One of the best articles I have found on this big, great transition we are experiencing is Hazel Henderson’s The New Financiers. In this piece, Henderson, the founder of Ethical Markets and thought leader for a group of progressive investors and people using money as leverage for change, talks about how consciousness and social capital will balance out the ego-driven money grubbing that exemplifies Wall St, and inform a new group of leaders.
Henderson leads off her piece, “the new financiers will be the high-level information and knowledge brokers – and they will aggregate the new research on global change processes and lead in structuring the deals now creating the growing green economy. Today information and media drive markets.”
Then she gets to the bottom of the connection, “The new deal-makers value the role of honest, well-managed currencies that remain dependable stores of value and mediums of exchange. Money is a special kind of information, not a commodity in itself, but rather a brilliant invention of the human mind. When backed by real-world goods and service, as well as strong contracts, money can accurately track and score human ingenuity, productivity and transactions interacting with the natural wealth of resources of our home: Planet Earth.”
I think this is probably the most eloquent description yet of the change I have been contemplating for nearly a decade. … and that’s not even the point. ; )
If you can forgive me the conceit of talking about myself for a second (not my favorite trait in bloggers), I’ve been a pretty sporadic blogger this year. A mix of moderately heavy consulting work, reading and thinking about the epochal transition, and an extended experiment with Twitter have kept me from pouring much into the nuance intelligence blog bucket.
There’s an ever-evolving blog post I’m writing called “The New Normal” that starts, “A system that values and compensates an individual’s contribution to their community will replace the “greed is good” ethic that allowed Wall St. to dominate our world for the past 30 years.” Seems simple enough, but the natural evolution from that concept indicates a fundamental transition in our relationship to economics, natural resources, other people, and — for the most part — how we live our lives. In fact, I believe that we are — consciously or not — re-writing the basic Social Contract that ties us together as humanity.
Great piece on the bioneers blog today lamenting the fact that important issues get overlooked in favor of the latest news cycle. They call these important issues “Olds,” in contrast to the “News” in the headlines each day.
And they point out that our Olds are not getting addressed very often in the News — issues like overpopulation, overconsumption of natural resources and decreasing energy supply, among others. They go on to point out that these are the issues that have led to the collapse of several previously great societies, like the Anazazi, May, Norse and more — a point they adopted from Jared Diamond’s book Collapse.
I can summarize it any better than they could:
His list and the list of things that aren’t in the News are disturbingly similar. The truly disturbing part is that while the civilizations Mr. Diamond described were peak civilizations rivaling any now in existence, they were all relatively contained in their own geographic region. Their collapse was a loss to humanity, but there were plenty of people around to rebuild and continue the species. Now we find a civilization that has become global and that is facing the same kinds of problems the led to the demise of all the great civilizations from the past. These are not new problems, but the situation for humanity is more tenuous. When this civilization collapses who will survive and where will they go?
If there were any doubt, a recent piece in the Financial Times leaked a report (free reg req’d) from the International Energy Agency which says that global oil production is already decreasing.
I wrote about this over at the Business Catapult blog.
Dylan said it best,
the first one now will later be last
the present now will late be past
the order is rapidly changing…
It has been an exciting few weeks, with many high-end networking events in Boulder around sustainability, investing and clean tech. While the financial crisis remains in full swing, many investors, entrepreneurs and thought leaders are looking to the future and charting the course for the next phase in the Boulder / Colorado / U.S. economy.
Trustworthy sources are telling us about multiple 8- and 9-figure funds being raised for clean tech and sustainability investing, as well as rumors of keen interest in that space from private equity. The rumor of Kleiner Perkins posting a one-man team at NREL to help spin out investable clean tech companies is confirmed as well — we met him this week. Vague inquiries are coming from as far away as Tel Aviv and Sau Paolo.
Or, as my partner Kevin Johansen is saying these days, “recession my ass!”
Leading Boulder Web2.0 companies are even hosting a job fair to bring more technical talent into town, although there are also rumors of layoffs at weaker firms. It’s going to be a mixed bag in that space, and the wheat will quickly be separated from the chaff.
