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Enliven Social Ecosystems
Connecting the Dots for System Change
September 12, 2021 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
— The first global gathering
of movement builders, network weavers, and social ecosystem catalysts
to connect and practice meaning-making and choice-making together —
03.00pm – 06.00pm (London time)
10.00am – 01.00pm (New York time) REGISTER
Human suffering is growing around the planet, due to the obsolete social structures that cannot cope with the towering and intertwining crises of climate change, millions of people turned into refugees, the waves of pandemic, galloping inequalities, the loss of meaning, work done as just a means of survival… and the list goes on.
At the same time, people turn towards each other, solidarity is rising, new initiatives and movements form to regenerate the outdated institutions of all social fields, such as education, food system, healthcare, public service, finance, management, and so on.
There’s a 50-50% probability for a breakdown (that some people call the Collapse) or a breakthrough to a thriving, post-capitalist society where all can flourish. The stakes have never been higher, and which way it will turn out depends on us! Not us, the isolated individuals and projects but us, the connected multitude of self-organizing social ecosystems of transformation. Presently, those ecosystems are largely fragmented and have little capacity for collective learning by collaborative sensing, meaning-making, and choice-making.
That’s why we, at Campus Co-Evolve, are launching the initiative to Enliven Social Ecosystems. The 12-Sept-2021 gathering will not be a one-off event but the first in a series of biannual basecamps of the expedition for connecting the dots. Where might it go? Read the article about our Towards an Enlivenment Theory of Change that points to a walkable, fractal pathway to a gradual shift into a better future.
Let’s start with what this event is not about. We are not creating a new movement and even less yet another grouping that aspires to become the “movement of all movements.” We tasked ourselves with increasing co-creative connections and mutual learning within and across the projects and movements aiming at positive societal transformation.
It will be a meaning-making event with no sages-on-stages discussing how we can know anything at all, but more like an “ecosystem breathing process” that Otto Scharmer characterized by how “action learners and action researchers move out into the real world and engage in the frontlines of societal change (‘breathing out’),” and bring our experiences to our gathering “to share, reflect, co-sense, and co-create new ways of operating (‘breathing in’).”
The session will follow Theory U in structure. We’ll start with Co-Initiating by sharing in small groups what our life calls us to do, which led us to come to this event. During the Co-Sensing phase, we’ll start mapping the projects and movements in the ecosystem present in the room (and those which are not) and exploring how they connect. That will be followed by Co-Presencing, where we’ll practice letting go of anything that holds us back and evoking the vision of what we want to create in their various areas where our delegates are active. In the last part of our meeting we’ll start the work of Co-Creating by integrating head, heart and hands, in small groups. We will also ensure the possibility for Co-Evolving by enabling the formation of an innovative collaboration infrastructure called impact groups, supported by an online platform, which will ease their mutual learning, provide educational resources.
We intend to create conditions for the impact groups to form a truly generative network of system change agents, which is self-sustaining, self-improving, self-evolving, and self-propagating. (Those qualities are explained in the Generative Action Research section of this essay by George Pór.) All this is just the broad-brush of what might happen, and we welcome everybody’s input to it.
On Sept 12, movement builders, network weavers, community activators, ecosystem catalysts, facilitators, conveners, system change agents, and enliveners, will come together from many cultures but with one heart, inspired by our shared response-ability to creating “a more beautiful world that our hearts know is possible.” So far, 100+ delegates have registered from 20 countries in 5 continents (Australia, Botswana, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Iran, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, UK, USA, and Vietnam) and the registrations keep flying in.
And it’s not only about the numbers but also, the amazing range of experiences that they bring with them. In their own words, “cross pollination across impact ecosystems,” “intergenerational collaboration,” “getting science into action, out of the lab, into local communities,” “connection to nature to increase confidence and insight,” just to name a few.
The small, all-volunteer organizing team of this Basecamp 1 of the “connecting the dots” expedition was originally formed by some members of the Enabling Circle of Campus Co-Evolve. It keeps expanding as new people inspired by this initiative are stepping in, who have various skills and some available time to support it. If you’re such a person, write to Gina Bonmariage at firstname.lastname@example.org .
We are also in the process of convening an Advisors Circle that will be composed of world-renowned thought leaders of system change and related fields. Last but not least, we would welcome vision-aligned organizations to partner with us, as co-conveners, and enrich the work with whatever they can. If you’re a connector for one and want to get in touch, please contact George Pór at email@example.com.
How can we avoid the trap of what change “should” be and, instead, cultivate the conditions for a better future that cannot be planned, predicted or controlled? The answer may be in a tweet-poem that Nora Bateson, the systems scientist gifted us with:
When the time is right…
That is when the snapshot of an idea of what change “should” be
Stops being flat
And becomes a traveling family
The rhythm is an ecology…
That travel can start right now if all this strikes a chord in your heart and you feel called to join us in this journey. If you do, here are some of the opportunities waiting for you:
• To start nurturing trusted relationships with others working on regenerating a social field of your mutual interest
• To practice mutual learning across similar or complementary projects and movements
• To participate in the constructive use of collective imagination of what can become possible when networks connect
• To share your aspirations and move towards the formation of impact groups
• To engage in co-exploration of what on Earth is happening with other participants
Among the resources that will be provided you will find:
• Clustered and anonymized syntheses of the salient responses that you provided to the questions on the registration form
• Highlights of the whitepaper on a research report about the capabilities that enlivening social ecosystems require
• Free access to an online platform reserved for the delegates of this event
Registration deadline: 8-Sept-2021