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STIR (Sustainocratic Transformation, Indexation and Reseach) was founded as foundation in February 2009 by Jean-Paul Close and Marc Degreef with the objective to experiment with my own views to establish a society that works around key human values instead of pure money driven interests. Jean-Paul was to develop the ideology in the Netherlands and Marc in Belgium. June 25th 2009 the overall kickoff was done in the conference center Mennorode near Apeldoorn (NL). The gathering attracted 55 people who had become interested in the mission. It became a complex adventure of trial and error that today celebrates its first of many world wide research publications and expansion of initiatives. A quick overview of what happened till today:
2009: Kickoff and first trials
After the kickoff in June the foundation was referred to as the City of Tomorrow in which social-ecological morality and ethics was calibrated against oragnization and entrepreneurial activities, the so called model of Human Complexities and sustainable progress.
Enthousiastic working groups started around sustainability related issues such as energy, housing, mobility, leadership, food, “the new way of working”, etc. Each took responsibility to organize an encounter for awareness in our monthy congress routine in Eindhoven. We made use of the recently opened International Center of Sustainable Excellence (ICSE). The congresses were fairly successful but the working groups all encountered two problems:
- The dominance of the established channels. Any initiative would challenge the existing hierarchies which were very powerful to sustain themselves, leaving little room to develop new methods and approaches.
- The money driven resonance in the working groups. As soon as an opening became apparent the members of the working group would enter into a dispute of ownership rather that co-creativity. The groups would fall apart due to inner competitive ego conflicts, normally around money and authority.
2010: Dissolve and reconnect
The working group’s problems were a sign that the old money driven mentality was still dominant, also with the members of STIR. This had its logic because most people had mortgages to deal with and other monthly financial responsibilities and hoped to find new funding through social and ecological entrepreneurship. This tension produced awareness but not the right transformative co-creation attitude. Meanwhile Marc Degreef could not get his part in Belgium off the ground and decided to leave the foundation. It became time to dissolve the ego battles. I decided to take responsability myself with the cooperative model that I had in mind. Two lines of innovation were persued:
- The transformation of education with awareness as guiding principle. This evolved into the STIR Academy – an awareness driven initiative that created a vision around the educational processes needed to help our next and current generations forward in a world beyond the industrialized processes and economic hierarchies. Productive partner became Nicolette Meeder.
- The transformation of cities around health and productivity. This evolved into AiREAS, the first real multidisciplinary cooperation around air quality and human health. Co-founder and partner is Marco van Lochem.
The ICSE went broke in the heat of old money dependence and STIR continued by disconnecting from material structures of its own while reconnecting to open partnerships with usage of existing resources when needed.
STIR Academy tried to gain access in the world of education that was still manipulated by the dominant culture of money dependence and resonance with just cognitive educational values rather than social-ecological awareness, social cohesion or self sufficiency.
AiREAS entered the phase of proof of concept as government connected to the initiative and positioning was required to prove itself. The view was expressed in this short video message:
2011: Struggling forward
AiREAS was formally established as an awareness driven cooperation. In June 2011 the national proof of concept encounter got all parties together but commitment lacked. A territory was needed that would accept the healthy city cocreation. The city of Eindhoven accepted to become the living lab. After a detour we had come back home. In September 2011 the first multidisciplinary encounter of Local AiREAS Eindhoven got citizens, city government, science and technological innovation together to establish the first actions and priorities. Directly in that single meeting the project “Making the invisible visible” from an air quality perspective at postal code level was agreed and subsequently worked out.
STIR Academy organised an encounter between visionary people who also wanted a new educational system inspired by our views of humankind and the many speeches of Sir Robinson or Mitra. A first session was organized in a school in Eindhoven:
2012: Consolidating a new reality
Despite the co-creative efforts of AiREAS to define the “Making the invisible visible” throughout the second half of 2011 the financial backing had to follow the traditional route of bureaucracy within the battlefield of a government in financial crisis and powerful reorganization. The formal kickoff of the project was planned in June 2012 but the internal government path had not even been started, blocked by civil servants that feared the loss of their job. I decided to go ahead with the June kickoff anyway and again ask for the commitment of all the players. The encounter was decisive to lift off the blockage and get the process going. In October 2012 the announcement was released and the project could start. These encounters were filmed and are now educational material to show the psychology of human progress and struggles with fear, commitment, letting go, etc.
