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Social innovation and paradigm shift

In times of crisis, such as a recession or a depression, people talk about social innovation a lot. Other words that are being heard are civilian participation, social responsibility, etc. In fact, what we see happening is that the old dominant institutional world is calling out for help. When we look at my blog about the Kondratieff sinus we see that at the peak of an economic hype the conservative dominance of risk avoiding governance is blocking all kinds of social innovation. When the people are happy, get what they want, have nothing to complain about, few stand up to become creative with a desire for change. The social cash cow of conservatism in a peak economy is not the best basis to introduce social innovation. If you would want to do that you would need the Otto Scharmer U-Theory to simulate chaos and get people to become artificially creative. It is not the same as a genuine crisis.

A depression seems to get the best out of people in terms of adding true and lasting value to their community, especially when it collapses. Now why is that? There are a few reasons to mention:

1. Creativity needs stimulus

When a communities enters a recession is wakes people up to look at their own reality in a different way. Previously wealth was a matter of fact, now it is not anymore. Old securities disappear and people need to find access to new ones. They are obliged to think, triggered by their intense emotions. Fear for shortages, the pain of loosing previous wellness, the need to find a way out of chaos, the worries about their operational wellness, it all opens up peoples mind to change. It triggers a whole series of reactions, from complaints, aggression, suicide, etc, but also a boost of creativity in many.

2. Change needs to be “different”

In a recession people tend to do the same things over and over again to try to regain their old securities. They do not want to acknowledge that the crisis is caused because the “old ways” simply have become obsolete. You can’t take them for granted anymore, not matter how well they worked in society, business or family life before.  When the markets shrinks one needs to adjust, not in the shrinking but bailing out by being different. When an economic peak gets people to copy each other to benefit from wealth without any new creations, a dip gets them confronted in competition. It shakes up their similarities and stimulates the search for renewed uniqueness. Pioneers appear who propose new things and a sense of social innovation invades the surroundings. This stimulates others to do the same.

3. Change needs freedom

When you wake up at 7 in the morning to start the day, bringing the kids to school, go to work, worry about the bills, the shopping, the taxes and a personal career, to get back home at 18.30 tired, feed the children, take them to bed, crash on the sofa and watch the telly……. Then you have little time or interest to even think of social innovation or whatever. Your world turns around your daily responsibilities and that is type of worldview you have.

When however one has enough freedom it is much easier to find inner strength to overcome the burden of a daily routine and become creative. Need combined with available time gets people to experiment with innovation. Some do this by discovering new abilities or pick up old forgotten talents (they start to act, dans, sing, play a musical instrument, paint). Others start doing voluntary works and start meeting totally different people than before. New ideas are born, some are actually tried our and can even flourish. In freedom people disconnect from old structures and mingle with new connections, developing new communities and change happens organically.

4. Innovation needs to be seen

During peaks of abundance there are also people who have a creative nature and develop social innovations. They are however hardly visible because no one seems to be on the look out for inspiration. When a recession wakes up people the sensitivity for innovation grows and all kinds of inspiring novelty get the chance to be highlighted or “discovered” for public enlargement. Someone who has the creative urge to create innovation may lack the managerial leadership to outgrow it to make it a new social standard. The interaction of an institutional world in crisis with a new dynamic world of creativity in purpose driven freedom can boost any novelty to huge proportions. Visibility of inspiring innovations is hence a double sided phenomena. On the one hand it is the creativity of social innovation boosted by a recession that wants to be seen, and on the other, the open attention of crumbling institutions that need innovation fast to renew their expectations for survival.

Paradigm shift

A paradigm shift is not the same as social innovation. Can social innovation produce a paradigm shift? Or does a paradigm shift cause social innovation?

A paradigm is defined to be “a specific way of looking at a reality, determining the way one makes decisions and acts in accordance”. This means automatically that there are different ways of looking at a reality, challenging the way people make their decisions. In our current social paradigm the consumer based capitalist economy has a dominant position, determining the way governments, business, public in general, institutions, etc interact. Social innovation at an individual level generally may change the texture and coloring of the paradigm but will not change this overall paradigm.

So when we address the issue of climate change, global warming, global pollution, new possible global diseases, etc and attribute this to the dominant paradigm then social innovation within the reigning paradigm may address these issues from a consequences point of view but will not solve them from a cause point of view. To do that a paradigm shift is needed.

