The World Health Organization defines the meaning of health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” If health means more than being just physically well, then how healthy do you think the following three facts can be?
- Swedes, who endure more than a 45-minute commute, are 40% more likely to divorce.[i]
- The British got richer by more than 40% between 1993 and 2012, but the rate of psychiatric disorders and neuroses grew.[ii]
- Americans, who live a car-dependent life, suffer significant muscular deterioration and expression losses.[iii]
Let’s face it: deep down, all of us think that health is a service we can buy at the hospital. But maybe health is not within the complete purview of doctors… Maybe there isn’t only one way of being healthy… Maybe health involves everything from the physical wellbeing of individuals to social cohesion of communities in the sustainable development of world’s economy… Maybe the faith of human civilization depends on us finding healthier ways to live, to plan our cities, and to do business… Izmir, the frontier city of Turkey, deeply believes that no matter what we do, health is the answer. And with its bid for EXPO 2020, it is ready to lead humanity to healthier tomorrows.
You may ask, “How can Izmir claim the role of a guide in a global journey to health?” What is really unique about Izmir was not its natural beauties, but its inhabitants’ innovative mindset. Throughout its 8,500 years of existence, Izmir has always been a magnet for curious people who question accepted methods. Many ‘firsts’ of the region took, and are still taking place, in Izmir. The first hospital of Eurasia was built in Izmir… Rumor has that the world’s first olive oil factory was founded in Izmir… The human race implemented the first geometrical city layout in Izmir… It’s where the parchment paper was invented. Izmir is also the city, where Homer wrote the Odyssey… To be at the forefront of matters has always been the spirit of Izmir.
While its frontier mentality is Izmir’s greatest strength, the city thrives on being exceptional. First, Izmir is a historically international city and has been one of the principal mercantile cities of the Mediterranean Sea. Today, the city has a healthy economy. Izmir’s port is Turkey’s primary port for exports and its free zone is one of the largest in the region.
Second, beauty, an essential prerequisite for mental health, is abundantly present in Izmir. After all, Victor Hugo once called Izmir “a princess with her most beautiful hat.” Having 300 days of summer, a temperate climate, perfect beaches, and friendly citizens, all contribute to the ingredients of a healthy city.
Third, people of Izmir enjoy a very healthy, cohesive, and inclusive social lifestyle. Having hosted dozens of historical civilizations, Izmir has always been a melting pot for people of different ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds. In an age of constant conflict between various regions and civilizations, what a better city is there than the secular Izmir to cultivate a healthy understanding between different cultures and religions?
Finally, Izmir’s prime location is an excellent asset for EXPO 2020, which is all about connecting ideas, nations, and people. Izmir is only 3 hours flight distance away from 48 countries on 3 continents. The city is situated on the most western point of the East, and the most eastern point of the West. This characteristic makes Izmir a unique cultural bridge, creating healthy international connections. Not surprisingly, millions of visitors are expected to visit Izmir during the EXPO 2020. This would create vital economic opportunities for the city itself and the Balkans, Middle East and Caucasian regions.
Modern physics points out to a mysterious fact: What we pay attention to becomes real… It materializes… It grows… In a way, what we believe to be real is real and what we decide to concentrate on determines our reality. That’s why psychologists often say that attention is the cardinal value of psychology. Here is something Izmir wants the world to pay attention to:
We, the human race, have been inhabiting the Blue Planet for a couple of million years. During this time, our progress has accelerated exponentially. But all that growth had a shadow aspect: Cancer, which is unhealthy growth… Obesity, which is unhealthy diet… Stress, which is unhealthy workload… Traffic, which is unhealthy city planning. Crime, which is unhealthy moral values. And war, which is unhealthy understanding of “the other”… The faster we grow, the more physical, mental, and social well-being we need. In other words, we need more health. In every sense of the word…
You can help Izmir guide humanity to a healthier world. On November 27th, vote for Izmir to host EXPO 2020.
Health for all. All for health.
I was interviewed by Samantha J. Manniex, a passionate blogger and a place branding practitioner from the UK. It was a fun and insightful conversation. I am posting three questions and answers about my methodology. If you want to read the full interview, please click here.
This week we interviewed Yeşim Kunter: a world-renowned play expert. Yeşim is best-known as the “Women who makes CEO’s play games.” She understands behavior of people to create new organizational experiences. Before founding her independent consultancy she worked for Hasbro, Lego Group, and Toys R Us in New York. As a futurist at Hasbro she was part of an innovation team dedicated to uncovering disruptive new play experiences for children and adults. Currently Yeşim is an independent consultant for developing PLAY to Innovate Workshops for 500 Fortune Companies, giving speeches on Play at Universities and conferences such as World Innovation Conference at Cannes. Let’s see what Yeşim has to say about the future of organizational development!
Look around you. They are everywhere: The over-worked… The under-appreciated… The under-valued… The lost… The professional zombie… Today’s professionals are not happy at work and I think our thirst for meaning is at the core of the problem.
Follow your bliss and doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors; and where there wouldn’t be a door for anyone else.
Did you know that the success rate of a place-branding project is less than 15%? Turns out that most of the place-branding initiatives are prematurely ended within a year of introduction. You might think that such a high failure rate is outrageous. Unfortunately, as someone who has been involved in a couple of place branding projects, I must concur with the results of the research. Let’s see what we can do about that…
We had a wonderful chat with Professor William Straw, the Director of McGill Institute for the Study of Canada Professor, Department of Art History and Communications Studies.
Professor Straw is interested in a range of topics, most of them having to do with media and cities. He is a world-renowned expert in urban culture. We asked him three simple questions, and he gave us sagacious answers.
A long, long time ago there once lived a man, who was mesmerized with the night sky… His entire life was devoted to understanding the meaning of the endless sea of shiny dots above. One night, he wondered what would happen had he connected the dots. And just like that he invented the constellations, which tremendously helped humanity navigate boats, and mark seasons of the year. And in order for people to remember forever such a wisdom, he created stories about the constellations… Stories that we still tell everyday…
We recently talked about the amazing collaboration technique used by young Turkish protestors: They gather at local parks, create speaker’s corners, and try running democracy as it was originally intended! Such collective movements have many advantages: Participation makes people feel energized and galvanized. Diverse opinions are heard, different priorities are learned… Hundreds of people brainstorm a long list of great ideas. These are all fascinating stuff. But, frustration arises when the time comes to make a decision as participatory decision-making is a pain in [you know where.] Unfortunately, generating ocean-full of ideas is much easier than collectively prioritizing all the results and coming up with an action plan. Often, that’s when movements start losing their steam. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way! Let me introduce you Dotmocracy: A cheap and cheerful participatory decision-making tool for your organization.
Brian Colangelo has been getting progressively worse. That said, the Raptors have been around for nearly two decades and Colangelo is not the first unsuccessful GM. Many big wigs came and went, but the Raptors’ storyline stayed the same. That shows us the limitations of the Raptors’ Organizational System.
Six months ago, this is exactly how I concluded my article named: “Systems Thinking and Toronto Raptors.” Since then, major events took place: The team finally got a franchise player in Rudy Gay. Tim Leiweki, an internationally recognized figure, became the president of the MLSE. Brian Colangelo, the former executive of the year was replaced with Masai Ujiri, the latest executive of the year. Andrea Bargnani, the lightning rod is finally gone. And the frightening player Tyler Hansbrough became the newest Raptor. I think after years of mediocrity, the Raptors organization is finally in a better situation. BUT… Is that enough to overcome the limitations of the Raptors’ Organizational System we previously talked about? How’s the future looking for the Raptors? Let’s see what the Systems Theory has to say about that… Read the rest of this entry