OBIC 2021 – Glimpses

I’ve been going to the international conference of the Oriental Business and Innovation Center (OBIC) since 2018. That is whenever the world allowed me to do so. I couldn’t go last year, though I had bought my flight ticket and only went online this year. Online is not bad, but enjoying your coffee breaks and lunches in your own home is not as exciting as chatting around real food and beverages in Budapest.

And yet, it had been a great conference. Professional, warm, with just the right mix of local touch, in the perfect amounts.

The theme of the conference this year? And the programme? And Book of Abstracts? You can find all the information here:  or if you prefer Facebook –

What you cannot find, however, is the inner dynamics and chemistry of the event. That you can experience only by participating.

For example, after one of the plenary sessions, the speaker, Professor Voskressenski, was asked many questions mostly variations around what you can see in the picture below.

The answer, with a smile, was along the following points:

“Interesting question. Thank you. Russia has a very good relation with China, but this relation is not an alliance. It’s a partnership. They understand each other, it’s about economic benevolence. There’s centralization clearly, but it’s because of the uncertainties we have to face. So what should the US hinder?” (An approximate rendition of his words)

And as an echo, the words of David Morris during a round table on “The Rise of New Technologies and National Security Challenges”: Russia and China are comfortable together.

OBIC 2019 group picture.

These are only glimpses. However, I could not possibly skip our own participation in Panel C2 of OBIC – “Culture and Education in the Era of Digitalization” moderated by Professor Emerita Judit Hidasi. We had been blessed by the presence of some of our colleagues from home, thank you Dana Radler and Irina Ion. And possibly others. One of the disadvantages of this otherwise excellent cloud event was that we could not see each other. There’s no perfection, is there!?!

The discussions in our panel were vivid, with good questions and challenging answers. The only disappointment – more time for discussions. Again, real coffee breaks and meals are great for networking and continuing discussions beyond the programme.

My personal takeaways from this event? There are too many and too important to discard in a last few words. Therefore, I’ll write another post.

Another technical mystery – double images. Good for our egos though.

Humour leadership?

Ever heard of humour leadership?

Naomi Bagdonas andConnor Diemand-Yauman, both from StandfordGraduate School of Business, and interested in creating more productive, connected, and joyful cultures in remote teams. They say there’s serious medical research behind their claim: the The neuroscience of laughter.

Leaders with a sense of humour are seen as 27 percent more motivating and admired. Their employees are 15 percent more engaged. Their teams are more than twice as likely to solve a creativity challenge.

Humour isn’t just for fun. It’s also a critical leadership skill, like communication and self-awareness.

How? Bagdonas and Diemand-Yauman tell us their version:

1. Become remotely humorous. Laughter impacts our brains and our behaviours in profound ways. Laughter is more valuable than ever in the world of remote work.

2. Embrace other’s humour. Notice your co-workers’ small attempts of light-heartedness, and accept them. Build on them.

3. Actively cultivate your rituals and your stories. Create new rituals that help you stay connected and promote humour at your organization, even when you’re remote. And tell your companies’ stories far and wide.

For more watch them here:



Business internationalization and globalization – one of the mini-tracks of the 14th International Conference on Business Excellence – Business Revolution in the Digital Era co-chaired by Luminița Nicolescu and myself. An excellent academic event proving that internationalization and globalization are adapting to the new world realities. Great participants, thought-provoking discussions, and the realization that there are more questions than answers. Which is indeed a sign of intellectual achievement.

Online is possible and in great conditions. Online is good for a number of important reasons. However, nothing can match a great exchange of ideas during the conference dinner that the organizers of ICBE always organized impeccably. The future may still be great!


Authority and leadership

An article about the influence authority figures have on ordinary people. How they change our perceptions, sometimes even values, and what we can do if we think the authority is wrong.

The ” tendency to extrapolate the opinions of others from the opinions of authority figures” works everywhere. And we need to be aware of it. As leaders and as followers.



Leaders – changing us to what?

We are facing incredible challenges – AI (artificial intelligence), dataism, health issues, the food we eat, the water we drink, the drugs we take, the life styles we adopt, the jobs we pick, the organizations we work for, the competition among states, organizations and individuals – all those and a lot more make our everyday life quite hectic and our future … relatively unpredictable.  And yet we live in the best of times – we live longer, if we are lucky, we live clearly and undisputedly in a much safer and friendlier world than the one that made Hobbs write the Leviathan. The state of nature, do we still have one?, is no longer “the war of all against all”, we seem to have a clearer and stronger understanding of what we need to do to continue to thrive as a species and as a world! Or … do we?

