Conscious Community – a Personal Story #14 #cong19


Reflections of a lifetime looking for ‘my community’. Now that I have found it, how will I change it?

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. The advent of the information age has made us less satisfied with our given communities, but also granted us the ability to change them more easily.
  2. With the increase in choice, comes a decrease in certainty.
  3. In the West, it seems the power has shifted from the community to the individual and ‘Where is my community?’ is a question with complex answers.
  4. I have found my community through both serendipity and conscious research and effort – how will my presence change it?

About Anne Wilson:

Positive Transformation is what both inspires and drives me. My many years in multi-national companies (Banking & Healthcare) have revolved around improvements for both internal staff and customer experience.
I’m looking forward to connecting with the Congregation community to see what positive transformations we might be able to create!

Contacting Anne Wilson

You can connect with Anne by email.

By Anne Wilson

*Conscious Communities – a Personal Story*

Communities are stories that we tell ourselves – which means that we have the power to change them.

Sometimes we fall into communities relatively easily and are comfortable staying there. However, the advent of the information age has made many less satisfied with their given communities and also granted us the ability to change them more easily. We can emigrate and take on new or multiple nationalities. We can work in multiple industries and locations in one lifetime. We can learn about new hobbies, join different clubs, choose our friends and even our family (be it through divorce, adoption or advanced medical techniques). Unimaginable in most societies previously, but you can now even decide which gender community you wish to belong to.

With this increase in choice, comes a decrease in certainty – in the stability that we can expect for ourselves and those around us. Even if we choose the community we were born and reared in, we cannot expect it to remain the same as it will be changed by the individual decisions of others either within it or joining it from the outside. It seems the power has shifted from the community to the individual, at least in the West. The Middle East, Africa and Asia still have relatively strong community norms and I do not see power shifting to the individual in places like China any time soon.

Three of my grandparents and two of my great grandparents emigrated to a new continent, Africa. I observed one side of my family integrate, and the other remain insular – primarily socialising with families who came from the same Celtic villages. We, as children, did not view ourselves as immigrants, and yet we were curious about our family origins. All of us made the journey back and, while the experience gave us insights into the ‘quirks’ of our grandparents, none of us felt the proverbial emotional feelings of ‘homecoming’. In fact, there were one or two unexpected instances where attention was drawn to our ‘foreignness’ due to our accents and interactions. Add to the mix a significant period of our working lives in additional countries and the question of ‘where is my community?’ becomes more complex.

Working for a large multi-national company far from ‘home’, my like-minded colleagues formed my community. Considering the risks of such a temporary, disparate and diverse community, I made a conscious decision to find a new and more stable community located within a smaller geographic area. With parents and brothers in three different countries, this posed a challenge. It was up to me to decide which family members to choose as neighbours and which country to give my allegiance to. In such circumstances, it’s amazing what information you seek out in order to make the choice. In the end, I found it prompted an examination of my values and what I understood the values and futures of the different countries to be. The administrative details (tax, insurance, housing, cars, etc) were secondary but nevertheless impactful. Then came learning the nuances of the culture and making further choices as to which sub cultures I wished to embrace and which I preferred to avoid. On a personal level, I have found my community through both serendipity and conscious research and effort.

Now that my community has been selected on an individual level, I find myself turning to the question of the power of many. How do I contribute to the elevation of my chosen community to achieve things I would not be able to achieve alone? I have realised that while it is good to continually deepen my understanding of the planet, my impact will only be at a community level, within the sphere of influence I achieve (either actively or passively). It feels almost like the process of orientating oneself in a big corporation. What are the formal structures? Where are the informal points of power and information flows? What is the community’s general culture and does it have any type of long-term strategy for where it is headed? I say ‘almost’ because location-based community (i.e one’s town / city) is a lot ‘messier’ than even the messiest of corporate cultures I have experienced. Presumably because there is a requirement in a corporation for you to be clear on where you fit in, the value you bring to the overall strategy and there is less choice over who you must work with productively. For this reason, my first active foray into ‘community’ has offered surprises – sometimes delightful, sometimes disappointing and frequently amusing. And there are some things that I really need to change!

What is a good idea? #73 #cong18


The definition of a ‘good’ idea is changing for the better – enabled by good people and the rapid advancement of technology.

