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Governance Structures – Decentralised or Constellation model

As Zeitgeist Movement chapters around the world are increasing in size there are a number of them growing beyond the size that a single co-ordinator can handle. On top of this, the Venus Project is feeling like it has lost control. As this happens there becomes questions about information flow, decision making, and how to prevent the bickering and in-fighting which will prevent humanity from taking the correct path and is far more likely that civilisation will spiral out of control, instead of finding itself at the veritable oasis that is the Resource Based Economy.

What is needed now is a defined governance structure which allows everyone to have a say, but with weighting given to those who have a greater understanding. The two main models are the Constellation model, and the decentralised Starfish model.

The Constellation Model of Collaborative Social Change

“The Constellation model is a governance framework for multi-organisational collaboration. It is a way of organising a group of interested parties to meet a need without having to create a new organisation to ‘hold’ the issue.

It is a tool to help us recognise and become conscious designers in a complex ecosystem of organisational collaboration. This constellation model emerged out of a need to support a tight partnership of 11 organisations – the Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and Environment. It has been emerging and serving since 2001 and is in constant flux as we iteratively adapt the structure to serve our vision and to expand our reach and more effectively engage our ecosystem.” — http://www.socialinnovationexchange.org/node/169

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In mid 2010 I attended a Social Innovator Dialogues talk by Tonya Surman about the Constellation model of collaborative social change.

The concept is a hybrid centralised/decentralised approach to helping and handling bundles of self-organising teams based around a common ‘magnetic attractor’.

In this case that magnetic attractor would be a better future for all humanity and the vision statement is the Resource Based Economy.

Using this model the Venus Project, Zeitgeist Movement, Resource Based Economy Foundation, Free world charter, Tromsite, Humanity test.org and other such groups would form different constellations. With representatives from each being a part of the ‘Stewardship Group‘. [Refer to the the framework diagram below]

Each group could focus on what they do best. For example The Venus Project can work on the technical/engineering answers. The Zeitgeist Movement is good at spreading the word and helping change peoples mindset, the RBEF has a more resource gathering focus, and Tromsite is a great educational resource.

I like to think of the framework as an expandable net around the group. If the casing is made of steel then whilst it is hard to break, it can’t expand and adjust very easily. In this example the steel box would be a large corporation with all its policies, procedures and legalities.

On the other spectrum, completely unmanaged groups have nothing to tie them together so they fly off in various directions very easily and can’t push humanity towards the magnetic attractor (the RBE). It is hard to keep such groups focused. Think of it like this, Boiling water will turn into steam, but without being directed and focused it won’t be able to turn the turbines that create electricity.

The Constellation model allows the right level of rigidity and flexibility for the current stage of RBE transition. It allows all the groups to work synergistically. To work together collaboratively and co-operatively, just as everyone is advocating the rest of humanity do.

For those that need more convincing that everyone can’t go it alone, realise that it is hard to gather the resources required. 100 groups individually trying to raise enough time, money, members and physical resources to implement a transition will mean that none of them will properly succeed, but 100 groups working together certainly can. We need a certain threshold of resources before we can really start. Something far easier if there is 1 main group which is gathering the resources for 100 chapters/sub-groups. An example is that a government or corporation can donate time, money and resources to a registered non-profit, but can’t easily contribute to 20 groups of ad-hoc members who meet every couple of weeks. On the flip side, the 20 ad-hoc groups can get a lot of work done, especially when they are action focused teams.

[Diagram] The Constellation Model Framework

Constellation Model Framework

For more information, and an explanation of what the wacky diagram means, check out the PDF.

I personally think ZM is already using something very close to this setup with its chapter structure, so it is not a very big leap. We are really just expanding who we regard as friends.

The other ‘non-pyramid’ based governance model’s I’ve come across are the Starfish (vs the Spider) model explained below, and also the Geodesic dome principal that World Mind posted a lot about.

Moving forward we should aim to use the most effective governance model for the situation. The Constellation model could be perfect for the moment, but later on we will likely transition to a more Starfish, decentralised basis, and maybe after the transition we can use the Geodesic Structure. Note also that different constellations will likely have different structures internally. Some projects may themselves use a constellation model.

