Self Organizing and Co-creation in the Post Capitalism Era of Gift Economics
From June 2016 through April 2017 my friends and community had an amazing experiment in living the Gift Economy. Our friends in Rotterdam, Netherlands completely gifted us a floor in a 11,000 square meter building so we could prototype our social architectures, technologies and living in the gift. We had access to industrial kitchen, office space, a stage, a beautiful atrium as well as full WIFI, bedrooms, showers, etc... A very special and well deserved thanks to our brothers and sisters from the Meesteren Foundation who had the courage to share this space with us, as us, unconditionally.
There's a lot to share from this experience that can be invaluable for other people & communities who are striving to live in the sharing, gift and other new paradigm economies. We had some literally priceless experiences in learning about resonance, self organization, passion, and what happens when people are gifted their basic needs.
For this blog post I am going to share a review we did of some of our experiences. I believe the section below on KEY LEARNINGS can be valuable for any Steemians who are developing or part of a project or community working in these new ways and learning together.
S Y N E R G Y H U B 1 . 0
FIRST SPIRAL (2016) - REVIEW AND FORECAST
P U R P O S E
This ‘First Spiral Review and Forecast’ documents the key learnings and experiences from the first year of the Synergy Hub project. The spiral represents the idea of being on a journey that can feel circular, but is gradually moving forwards/upwards and growing outwardly (vortex-like) as things progress. The journey is winding and flowing, and gains energy and strength naturally over time. The spiral invites us to move out of linear ways of thinking about projects and see the natural growth with each iteration of a co-creation. The review is designed to illuminate what was learned across a specified period and what the outcomes were of the spiral so we can see how we naturally evolved in the process.
I N T R O D U C T I O N
Synergy Hub Rotterdam is a ‘catch all’ title for a complex social experiment that has been undertaken across 2016, involving a range of co-creative partners and projects. Most newcomers to the project struggle to understand what the project is about and what has actually been unfolding at the hub. This is due to the range of partners involved and the complexity of the experiment itself, which can be difficult to understand at a surface level. This document aims to provide a simple overview of the project and its goals, and capture learnings for the purpose of the next ‘spiral’ of development.
For information, the focus of this document is on the Synergy Hub element of the overall Antonius project (and does not therefore speak to building-wide/general Meesteren activities).
C O - C R E A T O R S
Synergy Hub was conceived by three core partners: Noomap; The Meesteren Foundation and United Earth. Each partner was interested in developing a new social platform where change agents across the planet could come together and live and work in different ways. The synergistic vision and intention for the project created together by the three partners were:
Vision: We are co-creating a world where everyone is free to explore their passions and interests; to live in alignment with the Universal Law of Oneness; to celebrate our unity throughout our diversity; to co-create abundance through sharing and gifting; and to thrive in complete harmony with our natural environment.
Intention: Develop a microcosm of the world we wish to see - Synergy Hub 1.0 (phase 2 the Synergy Hub network)
More detailed specification work had been done to explore what the microcosm would look like in practice and is summarized in the presentations created by Chris Larcombe.
It is important to understand that within this synergistic framework, each partner had their own distinct intention and piece of the jigsaw that they were looking to realise through the broader synergy:
Meesteren - the provision and management of buildings and their associated utilities using skill sharing and resource exchange in order to catalyse a resource-based economy
United Earth - the provision of a platform where co-creators from across the planet can come to network, embody their passions and collaborate for the purposes of building a new world
Noomap - the prototyping and development of a new ‘fractal’ social operating system (‘synergistic co-creation’) that would enable co-creators to self-organise and share resources in new ways, to be embodied in a new technological platform and physically via a hub network (including a ‘Metta/Mother’ hub)
The original vision and intention was formed at winter’s end 2015 into spring of 2016 using some of Noomap’s then nascent social architecture.
It is vitally important to be aware that each partner was open to exploring the concept of ‘emergence’ which alludes to the idea that when new things come together into a synergy a novel phenomena arises which is unpredictable. In this respect, the experiment itself was to be an exploration of the social experience of emergence and little energy was invested in attempting to project outcomes or the detail of the operation.
