Lisanne Buik and the Future of Innovation, of Love and Relationships
I met Lisanne Buik in Amsterdam. She has an amazing experience, sold her start-up and 25, travelled around the world and wrote a book about innovation!
One of the most inspiring interview I made. And one of the longest 🙂
An embodied Futurist
I live in Amsterdam and I used to have a tech startup. After that, I started to be fascinated by innovation and technology, but more in a way that we could use it to get to know ourselves better as humans, and to use it to connect to each other better as humans. Because nowadays, we are in all these crises because we’ve become so dependent on our technology. And I’ve like to tweak that around and see how we can use it to grow as a person and as a collective consciousness.
Outsourcing our Brain to Technology
I like to look at technology as a mirror. It’s a mirror to me of our consciousness, of the state of intelligence we are in as a species. We like to invent things that connect us to the information that we cannot connect necessarily to yet with our brains. So we have this intelligent smartphone that has the capacity to calculate and we can outsource all these things that we would otherwise have to lock up in our brains to tools. And these tools can really help us to live a free life, a life without too much friction. And without friction we can focus on the things that we find most important. We can focus on helping each other. We can focus on our internal growth, we can find new things that we can do that help society, to help each other. And yeah, I like to look at technology as that. How to use it to grow as a person.
How can humans better interact with technology?
I like to split my self in my small self and my higher self. My small self loves to indulge in Facebook and gets really addicted to it. It likes to browse too much on Facebook when I need to do other work. It likes to use all these other tools too, like gaming. I have friends who game a lot! They get really addicted to it. It’s not because they really like it. It’s because their small self is sort of addicted to it. It becomes a negative habit. So it brings this a little bit like food. You can indulge in too much food, you can indulge in too much technology. And that is really what I see right now in the world.
So as we have to be disciplined in the way we eat, we have to be disciplined in the way we use our technology. We have to talk to our higher self and hear what she or he really wants: he or she wants to connect to other people. We all are seeking a maximum experience of love, of consciousness that translates into the feeling of happiness. And we can also look at technology in that way. So how can we use technology and our smartphones to find out information online that helps us grow and become more intelligent about how the world works, how nature works, how relationships work, and how can we use Facebook to find these events we otherwise wouldn’t find, how can we use Eventbrite to also attend communities that we would otherwise not attend, all these things.
Your higher self has a much softer voice, it speaks through your intuition and through your deepest intentions. We should listen to that voice because that makes us happy and the ego doesn’t make us necessarily happy, or only in the short run.
How to listen more to your higher self?
First, I like to encounter all my problems. So that doesn’t necessarily have to do anything with technology. If I meditate for instance in the morning and all these thoughts, these problems, come up… And they always say to you when you meditate, you have to not think, you have to not think and get around your problems. But if you talk to your problems, it allows you to see maybe why you have them. What is behind them. You can solve them. You can embrace them and talk to the person who is causing that thought and just get rid of the negative tension because eventually if we eliminate all friction from our lives, then we can focus on hearing our higher self talk through us.
But the problem nowadays is that people don’t really make the place, the space, to do that. They just get bumped around and with the accelerating pace of innovation it becomes all so intense to keep up with all these innovations and technologies that it is hard to still keep focus.
I think that is the one thing we should do is just eliminate friction and embed the practices that can make you a mindful person so that you can grow from technology.
What is an “Embodied Futurist”?
I say “embodied futurist” because I believe that eventually transformation, all the transformation we seek in the world to solve our crises, starts with us. You and me, we have to grow in order to understand what we can do. As Albert Einstein said, we cannot solve the problems we created with the same level of thinking as we created them. So we have to come up with new ideas. And new ideas happen in another state of consciousness. So, we become embodied futurists when we are dedicated to our own growth in order to predict a little bit higher level of the future that we find inside us because we can tune into another timespace real through getting rid of the separation within us so that we can bring down ideas that nobody has heard of. And if we translate them and the products and services that people need, we are embodied futurists because we claim that it is a our growth that has allowed us to tune into that field and bring down information that people can use to get rid of their problems.
I would say that what is new is that the pace of change is just cranking up so fast that we can hardly keep up with it. So the pace of change is exponential. So every day is brand new. Every day is completely chaotic and translated into a new reality and another one and another one. So, innovation also needs to be very stable in a sense that we cannot allow ourselves to create things that un-stabilize us more. That brings more imbalance. So through all the crises, through all the financial bubbles, the environmental bubble, we have a government crisis, and we have an economic crisis.
Innovating in a State of Flow
So what is different about innovation in this time is that we have to be very sharp on where we our energy to, where we allocate our resources to as a business, so that we spend our time and energy wisely. We need to focus our time and therefore we need to start questioning, what is time? And how can we use it best? And how I’d like to look at time is that my time is best spent when I’m in flow. In an altered state of flow, time really doesn’t exist, you’re in a constant now. And if technology and innovation can help us enter that state to be in the now and look around us and see really the future emerge through us, then we can create innovations that really help us to become more stable because they are fully in line with the next step that we need in order to help us solve all these crises.
