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New Entrepreneurship

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Part of the SpringerBriefs on Case Studies of Sustainable Development book series (BRIEFSCSSD)


In our theory, we expected to be able to trigger entrepreneurship while helping people to resonate with healthy city development by offering raw and processed data to which they could relate.


  • Entrepreneurial Activity
  • Smart City
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Evolutionary Step
  • Financial Gain

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

In our theory, we expected to be able to trigger entrepreneurship while helping people to resonate with healthy city development by offering raw and processed data to which they could relate. This theory was based on our own experiences gathered through the STIR foundation while pioneering our ideology through practical entrepreneurial activities. When we moved the dot on our own horizon from competitive, career-driven to creative in the field of developing core human values, every aspect of our life’s fulfilment and commitment changed. We had become entrepreneurial in a totally new sense and valued our progress through measureable steps and multiple rewards. The latter, the rewards, garnered special attention owing to the differentiation between true value and financial reward. We noticed in our own attitude that the reward of purpose-driven activity, social cohesion, meaningful exercise, a professional learning curve and social recognition was stimulating enough to overcome the burden of minimum economic reward. The economic reward structure of our society had evolved along lines that were contributing to the problems of pollution. Developing a new societal complexity also necessarily required addressing the reward system , either through the production of true sharable valuables (food, housing, energy, etc.) or through restructuring the flow of finance. A new socio-economic reality appears in which we as individuals were entrepreneurial pioneers, seeking harmonization between our purpose-driven investment, different types of reward and coverage of our daily needs.

When a whole city changes its dot on the horizon, for instance, from mainly trade- or technology-driven activity to a formal health deal with all stakeholders, then everything related to that city changes as well, including its choices and activities. This should also manifest itself in a new burst of vibrant, incubating entrepreneurship , developing products and services around the new paradigm. A new entrepreneurial era is introduced. Entrepreneurship in early industrial times was only profit-oriented, and processes were expressed in financial gain alone, never holding business accountable for the consequences. In 2005, I introduced this idea in my Dutch book about market leadership Footnote 1 in the 21st century with the following key differentiators:

  • Before the turn of the millennium: Entrepreneurship uses humankind and the planet for financial gain

  • After the turn of the millennium: Entrepreneurship serves humankind and the planet for sustainable human progress .

The entrepreneurship of the 21st century is therefore not limited to money-driven traders or speculators, but specifically connects value-driven innovators, including political executives, civil servants and those using applied scientific knowledge. Indeed, it boosts completely new structures and organizational formats for that particular kind of awareness-driven progress. Sustainocracy is a logical evolutionary step in this complexity.

We tried to prove the existence of such a boost of new entrepreneurial energy by actively looking for a positive stimulus and inviting people to do something with the challenge in an entrepreneurial way. We had already seen the initiative of civilian Ben Nas when he decided to develop a bicycle route to connect the 400 initiatives related to sustainable progress in his city quarter. This is a form of social entrepreneurship .

The problem we encountered is that the entrepreneurship that we know today needs to resonate with the financial system, not with social or ecological progress. This has led to the destruction of our surroundings and has reduced our social interaction simply because the financial system has no sentiment towards correcting itself or the moral instruments with which to do so, other than external regulation and the reaction of nature itself, including our own human ethical awareness. Regulation had created a reactive problem-solving system that was equally based on the insensitive money-driven reality. This dual economy of consumption and dealing with the effects of it has outgrown itself to critical and unsustainable proportions. The consequences were so great that the system demanded even more consumption in an economy of growth to enable government to tax, introduce insurances and more regulation to address the problems in a remedial way. When taxation does not work anymore, the national debt rises. In the Netherlands, the cost of society had increased nearly threefold in 10 years’ time (2004–2014). This had an exponential character with an unrealistic prospect towards the future. Drastic changes were needed. And change means leadership with a powerful entrepreneurial spirit. This leadership was not money- but value-driven. Understanding this required a new way of looking at entrepreneurial leadership. Thus, the Pyramid Paradigm was born.

4.1 The Pyramid Paradigm

In the previous publication on the development of AiREAS and its first phase of making visible the invisible , we already went to great length in introducing the human complexity. We introduced the cyclic evolutionary progress pattern that develops between the interaction of the consequences of what we do and the discovery of what we are through backward interpretation. To DO develops our to BE. We also suggested that we are at a point in history when a major psycho-social turnaround is taking place in which we are coming to know what we are and can develop our actions and choices around that wisdom, as shown in the picture above. Only then can our awareness (to BE) start guiding our actions (to DO) (see figure below). This energetic swap is unique in human history and represents our evolution from a collective perspective. It announces a whole new era in our existence as a self-aware, creative species.

