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Understand: Corona made us modify our lifestyle quickly to avoid premature death. Now we need to show we learned our lesson and modify our lifestyle definitely to avoid repetition of such premature death threats, not just due to a virus but also due to hunger, pollution, criminality, etc. Health and determination is the vehicle, not fear and lockdowns.
Need: It is in our common interest to address sustainability proactively from a core human values (biological natural wellness) point of view directly, instead of relying on costly repairs when we realize we damage ourselves and our environment. Then it is too late.
Involve: Our modified lifestyle based on core life values such as health and safety is a responsibility of everyone, citizens and institutions together, not just government or healthcare institutions.
Targeted: In order to do so we need to place our core values leading on our overall agenda, not our financial goals or dependence. We need to address health in every aspect of our lives directly and with the help of our institutions:
- Health air
- Healthy food
- Healthy energy
- Healthy water
And safety as well:
- Safe and respectful relationship between people and with nature
- Safe entrepreneurship – 4 x Value
- Safe environment
- Safe governance – level 4 facilitating
- Safe learning – through participation
Entrepreneurial: We create level 4 awareness driven priority tables in which all fragmented functions of our society are present and take responsibility together through the definition of project with expected and measurable results:
- Local citizens – our behavior, awareness and culture
- Local government – public money and underlying infrastructures
- Local entrepreneurship – innovative products and services
- Local science and education – participatory learning
The tables are being chaired by an independent local sustainocrat (person or NGO). It is called level 4 awareness driven co-creation. Money is a means, just like knowledge, creativity, engagement and dedication.
Local government liberates 5% of its annual budget into an open fund for level 4 co-creation of local core human values. The remaining 95% is for “governance as usual” by taking level 4 processes as leading for level 1, 2 and 3 supportive modifications.
Devoted: The participation in this UNITED modified lifestyle continuity for sustainable fearless wellness is done with people who are devoted with passion and powerful belief in our co-creative strength as a community.
Author Jean-Paul Close became aware of the problems of the industrial, capitalist, consumer, political, economic structure and globalisation of society back in 1996. He decided to step out of his executive position and comfort zone to dedicate his life to experiment with reality for himself, his surroundings and finally the world, to finally turn up with something that suits his perception of sustainable human progress and wellness best.
Along the way he defined entrepreneurship of the 21st century, decifred the “secrets of true wellness” and finally defined the new reality referred to as Sustainocracy, the awareness driven co-creation society. In 2009 he already pinpointed 2020 as the year of the big letting go and adopting the new reality throughout the world. Meanwhile he experimented and developed this new reality in his own surroundings with the participation of many governments, citizens, entrepreneurs and scientists. Others came and observed: “It exists, we want this too”.
Lockdown: every ending is a new beginning
The first thing we learn from the Corona Crisis is that our health and safety are core human values. And these do not come from remedial health care, politics, economics or banks. Those core values come by taking proactive, self reflective responsibility. When we flatten the curve of exposure to the coronavirus we collectively have better chances of immunizing ourselves and curing for future resilience. Around the world we witness sudden solidarity among neighbors, helping each other, singing a song together, clapping publicly for health care people. We also see humor, creativity, relativity, discussions and dialogues appear on social media that help people deal with their fears and regain some trust in themselves or their surroundings. We also see how quickly our natural environment recovers and improves with the absence of humans.
Many of the things that happened were unthinkable only a few weeks ago. The virus and the unprecedented government measures interrupted instantly our daily trusted comfort, cleared our possible blind spots, creating room in our busy minds to look at what is happening and react. People are in essence primarily a social creature, not the uncontrolled consumerist hoarder that capitalisme wants us to be. Our real nature appears while we face a bad spill. But soon this is over. Not because a button is switched and the virus is gone. Our reserves run out, we will need to act to create our sustainable human progress, together. We can start and practice now while we have the time to reflect.
Because Sustainocracy places our natural human being and values, not money or political interests, at the core of our societal reasoning for wellness. It seeks our harmonic, constructive (not destructive) relationship among ourselves and our environment. It works as a next awareness driven step, not by demolishing our past but using and restructuring it from an evolutionary perspective. In sustainocracy money is one of the many means, not a goal.