That may sound still quite abstract because in a practical level we have all these different parties on a political level and they all want different things. But the good news is that because the crises are so big we are in an urgent state so there’s so much urgency to solve them. And therefore people start to think, okay, if that all outside in reality is not matching my desires anymore, if that’s not resonating anymore with where I want to be as a person, they start to question, okay, so if that all isn’t true, if that’s created reality or anything that my parents have told me, anything that my government has always told me, is not true, what is then true? How can I innovate and commit to solving the problems that I created also myself, because we are all responsible for the situation we are in. And then they come up with innovations that transcend this state and that are not necessarily built on historical data.
It’s so chaotic right now. It’s so important right now that we start to see that if everything changes so fast, we need to start to adapt a new kind of innovation that starts with ourselves and allows us to transcend a little bit ourselves to grow as a being and tune into another field so that we can translate them in other products and services that we need.
Get the Right Routines
I have certain habits in my day. I’m a very flexible worker. I’m very motivated by what I do, so I don’t really get tired by it. I used to get energy by it. I like to spend my day in a way that I’m not losing energy. So every time I’m doing something I ask myself: does it cost me energy or does it gain energy?
I have certain blocks in my days where I work, like I like to work four hours after each other. So I start my morning, I do my little meditation, I go to the gym, that’s my morning thing. Then around 9, I eat a very healthy breakfast with not too much carbs so I don’t plunge into this dependence, sugar craving thing. And I have my first block of work of four hours.
And then in the afternoon I only plan my meetings. So I already have done my creative work in the morning and then, so if I got rid of that chunk where I need, this altered state for that I have in the morning because I don’t have all these people coming into my field and saying all these things, I haven’t been so influenced by my Facebook wall yet, I can be creative. But if that’s all been starting to run, it becomes much harder to be in flow. I need to have the good mind space to do that.
Then in the evening I will always have social things and I do some work after. I sleep around six, seven hours per night because I feel that is because I eat healthy and I also not lose too much energy during the day on things that I know I shouldn’t do but I still do. I also have phases when I eat too much carbs, I sleep too long, I don’t go to the gym… So the first scenario was my perfect scenario, which is about 70 percent of the time. And then 30 percent of the time I experience what it is to not be in flow, which is also very important because then you have all these negative emotions coming up and then you realize okay, this is not what I want. Let’s go back to that. So my ego takes over and I have to get back to the state that I have another voice talking through me.
I’ve had phases where I’ve been so deep in my writing that I got into such an altered state that I would walk around and get out of my door after writing and just let the rest of the writing sort of happen through the meetings I had, the things or the words I’ve read. So it’s like in this state that you have a lot of synchronicity happening. You know reality is unfolding through you and if you only do what you really want to do and are there for the people that you care about, then the role is unfolding for you and you can use any piece of information that falls right in front of you.
A New Start
Three years ago when I had my start-up company, I had all the things that would maybe have to make me happy. But I was very unhappy. I was sort of burned out. I had investors behind me. We were part of an accelerated program with a lot of press and media and blah blah blah. I went with it in the beginning and I enjoyed it, my ego enjoyed it. And after, I thought, okay, I’m in a situation where I’m not happy. I need to escape this situation. And when that happened it felt like a failure because I sold my company for way too little. I really just needed to get rid of it and I couldn’t make it to that success that I had promised my investors.
So I went traveling. I went traveling to South America and to North America … I traveled in the end for one and half years.
I experimented a lot with a lot of things and met a lot of beautiful people. But the seed of consciousness, if you will, was already planted at a young age. My parents always took me through the world. We traveled a lot in Asia, I went to the temples and enjoyed it. And my parents are not necessarily very spiritual. But I was always intrigued by this world. I studied Chinese to understand the philosophy that Confucius was talking about and I found out that current China is not spiritual at all anymore.
A Practical Spirituality
I’ve always been intrigued by what is behind this reality. I just feel like I’ve been born with that interest. And obviously, I’ve read a lot of books. I’m reading a lot of books about a lot of different things. And I feel nowadays in the modern world we need to have another spirituality that is much more practical. And I’ve been seeking to collect all these experiences from my travels, meeting with shamans, doing all these experiments, going to Burning Man because you’re lost, and just looking for yourself and coming to find out that it’s not looking in yourself that you’ll find yourself. It’s really in just accepting where you’ve been born, what you’ve been doing throughout your life, and combining the interests that you have in consciousness and in the things that inspire you that you find in the world, that you seek in nature, and just see the mystical in everything.