When we apply this to our surroundings, we see that all kinds of human beings experience this upending of their wisdom through an intense boost of awareness. When some of these people occupy leadership positions in society, they become instrumental to the overall wisdom swap of that society. When we invited people to gather for AiREAS in 2011, a large diversity of individuals attended. Some had gone through the “I am” revelation, while others had not. Those who had not were in the competitive mode of survival, looking for short-term financial gain. They rapidly disappeared from AiREAS. The ones who had gone through this personal transformation stuck around and partnered in the multidisciplinary setting of value-driven creation and leadership. As we developed our activities, the contours of a whole new entrepreneurial setting appeared. We went step by step through this entrepreneurial breakthrough, which does not only affect business innovation but also the value-driven leadership of citizens, educators and government. We coined this as the Pyramid Paradigm .

4.1.1 The Old Money-Driven Industrial Paradigm

We are still living in the complexity of a society prior to the breakthrough of collective wisdom. This is normal, since only pioneers have crossed the line and united in preliminary value-driven settings such as AiREAS. Two worlds appear: the emerging and the one in collapse. Powerful forces try to delay the collapse, while both crises and the efforts of pioneers find openings to provide consolidated proof of the concept of the new era. This is called evolution, even though some experience it as a revolution .

The old industrial paradigm of money-driven productivity is based on a single profit-driven mechanism that consists of three basic elements: the product, the customer and cost optimization .

It is an established theory in business economics that when a customer can choose between 3 or more alternatives, the destruction of value appears. This is caused by the competitive drive of each of the participants in the market and the disappearance of customer loyalty due to the choice between equivalents. Cost optimization efforts can concentrate on reducing the price of the product or increasing the volume of sales. In both cases, a battle is fought which eventually will develop a shakeout among the market players at the expense of jobs, economic values and our environment. The focus on financial gain takes all emotion away from the choices made in the process, and ethics along the way. It is the law of the most aggressive that eventually wins the battle. This is, however, a temporary gain. The law of opposites shows that, while the blind battle of greed occurs, new players can introduce new ideas that eventually disrupt the greed by introducing genuine innovations. A cyclic economic pattern appears.

During the evolution of this industrial economic battle, we have seen the cyclic KondratievFootnote 2 patterns, showing peaks of economic development based on new communication and infrastructural innovations. The Kondratiev wave is equivalent to the cycle of human complexity of Jean-Paul Close ,Footnote 3 spread out over time. This cyclic pattern is shown here:

Every time an era comes to an end, a crisis develops into chaos. This develops awareness and provides openings for new innovations to deploy themselves. The innovations probably already existed but were blocked by the conservative persistence of older techniques that remained dominant. When these reached the point of market exhaustion, natural adaptation occurred, just as in the previous collapse. Humankind and economies experience this as a crisis simply because nature and human cohesion are not part of this play. The sense of a crisis is nothing other than a powerful indicator that something that used to give a sense of security has gone obsolete and something new needs to fill the gap.

Economy emulates a universe of its own, having the same mechanisms as the biological patterns of life. But owing the disconnection with the reality of those cycles of life, due to the speculative economic focus on dealing with dead things (matter) that human life needs to support itself, it keeps developing ups and downs without the harmony that nature always experiences, simply because it combines various value systems at once. The focus on a single currency with no other collateral than debt makes the human and ecological drama even larger. In nature, a diversity of lifeforms mingles in permanent pursuit of harmony, using different resources to develop. During a workshop at the Zoo of Emmen, the imagination of entrepreneurship was triggered through looking at the diversity of butterflies living together in a relatively small space, and peacefully at that, due to the non-competitive differentiation of size, food, reproduction, etc. Creating an ecosystem in economies can overcome problems of current models that live through single cyclic patterns .

This also has its logic in the field of human complexities . Not everyone goes through a crisis at the same time or in the same phase of their lives. Many people do this on their own and develop awareness and innovative patterns ahead of the mainstream. If their leadership is blocked by a formalized mainstream, then progress is blocked out of the system’s self-interest . Negative tension then gradually builds up. However, if the leadership receives freedom to deploy itself, it generates a positive tension between the robustness of the mainstream and the argumentation of renewal. When we deployed AiREAS, we addressed the awareness level of human beings at different levels of society first. When asking a deeply aware human being about the need for core human values, hardly any resistance is felt. If this is seconded by the proven vulnerability that builds up in the institutions, then the professional position of that same human being involves making a choice: contribute to the core values through the authority of the position, or negate awareness by supporting the mission of the institution, even if it proves damaging to the core values. Awareness and guts are human factors that become decisive for taking individual entrepreneurial action, but when these factors are combined in a multidisciplinary, awareness-driven co-creation, change is a fact. The human being comes first, awareness places the core values as a permanent goal, and leadership produces the required change for harmony . We use our institutions, knowledge and technology as instruments for progress, rather than submitting to them in dependence.