This societal “awareness driven co-creation” community structure, Sustainable human evolution & Democracy (Sustainocracy), defines two important things for sustainable (regional) human wellness:
- Our basic core natural human values:
- Health (in a proactive way and not to be confused with health care)
- Safety (including respect for each other and our environment)
- Awareness (our individual and collective learning process)
- Co-creativity (we, people and institutions need to work together)
- Basic daily needs (food, water, warmth, healthy air)
- That we take responsibility together of the above in co-creative, real time democratic communities (people, government, science, education, entrepreneurship)
As we live through the first months of the corona outbreak we see human solidarity grow, air pollution reduce or disappear, CO2 improve, water clear with the return of fish, etc. This shows us the positive impact of eliminating our old lifestyle from before the virus crisis. We have, however, not yet created a new one, we are just put on a hold. Can we use these insights for the better?
When we place the old reality, from before the lockdown, on the sustainocratic table of challenges we notice that we do not comply with any of the core values. We were sustaining a reality based on perceived commercial abundance accessible only through money. Noone is taking proactive responsibility or is accountable for our core values, we only react when they are not there, like now. So everyone had become blindly money driven, not responsibility focussed. Over time we tried, in our local surroundings, to show people and institutions our vulnerability but they would hardly join the table. Their comfort zone was still intact, their blind spots in place. Multidisciplinary co-creation would demand genuine regional value creation and sharing, a major transformation of thinking and handling for most people and institutions.
In one area of attention however we managed to get the full multidisciplinary “level 4” co-creation table completed back in 2010, even until now. That was on the topic of regional air quality and human health (AiREAS). Partial sustainocratic tables (often with money controlled government lacking) were achieved in city food productivity (FRE2SH), social inclusion (COS3i) and participatory co creative learning (School of Talents & Wellness). All together it provided us with a lot of experience in this field of work. Not just in the co-creation together but also the difficulties of people and institutions to change the context driven dialogue, behavior and societal, non financial results driven contributions.
Now, with the Corona outbreak, we see a tremendous mentality change. Suddenly there is massive awareness about health and other things that we used to take for granted. Certain core values are solved without enormous remedial public investments, just by letting go of our old structures and lifestyle (such as air quality in many places). Others, such as social cohesion, are receiving an unprecedented amount of attention due to the sudden impediment of connecting physically and emotionally with our loved ones. When what we took for granted is taken away it becomes often more important than when we had it so accessible that we forgot about it. People look for creative ways to compensate for their feelings and express themselves in a positive way. But let us not fool ourselves. The lockdown cannot last forever. Already lots of people are facing financial challenges and problems due to the impossibility to do their old jobs. They may even doubt if these jobs are going to come back once this is over. When we apply the sustainocratic 4 x Value criteria of entrepreneurship of the 21st century it is easy to make the distinction. A job or activity should comply with all four nowadays:
- Value creation for the human being in terms of helping sustain the core natural values
- Value creation for society in terms of care, reduced costs, social cohesion, participation
- Value creation for the environment, in terms of circular processes, symbiotic relationships with nature, no pollution
- Value creation economically for continuity
Money is hence just a means, not a goal at the expense of the other values. Other means, such as awareness, talent, creativity, engagement, etc are more valuable than money. In some cases a particular value creation of a job or activity can be placed on “zero”, while compensated with higher other value creation, but it should never be negative. Negative values go in detriment of others or nature and eventually create problems, even if the activity is economically successful. Entrepreneurship of the 21st century is 4 x Value driven only and accounts for all entrepreneurial actions, not just business but also of government, education and human participatory behavior.
Old style governments are now creating funds to cushion current financial problems temporarily but these funds do not last forever. These governments are not seen (yet) in the activation of the new society. It does not invest in it because it is not money driven, only applauds the human voluntary initiatives as they are cost saving, not valuing the value created. We are really therefore for now on our own selves as we work towards a new government model too, often together with government, not politics. The most important capital of a society is its creative and participative population, not money or wrongly oriented control driven governance. Some forces will want us to go back to the old scenario, but do we? Probably not, simply because we have become aware of its negative impact. We need to keep the positive values that appear now and restructure ourselves to fulfill our needs locally as much as we can. We need to do this together through co-creation.
