© Jon Freeman  2015

 

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Jon Freeman

Visioning the Future

Collaboration for Change


Where there is no vision, the people perish.                Proverbs 29:18

Purpose

The purpose of Collaboration for Change is to create a more powerful, aligned and concerted voice in support of a societal and economic change platform.  

Reason for existence

Our premise is that there are many individuals and organisations working passionately, diligently and with considerable expertise in support of a fresh, values-based, sustainable and ethical way with money, economics, business and capitalism.  At a high level these organisations share a common view regarding the current problems which call for a shift.  All could articulate the need with clarity and passion.  In most cases there is agreement about the general nature of the shift.   However our voices and influence are diluted.  There are specific focuses on particular portions of the overall problem.  There are particular emphases in presentation.  Each organisation needs and desires to make its own voice heard and express its creative contribution.  Most need to establish their own financial viability in a small and nascent marketplace - whether that be for charitable funding, social entrepreneurship, not-for-profit commerce or for-profit solutions and consultancy.

The challenge

The majority of us – we who operate in this arena - are motivated by very high values and goals.  There are strong altruistic impulses and motivation to work for the greater good.  Many are naturally collaborative and inclusive in their thinking.  Few believe that their piece of the puzzle is the whole picture.  Few would claim that our challenges will be met by their solution alone.  

Precisely because none of us have “the solution” it is hard to create an effective message.  It can appear that we are struggling against vested interests.  However, while these exist, they are not the core problem.  The collective readiness to act is trapped by a pincer of fears.  Most in our society know that we are vulnerable on several fronts and that we need something different.  There are fears around economic and resource fragility, ecological and climatic sustainability, political tensions, inequalities and migration pressures, all compounded by volatility, interconnections and unpredictability.   At the same time there is fear that any change will add to the instability.  Knowing that we have built a house of cards can make us scared to move.

All of our individual messages face the challenge that on their own they are insufficient, and without other accompanying and contextual changes, they are perceived as unviable.  There are widespread conventional collective mind-sets regarding how life needs to work.  Despite the fact that those mind-sets are the ones that created our current problems, they still inhabit our societal being at every level.   Change agents and their proposed solutions are picked off one by one.   Experts in culture and values are met with arguments about systemic constraints and impossibilities.  Systemic solutions are met with objections based on mind-set and willingness.   We lack a comprehensive picture or a foundational platform and we lack a concerted voice.  

A proposed solution

We need to collaborate with a specific purpose – that of making the full picture visible to a wide audience.  The response to dilution is to present both our pieces and the surrounding context.  We need to bring our individual pieces of the puzzle and we need a table to assemble them on. The answer to a small marketplace is to rise above our individual needs and our fears around competition for a small slice of a small cake, by creating a bigger cake.   

It has perhaps appeared that we needed more people to know that 40 days and nights of rain are coming; many of us have become skilled in pointing to the clouds.  But what if that is no longer the problem?  What if the problem is that no-one has any idea what an ark could look like, still less how to construct one?

The clouds bring a multi-layered problem:-

A narrow values frame which includes and sustains a widespread illusion about what money really is, pervading all of the contexts and scales below.  

A belief that if we can manage money and make it grow, we will somehow feed and house more people and make them happier, failing as a result to deliver what humans actually need and desire

An ethical context which frequently fails to balance individual freedoms with collective and planetary well-being, cannot harmonise privacy with social accountability, is excessively reliant on inadequate, unresponsive and sometimes corrupted legal enforcement, and operates on rules that may be bent rather than core principles that must be observed

A business context that struggles to govern and balance the needs and benefits of money suppliers, raw materials suppliers, labour and expertise suppliers, receivers of goods and services, neighbourhoods, environment, social good, taxation and regulation

A societal context that is incapable of joining all the dots in its decision-making so that both long-term and short-term costs and benefits are understood in their entirety and in their relationship to human motivation and behaviour

A political context that is driven by adversarial and polarised thinking, short-termist in its policy-formulation, stuck in ideologies rather than pragmatism, managing the money and not the realities of the world

A global economic context that has replaced capitalism with debtism, has detached the value of money from any foundation in material or human resources and capacities, is driven by speculation more than wealth creation, is operated by computers, has subverted any naturally self-correcting free-market principles and is managed on behalf of a few, by a few, at the expense of the many and the planet we share

A lack of capacity to join the vertical scales in such a way that each layer operates in recognition of the others

A lack of connection between multiple niches within any of the horizontal scales.

The many solutions will therefore need to be multi-layered and multifaceted.  They will need be emergent, responsive and agile.  They will need to be applied both bottom-up and top-down within each layer.  They will need to be supported and enabled from surrounding layers.  They will need to blend and harmonise within layers, and over time to create a naturally self-balancing web in both horizontal and vertical dimensions; i.e. within niches and levels of scale, and between levels of scale and embedded context.      They will need to work on the principle of creating flexibility and adaptability.  They will need to increase the levels of self-organisation in all areas, thinking globally and acting locally, thinking collectively and acting individually.

These solutions exist and there are many of them, far too many to list.  You, and people you know, are offering, promoting and delivering them.  Many of us foresaw these needs and have invested heavily in passion, brilliance, time, money, commitment, training, product and personal development in order to be ready to meet them.  For us all to thrive and to deliver the benefits and contributions that we are offering we will have to make them visible, not as specific brands but as generic and collective approaches.

Invitation

We invite you to indicate if you would be interested to attend an initial meeting to look at how we might create this collaboration, and how we might campaign under a single banner to promote a solutions architecture and develop its detail.  Just as the internet is built on shared protocols and platforms supported by a generic infrastructure, so must a new socio-economic, business, political and cultural framework be offered in order that humanity can benefit from our collective creativity, thrive in diversity, emerge in harmony.  This must be a whole that is greater than the sum of our individual parts and thoroughly independent of our individual brands, creating an ecology in which all of those brands can grow and thrive.   It must be organic in its concept, freeing spirit, heart and intellect in service of humanity’s next stage.   

There are few pre-requisites for joining this endeavour.  It starts with the desire and the willingness to rise above our concerns and fears, to collaborate in pursuit of wide goal.  We can see the rain.  Are you ready to work on the Ark?  

 

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