Oppmuntring og optimisme bedrer resultatene!

Professor Paul Iske vil sertfisere bedrifter som bidrar til oppmuntring og begeistring. I morgen snakker han under First Tuesday på Rockefeller i Oslo.

Many people belief that positive thinking helps to achieve success. Ambitions can be in many areas: business, health, education, love, sport, etc. Indeed, scientific research indicates that under certain conditions, optimism helps! This seems an easy and welcome message, but as usual, life is complicated.

As Albert Einstein already concluded: “One should make things as simple as possible, but not simpler than that!” That’s why I prefer to talk about serious optimism, to exclude behaviour that is more naive than optimistic. If you would decide to cross a highway with your eyes closed, believing that nothing will happen, this optimism will not increase your probability to survive!

Åpner virtuelt institutt

For those of us who are trying increase performance by developing an environment in which positive energy is generated, there is good news: recently the International Institute of Serious Optimism has opened its (virtual doors): www.iiso.eu It is a collaboration between Norwegian and Dutch professionals with the mission to increase the world’s ‘O-level’. Note that in Norwegian, the word ‘Oppmuntring’ is the more appropriate expression, while in the Netherlands, it is translated as ‘Opmontering’.

A good case study of serious oppmuntring is found in the little town (Lucky) Naeroset where already for quite some years remarkable results for the local community have been achieved based on ‘positive’ protesting, which has brought fame to Næroset from places all over the world.

Positivitet redder liv

In a previous blog, I discussed the importance of accepting failures a mechanism for innovation and learning. In a ‘O-zone’ (an environment with Serious Optimism), people are not afraid for failing, but are stimulated to follow their passion. If people try something that could create value, work hard and make no stupid mistakes, but still are not achieving their goals, they should be appreciated and celebrate their ‘brilliant failure’!

Another case: In clinical research at the Maastricht University, it has been proven that people who have a positive attitude have a higher probability of surviving heart failure.

Bedre resultater med optimisme

Building on these experiences and (scientific) insights from elsewhere, the IISO aims to develop, collect and share practices to help people in various sectors to reap the benefits from serious optimism. Think about environments like schools, where the talents of students and staff can flourish by positive stimulation, hospitals that add positive energy supporting the recovery process, hospitality organisations (such as hotels) that make a real difference for their guests and public transport that aims at happy travellers, etc. In the last category (travelling), recently I had a very nice experience: I was eating a banana in the airport express (flytoget) to Oslo. I was looking around what to do with trash but didn’t see a basket. The train host, a very friendly young lady, saw me looking around, grabbed the banana peel out of my hands and with a smile disposed of it in a centrally located trash can. We both enjoyed this little oppmuntrende experience. Organisations start to appreciate the importance of becoming an ‘O-zone’ and are looking for ways to boost their performance. Let’s build together the knowledge base to achieve this. Share best practices (as well as ‘brilliant failures’).

A certification process for Serious Optimism is under development and already now there are organisations that have asked to become pilot cases, including a new school system, a new office concept (pop-up office) and a hotel.

Share your oppmuntrende practices and innovations and learn how others boost performance!

Paul Iske
Professor Open Innovation and Business Venturing
School of Business and Economics
Maastricht University

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