CoWorldTour2017 : In search of the collaboration samourai.
Pirates are obsessed with treasures; I am obsessed with secrets.
The secret I am attracted to: what makes people come together to create? Anything in-between collaboration, contribution, as far as dance floor worshiping.
To fulfill my highest value, I work as a collaboration engineer, I design standing desks and I organize parties.
Travelling is for me a bit like cooking or playing the ‘wannabe’ DJ. I pick some ingredient, and I mix them together to create a beat that will make me dance.
Tel Aviv started with a feeling of synchronicity. You know when someone tells you about a place, then another person, then another, then you end up doing a project with an Israeli company, and so on.
I had to stop somewhere on my way to Europe. It was just an excuse.
Different inputs coming from the same source. Then your intuition kicks in. You catch yourself with something like: “I don’t know why, I just have to go and check this out.”
“Why are you coming to Israel?” asks the cute immigration girl boxed in her booth at the Ben Gurion Airport.
“Actually, that’s a good question — I have no idea, just wanted to check it out.” This answer cost me an inquisitive interview and got worse when I failed to explain my curiosity for entrepreneurship and my appreciation for everything related to party.
Each time I met someone, this was the first question: “Why did you come to Tel Aviv?”
An unconscious reminder of what I am bringing here, the value that I carry with me, how my curiosity must power my interactions.
Here everything is a secret to me. This was my Tinder ice-breaker.
I don’t speak Hebrew except for ‘shalom’, ‘toda’ and ‘sababa’. I can’t read Hebrew either.
Not understanding the content is an amazing opportunity to listen from a different place. Tuning myself into a more subtle and deeper layer of access.
More like dancing than listening.
Still, a lot of embarrassing moments though. Embarrassing moments are the funniest memories.
Staying in Jaffa gave me direct access to the buzzy flea market, good coffee and croissants, connected to some super-hipster cool street life and bars; a mysterious little shed which serves a specific Arabic dessert and, of course, walking distance to the beach.
I ended up sitting on a bench on my first night wrapped around a small hipster crowd; (yes, Tel Aviv is a definite land for hipsters) listening to a music jam/spoken-word situation. Anyone could jump in and express himself/herself.
In the middle of this grungy/creative/smiley scene, everyone was tanned like a golden piece of toast. I was still glowing like a lobster from my first day at the beach.
There was nothing to do, to say. I just sat, tuned in, and received whatever was given to me.
On the side, a guy was drawing on a whiteboard to illustrate each performance, listening and bouncing to the crowd comments. He was my subtitles.
Listening to people smile, catching stars in their eyes. That’s basically what I did. Like at the movies or when watching sunsets, I always turn around and contemplate people’s faces.
Everyone is one. There is magic here.
During this week I had the pleasure to be introduced to some inspiring people who perfectly balanced my point of view between moving to Tel Aviv tomorrow and being grateful for living in a place like Melbourne.
I got so moved by conversations. My single story of Tel Aviv broke down into multitude.
Guy, the new appointed manager of Beit Dani community center in the difficult Hatikva neighborhood, shared with me his vision on how to teach young kids the right balance between community and individuality. The best of western and eastern cultures.
There are some huge challenges in terms of cultural integration in Tel Aviv; hidden from the super-cool spots such as Kuli Alma, café Puaa or studios and concepts stores in Neve Tzedek.
I also met Shana, a community warrior, opening a co-working (c.f : The Platform) near the old central bus station, on top of a police station. Here, drugs and prostitution meet kids playing in ruins.
When I asked her “why are you doing what you do?” she genuinely shared: “I care. I just really want all communities to enjoy the Israeli success, not just the luckiest.”
She is building economic and educational bridges between communities. From macro credit to mentorship initiatives.
Here collaboration is a challenge on its own. Communities blame each other for what they don’t have: space, funding, attention. Their urgency destroys opportunities to collaborate.
In reality, things are changing. For example, in this neighborhood the density is huge so the council is collecting the rubbish three times a day compared to other areas. Recently the council has just rehabilitated a dying piece of land used for prostitution and trafficking into a sunny market place and playground for kids.
The measure of change is hidden because of the lack of collaboration. Funders don’t have what they look for: acknowledgement of being the sponsors of those positive changes.
I have so much love for people like Shana and Guy because they are involved in the toughest collaboration environment.
How to create a fertile soil for individuals and communities to thrive when your compost is toxic and filled with indifferences?
Tougher is the challenge, the more I get inspired.
There is magic for me here.
I went to WeWork Hazerem a super cool co-working. They have fresh baguettes for lunch (served by a French guy with a beret), free poptails (imagine a fancy raspberry mojito dipped in an ice-cream) and, of course, an overnight hackathon on VR.
Tel Aviv is super-techy. There is an app for everything. Yes, everything. Whatever you need, an app will sort you out. I won’t go too much into detail here, I am sure you got my point.
Two words were looping in my conversations: ‘permanent’ and ‘corruption’.
After asking my new Israeli friend, “Is it your permanent job?”, I realized that Israeli people don’t have the same value for the word ‘permanent’ that I do. For me permanent means security, safety, comfort zone and all that jazz. Here it is more a temporary meaning. My friend replied: “It is permanent until something happens.”
Their leadership and entrepreneurship skills are sharpened. Maybe team responsibility early in the army or because they don’t take life for granted. I can’t tell. But they are there.
Their capacity to take more risks, not resting for too long, and their gratitude for the present moment resonate a lot with me. The national sport in Israel is to build companies, not to play football.
For the word ‘corruption’, I think we are all on the same page here.
I am so grateful for my time here because everything just clicked. The less I was forcing things to happen the more they just happened organically.
Being able to trust the natural architecture of life is so relaxing. This feeling that you are looked after whatever you do.
Travelling alone has this emotion built in.
Spending a week in Tel Aviv was for me an amazing boost, one of those moments you go back to as a source for inspiration.
Being aware of my filters is like always remembering that I am wearing sunnies.
The colors I see are just distortions of the real light. There is always more for me to discover. It’s just sometimes I forgot that I am wearing them.
Filters, like sunnies, have their purpose too: protection. Direct light can damage my eyes. I also want to look cool and like fashion.