The Genesis of RoundMap: A Lifelong Quest for Equitable Business Transformation

The Genesis of RoundMap: A Lifelong Quest for Equitable Business Transformation

In 1997, Edwin Korver was at a moral crossroads while working for a financial giant. Presented with a promotion that would compromise his integrity and disadvantage a client, he dared to decline and resign. This pivotal moment deepened Edwin’s conviction that businesses must serve a greater moral and social purpose, not just the bottom line.

A decade later, Edwin faced his second bout with cancer. Confined to a hospital bed, he met a dying man whose life story became a transformative moment for him. It reshaped his understanding of life’s interconnectedness and fueled his drive to create something more enduring.

Fascinated by emerging digital communities that encouraged collaborative thinking and equitable sharing of resources, Edwin sensed a paradigm shift in how businesses should operate. It was this insight that led to the inception of RoundMap. The real watershed moment came during an inspiration session at a local radio station, where he noticed a universal pattern of value creation that led to the concept of the ValueActor, from which RoundMap emerged.

Things escalated quickly when Social Media Examiner spotlighted an early version of RoundMap. Overnight, Edwin’s concept was part of global conversations on the future of business. Despite the accolades, Edwin knew this was just the beginning. He dedicated years of research to develop a comprehensive framework that reimagined the entire business ecosystem.

What drove Edwin through these intense years of largely unpaid labor? It was his experiences as a two-time cancer survivor. The selfless act of blood donations from total strangers had extended his life. Each drop of blood became a poignant reminder of his obligation to give back to society, making RoundMap an intellectual exercise and a life mission.

Throughout this transformative journey, one constant remained: Stella. His wife stood as a vivid example of the human connection and empathy that underlie even the most complex business models or theories.

Today, as we stand on the threshold of unprecedented changes in business norms and inspired by progressive economic theories like Doughnut Economics, Edwin Korver and his team invite you to be part of a journey that promises to redefine the future of business—a future that is just, fair, and inclusive.

Join Edwin and the RoundMap community in turning the map around.

The Slightly More Detailed Version

Welcome to the intimate tale behind the inception of RoundMap—a groundbreaking framework designed to revolutionize how businesses operate in an increasingly complex and interconnected landscape. This is not just a story of diagrams, models, and theories. It’s a human story fueled by a yearning for equitable business practices and a more just world.

Why did I spend seven years, uncompensated, to develop something that no one explicitly asked for? The answer is both simple and complex. Simple, because I’ve always been pulled by a deep-seated need to correct the imbalances I witnessed in my corporate career. Complex because this drive was only intensified by personal experiences that would forever change my perspective—ethical dilemmas in the boardroom, transformative encounters in a hospital, and the life-changing ordeal of surviving cancer twice.

But it’s more than that. I embarked on this journey supported by the unwavering love and friendship of my wife, Stella, my muse and closest confidant. It was an odyssey punctuated by moments of revelation and validation, such as when a social media post catapulted our early models into the global conversation, affirming that we were onto something profound.

As you delve deeper into this narrative, you’ll discover how all these experiences contributed to developing unique instruments like the Value Orchestration Blueprint, the Customer Dynamics Lifecycle, the Positive Inquiry Cycle, and the Business Model Matrix. You’ll also learn how this initiative aligns with progressive economic theories like Doughnut Economics, opening new vistas for sustainable, human-centric business models.

The ultimate drive? To give back something as precious as what I had received from countless others—the gift of life and the possibility for transformative change.

So, come along as we pull back the curtain on RoundMap’s formative years. Let’s explore how personal resolve and innovative thinking can change the face of business.

The Moral Compass

Many have inquired about the impetus that drove me to dedicate seven years of my life to create the RoundMap framework—years spent without financial compensation. Here, I endeavor to unravel that intricate tapestry of purpose.

But to fully understand, one must first walk a mile in my shoes, or at least, glimpse the path I’ve trodden.

As a salesman navigating the high-stakes corridors of a financial powerhouse back in 1997, I found myself at a moral crossroads. My loyalty was split between the interests of my employer and those of my client—a tension that culminated when a superior asked me to covertly modify a contract to our benefit, dangling the carrot of two alluring promotions before me.