In November 2012 I published the book “Sustainocracy, the new democracy” (in Dutch) to commemorate and descibe the intense progress lived through to arrive at this stage of multidisciplinary commitment at city level.
STIR Academy had developed the awareness development challenges “Entrepreneur of my own life”, “In search for the hero” and “the secret” which could be played by large groups of college students within the context of their educational programs. Groups of various 100’s of students participated with great enthousiasm but the college’s boards would rapidly close the doors and block continuation because they could not handle the awareness boosts of their allumny.
2013: Making it happen
AiREAS had gone into the operational routine of creating the technology and modelling to visualize air pollution at postal code level. In September 2013 the network was rolled out in Eindhoven. After a phase of calibration and validation the Innovative Air Quality Measurement system became operational.
STIR Academy made arrangements with the Fontys University in Eindhoven to use their infrastructure to organize monthly evening sessions for awareness and exchange of best practice. Meanwhile experiments were done with secondary schools to introduce minors around “Entrepreneur of my own life”.
A new initiative developed itself based on ideology left over from the start up phase in 2009. This was referred to as Energy and Quality of Life (EQoL). It never got off the ground because a speech to the city council in 2011 got the local councillor to block progress in search for economic opportunities for the city council itself rather than accept co-creation. As people joined STIR through the AiREAS and STIR Academy exposure they also started to add their own talents to the groups. EQoL evolved into FRE2SH (Food, Recreation, Education, Energy, Self sufficiency and Health) dedicated to develop tangible city productivity (for many AiREAS and air quality was still too abstract) in the field of permaculture, city food production and connecting civilian consumption with productivity again through usages of the open spaces in the city.
2014: growing and showing
AiREAS had gone into a multiple phases:
- Now that the invisible has become visible what do we see? Surprising air pollution events were detected and captured as cases for further study and action.
- What next? Various new projects had been proposed and were discussed in workgroup format. In June 2014 a commitment was reached for the Proof of Principle around health and lifestyle research, a joined initiative between AiREAS and FRE2SH.
- How to expand our insights and way of working to other cities?
- The first global publication on Sustainocracy and AiREAS came out
STIR Academy doubled the monthly evening sessions:
- From awareness to implementation through triple “i”
- Commitment with the Smart City initiative in Brussels
- Starting to role out the European STIR HUB initiative
- Use the local AiREAS coin to connect education with healthy city development
FRE2SH also started to grow:
- The first FRE2SH city farm was initiated
- 100 apple trees were planted in the public city space together with primary schools
- Bicycle tours connecting key social and ecological initiatives were programmed
- In every city quarter visibility events were organized
- The preparations for the POP with AiREAS were organized
- A plan was developed to link City – Rural development combining Health – Local Quality of Life – Productivity and Tourism
2015: National and European expansion
- The second city, Local AiREAS Breda, started.
- Connection was made with partner cities in Italy, Hungary, Belgium and Turkye to participate together in Horizon2020 programs. The subsidy calls were not won but the relationships developed into operational platforms.
- The POP started and was finalized in its operational roll out as can be seen through the Prezi show created to visualize the complexity.
- The backpack project was initialized to determine the direct exposure of citizens to air pollution
- The analysis, cross referencing and interpretation of all data is providing an incredible amount of insights
- Civilian participation is a key issue for social innovation and stimulus of entrepreneurship. All kinds of initiatives are started that use open data and open source of AiREAS.
- A new university study direction is initiated based on “persuasive communication” – How can technology influence human behavior for sustainable progress and social innovation?
- The first world wide academic publication was published through Horizon Research
- PAPER_TITLE: Redefining Human Complexities
- An agreement was reached with worldwide academic publisher Springer to peer review and distribute our academic and visionary manuscipts through open access into their global network of millions of subscribers
- AiREAS has been invited by the national government to see how a National AiREAS can be established.
- The STIR HUB network expands gradually throughout Europe with the Triple “i” (Inspiration, Innovation and Implementation) program.
- The local HUB in Eindhoven experiments with inspiration -> implementation from sources throughout Europe, creating new entrepreneurship in the region
- The School of Talents is established to help unique youngsters with Dyslexia, ADHD and Autism through natural processes.