Next to the health driven adjustments we can thank corona for we have two sustainocratic priorities that come to mind are food and helping the vulnerable. Let us see why….
It is springtime in the Northern Hemisphere. It is good to take responsibility directly for our food supplies. As our financial system tends to collapse we need to get access to food through direct means. Various farmers cannot supply to their traditional markets such as restaurants because they are not operating. They have supplies that need to get to the needed. As the fear (not yet the reality) of scarcity grows people will hoard more including life essentials. This will leave the most needed and people on low budgets in jeopardy. If no action is taken now anarchy will break out and public safety will turn into ghettos of aggression. This we need to avoid with common sense and collaboration.
We can set up food productivity in gardens, around schools, in empty office buildings, on rooftops. This can be done with the involvement of these vulnerable citizens. We can introduce a circular reward system that accounts for the labour put into the food production, distribution, the sharing and processing once the food is fully grown. You can find on the internet many proven techniques for balconies, avoidance of polluted city grounds by growing crops on top instead of inside, etc. Don’t just go for the easy stuff, take herbs too, plants with nutritious and remedial values. There are also videos with things you should be careful with, in view of certain allergies or poisonous side effects. Even if the lockdown is lifted and everything goes back to the old stressful and polluting normal, this exercise is worth the try. It will change your community life and sense of security, abundance and freedom.
Care for each other
In times of fear we all tend to go into survival mode. The more powerful and able will try to selfishly take what they need and even hoard. The vulnerable and less able enter into more difficulties. These groups will stand up and try to defend themselves. The atmosphere will get grim and chaos may appear, which is bad for everyone. The way to avoid this is to make sure everyone is served with their basic needs. That is the first step, the second one is to ask everyone to help, within their possibilities, and create the abundance we need all together. We are used to being able to get what we need through money, but when what we need is not available money becomes useless. Our basic needs are food, warmth (eg shelter and care), drinking water and healthy air. We also need each other to create trust (not fear) in the togetherness, warmth in the dialogue and care when needed.
New small heroes
Regions that evolve now to level 4 awareness driven co-creation of our core human values are referred to as Small Heroes. They develop resilience against all kinds of issues because of their self sufficiency, social productivity, sustainocratic engagement and sharing with caring attitude. They develop high attractiveness, especially for families with children who seek genuin wellness and want to avoid the growing speculative criminality and forced money dependence in larger urban structures. They benefit from the corona inspiration and relative ease to transform from relative lack of identity to true authentic imaging of warmth and quality of life.
Fear for corona contact
If fear of corona contact is an impediment to initiating the above, just consider that your trip to the supermarket may get you in touch with more people than working in open air in your vegetable field or back yard. We need to get to immunize ourselves somehow so some minimum exposure will always happen, just like any other flu. There are all kinds of remedial precautions circulating already on the internet to protect you. Don’t fear and lay back for all to pass, stand up, be precautious and act, preferably the sustainocratic way: health and safety first.
You can find publications for free download on https://sustainocracy.blog/publications. Through my Instagram (@jeanpaulclose) and Facebook accounts I share daily inspirational statements and information. It will not be easy to learn to work from the new context, especially if you are an institution or government that used to rely on the old dynamics. But it can be done with great satisfaction when your new societal ecosystem starts working in the sustainocratic way.
Good luck and if in need of any help, just let us know.
The 21st century is unique in our history of entrepreneurship. Our entrepreneurial mission has transformed. Within the core human values driven democracy, referred to as Sustainocracy, we create innovative value continuously, together with a large diversity of partners. These innovations did not exist before because they address issues that have reached our awareness and need for change to produce sustainable human and societal progress. Once available they become of economic and political interest due to the trade-ability and transformative characterstics of each innovation in multiple formats and with many trade supporters. We have called this way of working the 4 x Value discipline since we ask ourselves four basic, values driven questions:
First: What does our entrepreneurship contribute to the wellness of the human being?