The weight of the decision was monumental, but the answer was clear. I declined the offer, and given the constraints of my non-disclosure agreement, could not even give my client a warning. My only option was to submit my resignation—a red flag I hoped my client would perceive. And they did. The very next day, they opted out of signing the contract.

The experience underscored a vital lesson: reputations are hard-won and easily shattered. I care deeply for the integrity of mine, and it is this commitment to ethical conduct that served as an early cornerstone in the conception of RoundMap.

Embracing Digital Altruism: The Seeds of Transformation

A decade after my defining ethical moment, I found solace and inspiration in the burgeoning world of social media. Twitter, in particular, struck me as a digital playground where the free exchange of ideas, knowledge, and goodwill thrived. It felt like an oasis in a world that had, at least in my view, grown increasingly indifferent, self-centered, and ruthlessly profit-driven.

Then came 2012—a year that once again pushed my boundaries, but for very different reasons. Confined to a hospital bed while fighting another bout of cancer, I had a life-altering encounter with a dying man. This experience, coupled with the reflective space that illness often imposes, led me to deepen my appreciation for the interconnectedness and generosity I had witnessed online.

This confluence of real-world hardship and digital altruism sowed the seeds for what would become an intricate model to describe customer dynamics. In the face of adversity, both personal and societal, I found a compelling reason to chart a new path.

The Birth of the ValueActor: A Symphony of Equitable Exchange

Our journey towards the ValueActor paradigm began in a seemingly unconventional setting: a local radio station looking to modernize its operations in 2012. As we engaged in this project, aiming to integrate social and digital technology into their practices, we conceptualized the ValueActor—a transformative force designed to meet the demands of today’s complex, interconnected business and societal landscape.

This notion transcends the traditional understanding of entities as passive cogs in a machine, isolated in their interests and actions. Instead, the ValueActor actively engages in a multi-stakeholder ecosystem, deeply committed to the co-creation, exchange, and realization of value.

Armed with empathy, adaptability, and authenticity, the ValueActor shuns the narrow constraints of transactional roles to pioneer a new form of symbiotic existence. This role is grounded in principles of trust, continuous improvement, and sustainability, thereby redefining the metrics of value—how it is created, communicated, and enhanced.

In this ever-evolving landscape, adopting the ValueActor mindset isn’t just advantageous—it’s strategically imperative. As we unravel the intricate fabric of this concept, we invite you to delve into its key attributes and grasp why it holds the promise of being your strategic edge in a world driven by flux, uncertainties, and opportunities.

The Iterative Customer Journey: Shattering Funnel Myths and Embracing Lifecycles

The conceptual seeds for RoundMap were sown in the realization that conventional funnel models fell short of encapsulating the intricacies of customer development. While funnels emphasize customer acquisition, I recognized that sustainable growth is contingent on fostering enduring relationships—encouraging repeat business and eliciting referrals.

This realization triggered a cognitive shift towards envisioning the process as cyclical rather than linear, mirroring nature’s recurring patterns—seasonal shifts, tidal flows, and day-night transitions. I concluded that the linear or funnel-based approach to customer interaction inherently encourages a finite perspective on customer relationships.

Armed with these insights, I embarked on a mission in 2014 to map out the steps of building meaningful customer relationships. The result was a 10-step model known as the “Social Media Lifecycle.” Despite minimal initial engagement, the model gained sudden traction when Social Media Examiner spotlighted it following Irfan Ahmad’s post on Google+. Our website experienced unprecedented traffic, and a wave of public opinion arose almost overnight.

It was a revelatory moment. The explosion of responses underscored the resonance of a 360-degree perspective on customer lifecycle among marketers. Yet, it also highlighted gaps in my original model. I initially allocated six months to address these gaps. However, the complexities I encountered underscored the model’s depth, revealing that I had just scratched the surface.

At this pivotal juncture, I committed to further study and iteration, fully embracing the magnitude and potential of what would eventually evolve into the RoundMap framework.