WHAT HAS BEEN ACHIEVED
Together each partner played a key role in the co-creation of Synergy Hub 1.0, situated in the Antonius Building Rotterdam.
Meesteren secured the building through its own independent arrangements and gifted a whole floor (amounting to approximately 20 residential spaces, a shared lounge/kitchen and a co-working space) as well as use of communal office and entertainment facilities to the experiment in exchange for support with building operations. Residents of the gifted floor were expected to contribute to food rescue, reception duty and general housekeeping on an ad hoc basis.
United Earth networked with co-creators planetary wide and invited them into the space to explore connections, network and participate in events that they staged. This largely took place withinincluded the October event which included workshops, a film screening, dance evenings and co-creative exercises. Several co-creators developed longer term engagements with the project through these activities.
Noomap prototyped some of its key design concepts based on observation of what was occurring within the hub. Practices and architecture that evolved in this period included ‘self-locating’ (a form of onboarding), synergisation processes, planetary co-creative holarchy, ‘synergy space’ (the emergent phase of co-creation), holon creation spell (self organising team formation and commitments), space and resource allocation processes, and reward system/new currency design. Noomap was also able to house synergistic co-creators to develop its code base and vision, leading to the co-authorship of the ‘H4OME’ platform and evolution of the Noomap software (Noomap Electron).
Technology, networking, envisioning, communications, healing, business
development, whole systems, channeling, social architecture, psychodynamics,
collaboration projects, economic regeneration
To connect, co-sense, co-learn, co-create and co-acknowledge through experiments, group spaces and teams, while making the invisible visible
Emergent Partners and Co-creators
Throughout the experiment, other partners were also able to come into the environment and explore further synergies:
yunity - a European food-sharing platform stayed in the hub for around two months exploring food rescue and upcycling. They initiated the creation of a free shop where the community could take rescued or upcycled resources for free.
Teal for Start-ups - this European wide group used the hub as a space for their own co-creative activities, to host gifted events and explore their synergies with the overall Synergy Hub vision (in particular, the synergistic overlay of Malek Jaber’s ‘FLOW’ system with Noomap’s social architecture)
Elements of Change - this visionary project has been in the process of synergising with Noomap for some time. Synergy Hub provided a space where this synergy could reach a greater stage of fruition with significant outcomes at the technological level.
School of Social Alchemy/The Hague Centre/Foundation for Conscious Evolution - were able to spend significant time at the hub and contextualise our activities within their planetary framework and visions for a new social body. This led to the emergence of a new co-creative team and architectural focus.
Share 360 - this business partnership spent significant time at the hub exploring how their synergistic vision to migrate businesses into new types of social operating system could be realised via the Noomap platform and observed within the hub itself.
Our Heart Gardens - a community development project aligned to the principles of resource sharing and co-creation. Although Our Heart Gardens was not rolled out in fullness, its founder was able to begin exploring how the community might be better engaged in the future.
Global Freedom Fest - a global music event planned for 2018/2019, designed to raise awareness of planetary shift. The co-creators of this event spent considerable time in the hub and although the festival ended up not being their primary focus during their stay here, they were able to bring other synergistic gifts into the picture.
Sphere Foundation - developing regenerative spaces and architecture for co-creation. Immense opportunities emerged for co-creation in the future.
ThisEquals - this is another project that has been working in co-creative partnership with Noomap across the last four years and benefited from time in the hub to explore the development of mapping technologies for the national health service in England.
Aside from the synergising of projects, individual co-creators were invited into the hub space to live and pursue their passions (as per the original vision and intention). This part of the experiment was fluid and open, with no specific co-creative focus in mind. The outcome saw the coming and going of different co-creators, each contributing to different projects that resonated with them in an ad hoc fashion. Some co-creators ended up becoming part of core projects and teams in an emergent fashion and others developed new projects and interests within the hub environment. Many also contributed to the general running of the hub by helping out on reception and with food rescue.