Innovating as a Group or an Organization
I like to look at an organization as an organism. It’s an organism that needs to breathe. And in order to breathe, new things need to come in, like new air. So what you see now a lot is that corporations start innovation accelerators or incubators. They dedicate resources to getting in start-ups that grow internally with the people from the corporation. But the problem with that is that the people working in a corporation have a corporate mindset. And corporate mindset is not necessarily an innovative mindset. So it becomes very hard to be innovative once you already from the start have to calculate all these embedded dependencies that the corporation has in the work that you do.
So basically what happens is that you start to work based on fear that what you do gets you fired or gets you downsized in the organization. So the first thing that corporations and organizations find very hard to do is to embed a certain degree of freedom in the innovation department and let them do whatever they want. And let a few people be very responsible, like if you build an innovation pyramid within the pyramid of the larger corporation, there needs to be freedom within the innovation pyramid and it needs to be very dynamic.
And if the leader of that innovation department adopts a new mindset for that innovation pyramid, and sees it as a sort of dynamic hierarchy where different disciplines come together and different people from different backgrounds come together to talk about the problems that the corporation solves, like an internal consultancy but also with the tools to really accelerate them and create them to a certain state that you have sort of a minimum viable product and then bring them back into the organization, see if it gets traction with the organization, see if people see what the people in the innovation department have meant with that product, and see if it has traction without judgment. And if it does have traction, the innovation department goes to find a new innovation.
Freedom and Dedication
So there has to be freedom, there has to be dedication to, without fear, be able to innovate creatively and embed all the practices and habits in your workflow to get to that state. And then when you plug them back in the bigger picture, the organism of the bigger organization has to let it flow through its body and see if it finds traction, if it makes it more healthy. And then people can go back and execute this start-up idea to a bigger degree.
The good thing about corporations is that they have the resources, they have the money to invest, they have all these opportunities, but they just don’t know how, so they fail to be very innovative but the one thing I want to say to corporations always, like the Unilevers and the Proctor and Gambles of this world, if they continue in the way that they’ve been working, if they continue to be working in a static hierarchy where they are employing people that work there for so many years … Of course they invest in their people but it’s all really focused on material innovation and it goes very slow and they listen to the people. It just goes too slow. So if they keep continuing in this way without embedding a certain freedom in the level of innovation that they do in the innovation department, then they are destined to die as organisms.
The future of love
The future of love is really the future of everything because to me everything is just another expression of love. I feel that the only thing that we can feel is a larger degree of love and a smaller degree of love. So when we’re really unhappy we don’t experience much love. But then we seek love again and we become healthy and we become happier. And the future of love, to me, is to become more healthy and more happy.
And as I said before, I like to look at technology as a mirror. Technology is a mirror of our consciousness and technology, just as a love relationship, is a mirror. It helps us to grow from that relationship. So, technology helps us to see ourselves reflected in all these different parts of ourselves that we still have to integrate in order to grow. And in a loving relationship when you dedicate yourself to one person what happens is that after the enraptured phase of falling in love and being in a honeymoon phase of feeling on top of the world and feeling we can do everything, that what happens is that we plunge into a desperate ocean of being alone again and feeling that we die alone eventually and that we are just separate.
A Multi Dimensional Self
So the one thing that we need to focus on is that all these data become open-source because and our virtual selves are no less or not less real than our real selves. Our real selves become multi-dimensional, if you will, and virtual reality will help us to also experience the multi-dimensional reality to a larger degree. So our avatars will maybe walk in a virtual realm and through a Tinder-like app that is much, much more fed with certain data about us. So that we meet someone for our first date and we experience it as if it’s real. This will happen. And what will be the discussion is whether these relationships will for instance call us “cheating,” if we have a physical relationship as well.
And when we spend more and more time in VR, which will happen in my opinion, if we spend so much time and are experiencing such a frictionless life there, we will also meet our physical parties in the physical reality.
But we will be much more free because it doesn’t come so close. We won’t really go to bed with all these people necessarily in the physical reality yet, or I don’t know if that eventually will happen. But we will come to another state where we realize that love, having a loving relationship with someone, is not completely intertwining and becoming fully dependent on the other one, because eventually you will be ripped apart and you will again be unhappy. You will again have to grow that part that you gave away to yourself and then in your heart and in your body.
But if we like to look at it as the old mystics have always told us, that we are walking our path together with someone and we are committing ourselves to solving the problems that we encounter on the way, which is something that a lot of people find hard because that is where it starts to be hard. So I still believe that we have to be committed to one person and walking with this person and then opening up to other sorts of inspiration, loving inspiration, which now happens through Tinder.