The Evolution of RoundMap: Moving from Customer Dynamics to an Integrated Business Framework

In 2021, as I looked back at my work, I realized that my initial goal— to describe the customer lifecycle accurately— had consumed years of rigorous exploration. All told, the journey to rethink the dimensions of business spanned seven enriching years.

I had the privilege of presenting the model to a broad spectrum of professionals, both in The Netherlands and internationally, through intimate discussions and on-stage dialogues. The commendations and warm encouragements were heartening, yet I couldn’t help but notice a prevalent attachment to linear thinking among many of my peers.

Rather than continuing to advocate for a perspective that I deemed self-evident, I made a pivotal decision: to broaden my quest. I aspired to reinvent the entire scope of business practices from a fresh vantage point— from the ground up and beyond traditional boundaries.

It was in 2017 that the term “RoundMap” crystallized in my mind, fusing the notions of a ‘roadmap’ and a ’roundtrip.’ What had initially commenced as the Social Media Lifecycle had metamorphosed into a comprehensive and integrated Business Framework.

The Catalyst Behind RoundMap: Surviving Cancer and the Power of Gratitude

All of the technicalities and business theories aside, one might wonder what fueled my relentless drive to create something as intricate as RoundMap—especially when no one had explicitly asked for it. What gave me the grit to press on?

The answer is cancer, or, more precisely, surviving it twice. The looming specter of a third battle, which I might not win, instilled a profound urge to give back. I was imbued with life through the generosity of others, specifically their blood donations that were crucial to my survival. This fueled a deep-rooted desire to reciprocate, to offer something invaluable that could potentially uplift someone, somewhere, someday. It wasn’t just a project for me; it was a mission. No other motivation could have imparted such tenacity.

I could not have undertaken this demanding journey alone. My ceaseless labor is underwritten by the unwavering love and support of the woman who stands by me—my muse, confidante, and cherished wife, Stella. To her, I dedicate not just my work but my entire life.

Charting New Terrains: The Evolution of Business Models and a Sustainable Future

Throughout my journey in conceptualizing RoundMap, several milestones instilled a sense of pride and accomplishment. The introduction of the fourth value discipline, Network Orchestration, is not just a completion but an expansion that opens doors to novel ‘as-a-service’ business models. This led to the formulation of the Business Model Matrix™.

Adding two pioneering business models—Resource Centricity and Network Centricity—extends the business repertoire. Interestingly, these models align well with the principles of Doughnut Economics, articulated by Oxford economist Kate Raworth.

One of my self-imposed missions was to unearth business models that did not hinge on unsustainable practices like planned and perceived obsolescence. I am gratified that the Business Model Matrix™ offers a compelling response to this challenge.

Rethinking Commerce: Exploring the Moral Maze of Business

We leave you with documentaries and movies that helped shape our perception of business reality. Amidst the complexities of modern commerce, a crucial dialogue needs to unfold. It’s a conversation about the soul of business, where ethical considerations intersect with profit motives, and the choices made by companies ripple through society. In this exploration, we invite you to venture into the moral landscape of business practices, where perceptions of right and wrong are continually redefined.

Documentary: The New Corporation (2020)

The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel” is a compelling documentary that dissects the contemporary corporate ethos. Unraveling the elements with sharp critique, the film reveals the corporate playbook stemming from a dogged mindset driven by a ‘win at all costs’ philosophy.

Simultaneously, the film unveils a disturbing strategy labeled ‘Starving the Beast’. This trend exposes a destructive cycle that includes generating crises, withholding necessary public resources, and consequently, pushing for the privatization of public commons.

This 2020 release firmly posits that corporations have manipulated democratic processes and reshaped societies to fit their grossly materialistic objectives. Juxtaposing these findings against waves of emerging social movements and grassroots activism, the film illuminates the issues and inspires hope for change.

The documentary further brings to light the steady evolution of corporations from mere business entities to influential global forces and probes the juggernaut of corporate power unabashedly. “The New Corporation” casts a spotlight on the stark realities of the new-age corporate world and emphasizes the urgency of collective action to steer away from these dangerous trends.