If you want to escape the doom and gloom for a day, and join a more prosperous and optimistic future, look no further than the Angel Capital Summit, November 21, in Denver. Highlights include:
- Anita Burke’s presentation on how to run a business in a world of Peak Everything (including capital, it seems).
- 40 of Colorado’s strongest entrepreneurial growth-oriented businesses presenting investment opportunities.
- A TOWN HALL discussion called Disrupting the Recession, where a diverse group of thought leaders will talk directly with conference attendees about how we can all come together to build an Entrepreneurial Renaissance in Colorado.
- Surprise visit from one of Colorado’s favorite political leaders.
I’d love to know what you think about all this. The TOWN HALL is still evolving, and your input will help make it better.
Please join us on November 21st in downtown Denver for this community gathering during a unique moment in history.
Blogged his interview with Charlie Rose over at Business Catapult blog.
Unique and interesting perspective. Check it.
Well, it took me a while. I came off my game for almost two weeks.
But on a drive home from an inspiring meeting with Kevin (Johansen, my Business Catapult business partner and long time co-consipirator), I fully and completely transcended (and included, as the integral school teaches) the financial crisis. That is to say, the crisis is a moment in time, and will be over sometime soon. The future will have to include the history and (future) present of the impact of the crisis, but we will move beyond it. So I am THERE.
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss …
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!
What am I talking about?
You need to watch a video that captures, in just over five minutes, a strong analogy of the American mindset.
Last week, Steven Colbert had Cornell West on his show. It is an incredible interview. Two highly influential American change agents — each of whom has built an impactful and borderline absurd public persona — face off in a risky (albeit taped, not live) venue.
What’s the nuance?
Beyond the good theater — which was in ample supply on both sides – I think there’s something deeper. At the heart of the debate is a question of values. And as we’re seeing revealed here is an allegory for the evolving American mind, times, and people.
Take a look, and tell me if you see it, too.
I couldn’t be more excited about getting to work with AWhere on helping design a collective intelligence engine for the UN Foundation.
Here’s a recent two-part intervew I did at the AWhere Blog with UNF change agent Kevin Starace. In his words:
As chair of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Performance Subcommittee we’re mandated to help the sector improve effectiveness. Starting in 2007, we’ve been trying to find a technology that enables several things:
- This one is the most important: we’ve got to break down silos across all boundaries, sectors and specialties, including but not limited to funding, institutional knowledge and to create a sector-wide peer review process.
- Performance evaluation – how are we, collectively, achieving these huge global targets? Specifically, those in alignment with the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG), including an 85% distribution of bed nets and reduction of child mortality.
- Provide platform by which all health initiatives can input information that is relevant to scientific advancement, investment evaluation, and providing a complete picture of what’s going on at the ground level.
After I first talked to [AWhere CEO] John Corbett, I realized that the common denominator for all of those problems is location. What matters is not our organizational and bureaucratic divisions, but what’s happening to the people on the ground. If we organize information sharing around the location of the problem, it helps us create a new collaborative holistic vantage point…
The ability to geographically correlate meaningful information from disparate sources in real time will forever alter our ability to improve the lives of people around the world. That has never been possible before, and it’s literally going to change everything.
On a personal level, it’s incredibly humbling to even think in these terms. That I’m helping design a small part of it is an honor. Any advice?
Over the years, I’ve done a lot of reading and thinking about what it means to have virtual countries, as an extension of virtual communities. I’ve investigated citizenship, legal and virtual, and have learned a lot about island nations, especially Sealand.
One of my current projects is designing a hybrid social network and media portal for citizens of a large South American nation. We’re facing an interesting philosophical question — are we cataloging the experience of these ‘trans-nationalists’ (a term coined by the project founder), or are we creating a virtual country within which people fully exist, ala Second Life (but without the 3-d graphics).
Trans-nationalism becomes an interesting sub-text, the living of a life not in one country’s culture or another, but in two simultaneously.
The design challenges never end, which is the fun of nuance intelligence.