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Jurgen Appelo calls himself a creative networker. But sometimes he's a writer, speaker, trainer, entrepreneur, illustrator, manager, blogger, reader, dreamer, leader, freethinker, or… Dutch guy. Since 2008 Jurgen writes a popular blog at, covering the creative economy, agile management, and personal development. He is the author of the book Management 3.0, which describes the role of the manager in agile organizations. And he wrote the little book How to Change the World, which describes a supermodel for change management. Jurgen is CEO of the business network Happy Melly, and co-founder of the Agile Lean Europe network and the Stoos Network. He is also a speaker who is regularly invited to talk at business seminars and conferences around the world. After studying Software Engineering at the Delft University of Technology, and earning his Master’s degree in 1994, Jurgen Appelo has busied himself starting up and leading a variety of Dutch businesses, always in the position of team leader, manager, or executive. Jurgen has experience in leading a horde of 100 software developers, development managers, project managers, business consultants, service managers, and kangaroos, some of which he hired accidentally. Nowadays he works full-time managing the Happy Melly ecosystem, developing innovative courseware, books, and other types of original content. But sometimes Jurgen puts it all aside to spend time on his ever-growing collection of science fiction and fantasy literature, which he stacks in a self-designed book case. It is 4 meters high. Jurgen lives in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) -- and in Brussels (Belgium) -- with his partner Raoul. He has two kids, and an imaginary hamster called George. Jurgen has posted 145 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

The New CEO: Creative Ecosystem Organizer

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CEO's should not be Chief Executive Officers. They should be Creative Ecosystem Organizers.


I am now officially the new CEO of Happy Melly. Last week the representatives of stakeholders (suppliers, facilitators, customers, owners) voted in a Huddle, and they all agreed the dirty job is now mine. Hurray.

Granted, the Happy Melly lead-by-example business network was my idea in the first place. And thus it makes sense that people want me to take care of it too. But I’m happy to see that with DARE and Happy Melly Express it’s already growing in directions I had not imagined myself. Now it’s up to me to herd those cats. Awesome.

This brings me to my title: CEO

Chief Executive Officer

I don’t like it.

First of all, I don’t consider myself a chief because I’m not the highest in rank. At Happy Melly all important decisions are made in Gatherings and in Huddles, and as CEO I’m not even allowed to vote in those discussions! My job is to make sure that at least some decisions are made by creative people, but I don’t control the outcome.

Second, I don’t like the term executive because I don’t have administrative or managerial responsibility. When people don’t do their jobs, it’s their problem. Not mine. Work will simply gravitate to the people who actually work. My job is to make sure there’s room for their self-development and for improvement of the ecosystem, but not to control who does what.

And third, I don’t consider myself an officer because I don’t hold an office of authority or command. I lead a network, I don’t govern a hierarchy. Therefore, my job is to ensure that the business scales out, not up. Those involved will have to manage themselves and each other, but as an experienced organizer I can help them be more successful at that.

I came up with a new title: CEO

Creative Ecosystem Organizer

Now that’s a title I can be really enthusiastic about!

I help organize an ecosystem of creative people. Isn’t that what all CEO’s are supposed to do?

Are you a new CEO?

Published at DZone with permission of its author, Jurgen Appelo. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)