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 :

PJ Steps down

In somewhat unfortunate news, Peter Joseph, the creator of the Zeitgeist film trilogy and The Zeitgeist Movement is stepping down as the public figurehead of The Zeitgeist Movement.

He announced this in response to a post on the International Forum (3rd post on the 2nd page). The in which Jacque Fresco (most say misguidedly) condemns Peter Joseph and says that The Zeitgeist Movement doesn’t know anything and have no plan.

Update : There’s been an interview with Roxanne Meadows regarding The Venus Projects perspective

Video of Jacque which triggered the stepdown

PJ’s post :

So, in consideration of this, with respect to Jacque – I will no longer be actively publicly representing TZM or TVP.
I could address his hasty statements directly, but I am not going to do that to myself as it’s simply sad.

This falls on the heels of a level of personal exhaustion and general life frustration which requires personal time anyway.

I will continue to orient a radio show rotation of new speakers, content and help with event days and the many other project based issues in the background… I will also continue to personally finance the global movement’s work…but I want everyone to know that I am removing myself as a forefront spokesman… a figure I never wanted to be, in fact. A position which has neg affected my personal and mental health a great deal, to be frank.

So, this is good grounds to see how many out there can lift themselves to high levels of communication. I have also informed TVP that all major press will be turned over to them so they can make sure “their” message is “accurate”… as apparently mine isn’t.

At the end of the day, let it be known that I don’t care about TZM or TVP or “Jacque Fresco” or “Peter Joseph” as entities to be perpetuated.

I care about a new, working social system only and I will not stop with that pursuit in the long run.
~peter

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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.

Factors Affecting Behaviour

Update: Dr Robert Sapolsky has done a TED talk which puts these factors of human behaviour into great context, focused around the timeframes with which they have an effect. Check it out

Below is an edited comment of what I posted to http://tacsi.org.au/family-by-family-prototype-week-1/
For the last few years I’ve had an active interest in Human Behaviour.
I’ve spent hundreds of hours hours reading books, watching recorded uni lectures (in psychology, neuro-biology and the like), some awesome TED talks, audiobooks, white papers, general social analysis and lots of conversations. From all of that I’ve noticed there are a range of factors affecting peoples behaviour.
In approximate order they are :
  1. Situation [Role] – The current situation the person is in. e.g being in a prison vs being at an office, a pool party or walking past a house on fire. Special mention should be given to ‘normal’ social situations and crisis situations.
  2. Environment [Resources] – Beyond just the situation, this is what resources someone has access to, e.g if you can already hear the fire fighters sirens, if it is dark and the guards aren’t looking, or if there are nice windows with trees to look out at when stressed.
  3. Habits [Triggered/Automatic Responses] – Habits are usually those things which you do without really thinking about anymore. BJ Fogg lists this as the BluePath, doing a familiar behaviour from now on. An example might be brushing your teeth before you go to bed. At some point you had to learn the habit, but now you do the behaviour almost instinctively.
  4. History [Knowledge and experience] – How/Have you been trained to deal with the situation? Have you been in a similar situation, what did you do and did it work?
  5. Perspective [Time, Beliefs] – What is your Time Perspective (past positive/negative, present headonistic, deterministic, future oriented, afterlife). What is your religious and moral beliefs. Do you align yourself to an emo, punk, hippy, military or some other stereotype? This is very similar to the cultural expectations, but regarding the specific sub-group to the general culture.
  6. Culture [Expectations] – What the general expectations are for a person in that situation and environment. If your sub-group hasn’t specified what it’s stance is, then what is generally considered morally justified? Stopping CPR on the random homeless guy on the street after 4mins might be seen as fine, whilst stopping CPR after 20mins on a child who’s drowned in a pool might cause outrage.
  7. Emotions [Mood] – Was the person happy or sad at the time?
  8. Hormones [Emotional propensity] – If you are a teenage male you are likely to have a surge in testosterone which will amplify the likelyhood of aggression (assuming the situation is one that involves violence or aggression). This can be thought of as shortening the ‘fuse’ so to speak. Pregnant women can be particularly susceptible to stress and may become even more irritable due to lack of food than normal… Drugs can also have a similar although usually more profound but short lived effect.
  9. Pre-natal [How birth affected you] – Humans are far more susceptible to conditioning during birth than most people realise. When your mother was pregnant with you, if she was heavily stressed then it can have negative consequences. If she was obese then you are more likely to be obese { http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNjlcGikW_0 }. A child after birth also needs the right amount of care and attention. They need to be held and touched and talked to.
  10. Genetics [Physical propensity] – There is barely a 0.5% difference in genetic material between humans and we are only 4-6% genetically different from apes. Our DNA is 90% similar to cats. Given such similarity it is generally said that genetics can cause a propensity for a particular behaviour or physical attribute, but it is the environment which which has the most impact. { http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=25335 }

Different circumstances will mean the resulting behaviour is influenced by the factors above in differing amounts. Whilst normally the situation and environment will be the most influential  a strong enough culture and belief can over-ride that. If you want to change peoples behaviour you need to work out which are the most important factors involved or which other factors can over-ride those and you can try to change or at least deal with them.

An example is the selfish-gene concept. That humans are simply a mechanism by which genes can make a copy of themselves. Whilst this may be the default behaviour of people it is not the absolute only factor which affects our behaviour. Another important thing to note is that the concept of our ‘kin’ or family is very important in many cases. Who are people that we should help and be around, versus those that are against us. Our understanding of kin has grown larger over time, from immediate family to village, group (e.g religious group or work colleges) to nations and at the present rate will soon encompass the world. Doing so helps reduce the violence within our species. We will likely need to expand kin to include other animals and should we meet friendly alien entities it may have to include even them.

I do have a question. Are morals another factor which affect behaviour? Or are they a product of a combination of the above factors?

For a quick overview of social thinking, including the Stanford Prison Experiment, check out the video below :

If you enjoyed the above then some resources that may be of interest include :

More in depth resources :

Name : Human Behavioral Biology by Dr Robert Sapolsky.

There’s plenty of other resources. If would like like more please comment below or email michael@zeitgeist-info.com

NB : Added Habits above History. Because habits can be done without thinking they are more than just memory recall they almost like muscle memory.. if you could call it that. – 7th Jan 2012

Note : Knowing that there is a different way of doing something and changing peoples values and mindset is one of the most important but usually hardest steps when moving forward.

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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