- STIR micros are developed for schools and groups of students to get acquianted with and process the Sustainocratic ideology and working patterns
- 7000 students visit STIR through the Erasmus+ exchange program and enjoy minors and micro education
- The global network of Spiritual Transition of Business is kick off with its central location in Brussels, together with Andras Laszlo, previous general manager of the Club of Budapest
- Research is done on human behavior, persuasive communication, cultural differentiation, etc giving rise to new global publications still this year
- The STIR evening sessions continue and expand with morning and afternoon session in the field of co-creation and implementation
- The second season of food production and innovation is on its way in our FRE2SH farm
- Health is now adopted on regional level and cocreation is possible with the province too now.
- A plan is on the way of execution create local islands of co-creative productivity in multidisciplinary cooperations that also host tourism and international education
- The concept is expanding to other regions who ask for advice and guidance
- City agriculture initiative grow fast in the city.
- A plan is developed to combine traffic and air pollution analysis with living green and water experimentation in public/private space using open data as measurable guidance and civilian/public cocreation to experiment with trees, emission calculations and mixing sorts in an optimized ecosystem for food, water, air quality and human wellbeing.
All the above has been accumplished without funding and purely through the determination and co-creative efforts of those who decided to connect with talent and their own means. When funding was needed this was always connected to specific projects and fullfilled by the participating institutional partners. The groups like AiREAS, FRE2SH and STIR Academy capture the values created for the world wide expansion through fractal growth patterns, linked with a circular economy that feeds an innovation fund of each initiative. Local communities have access to alternative value systems to measure and develop their groups commitment and share values.
To be continued……
Two pictures on Twitter today got me to wonder what our chances still are as humankind.
Wave of air pollution
A wave of air pollution is travelling across Europe. On monday (April 23rd 2015) Paris closes for traffic.
Water pollution from nuclear disaster in Japan leaks and affects the world.
Antropoceen, the era of the 6th life destructive force since the birth of Earth, is attributed to modern humankind.
I tend to bring in some nuance. It can be attributed to organized human greed and lack of sufficiently established and followed harmony defending leadership.
At City of Tomorrow we do our best and certain initiatives grow fast (AiREAS, STIR Academy) but is it fast enough?
“What happens when you lock up 300 eager pioneers in a container of a sinking ship on shipwrecking course with the message that they have to save the ship without food nor support while the ship’s captain and his team party on deck inside their self made safety rafts?”
That was the feeling I got yesterday when I was invited to the first “Smart City and Communities” encounter in Brussels. It was organised by the EU for the 300 smart city commitments that had been gathered earlier this year. People from 30+ countries had invested in creating ideas, some already in phase of implementation, and travelled to Brussels to see if they could get support to further work it out or expand their work. Many of the pioneers had gone little further than expressing an ideal, often technology based, in need for cash. Others, like myself, presented working instruments for change, with a 4 year precedent, hardly any money need and ready for growth.
When you arrive at such EU scene you feel somehow “selected”. After all you received acknowledgment that an idea seems valid for the future of Europe. You expect to be received accordingly. After all, Brussels is the capital of Europe and well known for the many billions of public tax money that is used to sustain banks, governments and, above all, them EU selves. As pioneer of a new era one feels suddenly welcome in a systems reality that can facilitate our growth and new stability. We can indeed save Europe but need support, freedom to create, connections and means.
When we arrived at the meeting centre our cheerful sentiments changed rapidly. The reception inside was a hidden away garage hall where we could collect a badge. A labyrinth of stairways and corridors, resembling a mix of hospital and prison, took us to a side room where we could listen to the monotonous program explanation of a lady with limited communication skills and no charisma. We were asked to join one of the 6 clusters to see how to take steps along a 6 month time line from idea to successful implementation.
Had no one read our commitment? We were not in for such old time industrial nonsense. We were ready to work and expand across Europe. During the opening speech it was made clear that technology would not be leading yet the clusters were managed by people from the largest technological organizations and lobbyists of Europe. Who was fooling who? On the EU Smart City site we could see the billion euro lobby of the big ones and we were there to expose ourselves to them.
The message was clear: “You have to save Europe”, create things that we can eventually sell to others in the world, become successful fast, “it is the performance that counts”, economy rules. “Money needs to make more money”. But there is no money for you so try to strengthen each other. The message was enhanced by a chaotic, hierarchy driven structure, old fashion techniques, boring presentations and set-up. One single piece of bread per person with water for lunch (various people had no lunch!), bad air circulation, over heated meeting rooms, low quality programming, bad hosting, hopelessly poor cocktail ending, it all showed the lack of understanding of EU management forces on how change and entrepreneurship works or how to create involvement.
