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#Sustainocracy, our new #democracy, introduced a totally new way of thinking and handling. It is a real time democracy based on our core human values. We do that with the Sustainocratic table. No banks, no politics are involved, just our regional core human values and shared responsibility.
The table is managed by an independent #Sustainocrat. He or she invites all relevant parties to the table and makes sure that the human natural core values lead the result and project driven dialogue. I have been practicing this role for 10 years now. It was not easy to get everyone to the table but I managed to get it going after much trial and error….
The table symbolizes our regional society, our #community. The table has four supportive legs, each representing a key participant of our society today:
On top of the table are our core natural human values as shared #responsability. The sustainocrat at the table connects all four leg’s representatives based on #equality around the table. Each have equal part in the values driven process. Nobody is “the boss”, also not the Sustainocrat. They come together to safeguard the common core values through proactive, results driven innovative projects.
Current existing examples of such tables, with me as connecting Sustainocrat:
#AiREAS: air quality, health and mobility
#School of Talent and Wellness: participatory learning
#FRE2SH: regional food security
#COS3i: social inclusion and citizens participation in our core human values
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……
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.
You may recall that on 12.12.12 we started a debate with Dutch high school students on their views of their own future in Europe. At age of 17 – 19 they respresent the next generation that deals with tomorrow using yesterday as a reference. The outcome of the discussion was blogged by me in December.
Challenging their own generation
STIR expressed our desire to make Europe a co-creation between all, involving this next generation with their fresh and unconditioned ideas. We explained that we wanted the mission to be ongoing with a returning gathering every year somewhere in Europe. 2013 would probably be Hungary.
The students reacted spontaneously with the co-creative effort to tape a video message for their own generation in Europe, challenging them to come to the next event. The 35 second message “Our Common Future” can be seen here. Soon I will publish also the video of the discussion on “Europe of Tomorrow” that these youngsters did.
With different partners in the field of education we try to get student teams to prepare themselves locally and then meet during the encounter of 2013 to continue the co-creation that was started on 12.12.12. The 12.12.12 teams and hero’s will be present to defend their own cocreation title and lift up the leverage of the purpose driven interaction.
Follow us on http://www.stir-global-shift.com for the time being with the news on this forthcoming event. I will also spend time on it in my blogging here. It is exciting to see the creativity of these young people at work and help them to make the world a better place.
STIR Foundation plans for 2013
Prof. Paul de Blot wrote “everything I planned did not come true”. That is what the STIR Foundation experiences again and again also. We take a tremendous amount of initiatives, span our arc and eventually have to content ourselves with different results than we expected or planned for. We happen to be ambitious and really want to get this human centered sustainable stability and progress (sustainocracy) going everywhere. We place our expectations very high just to find out that time was not ready, it did not work or the results were much smaller or totally different than planned for. Is that bad? No, of course not!
We may not reach the planned objectives but what we do achieve is quite impressive. We have to remember that we are not conducting a business. We address the complex transformation of society from one paradigm to another. We experiment with creating harmonic relationships and working organizations in a dis-harmonic human world. This cannot be planned or anticipated, it happens. It all occurs unexpectedly, unplanned and totally dependent of the people and circumstances we meet on our path, the responsibilities people and institutions take with us or the small or large changes they make in our plans to make them really happen. Our common dot on the horizon remains our eternal challenge while we have to find and pave the route to reach it all by our selves.
2009 – 2012
When I look back at Juni 2009, when a group of 50 persons met in conference center Mennorode in Holland to announce our STIR mission, we have accomplished a gigantic amount of things indeed. We did this without budget, with some limited financial support of entrepreneurial individuals and some small amounts from institutional business sponsors. The growing crises and fear for problems of people and institutions helped to get discussions going, first at the level of individuals, later at institutional level too. Our working capital was always the united talent, commitment of participants, our vision and the input we received to make transformative change happen, often against all odds.
2012 became the vulnerable practical breakthrough of Sustainocracy, the new democracy. In February 2012 we played the sustainocratic “City of Tomorrow” challenge with 200 students in a technical High School, for the first time and just for one day. In Juni and October (formal kick off) we announced the very first complex sustainocratic project on city level: AiREAS for clean, dynamic cities.
In 2012 we went international with presentations in Madrid and Hungary. There was international attention for our work, the idealism but also the theory and practicalities.
2013 builds further with plans that will not come through but make a lot happen. We know already now that by doing so, remaining open for change, adaptation, modification, etc while not loosing sight of our dot on the horizon (that represents our purpose), we will, by the end of the year, list again a large amount of successes that we cannot possibly anticipate beforehand. They just happen, but not before we stir our environment and relationships with our ideas, objectives and initiatives. That is the magic of STIR!
Our sustainocratic plans for 2013 and beyond are:
– Make AiREAS happen in the community of the city of Eindhoven (NL) by deepening the processes started in 2012, including intensive cooperation on Air Quality and Human Health with local civilian participation and initiatives on all levels.
– Spread the AiREAS approach throughout the Netherlands, Europe and the entire world (Air pollution is now one of the top 10 killers in the world)
– The STIR Academy is searching further for a location to create a mini-sustainocratic society that will serve as learning and meeting place for the local and global community.
– STIR Academy continues to build her renewal program of global education, especially for young people under the flag of “entrepreneur of your own life“,
– STIR Foundation organizes the “Europe of Tomorrow” challenge in probably Hungary in 2013, for European students, in the fall. We will continue where we left off on 12.12.12
– STIR Foundation will initiate projects of awareness, education and sustainocratic cooperation in Madrid (Spain)
– We will start an Energy & Quality of Life cooperative according to the sustainocratic model
– We take initiative City Fresh (Food, recreation, energy, sustainocracy and health) based on urban farming
– We start “something” with new mobility: from “having” to “using”.
– We start a city quarter related health initiative
– We will continue to give presentations on podia everywhere
– will give classes and lectures in high schools and universities around the world
– we will initiate training of sustainocratic processes that appear in the world for all the participating people and institutions.
Those are the plans that we can make thanks to the commitment of Marco, Nicolette, Luis and myself. Who knows what names will be there next year, maybe even yours, and what we will achieve then? And attention: everything we do is always sustainocratic, meaning that we demand participation of local government, business, science/education and the local population in each of the projects. That is what makes it all so unique and challengingly complex. But we do not go for less.
We wish you a Happy and Sustainocratic 2013!