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In Sustainocracy we defined the key values for society that produce sustainable human progress and harmony in local wellness. Those values are positioned above political and economic priorities. In fact, political and economic priorities become derivatives of the persuit of those higher values.
We defined the transformation economy as a necessary complementory asset to the speculative transaction economy. It has been proven that if the economic world has no corrective process to control its own natural greed, natural chaos will fill in the gap with all the consequences of crisis, depressions and inequality around the world. It is a natural phenomenum that systems move in search for harmony.
The transformation economy bridges chaos by introducing value driven change when we become aware that the transaction economy challenges our existence or evolutionary continuity. It becomes a self regulatory process by combining growth, chaos and awareness into a symbiotic challenge of cocreating harmony. So the transformation economy positions itself in the field of awareness (change) and harmony (cocreation) while the transaction economy positions itself in growth (greed) and competition (chaos) with risk avoidance.
Putting theory into practice
In theory this is fine but in practice it needed to be shown working through a full cycle: Awareness, cocreation of unique values, growth and the start of a new value driven cycle.
In 2009 I started the STIR Foundation to address this new economic and transformative model called Sustainocracy. Our first step was to determine the key values that we were going to address. We were still very much professionally indoctrinated around problem solving. By addressing a problem such as the energy transition we would always compete with big powerful structures. We would start idealistically to end up in a program for financial profit seeking (transaction economy) rather than value creation. It took over a year of experimenting with our ideology and practical experiences to arrive at the “healthy city” concept of “air quality, human health and city dynamics”.
In 2011 we organised the multidisciplinary structure AiREAS to address this issue in the first city, Eindhoven. The value creation process could start. All values address the higher purpose of health and air quality. Those values do not exist yet and hence cannot be bought anywhere. We defined projects with the priorities at hand to make them SMART and UNITED. Every cycle generates unique values within each of the partners while addressing the key central purpose together. New products, services, policies, knowledge, structures and insights are produced. Each one is made visible within the AiREAS context as well as its unique added value per concept. All values together help address the health and air quality in the region, stimulating further spontaneous innovative initiatives by others.
Individually the values represent unique new propositions that each partner can expand into their own (global) markets in the transaction economy of growth. Since the values were cocreated together a royalty is agreed as reciprocity for the transformation economy, creating a cyclic fund for continuity. So every value driven change and its growth scenario’s help to make a better world and a stable society with harmonic economies that clean themselves from mismanagement and manipulation.
This organisation of the City of Tomorrow is capturing the experiences of multidisciplinary cocreation and know how for expansion world wide. It was the STIR Academy that asked for the first invoice from AiREAS to pay out royalties. This made the circle complete for the first time. It had taken 5 years to introduce the new economic cyclic transformation platform and prove it to the world. Now it will only grow and becomes a serious player on the world market.
In this blog I introduce the next evolutionary step of humankind and complex human societies. I refer to it as “the appearance of the holistic society”. I am writing a more detailed book on this evolution and my experiences through Sustainocracy. Today I introduce the vision already for you for early reflection and inspiration. I talk about our current evolutionary path, the need to take the holistic approach, the transformation, transformation economy and finally the totally new educational processes at different levels that I am setting up. It is a long blog but hopefully it changes your life, making it worth your while.
The spiral (or wave) evolution
The traditional evolution of society so far, and as we still know it today, can be drawn as a spiral shaped process (fig 1. Human complexities – Jean-Paul Close – Secretes of true wellness – 2009) between our way of organizing ourselves (To do) and what we learn along the way (To be).
This spiral represents our original nature as part of (elementary levels of) life’s complexities within the universe. When things go well we tend to want more (growth) and gradually loose our sense of responsibility and moral values and develop conservative structures of management, control, efficiency and bureaucracy, meanwhile blocking progress. When we reach a point of saturation we experience a crisis (collapse, chaos, recession, war). This serves as a wake-up call to address issues through awakening with a new wave of creativity and leadership. A cyclic pattern appears of natural psychological reactions to collective circumstances.
When we plot the cyclic spiral over time we get a sinus wave (eg. Kondratiev) of periods of wellness and scarcity (ups and downs). Similar patterns can be observed in our natural surroundings. Many animals and plants have a natural, instinctive way of dealing with this, especially within the seasonal cycles of the Earth’s year (52 weeks of 7 days, 4 seasons).