The overall impression was of a shambles, with total lack of creativity, highly managed, cheapest of the cheap, encounter. For me and my people it felt like an insult when we consider the personal effort we put into co-creating our wellness with strong innovation plans and proof.
System versus culture change
Not the system’s dynamics of mismanagement and political abuse made the day successful for us. It were the 300 beautiful people that had come and tried to connect in the scarce moments of open interaction. Many pioneers had just come for money but those of us who really had something to work with started their own structuring and openly began searching for network contacts to work with. What the system did not achieve was achieved by these people themselves. It showed very clearly the difference between two worlds:
* System oriented people: hierarchy, management, instruct, money driven, growth oriented, avoid change, time managed, fragmented, standards, bureaucratic, etc
* Change oriented people: visionary, (ex)change oriented, value driven, changed and desire growth, entrepreneurial, leadership, break through, etc
The pioneers for change felt of course bored, insulted, misunderstood, abused, etc while the system’s reality tried to structure feedback, avoid chaos, risks and change. They were two different worlds. The system’s world does not understand the world of change. In essence that is the problem of Europe. The EU system tries to solve its issues by applying what caused them in the first place, their own money driven, blindly managed rigidness, influenced by big multinationals that equally have difficulties upholding themselves. The tax payers money should be used to provide a sense of progression and innovation rather that a bureaucratic status quo.
It is good to have met some people who are also in the field of change. If the system wants to uphold itself it has to open up to the invitation of change or be prepared for chaos. That is the evolutionary law of living complexities through counter forces interacting on each other.
It was magnificent when we could turn our back to the prison and cold mechanisms of this encounter to enjoy the human chaos of a beautiful evening on and around the Gran Place of Brussels. We needed a couple of hours and few drinks to shake off the old age disappointment and gather back the positive can-do energy that characterizes our pioneering spirit. Two public demonstrations on the streets showed the discontent of other people. The beer was good, the evening nice and warm, the food great and the atmosphere overwhelming. Not at all bad after all.
STIR Academy is recently accepted as partner in the Smart City and Communities program of the European Community because of our network structure of HUBs to share knowledge, innovative initiatives, inspiration and best practice on sustainable progress. From Eindhoven we coordinate the growing network of HUBs in every city of Europe (and the world).
Your own STIR Academy HUB
A STIR HUB consists physically of a simple classroom and ICT communication facilities. Functionally the STIR HUB is a gateway to inspiration and best practice in the world. Any existing college infrastructure can become a HUB. You can also start your own if you have access to facilities. In Eindhoven we are being facilitated by a local high school.
Inspiration is not enough. The STIR HUB is also the local starting point to form implementation efforts for local change, adapting the ideology and foreign best practice to local workable formats.
The STIR HUB structure is as follows:
STIR College for inspiration
Everywhere in the world people are actively introducing change through vision or need. Such inspiration is shared across the STIR network of HUBs inviting the pioneers to explain their motivation, the essentials to change and the results of their work. The inspiration is not just product or services oriented within the context of business or consumer economies. It can also introduce challenging changes in systems complexities, social innovation, applied knowledge, etc that upsets everything we have known to date. The inspiration forms the basis for creating local innovative work groups.
The STIR College is always open for general, low cost participation.
STIR work groups for innovation
From global inspiration to local innovation is an open, guided work group process. The work group evaluates the possibility to implement the innovations within the local complexity and context. The work groups are open for multidisciplinary participation and narrow down until projects can be defined with those who commit to the implementation.
STIR project teams for implementation
When the implementation phase has been agreed the work groups close in order to formalize and connect commitments, means and resources. Projects have a starting point, an objective and finishing with measurable results.
Not just one way
The international HUB network does not just work one way into the HUBs. Inspirational innovations are appearing anywhere in the world and also in the regional environment of the HUB. They do not alway reach out for globalization due to lack of visibility, language issues, entrepreneurial short comings of pioneers or lack of resources.
STIR HUBs are therefore also a gateway to the rest of the world for local initiatives that have a story to tell or inspiration and proven innovation to share.
