When somebody can express thoughts with elegant simplicity in one page, thoughts that have been working on me for 25 years and inspired many of my articles, speeches, and book chapters, then I feel the Zeitgeist caught up with my vision. Thank you, Fabio Barone!
The following page is republished from “The Future We Deserve.”
We are witnessing something unprecedented. We are observing how people are taking initiatives and creating the world they want to see. We are seeing how the Internet allows us to connect peers and empower individuals. We want to co-create, to engage with people and projects no matter where they are, we are drawn to collaborate, co-design, form communities, and imbue our actions with meaning and values. Are we headed towards a global collective intelligence, coagulating our endeavours to form one single big organization, with the Internet being something like the nervous system?
Maybe we are. We have got the tools, it’s time to connect the pieces together. Suresh Fernando stepped up to the crowds and said “let’s work as ecosystems”. Isn’t this beautiful? Ecosystems thrive on diverse webs of relationships by exchanging nutrients. The emergent pattern of a new paradigm for how we interact, facilitated by the Internet? We could all see ourselves as seeds of a thriving ecosystem. Could we imagine fermenting projects which could start creating the relationships for the ecosystem to unfold?
I believe there’s plenty of nutrients at our fingertips, which can be used to form new relationships. Start working with what we have, and evolve from there. Make connections with those to whom we have affinity. I believe this approach provides the right context for emergence to happen. A cell in my finger does not need to be directly related to one in my toe, nevertheless their functions allow my body to work as a whole. As caretakers of this ecosystem we learn to take stewardship of our communities, our assets, our planet.
Key will be infrastructure which can connect people who want to work together. Tools that make it easy for groups to self-organize, to exchange, create content and work items, and get things done. Arrangements that provide the legal frameworks for people to come and work together, no matter where they live, assisted by open capital allocation agreements. Transcend what we used to see as an enterprise or an organization. If these tools are set up in true P2P manner, then nobody can stop this wave. No governmental or multinational entity can step in and impose their interests.
Any individual can then become a contributor to such an enterprise – or any, really. And within this enterprise, democratic structures and decision making processes allow members to define the value they want to create. Thus, investors, contributors, mentors, etc. all share the same value base; profit ceases to be the measuring stick for success or motivation. Communities arise around shared values.
If we combine such infrastructure with open source principles, we have immense power at our hands. We could think of ‘centers of excellence’, offering everything needed to disseminate knowledge about renewable energies, clean technology, organic agriculture, permaculture – you name it. If this knowledge is freely accessible, distributable, and replicable, local and cultural adaptations to technologies become possible. Open hardware and distributed manufacturing could join in being providers of toolboxes for resilient, thriving communities – what Wael Al Saad calls ‘holistic eco-villages’, decentralized connected entities embedded in their natural environment and using locally available resources. Elements to help leapfrogging traditional environments into sustainable, interconnected nodes. Likewise sources of inspiration and know-how for people transitioning from oversized ecological footprints to healthy relationships with our environment.
As the “Coalition of the Willing” movie postulates, we could also think of “Open Innovation Centers”, in which people come together to design collaboratively and create value. We just need to create the environments for people to talk and work together. What would we be able to come up with?