Humankind however has, at one stage, broken through into self awareness which caused it to loose or disregard its natural sensitivity in exchange for longer evolutionary cycles (not years but periods) along the line of consciousness (TO BE). It produced confusion as to what we really are as a species, our purpose and responsibilities. We have experienced the cyclic patterns (7 year blocks in cycles of about 52 years each with our self inflicted seasons) as they come, without giving it a second thought, except in certain intellectual circles. Our limited collective awareness was not ready to understand so we faced the consequences as they came.
We cause our pains ourselves
The cyclic pattern is anchored firmly into our cultures and organizations. It only recently became clear that those periods of wellness and scarcity were created by ourselves due to our reactive attitude to the cyclic steps (wellness – greed -scarcity – awareness). A new layer of cognitive awareness was added to our collective consciousness after every painful swoop through chaos. As a consequence we experienced a new wave of technological, social, economic and governance innovation. In a way humankind evolved by falling and getting up again. Meanwhile the peaks of wellness became higher over time and the crises deeper and more lethal. Right now we are on the verge of a catastrophic chaos. We can feel and even witness the building up of the tension worldwide as we approach disaster.
At the same time we are experiencing a new break through that is building up gradually but fast. In nature the cyclic patterns of summer (wellness), autumn (greed), winter (scarcity) and spring (awakening), are all well anticipated by the species. Humankind however let itself be surprised by its self inflicted winters (after the abundance of autumn) through war and confrontations. We need to learn to anticipate the seasons and act, even though the cycles span generations instead of years.
We are only now starting to understand ourselves even though our cultures, institutions and governance are still very much structured around reacting to circumstances rather than anticipating them through common sense and experience. Even when we understand it is still a query for many to matter of ingenuity and time to introduce a new society based on our new levels of awareness.
Global issues, local solutions
The exponential growth of the human population has enlarged the tremendous consequences of our old cyclic patterns. The crises that we experience are much more complex than ever before. They are largely self inflicted but also as a result of our lack of symbiosis with our natural environment. The local impact of such global issues demands measures beyond imagination. They cannot be resolved by old time cyclic thinking and drawing old lines forward through chaos. They require hands on responsibility of all local people and institutions.
* In 1953 Holland suffered floods that killed 1500 people. It cause the local society to take responsibility and protect the country with huge infrastructural changes.
* Now, with the rising sea levels, many massive urban areas are threatened. Jakarta is known to have delayed investments too long and may face huge problems if the protective investment are not carried out with urge.
* Many big cities face drinking water shortages. They are located according the development of trade rather than sustainable progress.
* Japan has been shock up by disaster after a combination of natural and human made catastrophes (nuclear drama of Fukushima together with a tidal wave). It has drawn the attention of the world to the local vulnerability for disaster when using dangerous materials.
* Densely populated islands such as Ireland, Great Britain, Taiwan, etc face severe shortages when oil runs out. Anticipation requires extreme measures in the field of holistic development.
The holistic society
The new society is born. The old focus on globalization of economies and trying to solve everything with money is outdated. The new challenge is changing into local efforts for sustainable progress, starting with the aspect of “saving ourselves” through self awareness and taking local responsibility.
The holistic approach concentrates on resolving global issues of sustainable progress on a local basis. The issues are complex enough to represent a combined challenge for social, business and administrative innovation. The issues tend to be eminent enough too to get the four key local players (government, business, science and population) to act together. We refer to the holistic society also as the cooperative society, one in which all together take responsibility for humanitarian and ecological issues above economic and political impediments.
Local issues can of course be addressed by dominant types of governance. Sustainocracy is the first practical precedent that has combined democracy with sustainable progress. We notice that fragmented interests continue along the old tradition which happens to be an excellent learning school for awareness, authenticity and spiritual strength, also for enterprises and institutions. Participation in local holistic processes can be a matter of choice and invitation based on multidisciplinary projects.
In Eindhoven (Holland) we initiated complex, holistic processes such as “The healthy city” and “Self sufficient region” or “Safety and value creation”, etc. The experience is being shared through educational programs that we share across the world.