Many changes can be considered disruptive innovations. They upset traditional markets and behavior by introducing something totally new. The old establishment has long opposed such disruptions but now is reaching a point that more and more multinationals and local governance use the STIR network and inspirational evidence to strengthen their own transformative positioning. STIR Academy itself is a disruptive innovation and source of inspiration.
International STIR HUB network
STIR Academy has started the European and Global network initiative and now receives the support of the Smart Cities and Communities commission. The STIR HUB structure connects bottom up and top town innovation for sustainable progress within the scope of “global issues, local solutions, global inspiration”. The first HUB was created in Eindhoven (Holland) in 2009 and has been the transformative engine for local change ever since. The expertise has been contained for expansion with the specialization in the field of awareness development, psychology of (transformative) change, multidisciplinary co-creation and sustainable progress through cooperative interaction, primarily focused on “hotspots” (hotspot: complex local issues with sense of urgency).
The international STIR Academy structure interacts with multinationals, subsidy providers and international programs for innovative change. It also provides a framework for interaction and protection of interests of small local SME players who internationalize their ideas through SME cooperative chanels.
STIR provides educational support for multidisciplinary (hotspot) co-creative processes in international networks. Within the model of human complexities of founding father Jean-Paul Close the STIR Academy and all inspirations are positioned in the leadership field of cocreative change for symbiotic harmony and new phases of growth.
STIR Academy HUB agreement:
1. Commit to the executive challenge of innovative change
2. Accept the operational and financial structure of STIR Academy
3. Accept the coordination, sustainocratic framework and guidance function of STIR academy international in Eindhoven.
Interested? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org (Jean-Paul Close) for detailed agreement.
This second blog about STIR’s first lustrum deals with awareness and education as it developed in STIR. On the day of our announcement in 2009 Nicolette Meeder participated and found her own life’s mission to commit to STIR. Now she is founding partner of the STIR Academy.
In the early phases of the STIR Foundation “City of Tomorrow” we already developed very strong impulses to try to get an understanding on the complexity of the “human being” itself. My own very deep moments of inner illumination had made me aware of new dimensions of spirituality beyond the dogmatic mechanisms of churches and within the true meaning and significance of life. It also made me aware of awareness and life before and after enlightenment. This all had come together in a clear understanding of the “I am” breakthrough and the revelation of the abundance of the universe, the force of life through energetic cycles and the disturbance of self awareness until the moment of spiritual awakening.
All this also revealed a critical view on our evolutionary path and the way we reached a point of singularity that would either produce a gigantic collapse or a mayor breakthrough of humankind. In my own research I came to the conclusion that one cannot happen without the other. The only difference with the past is that I envisaged the possibility of a mayor breakthrough and collapse occurring peacefully through a burst of awareness rather than a traditional confrontation through arms.
In the first blog “re-positioning society” I described the practical possibilities to address the global issues through local solutions using sustainocratic ventures and the transformation economy. Its precedents in Eindhoven have made the working and values visible. Expanding it across the world will take tensions away through applied knowledge and integral system and social innovations.
To consolidate this the practical approach should repeat itself as much as possible but also should become part of our learning processes.
The transformation of education
My own learning and awareness processes had shown me that life itself is a teacher and our education at school would need to change too if we want to prepare our next generations within the context of sustainable human progress. Many people already showed a critical standpoint on the current way we educated our children and displayed the wish to change the system. Within STIR it became an ongoing process too.
When I developed the societal redefinition by positioning our interests in awareness and co-creation using human values rather than economic growth and greed, it became clear that our educational system was not adequate anymore either. Our constitution states that “education serves government and business interests” which is a relic from our industrialization and history. No wonder we feel that our children are being educated to populate a puppeteer theater rather that develop insight on life’s essentials and personal development.
Every interaction with our school system got us into trouble between management, teachers and pupils. The students loved our humanitarian approach, many teachers did too but the management and system were totally against. “Entrepreneur of your own life” is of course not done when the hierarchies in society demand docile youngsters who look for a lasting job to pay for their mortgage and loans in a consumer driven money dependent system’s reality.
In STIR Academy we created all kinds of instruments based on the development of awareness through physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual impulses. Examples of our invitation to a new world have been filmed (in Dutch)
And in English
We designed minors and mayors, university lectures, games (“The secrete” and “The hero”), challenges, etc. but the old system would not connect massively to our initiatives. The financial dependence on state financial means and inspections blocked openess to educational innivation and modern insight of system’s and human complexities. Government was still very much focus on trying to solve its problems through the money driven mentality of the last decades as described in a recent blog.