The Next Tinder
But Tinder is ego-based. Tinder is based on appearance. And the more intelligent the dating apps and the dating tools will be, the more it will be focused on the whole picture. So how does this person reflect what I need to learn or need to experience or want to experience as the next state of my development and how can this person help me with that, that my current relationship cannot offer me? How can this date or this person that I met online help me to get the insight to overcome this problem that I have with my current partner? And that I cannot overcome without her because I’m sort of inflicted in this static situation that is not dynamic anymore.
I’ve been using Tinder also as an experiment and also just because it can be fun, you meet all these people when you’re traveling as well. It’s very great, you know. But eventually, it’s always not satisfying because it’s not real enough yet, to my opinion.
And when I meet someone real that I really get into a relationship with, it’s never online. This happens when you don’t expect it, on a Friday afternoon when you are in a coffee bar and you have met with someone who you found through a shared interest or a community, you went to drink coffee, you didn’t expect that that would be so romantic but eventually you’re like, wow, we share so many things, it’s not strange that we meet. It’s not strange that we meet through something that inspires us and that really defines us to a large degree and that kind of serendipity, synchronicity, is not yet embedded in a technology.
But it will be embedded the more data will be fed into that technology that really the resonance game can be played at a large degree within technology.
How to Be Future Ready
I have certain embodied futurism hacks, like if you want to be that future-proof person you have to get into that state where you are listening to your inner voice and hear the sound and not have a cluttered mind. So the first thing is that we have to get into a relationship with technology in a way that it doesn’t interfere with our ego. So if we do intermittent fasting, as we can do in our diet, as I’ve been experimenting in my diet as well, which sort of stabilized my blood sugar so that I’m more, better, capable of being in tune with my flow. So we have to look at technology.
So I would do a block in the morning and then do my things with friends and go to the gym and whatever and in the afternoon I would have another block of technology.
And I believe, as with diet, eventually we don’t need these things anymore. So, I always say, it’s not the circumstances who make something bad or good. It’s not the technology that makes something bad or good. It’s not our Facebook that makes something, makes us become dependent on it, but it’s our relationship with Facebook. So if we change our relationship with technology in a way that we can grow from it or use it as a tool to grow, then we can become more embodied futurists as we become more productive and more in flow.
The new Currency is Trust
The other thing that I want to convey is that what the currency really of the new world is trust. For instance, also in the start-up world there was a lot of competition and if one person was doing this, we need to do that in a better way. So there’s always competition. That if that person is doing that, I can steal these ideas and maybe tweak them so that they appear like mine. And how I like to look at the workforce of the future, the workforce of the embodied future, is that everybody has their own field of expertise because everybody knows who they are. They can convey the message and contribute what they are good at. And nobody is the same. We may appear to be the same but we all have been given different capacities, different skills, different types of intelligence that we can contribute to the collective. So if we focus on our own field, we will be sure that what our space will not be stolen.
So when I have a certain assignment coming in or a certain thing, and I see that there area a lot of things that I’m not so really good at, like for a short film or for some media thing that there is a lot of production coming, there is a lot of very detailed work. I’m not so good at that. So what I do is I select the people, and I’m not afraid that they’ll steal my assignment. I’m not delegating my responsibility. I’m taking responsibility for what I need to do and then the other people can do what they need to do. And if we do that then we are fed by a trust circle of six or seven closest co-workers, closest freelancers, closest friends, as family, as work has been mingling, it’s all come together. We are powered up by this trust circle. We are creating people that we can always rely on. And they are having their trust circles and I feel the new social media will also reflect this requirement.
Make Friend with your Ego
I like to have a message for all these people who are lost like I was a little bit ago. And that is in terms of your ego. People think that they have to get rid of their ego and when they have this spiritual spark coming in they lose everything, they forget what they’ve studied, and they go travel the world to find themselves. I was the same. But eventually when I cycled around I found out that everything I’ve been doing I can use. Everything, my parents and how they educated me, the studies I’ve done, the countries I’ve visited, the people I’ve met, everything adds up to who I am now and should be used.
So, you should not get rid of your ego, you should be able to use your ego so everything that makes you unique, your body, your intelligence, your whatever. Your likes, your strangest things. Use them in order to convey your deepest message.
Of course, the monks, they are sitting in their caves and they’re meditating until they are so light that they maybe can leave their bodies or I don’t know. But for us, we’re here, we’re born in the Western world, and we can do all these things. We have our consciousness, we have our growing awareness, including our educations and all these things that we’ve been fortunate enough to get. I mean, we’ve been so fortunate to live here. And we have the responsibility to solve the problems that are here and that are in other parts of the world, and we can solve them. But we have to change our mindset from a me-mindset that is separate. That feeds on all these things that don’t make us happy in the long term and we have to think in terms of I am connected and we are operating as a beehive of consciousness that is super smart and that is powered by technology in a way that we can use technology to become happier as a collective.
You can reach Lisanne and learn more about her book on Quantum Innovation at lisannebuik.com