open movement° connects digital nomads across the world

Makerspace

With the so-called gig economy on the rise, it’s of little surprise that caffeine-fuelled communities of shiny Mac owners are sprouting across cities. But there is little in the way of something that connects these micro-workers together with the resources needed to make them flourish…until now.

open movement° has emerged as a digital meeting place, connecting micro-workers with useful tools: http://movement.open.co At the time of writing, there are more than 600 hubs named on the open movement°  website located all over the world (from Brazil to Indonesia) across a very diverse range, from popups to makerspaces, and more than 70 tools/resources are listed that include websites, articles, apps and courses. The open movement° creators are looking for people to help build the digital meeting space:

We champion the hubs where people come together to make new ideas happen and the tools they use to create, sustain and grow these places.

You’re invited – please help us create this digital meeting place.

So there you go.

I should add at this point that open movement° has been built with the support and encouragement of my employer, the British Council, specifically the Creative Economy Team.

The rise of the gig economy

FT journo John Gapper writes about the new ‘gig’ economy – and at the time of writing it’s the publication’s most read article of the day. He talks about the end of the lifetime career and the rise of the self-employed, believing there to be a lot of potential in the new world of work:

Days earlier there was an op-ed in The Guardian by NYU professor Arun Sundarajan on the gig economy, The ‘gig’ economy is coming. He writes that while “empowering” about being a boss (a better work-life balance can be achieved) there is something reassuring about company benefits, regular work hours and a regular income:

These are exciting times, and greater individual empowerment can be no bad thing.

Shanghai, Beijing among most expensive cities in the world

Juba

Switzerland might the happiest country in the world, but you wouldn’t necessarily want to move there any time soon: four Swiss cities are named among the most expensive cities worldwide for international assignees in ECA International’s Cost of Living survey.

The singularly most pricey city in the world, however, rocketing into first place from 9th spot last year, is Juba in South Sudan. Entering the top 10 for the first time are Shanghai (8) and Beijing (9). Having lived in Shanghai myself, I can attest to the high cost of living there – however, don’t let that put you off: there are great opportunities in China for people with the right mindset!

Swiss bliss: Happiest nations in the world named

Perhaps you are reading this by the pool with your mates, totally blissed out. You might be thinking “I wish it were like this all the time.” You might also be thinking where can I be happy like this all the time? In other words, which is the happiest nation anywhere on the planet, where people are just…you know…happy?

I can tell you it’s not Malaysia, where I’m presently writing these words, perhaps many people’s notion of “paradise”. There are extraordinarily beautiful beaches, stunning grub available 24/7 and a laid-back lifestyle, and yet there are also visible tensions.

It’s not southern neighbour Singapore, either, a highly developed and educated country in contrast. Friends in the city-state, famous for its competitive kiasu mindset, complain about the cost of housing and work-related stress.

There are grumbles in the UK meanwhile, with not even London escaping criticism.

The number 1 result, according to the latest World Happiness Report, might surprise some. Switzerland, a country more famous for its cuckoo clocks and Roger Federer, is on top of the world:

Northern countries do extremely well, with Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Canada, Finland and Sweden taking 6 of the top 10 spots.

Do you agree with the survey findings? Are you itching to move on? And what does happiness mean to you anyway? Comments please!

Let’s Make Great! CEO Brian Tam: “Internationalism is the new normal.”

Jing'an District

I’m taking a break from my favorite Korean TV show, with my favorite Canadian band playing in the background, drinking a cup of Colombian coffee that a German friend brought back to my Shanghai apartment.

At first, I was worried all of this might sound a bit pretentious, but in reality this internationalism is the new normal for many of us.  Take a second to think about your global life. I can point to my Dutch buddy working for a Chinese Austrian joint-venture and dating an Irish/Cantonese fashionista.  Or another American-Chinese friend who speaks 4 languages, dances Cuban salsa and is dating a Swiss guy, who himself speaks 7 languages and works for a Chinese gaming company.  The list goes on and on.

Its stunning how common this is for so many of us now.  As our cities become increasingly international, so do our lives.  What are the implications of these huge changes?  Will our cultures become muddied with foreign values?  Will we forget who we really are?

For me, this global lifestyle presents the opportunity to discover a more authentic version of me.  The “American” tag that I was born with never quite felt 100% accurate.  Yet, for many many years, I blindly lived and worked under some over-generalized stereotype and wondered why was everything a struggle, why others didn’t understand me, why my career didn’t move forward?

Now that I moved cities, met expats and mumbled new languages, I’ve shed that over-simplification in favor of the complex realities of who I really am.  I suddenly see in finer shades of grey.  All of these diverse points of views has proved useful as I opened my creativity consultancy, Let’s Make Great!, in Shanghai more than 2 years ago.  My clients depend on me for fresh ideas, to provoke a unique point of view, and to inspire them to have more of this open mindset as well.

How do my team and I do it?

  1. Collect experiences – The first step is exploring — to go beyond the superficial depth of “nationalities.”  Take the chance that this phenomenal website presents to understand exotic cities, work on meaningful new projects and learn from complete strangers.
  2. Curate your favorites – discover the things that resonate with you.  For me, I realize my humor is mostly Korean “Running Man,” my soundtrack is “Broken Social Scene” and my home is Jingan District, Shanghai.  Feel free to pick your favorites and choose yours.
  3. Create your new identity – Like old t-shirts from the 90’s, allow yourself to let go of old identities.  Who do you want to become next?  Beyond your past experiences and your favorite things, what
    else is out there for you?  Its a continuous exploration of who we are to become.

Pico Iyer, the ultimate global citizen, says it best

We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves.

brian tam
creativity catalyst & founder of Let’s Make Great!
website: letsmakegreat.com