If we wanted to proceed with our intentions we were forced to build our own school and education platforms. We started to work with the “drop outs” from the old system that either had become a financial burden and bureaucratic challenge, or became new age entrepreneurs through their own chaos and awareness development. They are all talented human beings that have a lot to offer but fall out of the old system for many reasons. We learned to see all these people as potential pioneers of the new world that was arising and slowly started to challenge the old one by making the power of this type of learning visible to the world. We could further facilitate that by:
- Offering precedents of change and insights from all over the world
- Getting local speakers to address those interested with new insights and their personal experiences
- Challenge people to not just listen but also stand up and do something with the inspiration
- Help those who do step forward with guidance and support
- Connect those who are ready to increasingly complex co-creative ventures or challenge them to start one of their own
The STIR Academy started to develop leadership HUBs (STIR Portals) through those who were interested in displaying a changing world to their own community and see what happens. STIR Academy developed relationships with intellectuals and new age pioneers across the world, inspiring itself through the wisdom of nature and the universe.
In Eindhoven we had experimented with this type of value driven humanistic education by showing that our entire live is a school. We live through our own cyclic patterns all the time, developing awareness as we go along. We needed not just address the cognitive basic of education but also the emotional, spiritual and physical values of reflection through action. If we wanted the cultural change we needed to facilitate the entire cycle of human complexities by inviting people to simply do it, experiment and challenge themselves to work together in meaningful ventures.
We now envisage STIR Hubs everywhere, simply exchanging knowledge and best practice through internet, skype presentations and online training. We all take from STIR and give back, forming an organic platform that runs itself. The only guidance is the STIR definition of sustainable human progress and the co-creative positioning of progress in the top of our complexity model
AiREAS was the first sustainocratic venture and STIR Academy the very first school to live life by learning to understand it. We also needed to transform the practical reality of our daily life. AiREAS would measure our progress and STIR Academy provides us with the understanding. FRE2SH was born to deal with the practicalities in our daily lives.
But that I will deal with in the third and final blog about our first 5 years.
Have you ever heard of the “gateway to heaven”? It is real. Not many can see it though. Experience shows that the gateway is only reached after a phase of pain. It is clearly visible then but gradually fades away again until we reach a new passage through. That is how we evolve. It is a spiral shape, or sinus wave when we add time. Understanding this is new. Evolution has long been considered purely physical. It is however spiritual. It only adds up to our awareness when passing through the gateway.
At a certain time we may equally our level of evolution and break through to add something to it. This drawing may help you understand. You are right in the middle of it (the drawing and life)
Some call the area below the line of self awareness “hell” and above “heaven”. The gateway is referred to the “the end of suffering” and a new beginning. Every time we pass through into a new cycle we add new awareness to our evolution. Societies evolve like this too. I expect a global breakthrough. But not before a lot of pain.
21st century society
“The new, emerging society (I call it “Sustainocracy”) situates itself permanently into this heaven of wellness (symbiosis) through understanding life instead of killing it. It will be an historical breakthrough that is happening right now.” (Jean-Paul Close)
Much is being discussed these decades about world leadership with respect to global issues. Often fingers point at Obama, Putin, the United Nations, the G20, G7 or the IMF. In reality these people and groups display hardly any leadership, just management. In the world of economy there is no leadership, even though we really need it if we want to face the real issues of concern.
More importantly, considering that this “world leadership” emerged from the ashes of world war II, we can state that the lack of leadership of these groups and individuals actually cause all the world problems. Within the context of world powers and economics they all compete using the rules of economic management to compete efficiently. Their financial interests used to be focused on trade only. In a consumer economic scenario the issue now is also on consumption. Most consumption is energy (oil) based which means that much of the management of relationships and confrontations deal with energy and trade issues.
There is a general lack of understanding of the difference between “management” and “leadership”. This is why we tend to point erroneously at these “world managers” for solutions around the other issues (global warming, pollution, migration, rising sea levels, etc). We forget that these are caused by the trade development, usage of resources and usage of energy around which economies are built. If such world managers of economic interests are to lead the solutions they would have to step over their managerial tasks and economics in the first place. That is not their mission (yet). There is hence no leadership in economics, certainly not in world economics, just management. To solve this we need two things: understand the difference and introduce leadership.