We are told that AI is changing the world – jobs will disappear, education has to re-invent itself, to teach soft skills, not knowledge, robots might become our overlords if we do not become creative and insist on doing the routine jobs they, the robots, can beat us at very easily. And if we still want a meaningful life for ourselves and our children we’ll have to drastically re-invent ourselves. It seems that this is easier said than done! At all levels. We are after all human beings irrespective of the hierarchical ladder we are on.

Tony Schwartz, the CEO and founder of The Energy Project, and Emily Pines, managing director of the same company, write an interesting article in the Harvard Business Review about why leaders are not embracing the skills needed for the future. Even if their talk is “correct” and they know and use the right words, leaders don’t seem to do what they talk about. They do not walk their talk. And Schwartz is very good at asking questions. Not any kind of questions, obviously, but those which are difficult and uncomfortable to answer. Such as “What am I not seeing?” and “What else might be true?”. Schwartz says that those two questions are the most powerful ones that leaders and through them their organizations can ask themselves. He also says that during the last ten years, 87% of companies have undertaken a business transformation, but only 25% of those transformations succeeded. Why? Because they do not ask the right questions, so how can they give the right answers?!? Unless we challenge our current beliefs and see through our blind spots we have no chance at success.

So what makes us behave like this? Some cognitive factors and some emotional ones. We tend to use strategies and behaviours that proved to be successful in the past, we “know” they are good. We are also afraid to try new ones. It seems that our thinking is not up to the fast changes happening in organizations. And therefore Einstein was right again: “we can’t solve our problems from the same level of thinking that created them”.

And if we look at what is theoretically required of organizations today we understand why there is this unwillingness or rather this incapacity to do so. So what exactly are we talking about? Creativity and innovation – as we live in a knowledge based society and the mantra is to become better and faster in innovation. Then agility – to move fast in the market which becomes more and more difficult in the highly regulated environment and with tensions among the variety of stakeholders organizations face today. Collaboration, at all levels even with your competitors, is also an important requirement. And, of course, the courage to change the organization (which is a shorthand for the people in the organization) to comply with those requirements.


Leadership in higher education

Leadership in higher education – this was the general topic of the international seminar organized by the International Association of Universities at SNSPA Bucharest in the period 14 – 19 October 2018.

“Leading Globally Engaged Universities” (LGEU) is a programme launched in 2015. It is organized twice a year in a member institution of IAU.

What do they debate? How is this different from other programmes? LGEU looks at the large, global picture of higher education from a local perspective. It also looks at the issues of both the academic and the administrative challenges leaders in higher education face today. Which means that academics and administrators get together and discuss. Not easy, is it?


Open-source leadership/Conducere difuză

A glimpse into Linux, the leadership of Linus Torvalds – Linux’s “benevolent dictator for life”, open source, the Linux Foundation, gender, equal-opportunity abusing and … money. Read on!

The Linux kernel – a blue-chip tech company; though still called a volunteer enterprise Linux is primarily sustained by funds and programmers from the world’s large technology companies: Intel, Google, IBM, Samsung, and others. Of the 80,000 fixes & improvements to Linux in 2017 –  more than 90% were by paid programmers. Intel employees alone did 13% of them. The Linux foundation has roughly an annual budget of USD 50 million.Linus on professionalism: “I’m also not going to buy into the fake politeness, the lying, the office politics and backstabbing, the passive aggressiveness, and the buzzwords. Because THAT is what ‘acting professionally’ results in: people resort to all kinds of really nasty things because they are forced to act out their normal urges in unnatural ways.”

Tux the penguin mascot of Linux

Licăriri dinspre Linux, conducerea lui Linus Torvalds, „dictator binevoitor pe viață la Linux”, sursă deschisă, Fundația Linux, gen, injurii pentru șanse egale și … bani. Detalii aici!

Nucleul Linux – o companie de tehnologie de reputație internațională; deși încă este  cunoscută ca o întreprindere bazată pe voluntariat Linux este susținută prin fonduri și programatori de cele mai mari companii de tehnologie din lume: Intel, Google, IBM, Samsung și altele. În 2017 90% dintre cele 80.000 de reparații și îmbunătățiri la Linux au fost făcute de programatori plătiți. Doar angajații de la Intel au efectuat 13% din ele. Fundația Linux are un buget anual aproximativ de 50 milioane de dolari SUA.

Linus despre profesionalism: „De asemenea nu sunt de acord cu politețea falsă, minciunile, politicile și asasinatele de birou, agresivitatea pasivă și clișeele de limbaj. Pentru că la ASTEA se rezumă în cele din urmă ‚comportamentul profesionist’: oamenii recurg la tot felul de lucruri oribile pentru că sunt forțați să-și exprime impulsurile normale în modalități nenaturale.”