Summer is gone but Fall made a triumphal entrance in our calendar, the days are shorter but the hope hiding in every sunset is nothing less than gorgeous and growing at a fast pace.
The new semester just started, and along with it, brilliant ideas and endless optimist that only entrepreneurs and minds alike are able to produce, populating our Planet with growth and development.
By the end of September, I was able to feel the exciting dynamics in Bavaria, more precisely in Munich where a young generation is carrying a silent revolution for a better world. The rational and (sometimes too) strict German economy is turning more and more to find alternative businesses beyond the obvious, it is promising to see the rise of meaningful business, not necessarily big business.
It is clear to see that the companies and new ventures that are able to attract talent are the ones that care and commit to make a positive impact externally but also internally, money can be a powerful economic engine, but it is being replaced by a “greener” fuel which is – Meaning – or according to my heart, happiness.
It was a short stay, but enough to bump into a good old friend near Marienplatz, you got to love this small planet.
When referring to my friends in Germany that my next destination was Ukraine, I could see the eyebrows grow thicker with a mix of worries and pity (for me of course).
Let me tell you that when I landed the next day in beautiful Lviv, which welcomed me as usual with warm friends and kindness, I could see that the “true” war going on there is between the past and the future, honesty and corruption, light and darkness, a war you cannot win with tanks or missiles, because you need to fight it everyday for the rest of your days inside your own life.
Despite all the suffering Ukrainians and Russians are going trough in conflicting regions, the main “battle” is being fought in every single heart, a “battle” for dignity, to be free in your mind and in your actions, a battle you cannot negotiate a truce to take a breath and regroup, but probably the only war thats is worth it the highest sacrifice.
This year, I had the pleasure to mentor again at Softserve, a paramount of professionalism in the Ukrainian business landscape.
This time I welcome a different group (thou I miss the previous one) but the same brilliant curious minds and the desire to develop further and embrace change.
Later when talking with my friend Taras Vervega, board member at Softserve, among different philosophical discussions I could sense that the company is on to tackle the future, which is easier with good people on board, nevertheless, there there is always room to be unique and original, .
During the same week I had the opportunity to collaborate with the Institute of Leadership and Management at the Ukrainian Catholic University, more precisely with a group of professionals from non-profit organizations. It was a interesting challenge, for them and for me, more challenges to come next year.
With all the changes the country is going trough, it is critical to support economic reforms with a humanitarian “lens” in the background in order to keep the backbone of society together, once again, money can help, but will not answer all the questions.
Over the weekend, a quick jump to Kiev and the opportunity to visit the family and since last year the first time to set foot in Maidan square. Silence was my company and my best friend to honor the true heroes that pay with their life’s the dignity revolution.
One wish crossed my mind. I hope that in the years to come the country manages in a sensitive way to keep alive the sacrifices of the few that impact the future of so many. Respect!
One more note about Kiev, while visiting the Made in Ukraine festival held around the new Football stadium. One word to describe what I sense there – Outstanding.
Looking at the number and the quality of new projects, ventures and startups in all business areas; Clothing, beauty, furniture, new food concepts, all rapped in amazing design, truly speaking, this is some kind of Vyshivanka 2.0, the door to the future for Ukraine 2.0
The week after, back in Lviv, three more groups, Master in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Master in IT management and executive MBA, all at Lviv Business School.
Few things I could feel across all participants; ingenuity, curiosity and a willingness to learn and progress, it will be very interesting to see what they will reach by the end of the school year.
One thing I can assure, there are already hundreds of paper boat builders specialists, I miss you all already.
A special word for some outstanding work from last year Master in Innovation students, like I use to say, some things in life you only measure in the amount of hours you put in, when you touch the work, you can see, you can feel that success gives a lot of work…but nothing tastes like success.
I also had the change to visit two new projects that I am sure will help to make a difference in the Ukrainian economy, typical grassroots projects, the ones that once up and running will place corruption in its place…the garbage can.
The first one – Startup depot – was created and runs by two of my former students – Maksym Lysak and Stepan Veselovskyi, a typical hybrid with part co-working and part incubator, brilliant work, I can easily see the model being replicated across Ukraine and beyond. (http://startupdepot.lviv.ua/en/)
The second – !Fest Republic – a very ambitious project runned by Andriy Khudo, Yurko Nazaruk and Dmytro Gerasimov, in line with their holding of emotions, it promises to place Lviv in the center of good practices among cities that are able to rediscover their new place in a modern/global world. Few more months and I am sure we will be surprised (http://www.fest.lviv.ua/en/)
It is very important that all the “change” players manage to work and “build the future” together, tapping seriously into concepts such as open innovation and coopetition and understanding that what they have to gain by joining efforts it is much more than trying to become the “one and only”.
Time does not stop…neither do I.
Back to the warm weather, I realize that we will finally have lemons this winter at our garden.
I believe that as far a person keeps on touching the life of others, searching for improvement, offering help without expecting anything in return, smiling to adversities and if needed die every night when going to sleep and reborn every morning when wake up.
If you stay loyal to few basic things, life continuously gives you everything you need; health, family, friends, money or…lemons in whatever proportions you need.
Just around the corner the year starts drawing to an end, it is time to start evaluating and fine tune what needs to be changed, except for one thing, never miss the opportunity to touch the life of another person.
I got an amazing surprise when I enter the office, an important memory that deeply touched my life and will continue to touch in the years to come.
Back to my to do list, time to finish a book.