What is the difference between management and leadership?
Management: The control over fixed process patterns with an objective of growth, improvement and optimization. (more of the same, better)
Leadership: The initiation of totally new initiatives and processes based on vision or need. (change, different)
The Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands recently remarked that he was governing without vision because “vision costs money”. Politics and government, in a world reigned by financial dependencies, reason from fixed economic patterns that consist of rules, financial relationships and money dependencies. Managing the complexity is difficult enough because of all the interconnected economic strings. When we introduce the leadership issue of “change” the total system’s balance can get disturbed. No PM or President, unless post war (or in chaos), dares to introduce change, preferring to let chaos arise rather than being the cause of it. Prevention of chaos is impossible to explain in a democracy. People would not understand as change also affects them. That is why you see a management culture of fear in every economy, business or government, preferring resistance and even opposition to change. Conservative economic forces see leadership as a threat.
Management is wrongly characterized as “realism” because it deals with known patterns that can be explained and forecast by analyzing the past.
Leadership is wrongly seen as “idealism” because it addresses change through ideals, with passion and vision from which there is no proof other than common sense or non economic logic.
This all has to do with the history of economics that developed from instrument to goal, allowing room for real leadership only after collapse. This needs to change.
Economy is cold, deprived of moral and sense of holistic reality because of concept of “money” as a goal of growth. The real reality has nothing to do with the fake materialism. It has to do with sustainable human progress. The consequences of lack of (or room for) leadership is building up to reproachable levels and proportions that reaches a point of “criminal against humankind”. Policy people who recognize their responsibility but impotence to perform leadership tasks within the economic management system have the tendency to quit their position. When they leave there is a self regulation within the system to keep robot like people without moral scrupulous. We cannot call those leaders.
STIR (City of Tomorrow)
STIR offers an unprecedented solution for the world problems but also for these top executive world managers with leadership ambitions. STIR introduces a global shift where chaos is avoided by accepting leadership as equal part of the (holistic) picture.
STIR asks the self aware governance people (in business and government) not to throw in the towel but to stay and connect instead to STIR leadership activities of the City of Tomorrow. They can use their authority within the system and use their position to provoke changes that are being caused by introducing the “STIR loop”. The leadership of STIR is not personal but driven by the global issues of the times we live in (such as food scarcity and manipulation, health damage due to pollution, security issues due to lack of awareness and attention, blindness of the masses, lack of self reflection and self sufficiency in money driven democracies), picked up from a local perspective.
By addressing the global issues locally we co-create and share leadership steps that feed management with well sustained innovations, challenging policy to change too. There is no need for fear, aggression or chaos for this leadership to manifest itself, just a conscience and the willingness to work together with other local players. This picture clarifies what we call “the transformation economy of 1%” (1% change (leadership), 100% growth (management), 200% effort (both):
It is not dangerous or risky and changes old managerial culpability into involvement where the hierarchical leaders themselves decide how far they can go in their institutional structures.
In Eindhoven (Netherlands) we initiated such process in experimental way, inviting policy makers, directors and scientists to the independent table of Sustainocracy. A lot of energy went into convincing these managerial top people with “attitude” to step into the group for leadership around key issues. It was tough because of the tradition of power of dominant authority and the initial reluctance of these people to participate in external leadership processes that expect them to commit with rebound to their own position. It is hence a challenge on its own to find, invite and involve the right people. They tend to be “special” and “extraordinary”.
When they accept the process and go through it individually, collectively and institutionally it is up to STIR to capture and contain the values achieved, including the learning process. We need to support these people who go from their leadership at STIR back into their management position and structure.
The precedents are now also available as so called “holistic learning programs” of the STIR Academy. We offer holistic education (higher than university), specialized study programs (eg healthy city, self sufficient region, etc) at university level and practical programs at high school level. Working together with partners from scientific and high school education, as well as training or coaching, we also offer the world of business, government, knowledge institutions, semi-governance, but also individuals with leadership interests, the possibility to get involved and learn the earlier the better out of self interest. No one will escape from the leadership requirements in the world and will be confronted, no matter what, sooner or later. Life can be made so much easier , significant and purposeful when leadership is learned to be dealt with as a natural part of sustainable human progress, in harmony with management, not neglected.
Jean-Paul Close – transformative leadership