Please, do read the PDF and discuss.

Links :

The Starfish : Decentralised Governance

Summary

One thing that business, institutions, governments and key individuals will have to realise is that spiders and starfish may look alike, but starfish have a miraculous quality to them. Cut off the leg of a spider, and you have a seven-legged creature on your hands; cut off its head and you have a dead spider. But cut off the arm of a starfish and it will grow a new arm. Not only that, but the severed arm can grow into an entirely new body. Starfish can achieve this feat because, unlike spiders, they are decentralized; every major organ is replicated across each arm.

But starfish don’t just exist in the animal kingdom. Starfish organizations are taking society and the business world by storm, and are changing the rules of strategy and competition. Like starfish in the sea, starfish organizations are organized on very different principles than we are used to seeing in traditional organizations. Spider organizations are centralized and have clear organs and structure. You know who is in charge. You see them coming.

Starfish organizations, on the other hand, are based on completely different principles. They tend to organize around a shared ideology or a simple platform for communication- around ideologies like al Qaeda or Alcoholics Anonymous. They arise rapidly around the simplest ideas or platforms. Ideas or platforms that can be easily duplicated. Once they arrive they can be massively disruptive and are here to stay, for good or bad. And the Internet can help them flourish.

So in today’s world starfish are starting to gain the upper hand.

How did tiny Napster cripple the global music industry? Why is free, community based Wikipedia crushing Encyclopaedia Britannica almost overnight? Why is tiny Craigslist crippling the global newspaper industry? Why is Al Qaeda flourishing and even growing stronger? In today’s world to answer this it is essential to understand the potential strength of a starfish organization.

The Starfish and the Spider by Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom, explores the phenomenal and unstoppable new power of the starfish organizations and will change the way you look at the world.

Links/Resources :

Proposed Transition Steps to a Resource Based Economy.

By Mark Rogers, South Australia, Australia

Brief Overview

A Resource Based Economies (RBE) main goal is to use the resources of the planet, in sustainable ways, to raise the standard of living for all humanity, to help restore the biosphere to one that sustains not just the human population, but the remaining flora and fauna for generations to come.

Let’s look at some core challenges facing humanity today :

  • ‘Shortages’ and Equitable Distribution of Food.
  • Shortages and Equitable Distribution of Fresh Water.
  • Shortages and Equitable Distribution of Energy (Electrical/Oil).
  • Oil Production now constant, with rising demand, driving prices up and stalling national and world economies.
  • Rising Unemployment due to Automation reducing people spending ability and ultimately their ability to survive.
  • The Decline of the Global Monetary System: As Debt Mechanisms and Consumer Cycles destabilise, sometimes in dramatic ways with unforeseen results.
  • Development and Failure to Roll Out of Third Generation Renewable Technologies to minimise our reliance on oil/coal for energy.
  • Equitable Distribution of Safe and Healthy environments of second and third world states.
  • Corporate ‘Ownership’ of Genetic ‘patents’ & GM Foods that benefit only the corporation.
  • The Increasing Extermination Rate of global flora and fauna.
  • Green House Gases accelerating Global Warming.
  • The increasing amount of waste produced as a by-product of the Monetary System.
  • The destruction of the Biosphere, which humanity needs to survive.
  • Increased Population and population growth exasperating all of the above.
  • Increased wars and confrontations to forcefully take what is needed to survive.
  • The lack of political willpower, backed with long term vision and resources, to tackle all of the above.

One way or another we are all approaching a time of dramatic change. If we are to have any chance of surviving we need to examine what is failing us today and investigate what solutions we may have, even though if at first glance appear to be radical ideas. With this in mind I propose that a realistic look, research and evaluation of the RBE is highly advised as a way of tackling all  of the above, not just for survival, but elevation of the whole human race and the world we inhabit.

Info can be found here : http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com
and at: http://www.thevenusproject.com

Ok, so now you have watched tens of hours of video, a couple hundred pages of text and hopefully come to a few Zeitgeist movement meetings in your local area. That puts us at a similar level of understanding.