By working with emergence, we were able to learn and grow by doing, giving rise to significant creativity and insights. However, by not making clear to external/new co-creators we were in a phase of emergence and ‘bootstrapping’, co-creators often had misaligned expectations leading to disappointment and confusion. Residential co-creators often felt unsupported and directionless and frequently would want to start taking control of the space based on their desire to see something working rather than being content at being in an experiment that was not yet complete. Often visitors felt more should be happening and were not aware the project was not yet mature and was under-resourced from an operational perspective.
Because external/new co-creators were not effectively onboarded and had mixed expectations around what the project was about and their own participation, they rarely were able to synergise in a way that was optimal. They would often develop distorted perceptions of the different projects and then begin working in silos or lose personal energetic interest because they hadn’t fully grasped the intentions and activities of projects already present. This could be rectified through improved onboarding, communications and facilitation.
Co-creators had no terms of reference to understand their relationships to each other creatively. Many co-creators staying on the floor would quickly begin forming assumptions they were here to work on one project and they were one community forming Synergy Hub. They would often perceive it was their place to make decisions about the overall project and its direction and would, at times, become emotional if they did not feel included in conversations It is not easy to identify how these assumptions emerged and why there was a lack of boundaries, although much of it was likely the result of bringing together co-creators interested in moving beyond the separation paradigm. The ambiguous term ‘co-creator’ also does not enable the different motives of those involved to be expressed (as per, for example, the distinctions of ‘customer’, ‘supplier’, ‘proprietor’ and ‘tenant’ do in the current paradigm). In future the onboarding process, co-creative holarchy and holon creation spell will be used to create stronger membranes and a more harmonious governance process for the community. Note, the need for membranes is not about creating separation, but ways to describe functions, roles and intent for the purpose of distributing co-creation and creating a level of agility and coherence within the system.
By not being more precise at the early stage of the original partnership about the detail of the co-creative implementation (at least at the intentional level), key partners in the project became disheartened, feeling like their expectations were not being met by other partners. This created energetic friction and conflict and could be avoided in future through being more explicit about envisioned processes and outcomes. In an emergent situation it is also important to acknowledge that circumstances might change, but this didn’t always resonate with the rest of the community (who had not been party to the original ‘visionstorming’).
There were many structural, governance and communication problems which the Noomap project seeks to address but could not fulfill in this experimental phase. The project provided a perfect sandbox to explore the challenges to self organisation and synergistic co-creation in this respect, and many design issues have been explored even though they have not been implemented yet.
There were practical operational issues in terms of running the hub which were partly the result of Meesteren’s transitional situation as a tenant (ie. Meesteren were unable to bring in the necessary resources because of their interim circumstances financially) and partially the result of incoherence between core partners. In future it is anticipated that these kinds of operational issues will be resolved by greater levels of resourcing and communication.
Within the hub, communities naturally form social bonds as a ‘micro-groups,’ especially the residents living here full time. These groups desire nurturance and their own sub operating system within the overall membrane. It is important to acknowledge the needs of communities as distinct fields with their own needs within the co-creative framework.
If co-creators had grievances they often did not know how to deal with them because of ambiguities around co-creative relationships (as already outlined).
It is probably fair to say that most people had a very distorted idea of what the Noomap and Meesteren projects were about in their purest essence, whereas people seemed able to relate more clearly to the United Earth proposition. This problem is largely related to poor communication and the emergent/novel nature of the Meesteren/Noomap projects.
Structurally and perceptually, it was difficult for people to understand how Meesteren, United Earth and Noomap were operating synergistically as one ‘Synergy Hub’. This will be resolved by improved governance and structures.
Some personal safety issues emerged underlining the need for clearer agreements around violence and the invasion of personal space prior to entering membranes.
Once co-creators developed relationships with the hub and moved back to remote
locations, they found it difficult to stay connected to the projects happening at the hub and the activities of the community. The hub needs to find a way to communicate regularly with these individuals and groups long term.