This is a difficult and transformative question. In our current care driven economies we try to make people dependent on services, social securities and technologies out of political or economic interests. Entrepreneurship is hence an economic instrument, not humanitarian even if we try to convince ourselves it is. As a consequence people become less alert, lazy, subordinate, disengaged and non-productive. We tend to take away their self reflection, creativity and wit to favor our own financial wellness. This is not the 21st century entrepreneurship.
Our entrepreneurship is not a money driven occupation, it is core human values driven, creative and meaningful. Collective self-sufficiency is a core human value in Sustainocracy in which people do meaningful things in and for the community that fullfill basic and general needs. So our entrepreneurship should help people be able to take responsibility for their own quality of life rather than taking it away from them. We then see their health, their engagement and productivity increase which is good for them, society and the economy. Our entrepreneurship is hence focused on helping people create their own wellness.
Second: How do we contribute to society?
Also this is a difficult one to answer. Who are we trying to please? In our current society the public dominance is mastered by political and economic interests. Our Sustainocratic foundation however is focused on our human values. This represents a different kind of accountability for both the citizens, governance and entrepreneurship. When the 5 core human values are respected than the society itself will be resilient to all kinds of issues. We therefor need to enhance society from a core values point of view, not political or economic. Then we see that politics and economics show interest and start relating to the sustainocratic values to sustain themselves and their initiatives. Which is good. So by being creative in the field of core human values we also gradually transform the political and economic discourse. We contribute to social cohesion, public engagement and political and economic management of wellness. In fact we created a leadership movement of change within a managed culture of political economic conservatism.
Third: How does our natural environment benefit?
Our current lifestyle and political economic steering produce pollution, destruction of our natural habitat and the restroing capabilities of our environment. In fact we are a parasite of our host, planet Earth. Our entrepreneurship is hence focused on turning this around to become a symbiotic partner of the environment of which we are part and of which we depend. How do we deal with innovation to take away, avoid and eliminate our polluting activities? How do we use natural resources in a cyclic way? What can we learn from our living environment that presents solutions which took over 4 billion years to evolve and often show must better results than whatever our human wit can come up with. Whatever we do in our entrepreneurial spirit it should not damage but heal and interact with our natural reality.
Fourth: How do we generate enough money as means for our continuity?
Within our entrepreneurial processes we distinguish two clear patterns. The first one is the creative part of thinking of meaningful innovations that make a difference within our Sustainocratic mission. Since we create something that cannot be bought, simply because it does not exist yet, we can only invest in our venture. As we use our 4xValue method to guide us we enter the path of other entrepreneurial members of society who have no business interests but do have societal or environmental challenges (government) or intellectual interest (universities) to deal with. Business partners are interested in participating to see if they can lay hands of the innovations to include them in their commercial activities as soon as they become visible and tangible. In this phase these partners invest money and their own talented contribution to effectively design our innovations. Money is a means here.
As soon as the innovations come to existence they have a number of properties that can be fragmented again among the participating partners: new products, services, policy modifications, new knowledge and experiences, educational values, etc. All these can be incorporated in economic patterns of social cost savings as well as business development. Each enlargement of the use of the innovations contributes to both the economic growth as well as the overall global change for resilience. Money is again a means to provide continuity through new investment patterns or the creation of an innovation fund (royalties or donations) for continuity of both the 4xValue processes as the continuous delivery of meanful entrepreneurship. Our innovative drive is therefore the main attractive force for the diversity of partners to participate with investment of resources and financial means.
4xValue as mirroring tool
We have now noticed that employees, stakeholders and investors start using the 4xValue criteria to see if the company they work for (or with) is producing integral value. If not than people ask themselves if they want to work there or invest in it? Salary or divident is often not enough anymore and people want to get reassurance of their own meaningful contribution to society and the multiple positive reciprocity of their engagement.