We have been attempting to prove this by going through our own value-driven cycles. Every exercise in AiREAS has been developed through this method of combined entrepreneurial approach by bringing people and authorities together behind the awareness switch. A whole new dialogue appeared, including new vocabulary to express ourselves without continuous disputes about the meaning of words in the different contexts.

4.1.2 4× Profit

The new paradigm introduces the 4× profit, or Pyramid Paradigm , mechanism as an evolutionary step in entrepreneurial value creation behind the moment of the wisdom switch. Since we have now become painfully aware of the consequences of the 1× profit paradigm, the transit to 4× profit is becoming an adaptive response. Our entrepreneurial spirit does not just need financial profit through optimized processes of growth; it needs to connect emphatically to the ecological and humanitarian core values of sustainable progress through awareness and innovative change .

This evolutionary movement started around the turn of the millennium (the year 2000) with the common inspiration provided by the PPP (People, Planet, Profit) ideology. In essence, PPP introduced the other 3 profit lines of the 4× profit Pyramid Paradigm. The only confusion people experienced resulted from the different mental association around the word “Profit”. For the old age’s mentality, “Profit” was simply contextually related to financial gain. In this PPP societal context , it hence would still relate to the old tradition of making use of the people and the planet for the company’s financial benefit. For the new age’s mentality, “Profit” means creating measureable added value within the meaning of ‘Profit = Benefit’. In this new PPP context, this would mean that financial gain (the 4th profit) would be obtained by serving the people and the planet. To overcome such confusion, both in entrepreneurial and in societal circles, we defined the Pyramid Paradigm within Sustainocracy . This is proof of the need for a new vocabulary representing the new energies around the new challenges, avoiding the wrong verbal and mental associations that wind up generating long, meaningless discussions rather than co-creation efforts.

Our new vocabulary of Sustainocracy has been the cause of a great deal of discussion between people in regard to their perceptions, as it triggered the curiosity of those interested in learning about its meaning. Interestingly, the use of different words and semantics already carries the sort of real energy that we represent and with which we connect to each other within ventures and projects.

One of the consequences of such evolution is that the old, fragmented interests suddenly start to find each other in the center of that pyramid through the awareness-driven invitation. Entrepreneurship is no longer limited to money-driven business entities. Civil servants may also enter the same entrepreneurship of creating core values , not through regulation but co-creation. Civilians contribute through awareness-driven changes in their consumption patterns and productivity. The 1× profit-based business practice is outdated and evolves into value-driven co-creation , affecting every participant. A product becomes an instrument, a user too, just like the financial means, a policy or the application of knowledge. This is both a major breakthrough and a tremendous learning process for all involved.

With this, we started to experiment in order to prove the evolution of entrepreneurship of which we ourselves were an example. We now needed to show how the To Be part became dominant over our To Do decisions and that the center of the pyramid was populated with multidisciplinary tables of co-creation efforts based on core PPP + P values. Core value-driven entrepreneurship was no longer confined to “business people” but expanded so as also to include civilians, civil servants, educators, executives, etc., all of whom contributed to progress through value-driven interaction.

Entrepreneurship is no longer referred to asmaking money through producing and selling”; it becomesco-creating core values together through multidisciplinary interaction”.

With this basic understanding of the evolution of regional entrepreneurship, we could start finding our way in the complex duality of the existing reality, the old field of speculative economics and the new field of economic diversity through value-driven change and awareness-driven co-creation.

4.1.3 Hackathon

In Eindhoven, another partner, MAD ,Footnote 4 organizes so-called Hackathons , a challenge for software developers to do something with the open data that are being generated through the town’s IT internet. AiREAS was invited to participate as an open data platform with its own live stream of near real time and fine maze air quality data. John Schmeitz represented the AiREAS challenge and explained its mission. Of the 10 registered teams, 3 decided to work with the AiREAS data. One of those became the winner of this particular challenge in 2015. This shows the impact of the new entrepreneurial context presented by AiREAS. The winning team had defined a mobile application allowing people to plan their bike route through town from a health perspective, using the fine maze air quality data provided by AiREAS. The idea was prize-winning, but the product did not get off the ground, because it could not connect with the economic drivers of the old paradigm. Who should finance it?