Sustainocracy is a paradigm shift

Sustainocracy was idealistically conceived when I decided that I did not want to pass the old paradigm on to my children because of the negative consequences it causes. Of course I did appreciate the positive elements of this paradigm but realized that we had reached a point that the balance had tipped over to the accumulation of negative effects, creating permanent instability also at the positive end. So in a way my decision early in the 2000’s was a social innovation. Back then my surroundings had no desperate feeling of a crisis yet even though the signs were abundantly present already. The establishment was still confident that change could be done from within the reigning paradigm. In fact, the established power structures were also an inherent piece of that paradigm and gained their existence from it. It was not up to them to challenge their reason to be. The only one that could challenge the paradigm is the one who has eyes to see and awareness to distinguish between realities. And that is the human being itself, because we are the ones that create our instruments, even if we allow them to reign us for a while. We have come to point that we need to redefine the usages and positioning of those instruments. And that is what we do in Sustainocracy. We respect the instruments as human creations and reposition them around a new paradigm in which the human being is placed at the center of sustainable human progression, not the financial systems.

With this simple change in mindset and observing the world, the world itself learns to see itself differently and starts to reshuffle their power positions accordingly. Slowly the two paradigms become visible to everyone and so does the choice everyone has. Social innovation then gets an entirely new dimension that changes everything simply because of the way we look at things. We live in a unique time-era in which we see a new paradigm arise, co-exist with an old one for a while, interacting probably with certain conflicts and eventually take over. People in next generations will read about this era in their history books but will look at society from that new dominant paradigm without the challenging adventure of living through the transformation, or even playing part in defining it. This era is therefor unique in the history of humankind and referred to by me and some others as “the quantum leap in human evolution”.

Open up your mind and be part of it. It is exciting, challenging and rewarding to be a pioneer of a new world.

-Belief- is essential for progress

Why don’t politicians support the transformation of society? Why do banks not change their bonus culture? Why do people go to church when they encounter a crisis?

When I try to get overall scientific, business, political or financial support for the transformation of human society into a state of sustainable progress (referred to as the Global Shift) I do not get it. Why? All the crises in the Western world seem to cry out for change yet people only focus to get more of the same. New economies develop based on those that are now in crisis hence knowingly develop their own problems. Why? Why are all these human structures so reluctant to change and destined to repeat their mistakes over and over again? Because all these institutions are not based on “belief”.

It is necessary to be a believer to open up for new realities and hence accept and even conduct progress through the acceptance of change. To understand what I am saying we need to first define “belief”. According Wikipedia belief is:

Belief is the psychological state in which an individual holds a proposition or premise to be true.”

This definition refers to a “psychological state”, not a proven truth, hence it is subjective to the individual. What do you believe that is true? Proven truth or suspected truth? We tend to accept only what is touchable or commonly accepted as truth. A believer tends to visualize a truth that does not exist yet in the physical or proven world. All our current human surroundings are organized in complex human structures, institutions. These are known, hence true. Anything else, that is not yet included in the human organizational structures is hence unknown and does therefor not exist.

Or it exists when you believe it exists, or could get to exist. True believers open up to things that do not exist yet in our regular life. Everyone who has a hired position inside an institution can only sustain what is known and stops believing. If one would believe he/she would probably question what is served. The only option such people, even so called world leaders, have is to keep in place what has been organized, because it is known. Even when it is in crisis. If they are visionary and see the problems they cause by keeping up the unsustainable they would have to step out of the system to change it. But then they loose their position of power.

From an operational point of view this is logical simply because every human institution is a structure with a particular purpose. It would only change if the purpose of the structure would change or when it goes broke. If those institutions are as significance as a political organization, a financial system of power or a business monopoly, everything will be done to avoid its collapse, not by changing it but by maintaining it, no matter what.

One could expect that common sense would prevail when we see the suffering of so many people caused by this lack of flexibility. But common sense is only based on the same knowledge that is commonly accepted as truth, hence within the same dynamics as where the problems occur.

Science does not help

If we look at the definition of belief why would science then not be a believer? Doesn’t science believe in its own studies to obtain progress in knowledge? Of course it does and that is also the essence of the difference. Science is a non-believer because it looks for proof through commonly, already accepted knowledge. Science does not want to “belief”, it wants to “know”. This interesting paradox of science is that it is continuously searching for knowledge so needs to accept belief to understand that it still has a long way to go to accumulate all knowledge. We still do not know everything. This automatically means that science needs to accept that new knowledge can dispute any old knowledge. We can therefore know for sure that all knowledge is only believed to be true until is proven not to. A crisis is not enough to prove something wrong. Only something different would prove something else to be more truthful. The problem we face is that science does not easily accept this scientific belief. It claims the truth by accepting proof and then holds on to it. If you do so you block yourself from the possibility that what was proven true can also be proven untrue in time. So science accepts the state of belief to motivate the search for knowledge through guided research but does not accept belief to question knowledge that has been accepted as truthful. Science therefor tends to try to prove the known and tends to avoid the unknown. In the process of providing proof to the known we stumble across new knowledge to be proven. Science seems only to advance by further analyzing the known. It is fixed to a particular track. This means that in essence science is not a believer, just a proof provider to perceived knowledge.