Sustainocracy is a peaceful and democratic, core human values driven movement. It describes and develops the evolution of our human species through the definition of five natural core values (health, safety, awareness, basic need (food, water, air, energy), regional cocreative resilience). Sustainocratic progression is made through the constant motivation to use our wit, creativity and community cohesion to develop and enhance those core values in our regions through multidisciplinary innovative interaction and cocreation.
The logo or symbol for Sustainocracy is this:
The logo symbolizes the heart of the sustainocratic processes in a complex interaction between human and institutionalized interests. At the same time it visualizes through the use of colors and connecting bands the interaction between the natural resources of water, air, living green and energy.
The processes of Sustainocratic, core values driven progression through multidisciplinary regional interaction, can be seen in this flowchart. In the center you may also recognize the shape of the symbol above.
Flowchart of sustainocratic values driven interaction
The center of both the logo and flowchart form a permanent quest for quality of life within an ever changing natural and human environment. By making the five core values of Sustainocracy leading the innovative drive is constant, fed by context related data, the input of means with the development of tools. Civilian engagement defines new market mechanism which helps connect entrepreneurship and governance to the challenges.
Recently the symbol was connected to our European CITIMAP project in which we work together on the co-creation of 6 health driven cities from an air and environmental quality point of view. The other half of the message was produced by the University of Aachen (Germany).
I was invited to speak in Barcelona and enjoyed the visit back to the city where I grew up as teenager. The Smart City Expo was very well organized on a modern site that I remember geographically in a time of economic decline due to the disappearance of factories to low wage countries and the closure of local screwdriver operations in the early 90’s. Now I came to a modern city development of high rises and exposition buildings. Here you can watch a short video impression:
My own pitch had been placed in the session Society – Technology: driven tools and services for social well-being and aging populations
From minute 50 I talk 10 minutes about the core values and Sustainocracy
At the end of the session journalists remarked that I had been the only one they had met during the entire Expo that had addressed the core human values rather than technology. I sincerely expect that next year there will be many more, as peer 4 societal development (Sustainocracy) will be recognized as evolutionary step to transform city’s vulnerability to innovative strength.
This year I was invited to the Smart City Expo in Barcelona as one of the 440 speakers. Various media channels had contacted me to meet and talk about this strange word and concept “Sustainocracy”. After finishing off our first phase in Eindhoven of level 4 regional development and our first price in the Vinci Innovation Awards for Europe it became of interest to globalize views. After all the growing instability in the world was crying out for new views and Sustainocracy does provide answers to most issues. The problem is not just to understand that we have a choice, it is the powerful old reality that caused all the problems that is doing its best to remain in control at all cost. This reality is one that has captured us all. When I arrived at Barcelona I wondered what I would find and how my speech would be received? “You are the only speaker in the entire expo who addressed the core values of human life” people exclaimed after hearing me speak. Media representatives reacted positively as my message was enlarged through camera interviews and personal chats. But then they react positively to anyone sharing a talk. Key is to see what happens between now and the next few month. The seed of awareness will land only in fertile grounds of the mind and come to blossom when sustainocratic initiatives find space and support to develop. This is unpredictable and time will provide us with the surprises. I had nothing to sell, a lot to say and more still to invite to. In that sense an Expo is a strange place. But Barcelona was “different”.
I grew up in Barcelona and saw the city develop from a dirty harbor into a unique lively pearl on the Mediterranean coast. I was a 17 year old youngster when Franco died in 1975 and post graduate student international business studies at Nyenrode, worried about my family in Spain, when the military coup of Tejero tried to restore the dictatorship in 1981. I was tourist guide during the world soccer championships in 1982, general manager Philips Spain during the Olympic Games and Seville Expo in 1992. Barcelona hence is in my genes.
When I got to the airport of Barcelona it was a home coming. The signaling at the airport needs serious attention. It is confusing to find one’s way around. When I finally found the bus to the Expo it took us to the old region that I used to know as “Zona Franca” which had gotten into decline after industries like Philips Lighting decided to close their manyfacturing there. The development since had been enormous. Huge modern hotels and large expo buildings now decorate the scene. I was used to the expo at Plaza España but this was a surprisingly new environment.