At this stage often one of the first questions is “what can I do to help?

Well the most important thing we can do at this stage is raise awareness of a RBE, The Zeitgeist Movement, and The Venus Project. So simply talking to friends, family, acquaintances definitely helps. Even showing them Zeitgeist Moving Forward etc. should be even more informative to those interested.
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New Critical Thinking vids

Believe Nothing

Critical Thinking

Have you come across any other good videos that should be shown? Let us know!

Carl Sagan Speaks Zeitgeist

This is a great video. Carl Sagan never officially supported the Zeitgeist Movement because he died before it even existed, however this is a great example of how revered scientists have very similar beliefs in the world.

Note : It helps to enable the subtitles.

Zeitgeist Moving Forward

The 3rd Zeitgeist film is online!

This film has more truth in it than the average person can handle.

http://zeitgeistmovingforward.com/

 

Note : This film stands on its own. You don’t have to have seen the previous Zeitgeist films in order to watch this. In fact I highly recommend watching this first.

If you enjoyed this film then think about purchasing a copy of the DVD to support the director Peter Joseph, or joining the movement and changing the world.

The Reality of Me : TROM site

This is an amazing way of learning about the science and understandings of the world around us.

 

The Reality of Me - http://tromsite.com/

 

This site shows 12 hours of documentaries and videos together in a Zeitgeist Movement oriented fashion.
This is one of the most amazing online resources for helping new members understand the concepts required to properly understand the Zeitgeist Movement.

[ZM Projects] Project Points

I’ve put up a little post on the Zinfo projects site if people are interested.

http://projects.zeitgeist-info.com/2011/01/14/project-points/

I’d love to get some feedback about the idea.

Cheers!

So you want a real democracy do you?

Written by Andrew Buxton on Monday, 24 May 2010.

Democracy:

A group of 12 people (Number will vary according to size of population – 12 is just being used as an example as i dont want to be typing this list forever)

2 Architects, 1 Bus Driver, 2 Cleaners, 1 Salesman, 1 Florist, 1 Banker, 1 Business Director, 1 Window Cleaner, 1 Art Student, and a Structural Engineer.

Their Task.. To design a bridge between two islands to connect the people and make transporting of resources, goods and services between the two islands easier.

They go through hundreds of designs, and at every stage the structural engineer says they wont work.. they may look pretty but they wont work.

The majority vote for a certain design, and go and build it (or others do)
and when its complete they decide to celebrate by being the first to travel across the bridge to celebrate with the inhabitants of the other island. As they go across it collapses and everyone dies, (Except the Structural Engineer – Who knew it wasn’t safe)

I don’t like the idea of democracy… do you?

Its important to understand that you have never lived in a participatory democracy, and you really have to think if you would want one. Ask yourself these questions:

  • How do you increase the agricultural yield in a country where the soil is high in nitrates?
  • How would you design the software to manage and distribute food within a total city system
  • How would you stop cars from hitting each other, or pedestrians?
  • How would you design the Heating & Ventilation system for 800 homes in a circular city design?
  • How would you regulate the production of any particular good based on the carrying capacity of the city?
  • How would you determine the best source of renewable energy for a city?

If you cant answer these questions, where do you think you will participate in the running and design of the cities and society as a whole? Where do you participate in your current system?

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The Case for Collaborative Consumption

This TED talk is a great example of how there is already a big cultural change from hyper-consumption to collaboration.

People don’t want a music CD, they want the music that’s on it. They don’t want a power drill, they want the holes in their wall. Most people aren’t interested in a car, they are interested in getting to their destination.

TED talk : The Case for Collaborative Consumption

This is but a small part of the cultural shift required to achieve the Resource Based Economy, but it’s happening without people even understanding the full implications.

Economy vs Democracy

Here’s a quick one for you.

The foundation of Economics is Adam Smith’s idea that the monetary system works well because everyone works in their own self-interests.

Our current form of Democracy is representative. We vote for people who will then represent the wants, needs and culture of their electorate. So they are meant to be working in the interests of those that they represent.

It sounds like the current form of Democracy is incompatible with the current form of economics.


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