2.0 isn’t saying that we should not be connected. Rather it is saying that we should do that in a way that will be good for us, as well as aiding us to be “effective in our work and useful to the world”.
How has Wisdom 2.0 gone about this? Well, it holds regular conferences, meet-ups and workshops where people can get together and understand the points it is making. As the organization puts it:
“Wisdom 2.0 strives to bring this conversation to the world in an accessible, innovative and inclusive way.”
It is claimed that people that take part in Wisdom 2.0 events have a shared interest of living with greater wisdom, purpose and meaning, using technology in such a way that a more open and healthy culture is created. Wisdom 2.0 has attracted high profile speakers, and some of these have been founders of PayPal, eBay, Zynga and even Facebook and Twitter.
Wisdom 2.0 started in 2009, through the hands of Soren Gordhamer, the author of the book Wisdom 2.0 . Gordhamer studied Zen Buddhism and mindfulness, and in his book he links these ancient traditions to our modern, networked lives. His event, Wisdom 2.0 aims to promote collective consciousness with a view to making the world a better place. The problem with that is that technology may be getting in the way. Technology creators cannot control that, and so Wisdom 2.0 aims to get us to have a better view of how we use technology, and to make sure that mindfulness is even “built into all technology”. Examples of how it might manifest itself might be warning labels about how different types of technology may affect us. The assumption is not made that all technology is bad, but rather figuring out what is beyond the symbology of a technology that connects us all.Quote by Soren Gordhamer Intelligenthq
In September 2014 it held its first conference in Europe, that occurred in Dublin, Ireland. The Guardian’s Carole Cadwalladr was in attendance and described how it went. The event is not cheap, as each participant had to pay up to €600 to be there. The goal of the event was promoting mindfulness. Mindfulness is becoming a major trend of nowadays. It is a meditation practice whose source is Buddhist anapanasati. With mindfulness one trains oneself to intentionally focus on accepting in a non-judgmental way all the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment.
Cadwalldr explains that the event included a range of different interesting talks. One was on how employees need to have more compassion and need to learn how to be empathic. This has the end result of making people happier. People being happier at work is important, particularly for the Millennial generation as this generation seeks meaning in the work place, and the assumption may be made that without meaning these employees will not be happy.
One very interesting conference was the one of Tania Singer, a neuroscientist at the Max Planck Institute, who has led the biggest research study so far in to the effect of mindfulness on the brain. In her talk she demonstrate how due to neuroplasticity, compassion can be trained through “affective training”. Singer, who is a directors board member at the Mind and Life Institute has developed her research by collaborating with the French Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, as a way to investigate brain activity during meditation.
One important conclusion of the event is how workplaces are not yet necessarily focused on meaning. This has become even more challenging since work and personal lives have converged at least to some degree as a result of technology.
Wisdom 2.0 claims to have “something for everyone”. It achieves this by keeping its conferences interesting by offering different types of activities. For example, there are main stage speakers and also panel discussions. The event also offers breakout sessions and workshops, as well as conversations that are hosted by the participants themselves. No conference devoted to mindfulness would be without its own yoga and meditation rooms, and Wisdom 2.0 is no exception. For those that are there for networking there are also parties and evening events held that enable people to connect with one another. Just some of the types of areas that are touched on include human resources, organisational coaching and consulting, learning and development and other fields too. All of this enables the participants to take away tools and strategies that help them to “optimize their performance at work, no matter what field they are in.”
Whatever you think of it, it is doubtless Wisdom 2.0 will gain more followers, and will be coming to a city near you very soon.
Paula Newton is a business writer, editor and management consultant with extensive experience writing and consulting for both start-ups and long established companies. She has ten years management and leadership experience gained at BSkyB in London and Viva Travel Guides in Quito, Ecuador, giving her a depth of insight into innovation in international business. With an MBA from the University of Hull and many years of experience running her own business consultancy, Paula’s background allows her to connect with a diverse range of clients, including cutting edge technology and web-based start-ups but also multinationals in need of assistance. Paula has played a defining role in shaping organizational strategy for a wide range of different organizations, including for-profit, NGOs and charities. Paula has also served on the Board of Directors for the South American Explorers Club in Quito, Ecuador.