To make humans more human and business more beautiful.
Business-as-usual is dead. The desire for a more beautiful life is not.
As the limitations of traditional business models, management, and workplace cultures have become abundantly clear (not just since the pandemic), we need new visions, paradigms, and practices. They will not come from business books or schools alone, but rather from economics, tech, science, the humanities, and the arts living together under one roof.
Enter the House of Beautiful Business.
The House was founded in 2017 by Till Grusche and Tim Leberecht. Tim is a German-American author, three-time TED speaker, and a passionate voice for a human future of business. He held chief marketing officer roles with Frog Design, Aricent, and NBBJ in San Francisco. Till has 15 years’ experience in global marketing and business development roles, including Frog Design, Huge, and IXDS in Amsterdam, San Francisco, London, and Berlin respectively. Tim and Till worked together at Frog Design for several years. Tim’s book The Business Romantic (2015) became an international bestseller, and he has since spoken at conferences and companies worldwide. Meanwhile, Till served as the chief marketing officer of a ridesharing startup in Munich, and has continued to perform as the singer of an almost-retired punk rock band. In 2017, they reunited to form the House of Beautiful Business.
In February 2017, they held a first pop-up event (“House Zero”) in an old guild house in Barcelona's gothic quarter. The same year the House moved to Lisbon for a second gathering, and it has now grown into a home for people from all around the world.
Through in-person gatherings, online programs, publications, and art, the House of Beautiful Business brings together business and nonprofit leaders, technologists, scientists, philosophers, and artists who share a common quest: to reinvent their organizations and themselves, and to shape a more beautiful futures for business, technology, and humanity.
As a think tank, the House works with partners including Airbus, Boston Consulting Group, Galp, Google, Grupo Ageas Portugal, IEEE, INDEED Innovation, Otto Group, Porsche, PwC, SAP, Sky, and many others.
So what exactly is Beautiful Business?
We like to refer to the Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa and his famous line: “Beauty is what does not exist." It thrives in what the Romantics called "negative space." With the House if Beautiful Business, we are cultivating this negative space for new positive visions to emerge: for new visions, language, and practices for business that are built on emotions, ethics, and aesthetics instead of efficiency, extraction, and exponentialism.
You could also say, beautiful business is everything we desire and are left wanting; beautiful business is everything business-as-usual is not (yet):
Soft and tender when business-as-usual is hard and harsh
Fluid and flexible when business-as-usual is slow-moving and rigid
Melancholic when business-as-usual is forced optimism
Poetic when business-as-usual is explicit and numbers-oriented
Imaginative when business-as-usual is risk-averse
Deep when business-as-usual is efficient
Ecological when business-as-usual is economical
Humane when business-as-usual is “human-centered”
Comforting when business-as-usual is all about winning
Asking beautiful questions instead of having all the answers
The tenets of the House
But not just WHY we gather, but also HOW matters a great deal to us. We believe that transformation on a personal, organizational, and societal level is only possible through shared emotional experiences that push us gently out of our comfort zone and create a safe space for unsafe ideas.
There is no formula for the experiences we create, but here are some principles that might help you orient yourself when you enter the House (“The Tenets of the House”):
Begin with mystery.
It takes a village, it starts with a House.
Humanizing business means making it more beautiful.
Beauty is something that ay or may not exist., You decide.
Change the world by creating a new one. Even just for a few hours.
Create a space where people can get lost without losing.
Show up when it's showtime.
Don't waste time with efficiency.
If software is eating the world, we might as well have a glass of wine with it.
Put on your own oxygen mask first.
We are one but not the same.
We are ugly but we have the music.
Whatever happens in the House should not stay in the House.
End in silence.
Leave the door open on your way out.
A global community seeking intimacy, intelligence, impact—and beauty
In 2018, we launched the Journal of Beautiful Business and our first podcast series.
In 2019, members of our community took the House on the road and began to launch Chambers of Beautiful Business, local communities in more than 30 cities worldwide that offer in-person and online gatherings throughout the year. We also debuted the Beauty Shot newsletter and published the Book of Beautiful Business, followed by the release of The Great Wave playbook, co-created by members of the House community a year later, and special reports on The State of AI as well as The Future of Experiences.
In 2020, we hosted more than 50 online Living Room Sessions, free to the public, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We now offer monthly online Living Room Sessions for our members (“Residents”), as well as Resident Circles in which they can deepen the conversation, forge new connections, mentor and advise each other, and collaborate on joint projects (House Work).
Each year, we bring together our community for a one-of-a-kind business festival. What started as an in-person event in 2017 turned into a hybrid global happening with an online program, a virtual 3D world, and 36 local hubs for in-person gatherings on six continents this year with The Great Wave.
This year, we will meet online and in person in Lisbon and at smaller events all around the world to build new foundations, structures, and homes for business and society—with “Concrete Love.”
Concrete Love will be our sixth annual festival after House Zero (2017), Next Startup: Humanity (2017), Feel the Machine (2018), The Battle of Beautiful Business (2019), and The Great Wave (2020).
In addition and linked to Concrete Love, we will also host the Lisbon Gathering this fall, an exclusive four-day in-person event for 300 core members of our community.
Four years after we opened its doors for the first time, the House of Beautiful Business has become a brave new space for anyone wanting more from business and from life. Called “the most-unlike-minded community in the world” by one of our Residents, we are poised to cultivate the House as a place like no other for intimacy, intelligence, and impact, all of which are facilitated by connections and experiences that stretch our imagination and broaden the playing field that business operates in.