Transitions Hub

Stewarding the next wave

Reed Danziger — Landscapes of Systems & Multiplicities

Why a Transitions Hub?

Heraclitus once said that the only constant in life is change — adding to this is the general (post-COP21) understanding that the kind of change we need in order to achieve a more sustainable footing (and survive as species, for that matter) needs to be a deliberate one.

Looking back at history, there haven’t been many moments where a deliberate change in the overall direction of travel was created — perhaps apart from the Chicago School’s successful push in positioning neoliberalism as the most credible economic paradigm in the mid-1970s.

Given the shifting territories we find ourselves forced to traverse, we in the System Innovation Lab believe that there has never been a better moment for, nor more urgency around being deliberate about the type of change we want to see.

What we do know is that we need to work together within an ecosystem of individuals, organisations, enablers and even resistors to co-create, collaborate and innovate together to bring about the future we want to see. Stewarding the transition(s) towards a sustainable future isn’t a typical challenge — and we need all hands on deck to coalesce around this purpose

What have we been doing so far?

Over the last three years we have been exploring four future scenarios as part of a European Commission funded project — EU InnovatE. Each scenario paints a different picture of possible transitions towards a sustainable society in 2050. They challenge the current unquestionable of the economic growth paradigm, provides glimpses around the role citizens and communities can play in enabling these huge systems to shift. They’re powerful provocations that challenge the idea of governance, what it really means, who has power and how we might organise differently.

And of course, with change in governance happening all around us, these scenarios feel all the more pertinent in the UK, given the stark reality and fragility of the UK’s governance structures in the week post the #Brexit vote. It’s a very live discussion in the US too in the run up to the elections in November.

There’s no doubt that there’s lots of innovative, if sometimes disparate, solutions emerging too. From those exploring new modes of organising & governance, like the booming interest in platform coopertives, or those exploring what blockchain means for governance. To communities and networks like edgyryders, enspiral and ouishare experimenting with how to live, work and exchange in new ways. But how can we ensure they add up to create a fairer, more equitable and sustainable society?

Although we think governance, education and finance have a crucial role to play, what is clear is that no one really knows what is going to happen next. So how can we create a space to really explore this and find ways to support, cultivate and steward the transition? We need to anticipate future waves and collectively be ready for when they hit — emulating to some extent the efforts of the Chicago School. That’s where the idea of a Transitions Hub plays in: to create a space to explore and experiment with the nexus where governance and citizen innovation meet.

What are we looking for?

Under the Transitions Hub umbrella we’re looking for co-explorers, willing to venture into the unknown — to traverse these future scenarios, understand their implications and investigate how we interact and organise as a consequence. To kick off, we’d like to coalesce individuals and organisations already tackling these challenges and make sense of what’s already happening.

We hope to work with people who are daring enough to imagine, enact and start to build the new spaces or institutions desperately needed to support societies in the transition.

If you’re interested in being part of this journey — we’d love to hear from you. You can email me at l.armstrong@forumforthefuture.org

Or join us on the 19th September in London at our Living Change event bringing together those brave enough to venture into the unknown.

New York event date to follow.