Are you collisionable? What does that even mean? Here are four terms or phrases we’ve overheard (a lot) recently, and some context to help understand them. 

At swissnex San Francisco, we are constantly on the lookout for trends and big ideas—and constantly exposed to the people driving them. In our weekly meetings, we share insights about what the future might hold for startups, technology, and innovation.

Here are four words that keep coming up, both inside and outside of our office:

Collisionable: Embracing serendipitous encounters


Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s mention of the word collisionable at Techonomy last November went viral. He claims to have a preference for “collisions over convenience.” At the Zappos office in Las Vegas, he had a skywalk connecting a parking lot to the building closed down so that employees would have to walk through the surrounding neighborhood. Hence, more collisionable time.

Hsieh even influenced a startup that named themselves after the concept.

The founder of Collisionable, Parito Sharma, explains on the company’s blog, “Tony said this word and we quickly went ahead and got it, coz we LOVED it! Collisionable is a lot about Organizational Psychology and about how human life is structured. If you see the social fabric around us, it’s all Collisionable!”

Economies of Community: Rebuilding local food systems

EconomiesofCommunityGet big or get out is the motto for much of today’s economy. Instead of local bakeries, butchers, and farms, businesses with centralized production distribute goods to supermarkets all over the country. This means we’re eating food that is grown far from where we live and transported to our stores in containers.

“We need economies of community,” explains Benzi Ronen in a video introducing Farmigo, a company that provides a platform for food entrepreneurs to launch their own farmers markets, as well as management software tools for farms.

Through a network of farmers, local distribution channels, and motivated consumers, economies of community want to compete with the global food system. Bay Area startup GoodEggs is an example of a company that believes in growing and sustaining local food systems worldwide.

Holacracy: Management without managers


“Holacracy is the governance of the organization, through the people, for the purpose,” says Brian Robertson, a self-declared recovering CEO and founder of HolacracyOne. Instead of employees with job titles, people in an organization run on the Holacracy model are partners who take on an autocratic role with defined accountabilities.

Setting its priorities on transparency, distributed authority, and the possibility of rapid implementation of change, Holacracy aims to be an alternative to currently dominating top-down organizational models. Zappos and Medium have started implementing the practice (on Medium, there is a whole discussion about the pros and cons going on).

Resiliency: Empowering the people with planning

Building the Resilient City Conference by the Urban Land Institute (ULI)

In April 2014, Patrick Otellini was named San Francisco’s Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), the first such appointment in the world. Instead of merely surviving disasters, Otellini wants San Francisco to recover and thrive by developing the tools to do so and empowering the people of the city.

swissnex San Francisco hosted a one-day hackathon about earthquake resilience in May, 2014, and in September of this year there’s an entire conference dedicated to the topic of building resilient cities. We’ll definitely be hearing more of this word.