The entire evolution introduces new ways of working for business, governance, science, education, etc. Such new evolution also represents a transformative challenge for these organizations that come from the fragmented focus on growth and need to learn to adjust to multidisciplinary co-creation. The process is often blocked by old justice formats focused on transactions, control and bureaucracy rather than shared responsibilities. All together it shakes up everything we have known till today. That is why we establish experimental cooperation to introduce the holistic approach in a region. For some time both the spiral and holistic realities evolve together.
Each of the participants will experience a degree of chaos and awareness building. It is not part of the cyclic nature but of the learning process of dealing with the transformation, one’s own authentic positioning and the development of the holistic society. It also introduces a totally new economy:
The transformation economy
This economy connects both worlds as the will coexist for some time and maybe even for ever. There is the economy of transformation which offers a new level of holistic development to the region based on sustainable values. And there is transformation economy which uses the value creation in a region to expand it worldwide through the fragmented interests.
New educational platform
The above introduces a tremendously new complexity that is being dealt with when regions adopt the holistic society as a serious option for their local sustainable development. They request to be taught how to deal with it and offer to send students to me. The educational process of a holistic society is of course very different to that where we come from. In Sustainocratic ventures I am already surrounded by universities that offer fragmented expertise in the specific holistic processes. This brings us to the additional layers of education that are new to the world:
* The fragmented specializations of existing universities need to get used to their involvement in holistic processes. It introduces a new element in their own educational approach where the various realities receive a new holistic context. What that does to the specializations is to be seen.
* Students who get involved in holistic ventures need to be already self aware to a certain extend and level. They tend to be older of age and equipped with practical experiences that have gone through the personal cycle of human complexities already a few times. The education they receive is tailor made, using the network of universities involved, based on the purpose the students are expected to serve.
* A totally new education is started that guides people at different levels of age and awareness through all the realities using the holistic society as anchoring point. The education can be offered both at practical high school level (talks with Fontys High School to play an early central role in this) and intellectual university level (talks with my old Nyenrode University to see if it can become the coordinating center)
* Worldwide exchange of inspiration and best practice for awareness building and new development of local holistic structures is being organized through the STIR Academy.
Interested? Just drop me a note with your specific interest and I will respond to you directly
The STIR Academy is entirely positioned in the world of Sustainocracy. What does this mean?
1. Invites rather than sells
The academy does not sell teaching programs. It invites people and organizations to take responsibility for sustainable human progress and take the learning from there as an investment into a new reality. This may start with a financial investment just to become aware of what it exactly means but as awareness evolves the investment transforms from financial to commitment in co-creation.
2. Helps develop excellence in change
Our societies are very much concentrated on selling rather than taking human based responsibilities. When we are invited to take responsibility it is always related to a “change for progress” instead of “sales for progress”. The attitude, competences and commitment are totally different from the transaction environment.
3. Helps develop excellence in multidisciplinary co-creation
Various co-creation structures to produce value are appearing in society. From an economic perspective (transaction economy) we see for instance Triple Helix (government, business and education) work together. From a societal human wealth perspective (transformation economy) we see Sustainocracy (government, business. education and civilization). Multidisciplinary co-creation has very specific advantages over mono-disciplinary co-creation ( eg business + business, government + government). In such co-creation process all participants invest in the creation with means. This is not just money but also technology, authority, infrastructures, people, talents, etc. And the groups can invest in knowledge and guidance in the processes of multidisciplinary co-creation. Then they take STIR Academy among the disciplines.
4. Helps deal with the two worlds
In real life we deal with change to be able to grow. Both worlds interact. How to deal with both worlds effectively as a person or institution needs to be acknowledged, addressed, structured and implemented. Change and growth are incompatible together and yet form an unavoidable bondage. Dealing with both together requires entrepreneurship, no matter where it takes place and who deals with it. Any human being deals with this on a daily basis as a person but gets into difficulties when applying it to professional fragmentation and specializations in any sector.
STIR Academy helps with all four issues but does this from “the other side”.
You can see the STIR Academy as a self growing organism connected through sustainable human progress driven purpose (food, health, safety, applied knowledge, self sufficiency) and local Triple Helix and Sustainocratic venture development.
