For MLK & Internet Freedom Day: Do the right thing!

We stand on the edge of a new economy, looking out on potentially vast riches for all humankind.  These are not riches dug from the Earth — they are riches of personal wellbeing and shared creativity.  For that reason, the only limits lie in our ability to create together — and in the legal impediments we place upon ourselves.

The idea of copyright, of intellectual property, is a new one.  In the thousands of years of legal tradition upon which our global civilization relies, copyright is only a few hundred years old.  It was created in patent law and copyright law with the explicit purpose of providing wealth to creators, artists, authors & investors, encouraging them to create and share their creations, and thus to enrich their national communities.  Intellectual property is the plainest of social contracts: we agree to refrain from producing our own copies and derivative works, or to pay a fee to create them, because we believe that this will produce two results: creators will create more, and the populace will receive more value.

This bargain has not been fulfilled; we should call it null and void, and put another bargain in its place. Read the rest of this entry »

The good kind of avalanche

We’ve seen an avalanche of collapse as financial systems drag each other down. Now some Occupy folks are experimenting with a different kind — a really big “debt snowball”. What is the next step? Read the rest of this entry »

Knee Deep in Transition, avoiding donut organisations, and building the New Economy

Martin’s latest guest article for the Transition Towns Network (see link further below):

Transforming the way we think and do

Transition is huge. No matter that it isn’t yet dispersed everywhere, or having greater impact, there’s no arguing that it has reached far and wide, in to the lives or consciousness of many. People are practising everywhere. And yet I’m often surprised that the depth of Transition, its immense wisdom, roots, influences and tools aren’t better appreciated or utilised among even those who have a lot of experience in doing it. I’m surprised there are still Transitioners who haven’t read the Handbook, at least once, let alone read Rob Hopkins’ MSc dissertation, which I’d highly recommend.Permaculture Flower

I’m surprised when Transitioners aren’t regularly doing visioning; I think a streamlined version could be built in as a 5 minute insert into the majority of Transition meetings as a habit. I’m surprised when I’m met with surprise that collaborative governance systems such as Sociocracy and Viable Systems Model, the psychology of behavioural change, scenario planning, oral history and much more have influenced the Transition movement right from the start. That the pattern language of Transition isn’t more embodied. That the Project Support Project isn’t at the core of all initiatives. Or when Transitioners neglect to design in fun and celebration. Or getting paid.

Transition goes deeper than telling everyone else what they need to do differently, and deeper even than creative solutions that demonstrate the future and replenish the present. It is also a personal journey, and that remains true whether we’re just starting out or think of ourselves as ‘experts’; the journey into Transition is a lifelong one….

Continue reading at the Transition Network

Transition emerges when we seek it

This article was published on The Transition Towns‘ Network site. On personal resilience, Conscious Business, Sociocracy, Social Enterprise… Martin

Transition had a deeply transformative effect on my life. It has shaped and focussed my professional path since. It brought me into contact with the inspiration, community and tools that I was aching for. Since my local network became fractured and life has swept me onward, I have become immersed in exploring solutions to some of the questions that Transition posed for me. My special interest, among others, was the development of Transition enterprises and livelihoods. Read the rest of this entry »

Navigating the cross winds

Or The gulf between what we want and where we are

‘A plane is on the wrong course 90% of the time’

I was reminded of this nugget of wisdom today, while assessing where I’m at, where I’m going, where I said I wanted to go, and the habits that help or hinder my progress.
Navigating the cross winds
Of course aeroplanes normally arrive at their destination, which I find comforting. They do so because pilots regularly check against where they said they wanted to go, and adjust accordingly.

I know this probably sounds obvious, but I think we often neglect to check our course, and steer. I know that although I know it, I need reminding regularly. That’s ok, we are human and mortal. But that’s why it’s important to embed compass setting and evaluation into what we do Read the rest of this entry »

The part time crusader wins the long game

With thanks to Ian Lawton

I was at last week’s Greenspeak, recently relaunched here in Brighton, with NEF and Mappiness. I really loved this brilliant Edward Abbey quote relayed by Andrew Simms. It really speaks to my own experience and learning as an activist, and to my own roots: as a proud descendent of  ramblers involved with the great ‘mass trespasses’ of the 30’s, whose ashes were scattered at the base of Green Gable, and as someone who knows the importance of balancing long hours with finding refuge in the views The Mappiness Hedonimeterfrom the peaks, of dancing and comedy, of listening in awe to the sounds of creatures usually unseen. After all, if we are serious about sustainability, then we have to take it seriously in our own lives, and we have to take laughter seriously too. If we truly care about the dreams that we are working to manifest, Read the rest of this entry »

The fierce crucible of respectful communication

Guest blog by Adrienne Campbell, reposted from the Transition Towns website:

It’s not by chance that Respectful Communication comes number three in the list of Ingredients in the Transition Companion. Groups won’t survive, let alone flourish, without it.

For me, it goes a lot deeper than not being rude, or the kind of advanced civility that Rob describes.  It’s not enough just to be kind to each other, and to try to accommodate the other’s point of view. Sure, when you’re in a ‘no problem’ area you can give and take a little, give each other the benefit of the doubt, let comments slip unchallenged.

But it’s when people have differing opinions – and hopefully they will – that the power of respectful communication is tested.  How often have we been in a group where you can tell that people are ‘withholding’ opinions, biting their tongues because they don’t want to be rude or cause conflict by disagreeing, only for issues to later erupt in one big bang? Or for people to leave, slipping away, or in a massive drama that takes other people out? Read the rest of this entry »

Co-operative Principles and Sociocracy

I am passionate about economic democracy — not so much in the sense of majority rule voting, but in the sense of the people involved in something controlling it together.  Some people have argued that, for this purpose, organising as a sociocratic business is better than organising as a co-operative business.  Sociocratic businesses allow their members to participate in decision-making regardless of the size of their contribution to the business’s capital; sociocratic businesses do not get torn apart by the Scylla of majority-rule politics or sucked down by the Charybdis of interminable and impotent meetings.  However, many co-ops do not suffer from these problems either — and a co-op can remain a co-op while becoming a sociocratic business.  The opposition between co-op and Sociocracy is a false one.  Let me show you why. Read the rest of this entry »

The Good Chef

“The good chef (chief) walks around her kitchen, with a clean apron and a pocket full of spoons”.

I love this quote, that Louis shared with me the other day. Apparently it came from a local chef he knows, but for me it says a lot about Facilitative Leadership and Collaborative Governance. It talks to me of support, measurement and trust. And it sounds fun and delicious!


Collaborative Governance – Societal Innovation And Learning for our times

John Bristow recently interviewed Nate for Societal Innovation And Learning; John writes a short explanation of what the Sociocratic model of Governance is about, and features several short videos of Nate entertaining with a discussion of the historical, political and philosophical context, hierarchy and control in organisations, and how to use Collaborative Governance.

“This is of interest to anyone interested in addressing the issues of alienating and ineffective uses of hierarchy and methods of control in organisations and groups of all sizes.  And in the question of how to have equality in being heard and having influence together with efficient decision making and action. While developed over 40 years ago in the Netherlands and then used in different sectors and contexts in the US of A and elsewhere, this is still relatively little known in the UK….”  Continue article and see short videos here

To find out more about Sociocracy, Organisational Democracy or Collaborative Governance, start here