So for change we cannot rely on science and hence find that universities only teach science but not belief or the potential of change. They can’t, even if intellectuals inside the university suspect new tracks of knowledge they find difficulties in their institutions to support deviation to the unknown. Universities depend on the resources provided by the structures that do not belief and hence serve the known, not the unknown. Only a very small part of research funds are invested in finding new realities and these even need to be covered up by arguments that the common structures can understand and support.

The world of statistics

Business and politics do not even worry about belief. They reason from the influence of the masses of people either by exerting power on them or by offering external securities in the shape of goods. There is only one certainty and that is the one of proven support in the shape of votes. In essence any purchase is a commercial vote too. From that point of view all of the world of politics and business is measurable and conducted through statistics rather than belief. The statistics are translated into a standardized system of values, often called money. Financial systems manage money and hence manage statistics, nothing else. By speculating with shortages the statistics move and become measurable instruments of economies that live eventually a virtual life on its own without considering the human being or our natural universe itself. In fact, the way statistics move through artificial intervention of politicians and business people have created a simulated reality that interacts with our true reality and is even perceived to be real through the importance we give to money and material valuable. But it is all fake, even the poverty we see around us is fake simply because the statistics of our robotized systems do not allow people to create a new, self sufficient reality.

Belief means acceptance of change

None of the above provides any true progress because it is all based on commonly accepted truth and knowledge, but no belief in alternatives, simply because they do exist yet. That is why the quantum leap of human evolution will surprise us as it comes. When it happens it will extensively be studied by scientists and even open up new channels of knowledge development, just like financial analysts now know why the credit crisis occurred but back then never saw it coming.

Becoming a believer

People in a state of crisis experience the lack of support of the commonly accepted truth of the obsolete systems but cannot embrace change yet because it does not exist yet. They experience a crisis because securities are falling apart and are not replaced by new ones. They are challenged to think for themselves and accept change by stepping out of the structures in crisis and start deciding for themselves. Since this is extremely difficult for individuals who have taken the old truth for granted they tend to go to church and ask for a miracle. In reality people ask the universe to react by creating a renewal of the universal truth. They ask God but in fact they ask themselves to accept change. We are so used to external securities that we have learned to distrust our selves. People in search for spirituality are opening up for renewal of their faith in humankind and especially in themselves. They experience suddenly the warmth of friendship and social support, self leadership and significance. They become believers, not just in God, but especially in themselves.

I can describe the Global Shift, the transformation of humankind, and find opposition from all common human structures. If it does not exist it is not true. People fight collapse of existing systems simply because they do not have “belief” in letting go. The old systems are known, scientifically analysed and hence true. The new systems are in the world of beliefs without and proof of truth and hence without any guarantee for security. That is also why true progress is made by people who are only considered a genius when reality changes, proving them right in hindsight. Meanwhile they are always seen as a risk to the established truth and crazy, weird or clowns, despised by the systems and laughed at by the masses.

But only believers are truly progressive. They are prepared to see the invisible, to accept that truth is relative to our common acceptance but not at all reliable. Believers accept that other realities exist and set out to find them. They accept to be despised by the masses and ridiculed by the knowledgeable realizing that all those who react that way are locked up in their own prison of disbelief and a reality conditioned by their own limitations.

Even religious believers tend to create dogma’s around the unknown to enable to speak in name of God by creating limitations proper to the human world of “knowledge” rather than abundance of the miracle of the Universe and our adventure as a true believer in progress.  If we belief in God we should accept the unknown as our evolutionary challenge to progress and science as simplified form of registering perceived truths until they prove wrong or reconfirmed.  We are getting to a point that sustainable progress does not accept anymore virtual statistics as a reality nor scientific proof as absolute truth of knowledge.

Soon we enter an era (the quantum leap) where we accept the unknown as the only constant for our progress. The amount of crisis of the world of knowledge and statistics will be so big that the world will turn around believers who show a new reality, the reality of a humankind based on spirituality, on the belief in our evolutionary quest and eternity. Science will not be proof anymore of knowledge but a reflection of our progress by accepting the stepping up of our adventure by challenging knowledge against the unknown.

When we do that business, finance and politics will cease to exist because they will not be necessary anymore as fragmented human institutions. They will transform into key area of responsibility and related competences that interact to provide sustainable progress by addressing the unknown on a continuous basis. When that has happened we will refer to this a the quantum leap and even give it a scientific understanding leaving it in out past as a significant moment in time when humankind opened up to its own universal destiny.

Sustainable progress is hence assured by believers.