After a lifetime as executive in the world of industrialization and trade I have developed a natural aversion against the circus of expo’s. Stands full of bored sales people waiting for someone to show interest in their stuff. Their boredom so obvious that no one dares to even show interest. If their offer does not arise their own enthusiasm how would they transmit it to potential customers? Then there are the groups of young “professionals” that gather among colleagues, having fun together with their first real experience abroad. Their conversations must be so interesting that customers interrupting are seen as a clear burden. They are however mixed with expert “expo contact gatherers” hunting for business cards for the follow up at a later stage. It was like this 30 years ago, and it is still like this today.
Yet the Barcelona Expo had a different flair too. The 400 odd stands were mingling technology with regional representations of cities displaying themselves as Smart. Interesting to see expressions of new city development based on quality of life with living green in urban places, new mobility and energy usages, architecture and lots of technological goodies using the Internet of Things for all kinds of applications. Somehow offer and demand seemed to unite in a single space even though all were present with a sales pitch, not one of common challenge and purpose.
Maybe the most interesting part was the enormous offer of speakers grouped in thematic blocks throughout the three days. I was placed into a group with a mixture of speeches. As always I found the presentations just one way informative. The public patiently listened and I had no clue what they wanted to get out of it nor what the expectations were of the speakers. I feared that I would become just one of many. My 10 minutes of glory came and went. I had the opportunity do get a little interaction going by asking those present to try to pronounce “sustainocracy”. They actually did a serious effort which comforts me. At least they will remember when seeing it one day in one of the videos taken that day.
When I asked how many find the core value of “health” important the majority rose their hand, the same when referring to the “health” of their children. My open question asking “how smart Smart Cities really are that remain unhealthy due to pollution?” was answered by smiles from the audience. More disturbing was when I asked how many professionally were dedicated to help create health (not healthcare that repairs damage done) or a healthy environment? Only a few raised their hands. What does this mean? That all others one way or the other do not contribute consciously and may even be part of the problem? As seen in my own hometown we reward financially those active in producing unhealthy situations and pollution while those who try to contribute fall outside of the financial system.
We hence need to review our total system, from political and economic steering to rewards and responsibilities. The solution provided by Sustainocracy deals with this complexity on top of the Smart City (level 3) positioning of “intelligent infrastructures”. Rather than using technology in the context of optimization and control we change the context into stimulation health and innovative co-creation in which everyone takes its share of responsibility.
Inside the open space produced by the facilitating executive in both city governance as technological innovation we position formal citizen’s cooperatives that address the core values of life as defined in Sustainocracy. Smart infrastructures remain needed but transform against the resonance with health, safety and regional self fullfilment. We experimented with this with AiREAS and FRE2SH in the city of Eindhoven with enormous boosts of energy and cohesion delivering multiple values at the same time.
“You are the only one in this event that addressed core human values” shows the long way we still need to go. The fact that I was invited to speak was a sign that change is happening. As I walked my old city the many changes were visible. Traffic had been banned from the ancient city core making room for human encounters and pleasant food experiences in a historical ambiance. Compared with other major cities in Europe the price and quality ratio in Barcelona services excelled. Food was delicious and the environment clean and well kept. The public transportation was well organized, with modern easy access and excellent fares that discourage car usage at all times. A 9.95€ ticket for 10, 90 minute rides (including transfers) could be used on all public transport in the vast metropolitan region!
Without any chauvinism I can firmly state that Barcelona this year became my personal Smart City of the year among the category of cities between 1 and 5 million citizens. It may not be strange that my first steps to prove the concept of Sustainocracy was to be done in a small city like Eindhoven (220.000 people yet “smartest city of the world in 2011) and the stepping up into the large world was to be in Barcelona. It is a beginning, yet again, and who knows where it will all bring us. I will enjoy the energy as it grows and will support where-ever it reaches out for more.
Arriving back home I had the satisfying feeling that humankind is doing its evolutionary work. My own little spark of enlightenment is reproducing itself and doing its work as I noticed when I got back home. Various meetings had been held locally without my presence while I was in Barcelona and all had carried the sustainocratic energy. What more can I desire? Gratitude is what I feel.