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With thanks to Laszlo Zsolnai and Ove Jakobsen I was invited to participate in the publication of this valuable book published through Emerald Publishing. My contribution is about the Participation Society, an analysis of the evolution of our societal structures and the emergence of taking responsibility together as citizens and policy makers when dealing with our core human and natural values.
The entire publication: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/book/10.1108/S1572-8323201726
My chapter on the Participation Society: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/full/10.1108/S1572-832320170000026013
First of 3 lustrum blogs….
On June 25th 2009 the STIR Foundation, or “City of Tomorrow” (as it was rapidly called by people) was announced and initiated. Now we celebrate already 5 years of activities that re-position the way we build society. In three blogs I will explain what happened, what we have accomplished and what I expect next.
How it started
The foundation was set up by me to do whatever I could to pass onto my children a society that protects real human values and sustainable human progress rather than money and destructive systems of power.
Things had happened in my personal life that had made me powerfully aware of the intense need to transform our civilization or accept our self destruction. But awareness is not enough to change the working of a complex society. On the day of the kick off I had managed to surround myself with a very first group of intellectuals and professionals that were either interested in finding ways to address sustainable progress or solve the financial crisis, especially their own. 55 persons came to the kick off congress.
Together we started experimenting with our idealism by creating groups that addressed issues that we wanted to pay attention to. There were groups to address energy, mobility, coaching, new way of working, city design, housing, value system, food productivity, education, health care, leadership, etc.
My book (in Dutch) “Secretes of true wellness” had introduced my own first basic views of our human evolutionary complexity. This I used to guide the group’s processes together with the 5 keys of entrepreneurial success that I had published in 2005. Both models and insights have been perfected ever since.
In 2009 we position ourselves in the area of chaos in the midst of the effects of the 2008 credit crisis. Willingness was high to address key issues but the culture and mentality within the groups was still very much money driven. People were in a survival mode and saw in STIR a possibility to access new entrepreneurial markets. Whenever a market had been defined the cooperation disappeared and self interest started to prevail again in foresight of profits or subsidies. This did not work.
STIR organized monthly congresses on a variety of topics that helped us further in expanding our views while trying to find support and commitment from others. The regular work group encounters helped us understand better the complexity of the challenges, especially that of our own individual money dependencies and behavior, but we did not get changes initiated.
After 8 months all work groups had been dissolved, over 20.000 volunteer hours had been spend but the spirit of change had disappeared due to lack of results and overdose of struggles. I decided to take responsibility myself to materialize my views and realized that I could not proceed through the traditional entrepreneurial way. My own criticism to the groups was that they had all been money driven, not focused on change or value creation. I had to adjust my views that entrepreneurship was the sole engine for change. It may still be but not the type that placed money first. That kind of entrepreneurship was manipulated by money dependencies and hence would never change society. I wanted transformative change to lead and this cannot be done by considering it first “a market” or “a product”. Re-positioning society is more complex than that.
The idealistic views showed the need to involve also people from government. Experimenting with this multidisciplinary approach I could make valuable steps forward towards defining what we now call “Sustainocracy” and the “transformation economy“. Having clarified this in my own mind it became important to make it work in practical reality.
In February 2010 I was invited to speak at a world encounter via internet in Amsterdam. My speech was about the difficulties to get government into sustainability projects of change initiated by citizens. University of Madrid was presenting a project on air quality measurements with 3D presentations of the results. Cisco presented a trial done around the effects of working at home on the emission of CO2. Both projects were ending. For me however it was a mental breakthrough. Summing up my own activities with those of Madrid and Cisco got me to a holistic vision and approach. It was not the fragmented approach that makes the difference but addressing “the whole” would do it.
Air quality as a point of reference for regional health development became my goal to which I could attach all kinds of transformative issues too. I presented the idea to a group of people and finally also to the political director of our province. He remarked that if we wanted to address such complex issues we would have to work through the quadruple helix (government, business, citizens and science). It became clear that none of those four pillars could take the initiative “in the old world” because of their fragmented interrelation based on money and systems of control. A true co-creation would have to be initiated by an independent person, and that had to be me. I had be the connecting pioneer. The working format became clear.
In 2011 AiREAS was registered as a multidisciplinary cooperative, initiated by me and a well chosen partner (Marco van Lochem) who added an extensive network in high tech business. The quadruple helix model was enhanced in AIREAS to become the first Sustainocratic venture in the world. Rapidly scientific and business partners joined in the free of charge commitment through membership. My formula of co-creation became effective:
Talent x Input x Purpose = Value x Reciprocity
Our mission became to co-create a healthy city using air quality and human health as guiding measurement. We got the commitment and support from local Eindhoven government with a very first co-creative assignment: “making the invisible (air quality) visible”. The practical re-positioning of society had started. The precedent was initiated.
The values created so far (2014) by AiREAS are:
- We have positioned and proven the co-creative working of Sustainocratic ventures
- We co-created and implemented the intelligent real time measurement network technology with scientific guidance.
- We learned how co-creation works in a multidisciplinary context with a higher humanitarian purpose
- We defined the basic fundamentals of the “transformation economy” by creating unique complex values first and subsequently expand those values world wide.
AiREAS has also shown how difficult and contrasting the two worlds are (leadership in value driven co-creation, and management through fragmented self interests that interact through transactions) and how complex it is for them to interact. The recent blog about the small window of co-creation between these two worlds (motivated by chaos) was a direct result.
AiREAS has various path ahead. Future will tell what we can achieve:
- Create Local AiREAS across the world to co-create “healthy cities” using Local AiREAS Eindhoven as example and precedence,
- Expand the AiREAS values (products and services) through its partners in the traditional economy of transactions
- Get the reciprocal circular economy going
- Develop more unique values (knowledge, products, policies, justice, etc) in all the Local AiREAS using the demographic, cultural and historical differences
- Use the experiences in AiREAS to address also other key humanitarian issues within the STIR definition of sustainable human progress
The repositioning had finished. We now know how we can peacefully address the complex global issues. Establishing local sustainocratic ventures there were the issues need attention we can deal with all complex problems, not just air quality. With the precedent readily available we can offer Sustainocracy to the world, education people and institutions to take local responsibility together and benefit from the transformation in multiple ways.
When I saw this short video I could not resist to create a mental analogy with the fragile societies we build and how we deal with them in the different phases…….enjoy and comment if you like……..
Our ability to design complex structures, our fear for collapse, the beauty of fragile sustainable harmony, the art of creation, the collapse and our self confidence and reassurance that we can do it again, over and over……
and above all – the excitement contained in each of the phases (initiation, growth, harmony and collapse) for those who create and those who participate…….