The traditional potential entrepreneurial partners concentrated on the speculative 1× profit alone. Since the App could only be deployed in Eindhoven, where we could use the ILM network, the investment would have to be covered by the local community or users. But the community is not yet in a mainstream phase of health acceptance. A commercial product was, at this stage, not feasible due to a lack of market awareness. The application would hence serve the leadership task of persuasion . It should therefore be made available free of charge and with strong persuasive techniques, as explained in Chap. 1. AiREAS has no resources of its own to finance the development other than through our partners. The local government would have been the ideal sponsor, but no one could yet convince them to (co)finance this leadership issue to be introduced free of charge into the community. The links with financial backing could not be made and the project did not materialize.

This shows yet again that money and value are two different things, and so are management and leadership, in investment patterns. To deal with this differentiation, two routes could be chosen:

  1. 1.

    Revolving funds can be created to support such 4× profit initiatives at the pioneer stage when the moral/ethical part is covered but the 1× economic profit still needs to prove itself through persuasion and market development.

  2. 2.

    A new value system can be introduced that rewards those who create value through reviewing their decisions. Think of stimulating the first people who use the app and subsequently start biking so as to reduce pollution. This has obvious short-term and long-term benefits for society, including economic. The alternative system stimulates value creation rather than trade.

AiREAS introduced its own AiREAS coin in an attempt to reward the value-driven participation of people. With this coin, they could access STIR inspiration classes and share locally-produced products from FRE2SH . It was experimental, but did not gain immediate acceptance from the local government due to their dependence on the Euro. Meanwhile, in other regions, we saw lots of other experiments with new value systems addressing the stress created by the way in which the Euro is managed as a single currency. With such a new, value-driven unit, the transaction economy could be relieved and both could develop positively. But these mechanisms would only be understood when commonly accepted throughout a community. It is only a matter of time before such instruments become common practice. Experiments already show progress.

4.2 AiREAS Itself as Value

Meanwhile, other levels of entrepreneurship showed themselves to have significant influence. AiREAS had started off in a political and economic environment in 2011, connecting to the executive motivation of innovation (technology) and civilian participation . In 2015, new elections brought a further evolution of executive policy agreements. The new coalition adopted “health” as the main driver of technological and social innovation. This decision meant, for the first time, that the dot on the horizon had shifted from pure economic drivers to one of a core humanitarian value. Executive members of the local government were showing value-driven leadership , positioning themselves and their institutions at the core of the pyramid. This became a key source of inspiration for new age local entrepreneurship to do the same and seek coalition with its governance. AiREAS’s original government partner, Mary-Ann Schreurs , became the government initiator of the local “Health Deal” , a significant step forward towards a mature eco-society . This evolution can only be successful when broadly carried by the entire society and supported by the executive transition to the new era.

4.2.1 Historical Evolution

200 years ago, the very first constitution of the Netherlands was designed to mediate between the industrial and public interests, including a commitment to health in response to the effects of pollution by the enterprises. At a certain stage, the average age in the region was just 30 years, due to both diseases (pollution) and local criminality (wide gap between rich and poor). Pollution and social inequity motivated a democratic political economic reality to develop based on the duality of economic growth and dealing with the consequences of the contemporary circumstances. Very soon after the introduction of the first constitutions, the political elite decided they needed to review their lawful commitment to health, because they felt they could not bear that responsibility . The variables were too large and beyond their scope of influence, other than the lawful option of regulating and introducing taxes for healthcare services. Thus, the fragmented structure we see today first appeared in which the government took on regulatory responsibility while structuring a remedial health care system that merely seeks to repair possible damage done. Over time, our remedial knowledge became so extraordinary that, together with an unprecedented period of regional peace due to the introduction of social securities and diplomacy, the average life expectancy grew to over 80. This also became the main trigger for modern age financial stress and the choices that were made in the ‘70s and ‘80s to let go of the gold standard and allow unprecedented economic growth through speculation. Enormous amounts of money were needed to sustain such a caring model of the state based on money.

The number of economic bubbles produced by the combination of these decisions and the human characteristic of greed could not be foreseen until 2008, when the credit crisis opened the eyes of many to the crude reality of an unsustainable economic situation. A choice needed to be made. Manage the situation by injecting capital into the old system, hoping for recovery? Or foster leadership for change, using our awareness and entrepreneurial spirit to create something new? The local government, back in 2008, was driven by a sense of urgency, and chose to manage the situation through capital injection as an instant remediation of the problem. STIR, in 2009, chose to opt for leadership and the design of a new reality. This duality has become the basis for a new way of addressing regional development, differentiating between the already-mentioned leadership and management routines.Footnote 5 This applies to individual human beings, institutions and societal systems. It differentiates between the stress of holding on and the guts to let go.

