The French “Institut Confiances” has set out "to build confidence between political, administrative, economic and financial actors, scientists, trade unions, the media and citizens."

At their last conference that took place in Paris on December 4 and 5, Jean- Paul DELEVOYE, President of the Economic, Social and Environmental Counsel, talked remarkably about the transformational needs of our society.

Mr Delevoye in his speech presents the challenges we are to meet in order to attain success in the upcoming generation.

The 5 key points of his speech are as follows:

  1. The current situation.
  2. How did we get here?
  3. Our fears.
  4. The problems we are all experiencing today and which we are not aware of.
  5. The future challenges and solutions.

1.  Our current situation

  • The "burn-out": we are in a system where we are not tired physically, but mentally. From this individual anguish will rise a collective concern.
  • The disoriented society is linked to leaders who seem to lose grasp of events and to lose control of the bus. The followers feel resentment and a sense of betrayal.

  • Distrust in the system is creating a potential generational shock as we drop our adhesion to the greater cause to act solely in defense of our perceived self-interests.

  •  If you don’t believe in the future there can be no vision, without vision there are no projects, and we need projects to generate adhesion to a greater cause...

2.  How did we get here?

  • We see politicians and business executives advertising numbers - not the real ones of the day but the hoped ones of yesterday or tomorrow! And liars are dealers of illusions. But today, through social networks yielding increased transparency, the truth eventually comes out and we can see the difference between the numbers designed to give hope and the ones really obtained. This breeds mistrust, illusion and loss of public credibility.
  • Effort is not made towards improving quality of service but to protect the unacceptable. We are in a system where the customer, the user, the citizen understands that the system prefers the status quo for it's own comfort rather than adapting to a new environment to provide comfort for the citizen.
  • The dictatorship of the short-term is killing the medium- and long-term vision.
  • Weakened players turn to conflict to defend interests.
  • By stigmatizing individual differences society slowly destroys diversity, confidence and its own identity.

3.  Our fears

  • Suspicion is the cancer of our society is.
  • We live in a world where the truth scares us. One flees the tough questions because one is afraid to face the truth.
  • We are in a dominant/dominated relationship: power management is part of our DNA.
  • The financial exchanges in the world: The actual exchange of touchable goods represents no more than 2% of the world’s cash flow. The majority of marketing is still aimed at selling products when the real issues are linked to the volume of financial exchanges.

4.  The problems we are all experiencing today and which we are not aware of.

  • We are not facing a crisis; we are experiencing a social metamorphosis. In a metamorphosis the driving force is the enchantment of the future… the dream. If you are disgruntled, weighed down, or if the dictatorship of the short-term neutralizes future vision, it becomes difficult to create enthusiasm and personal investment.
  • Identity is a core issue of all social, political and commercial entities in this transition ... so we have a real problem of trust of our identity. Businesses and political parties are trying to exist through slogans and catch phrases but we, the group members or clients, know that these commercial or political statements aren’t true. This results in a weak identity. Weak identity systems grow in conflict and competition. Strong identity systems have the ability to know what they can concede and to ask of others. Strong Identity systems grow in cooperation and negotiation and generate authentic win-win scenarios.
  • We are entering a world where imagination and creativity will literally explode.
  • Today, more and more people are realizing that acquisition of material goods is a dying lifestyle. As a result, we are learning a more authentic lifestyle and to live and be happy with less (less is better). So again we are changing the paradigm and are left with an unbelievable trauma.

5.  The future challenges and solutions

  • We are moving from “owning” to “sharing” (internet, cloud computing, urban transport), and sharing is fed by trust since it is an exchange and this is something totally important.
  • We are evolving from the concept of “performance” to the concept of “development”. Material gain is slowly loosing terrain to immaterial gain as witnessed by increased sharing and development of networks (social and professional). The quantity and quality of contacts are starting to be a measure of wealth, and are certainly highly valued.
  • The new empowering force comes from all citizens who are increasingly demanding to be the co-architects of their future world. It is important that people be invited to participate and listened to in earnest.
  • We don’t want “superior” leaders anymore, but “responsible” ones. Management accountability is to be at the heart of every team, group and company to obtain high personal investment from every member.
  • Individualities must be respected, cherished and developed. As we value the difference, it transcends the individual. The ability to live with each other and in diversity is key, especially in international companies.
  • The 21st century is the century of mobility and the century of otherness.

Mr Delevoy ambition of mobilizing an entire country (France as it were) remains utopian, but the use of this roadmap by the few leading enterprises of any market segment worldwide remains an excellent and valid concept. Companies that understand this point of view realize the potential wealth those ideas can generate.

The original speech is available below