There are various types of economy as you may have gathered when you are a regular visitor to my blogs. We have the economies of:
- Consumption (what we use) – eg. products
- Speculation (what is difficult to get) – eg. a house
- Crisis (what we fear to loose) – eg. insurrance
- Consequences (what we have lost) – eg. healthcare
- Debt (what others expect from us) – eg. banks
- Fiscal (what is demanded from us) -eg. taxes
All these economies are related to each other and fight a battle to sustain themselves in a financial world. They all have a product to sell and populate the left hand side of the picture below (financial leadership). They all have one thing in common: they want you! They want your attention, your money, your dependence and your votes.
The other side of the picture is the transformation economy, the economy of change. This is a very special type of economy. It does not want to control you nor does it compete. It just wants health, harmony and sustainable development. It is automatically activated when things go wrong on the left hand side. It requires awareness, vision and a new sense of reality.
The left hand site just wants growth. A typical tendency is that growth shows health but also sickness through the appearance of intoxicating “antivalues”. These antivalues can be detected easily as we have learned by analysing human history and the history of societies. They have to do with greed, lust, power,etc. The antivalues are normally in the hands of powerful people and institutions who take benefit at the expense of others (deadly parasites) subtracting values from society rather than adding (hence the word “antivalue”) until a crisis puts them out of business and power.
Antivalues make the world sick and in crisis.
New values can cure us from the right hand side, which is always present and active yet not always noticeable. Those values need to grow in strength through applied change. This takes time but also needs space, strength and opportunity.
We only tend to want to cure ourselves only when we are really sick. Before that we behave as if illnesses do not exist. Prevention is not a democratic strength nor recognition of the signes of sickness. For many there are powerful reasons on the left hand side to ignore, neglect and even openly dispute antivalues out of self interest, opposing change with everything they can.
We are living in unique times. Antivalues in the past only seemed to affect our human communities. Now we realise that they also destroy our environment and human health. The transformation economy emerges with all kinds of corrective causes some of which are unique to the era we live in.
We call this the era of the Global Shift (Ervin Laszlo) or Quantum Leap (Jean-Paul Close). The changes that are demanded are of a more universal nature affecting human nature everywhere. It is only becoming visible now (unique antivalues such climate change and pollution) demanding the most intense changes ever.
The transformation economy emerges everywhere through a new type of leadership, Sustainable Leadership. It becomes not only visible (such as Sustainocracy), it provides also a new field of healthy interaction where institutions and societies of the left find their new growth inspiration and renewed strength. The changes that we can anticipate will be referred to in history as one of the most significant era in human evolution. As the left gets sicker the right grows stronger until it breaks through. Then a new economic health period emerges that cleans up the left for a new era of growth. Then it starts all over again.
Last week I met with Caroline Hummels, director of the department of Industrial Design of the Technical University of Eindhoven. She gave me a copy of her inaugural lecture “Matter of Transformation, sculpting a valuable tomorrow” in which she refers to the transformative global development of economies. She had used the views of Brand and Rocchi, two senior management directors of Philips, who describe an organic move from industrial to transformative economies.
This linear transformation of economies would be motivated by various global issues. The industrial era has globalized and standardized massive manufacturing and logistical processes, creating a uniformity across the world of retail and consumption. It has been a strong growth arena for financial and business dinosaurs. Dinosaurs, not because of their long forgotten era but their oversized dimensions that will become extinct at the first hiccups in the global economies. In my own model of human complexities I refer to this as the area of “greed”. In the “secretes of life” it is the area of natural unlimited growth.
Growth is only unlimited until it meets competition. Global competition then started to place the focus on the consumer through marketing and positioning issues. Rather than massively producing products the turnaround was that they had to fulfill a need too, connecting to emotional values of a target group. The customers became important and sales got more complex than mere distribution. In my own model I refer here to chaos through competition where Darwin’s rules of the strongest, fastest, most aggressive, etc prosper.