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. For the first time in history, technology may be ahead of our ideas.
  2. There is real fear of proliferation of bad ideas.
  3. However, a number of factors are increasingly supporting the implementation of good ideas – ones that benefit humanity.
  4. In a more idea-friendly century, is ‘good’ good enough?

About Anne Wilson:

Born in Africa, made in Europe, refined in Asia and being reinvented in Ireland, Anne Wilson has worked primarily in Finance and Pharmaceuticals.
She worked in the operations departments of several London investment banks – primarily as a Six Sigma specialist – before switching to business and customer excellence roles in pharmaceuticals. As a Regional Commercial Excellence Director, based out of Singapore, her main interests were Innovation and Learning – and adapting programs for different cultures.
In Ireland, she has collaborated with her family on two projects and is a Wealth Partner in an exciting and ambitious global real estate start-up. She continues to explore Innovation, Learning , Entrepreneurship and Future Trends with a view to finding the best way to contribute to building a better future in Ireland.

Contacting Anne Wilson:

You can connect with Ann on LinkedIn or send her an email.

By Anne Wilson

What is a ‘good’ idea? I have been asked this question many times in my career. Well, there are all the obvious answers: an idea that has the potential to solve a problem, reduce risk, meet a customer need and ultimately make or save money…for the least amount of effort and cost.

But what I am invariably really being asked is ‘What is expected of me to make my boss happy?’. While pressure can have a positive effect on performance, I have rarely found this to be an ideal starting place for creative ideas – be they good or bad.

Firstly, it is very limiting for the ‘good’ classification to simply be a function of the opinion of a single person who has marginally more power than the team tasked with coming up with the idea. Also, if the team does not agree with an idea, there is a risk they will lack the commitment required to contribute sufficient energy and perseverance to implement the idea effectively. These tensions do not only exist in the corporate world. Have you ever had what you thought was a good idea, and then failed to execute on it yourself?

Secondly, no one knows whether an idea is good or bad until it has exited infancy and starts showing the promise of a teenager. For this, it needs testing, prototyping, evaluation, end-user validation and at the very minimum an objective, critical discussion with the right people.

Nevertheless, the question continues to linger in my mind. What is a good idea? Ideas are wonderful, fluid creations with undefined potential impact. The core essence of an idea can be implemented in a multitude of ways – depending on environment, culture, experience of the person leading the task, the team and available technology, resources and time.

Timing is also a factor. My grandfather’s comics and early television shows contained wonderful ideas that fired people’s imaginations and optimism for more elegant and exciting solutions to the everyday challenges they experienced. One of the main barriers to bringing these ideas to life was that the technology simply did not exist. Now it does. The internet has changed everything, and other technologies and fields of study have developed exponentially in recent years. Now ordinary people are overwhelmed by the diversity of new ideas and stunned to learn that most of them are not only possible but are already in existence and being tested for scaleability and commercialisation. Could it be that, for the first time in history, our technology is ahead of our ideas?

The speed at which new ideas are now being brought to life and spread (often globally) can be disconcerting, even frightening – what if someone uses this idea-friendly century for bad ideas? This is possible of course, but here is what gives me hope. The definition of a ‘good’ idea seems to be changing.

In recent years I have observed the most amazing environment being created for good ideas. Not simply ideas with commercial viability, but ideas that have potential for positive impact on humanity as a whole. Ideas related to healthcare, education and better social structures to allow us to live in harmony with each other and the planet.

If ideas are good, they tend to grow, evolve and even spread organically – good ideas go viral. Really good ideas receive crowdfunding and attract people with similar goals to help implement and share them. More formally, there are organisations which offer resources (eg. expertise, funding, access to labs, equipment, knowledge and networks) and awards to recognise good ideas – ones that will reduce human suffering and ignorance, ones that will empower more people to have a better lived experience.

Here is one final consideration for an idea to be classified as ‘good’. Will it be viable for all 7.5 billion people on this planet? It may improve the life of one person, but will there be a cost to the environment that everyone else needs to share? Is an idea great because it helps a million people? What if that same idea creates a negative impact on the health and security of others? New technologies, global networks of good people with diversified skills, perspectives and resources can solve problems with far greater sophistication than was possible in the past.

If your idea benefits some at the cost of the rest, it needs to be re-designed. Your good idea, even your great idea, is not yet your best idea.