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Fernando Flores

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Fernando Flores
General Secretary of the Government of Chile
In office
9 August 1973 – 11 September 1973
PresidentSalvador Allende
Preceded byAníbal Palma
Succeeded byPedro Ewing
Minister of Finance
In office
29 December 1972 – 9 August 1973
PresidentSalvador Allende
Preceded byOrlando Millas
Succeeded byRaúl Montero Cornejo
Personal details
Born (1943-01-09) January 9, 1943 (age 81)
Talca, Chile
OccupationResearcher, Stanford University
Philosophy professor, UC Berkeley
Founder, Hermenet
Founder, Logonet
Founder, Business Design Associates
Founder, Action Technologies
former Cabinet Minister, Chile
Senator, Chile
Founder, Pluralistic Networks
WebsitePersonal blog

Carlos Fernando Flores Labra (born January 9, 1943) is a Chilean engineer, entrepreneur and politician. He is a former cabinet minister of president Salvador Allende and was senator for the Arica and Parinacota and Tarapacá regions between 2001 and 2009. On March 31, 2010, he was designated President of Chile's National Innovation Council for Competitiveness by President Sebastián Piñera.


Flores was born in Talca, Chile. He became finance minister in the government of Chilean president Salvador Allende and then spent three years as a political prisoner (from September 11, 1973 to 1976) after the military coup of General Augusto Pinochet. Subsequently, forced into exile, after negotiations on his behalf by Amnesty International, he moved with his family to Palo Alto, California, and worked as a researcher in the Computer Science department at Stanford University. He subsequently obtained his PhD at UC Berkeley under the guidance of Hubert Dreyfus, Stuart Dreyfus, John Searle and Ann Markussen. There he developed his work on philosophy, coaching and workflow technology, influenced by Martin Heidegger, Humberto Maturana, John Austin and others. His thesis was titled Management and Communication in the Office of the Future.

Projects and companies founded[edit]

Flores has founded several companies including "Hermenet" (in partnership with Werner Erhard);[1] "Logonet", a design, logistics, and manufacturing company; "Business Design Associates", a management consulting company) and Action Technologies,[2] a software company, where he introduced new distinctions in workflow analysis, groupware, software design and business process analysis that he developed in association with Terry Winograd. He has also founded an Internet-based movement called Atina Chile. His newest project is Pluralistic Networks Archived 2010-04-13 at the Wayback Machine, a professional development company dedicated to teaching skills and sensibilities enabling people to work together with others while navigating turbulent historical times.


Flores was Finance Minister of president Salvador Allende in the early 1970s and later the Secretary General of the Government and, during the Coup, he was alongside the President in La Moneda Palace. After the coup d'état he was imprisoned, subjected to prolonged, systematic psychological torture and later driven to exile by the military regime of Augusto Pinochet.[3]

In 2001 Flores was elected senator for the Tarapacá Region, as a member of the center-left Party for Democracy (PPD), a constituent party of the governing coalition Concertación.

In late 2004 Flores was unsuccessful in becoming the PPD's candidate for President of Chile and he later supported the candidacy of Michelle Bachelet.

In 2006 Flores ran for the presidency of the PPD party, but lost to Sergio Bitar. Later that year, with the possibility of being a presidential candidate slipping away, he began to move away from his center-left party. On January 8, 2007, he inaugurated a new political project called ChileFirst. The next day he submitted his resignation to the PPD. In this period, he went on to serve as an independent Senator caucusing with the center-right Alliance for Chile (a coalition of 2 right wing parties). He did not seek re-election in December 2009 and ChileFirst won no seats in Congress in that election. On March 31, 2010 he was designated President of Chile's National Innovation Council for Competitiveness by President Piñera, position that he held until September 2013. In this role he was responsible to produce a report that he entitled Surfing into the Future.[4]

Influence on modern coaching industry[edit]

Flores exerted a significant influence on the development of the modern coaching industry by collaborating with or influencing several individuals who would become prominent leaders in the coach training industry. In the mid-1970's Flores was hired by Werner Erhard to offer workshops for his office staff.[5] Shortly after, Flores began offering, through his companies Hermenet, Inc. and Logonet, Inc., a workshop called "Communication for Action."[6] This workshop was based partially on his interpretation of the theory of Speech Acts by J.L. Austin and John Searle.[5] For Austin and Searle, the theory of Speech Acts was just that, a theory; they did not pursue its practical implications. Flores transformed the theory of Speech Acts into a set of practices for refining how people take care of concerns, commitments, and relationships in conversation.As Flores expresses this in his book with Terry Winograd, Understanding Computers and Cognition: "there exists a domain for education in communicative competence: the fundamental relationships between language and successful action. People’s conscious knowledge of their participation in the network of commitments can be reinforced and developed, improving their capacity to act in the domain of language."[7] Thus, "This training in 'communication for action' reveals for people how their language acts participate in a network of human commitments."[6]

In her study of the emergence of professional coaching, Dr. Vikki Brock identifies the collaboration between Werner Erhard and Fernando Flores as a convergence point that gave rise to a specific and distinct coaching lineage.[8] However, after a brief association Flores and Erhard parted ways. Flores continued to develop his distinctive theory and practice of coaching and consulting. His 1997 book, Disclosing New Worlds (with Charles Spinosa and Hubert Dreyfus) captures some of the later developments in his approach.


  • Building Trust: In Business, Politics, Relationships, and Life, (author)
  • Understanding Computers and Cognition : A New Foundation for Design (with Terry Winograd), (co-author)
  • Disclosing New Worlds: Entrepreneurship, Democratic Action, and the Cultivation of Solidarity, (co-author, with Charles Spinosa and Hubert Dreyfus)
  • Conversations For Action and Collected Essays: Instilling a Culture of Commitment in Working Relationships
  • Beyond Calculation: The Next Fifty Years, a special issue of the Communications of the ACM journal, (contributor)
  • Entrepreneurship and the wired life : Work in the wake of careers (with John Gray), Demos (2000)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sourcebook of Coaching History by Vikki Brock, PhD
  2. ^ "Network World". 1994-04-18.
  3. ^ Jacobs, Paula (April 18, 1994). "Nothing Interrupts Fernando Flores Workflow - Profile". Network World. Vol. 11, no. 16. IDG Network World. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
  4. ^ Consejo Nacional de Innovación para la Competitividad (2013-09-01). "Surfing into the Future" (PDF). Retrieved 2024-02-07.
  5. ^ a b "A Historiographical Analysis of Integral Coaching" (PDF). Centre for Coaching. 2011-12-09. p. 39. Retrieved 2023-02-26.
  6. ^ a b Winograd, Terry; Flores, Fernando (2008). Understanding computers and cognition: a new foundation for design (24th printing ed.). Boston: Addison-Wesley. p. 179. ISBN 978-0-201-11297-9.
  7. ^ Winograd, Terry; Flores, Fernando (2008). Understanding computers and cognition: a new foundation for design (24th printing ed.). Boston: Addison-Wesley. p. 162. ISBN 978-0-201-11297-9.
  8. ^ "The Roots and Emergence of Coaching | Library of Professional Coaching". Retrieved 2023-02-26.

External links[edit]