The third phase is that competition hardly produces profitable scenarios anymore. Value has been eliminate through all kinds of techniques while focus had been placed on volume sales and growth. This is never unlimited so a new impulse was needed. Brand and Rocchi call this the “knowledge economy” which in fact we see occurring everywhere now. When competition does not work anymore one needs to become smart and adaptive. Smart means that one needs to seek for ways to be different. In my own model I refer to this as the phase of adjustment. It calls for inner reflection that reaches out to rational but also emotional awareness and applied wit. Business become greener (emotional awareness though applied ethics) and use design and local content (rational awareness though applied intelligence) to distinguish themselves. Local gets into the picture again as opposed the long period of globalization. Terms like glocalization, or my own Local 4 Local 4 Global, appear.
So far so good. In all these three natural steps of the evolution of economies we see one commonality. They all develop in a transactional world. The amount and quality of the transactions determine the success of the company and economy. On each transaction tax is raised on which the governments depend for financing their local issues around structuring infrastructures for maximization of transactions. Even though industries have been drawn (forced by public awareness and government regulations) to ethical values such as global warming, pollution, safeguarding natural resources, etc it are still the transactions that rule the game and give rise to manipulation, foul play and criminal practice.
The next step is that the transactional structure of the world economies break up and make way for the transformation economy. This economy is not transactional but based on the acceptance of key responsibilities. The increase of complex local issues of human drama, health problems, climate change, water and food shortages, natural and unnatural disasters with the related societal transformations, call for local attention and applied intelligence. All the technological and scientific knowledge is needed to create local ecological and social harmony when the risk of public unrest or disaster becomes big. I called this the era of search for harmony in carrying joint responsibilities through ethical values of responsibility. The motivation may well be less romantic in the cold calculating worlds of business and politics as they also agree that people without work, without perspective or health are poor consumers and unreliable voters. The institutional self preservation calls for taking responsibility even is this has been contrary to their original nature of institutional self interest.
Global issues need to be addressed locally developing local solutions through applied innovations that can find their way into the world as local dramas and needs elsewhere call out for them. This world is then not just transactional anymore. It is a world where ethical values call for responsibility, cooperation and solving existentialist issues locally first. Solutions that no one has created before and cannot be created by any of the fragmented specializations.
This type of economy is inherently different because it has no transactions to address or taxincome but a common purpose to deal with using the available specializations and authorities. You can’t buy a healthy or safe city, you have to co-create it. It is an investment in awareness, wit, vision on sustainable progress, innovation and togetherness.
When local solutions have been found then they can be globalized through the common practice of growth. Local for local adjustments may be required but the inspiration has been delivered as well as the way to address the commonality of the issues which has a global nature applied locally.
We are in the starting phase of the transformation from a transactional world to a transformative one where both are forced to coincide. The word “transformation” may then lead to confusion because the purpose that is being dealt with demands local transformative solutions that transform the local community itself not just products. But to make it happen also the economy itself needs to transform from transactional to collaborative. This affects the way local government, taxes, legal formats, etc work. It is hence much more complex than the previous fractional transitions and natural selections of companies that adjusted better or faster to the new era intelligently using instruments of growth, competition and adjustment. Now they are called to work together in a new format with new rules and manners. They do not interact anymore through the transfer of products, services, taxes, subsidies, policies. They need to interact together around a local purpose in a multidisciplinary way.
That is why I refer to the new type of this collaborative local for local for global society as a “Sustainocracy”. It allows participants to distinguish between the various simultaneous transformations, the societal, economical and the functional that they need to deal with. For a long time, maybe even for ever, the transactional and collaborative structures with co-exist. All participants need to get used to these worlds and the fascinating relationship between them that will cause yet another shake out among organizations and the appearance of new ones. The entire functioning of a society will transform including the way its economies work. A totally new field of organizational intelligence appears that introduces a totally new era referred to as the global shift, a mayor break through in human progress.
In Eindhoven we experiment with Sustainocracy in AiREAS (air pollution and human health) and other purpose driven cooperative ventures. I of course invited Caroline, her students and the University to participate. For them it will be challenging because not only products, industrial designs and infrastructures will transform with their insights. Also society, all institutions and the way labor is organized will undergo changes. Educating students that develop a transformative attitude through self reflection, awareness and professional specializations of change, will demand for other types of labor relationships than currently available in hierarchical structures of volume driven dinosaurs. These youngsters will be the new leaders of change in the setting of sustainocratic ventures that will spread across the world following the global issues for local solutions.