By bridging sharp insights, real-time examples, and unabashed critique, “The New Corporation” is an eye-opening exploration of how corporations are redefining our world in troublesome ways, thus becoming an essential viewing in our times.

Documentary: Obsolete (2016)

Step into the world of Obsolete’ (2016) by Truthstream Media, where we journey back in time to explore the not-so-distant past and the rapid evolution of technology. This eye-opening documentary examines the consequences of progress, the changing nature of work, and the moral dimensions of a society increasingly reliant on automation and artificial intelligence. Join us as we confront the ethical dilemmas arising from technological advancement and ponder the question: What does it mean to be ‘obsolete’ in a world racing towards the future?

Documentary: The Four Horsemen (2013)

Prepare to embark on a profound intellectual journey with ‘The Four Horsemen’ by Renegade Economics. In this documentary, we join a group of renegade economists who challenge conventional wisdom and explore the root causes of economic crises. As we unravel the complexities of the global financial system, we’re invited to reevaluate our perceptions of right and wrong within the realm of economics. Join us in this thought-provoking exploration of economic ethics and the search for a more just and sustainable world.

Planned Obsolescence (2010)

Welcome to ‘The Light Bulb Conspiracy’ (2010), a documentary that sheds light on one of the most intriguing aspects of consumer culture: planned obsolescence. In this eye-opening film, we journey through decades of deliberate product design to uncover the astonishing truth about the products we use every day. Join us as we delve into the ethical questions surrounding this practice and challenge conventional notions of what’s right and wrong in the world of manufacturing and consumption.

Documentary: The Corporation (2003)

In 2003, the Canadian documentary “The Corporation” offered what it took to be a bold new thesis about the way corporations work. The film seized on an enormous legal-cultural quirk: that corporations, in terms of how the government and financial sector deal with them, are in many technical ways treated as “individuals” — that is, they’re treated like people. And so the filmmakers posed the question, If a corporation is like a human being, how would a psychiatrist choose to characterize that person? Well, let’s see: Since corporations are ruled by the profit motive, they’re almost by definition greedy, selfish, ruthless, and ultimately indifferent to the well-being of others. The conclusion the film came to is that the corporation if you really look at it, has the profile of a psychopath.

Documentary: The Century of the Self (2002)

Enter the intricate tapestry of ‘The Century of the Self’ (2002) by Adam Curtis. This four-part documentary series takes us on a remarkable journey through the world of psychology, propaganda, and the manipulation of public opinion. Join us as we explore the ethical dimensions of how individual desires and collective beliefs are shaped by business, politics, and advertising, challenging our understanding of what’s right and wrong in the evolving landscape of consumerism and mass psychology.

Documentary: Manufacturing Consent (1992)

Welcome to ‘Manufacturing Consent,’ a documentary that takes us deep into the world of media, politics, and power. Inspired by Noam Chomsky’s groundbreaking analysis, this film exposes the intricate web of influences that shape the messages we receive daily. Join us as we uncover the mechanisms that manipulate public opinion and challenge your perspective on what’s right and wrong in media and information control.

Movie: Soylent Green (1973)

If you have any courage, the movie Soylent Green is a 1973 American ecological dystopian thriller starring Charlton Heston. Loosely based on the 1966 science fiction novel Make Room! describing a dystopian future of dying oceans and year-round humidity due to the greenhouse effect, resulting in suffering from pollution, poverty, overpopulation, euthanasia, and depleted resources.


  • Edwin Korver

    Edwin Korver is a polymath celebrated for his mastery of systems thinking and integral philosophy, particularly in intricate business transformations. His company, CROSS-SILO, embodies his unwavering belief in the interdependence of stakeholders and the pivotal role of value creation in fostering growth, complemented by the power of storytelling to convey that value. Edwin pioneered the RoundMap®, an all-encompassing business framework. He envisions a future where business harmonizes profit with compassion, common sense, and EQuitability, a vision he explores further in his forthcoming book, "Leading from the Whole."

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