The transformation of the government’s financial positioning also began within that same timeframe. The investment patterns needed to change from hardware-driven infrastructural ideas to facilitating human-driven interaction, creating a transition between management and leadership through dealing wisely with chaos, letting go of fear and embracing guts.

The context of the city’s directive had changed, and with it the entire image of the city’s short- and long-term development. The executives started to place “healthy” in front of everything and began to create roadmaps for achieving the required results and choosing the priorities that would follow. The sustainocratic method, with a Sustainocrat as an independent chairperson, serving as a hub of connection within the multidisciplinary setting, became the recommendation carried forward for developing each of the strategic lines. This released an unprecedented amount of power, mobilizing all of the talent available in the region to contribute to the leadership trail.

What was different from 200 years ago? Why could such an evolutionary step be taken now and not back then? The answer has multiple components. The primary one is that globalization has simply reached its limits. 200 years ago, there was no global perception at all. Growth was solely the byproduct of local governance, industrial activities and labor forces, clearly differentiated pillars of society. Today, this differentiation remains in formal terms, but the practical reality has been transformed. Financial dependence , the authority of private banking systems, the system of debt and speculation of shortages, and governance of control through technology in a world market with an explosive human presence has disturbed any harmony between the people, the system and our natural environment. The citizenry has access to unlimited amounts of information that it can process for its own awareness and survival processes in an obsolete formal system. In the past, responsibility could be claimed through democratically-chosen regional governments, but nowadays, we have become aware that to change the situation, we need to let go of everything and redefine our reality, just like we did 200 years ago. The context is different, as are the issues. The perception is arising that it is not a financial issue, nor a government or business development. It is one of psycho-social awareness for which we are all responsible together, and we can only address our sustainable progress when working together through an approach of holistic regional co-creation , no longer merely thinking of the sum of the parts. The problem we must solve is overcoming the old sense of regional hierarchy that stands in the way of us finally, truly stating, ‘We are all in it together’.

The only issue to solve was overcoming the idea that government itself should lead, when, in fact, the core values such as health should. Government could pave the way and behave as the backbone of the complex process, but the stakeholders had to do the innovative work together. The role of the sustainocrat had proven itself throughout the years since AiREAS had been founded and had become the connector within this complex process. Rather than the duality of “economic growth and consequences”, a new duality arose: “core value-based leadership and expanding innovations”. This was a far more sound economic relationship, based on the 4× Profit , and was coined the Transformation Economy , an economy focused on value-driven change rather than just growth. Harmony through change was to lead, not greed through growth.

Every line along the roadmap requires value-driven entrepreneurship and intense change that can be measured along the 4× profit lines. Every creation is unique and hence a new value that can be added to the economic cycle between value creation and expansion through transactions.

4.2.2 Diner Pensant

In September 2015, the regional governance arranged an executive dinner during which the Health Deal was formulated, as well as the Sustainocratic way forward. A new era had started that had outgrown its living lab status begun in 2011. A new reality had emerged that would inspire ourselves and the rest of the world. This reality demanded a new underlying infrastructure of information and communication with which to work. It challenged the way we deal with data, leadership and each other. An initial commitment for a regional Health Deal was formulated. Eindhoven and Brabant were writing history.

The world reacted by showing interest in the format of awareness-driven multidisciplinary co-creation. In 2013, the partners within AiREAS had already determined that two core values , developed together, were ready for global expansion:

  • the way of working together that had been coined Sustainocracy , including the Transformation Economy

  • the phase 1 ILM structure of making visible the invisible .

4.3 Quality of Our Data and Interaction

Now that the entire regional development was resonating with the Health Deal, with the open data provided by multiple networks, including that from AiREAS, with the world watching over our shoulders, we were confronted with the imperative need to provide quality. When we established the ILM , we wanted to use the information on exposure to persuade the population to review their daily activities and develop patterns of social innovation. But the data we display and use has to be 100 % indisputable. In an experimental phase, we can still use a learning curve as an excuse, but when such basic infrastructure starts delivering data that is used for important decision-making, we need to re-examine our commitment . Not only did maintenance of the network become an issue, but also calibration , validation and interpretation . A new team was installed to examine the data independently with an eye towards three goals:

  • Provide data, knowledge and feedback for policy-making

  • Provide open access for users to develop their own applications and social innovations

  • Connect to other systems to manage the city effectively.

The team was called the “large button” team, not because we turn those buttons ourselves, but because we influence them by guarding the quality standards of our interaction and interpretation. We established three levels of quality:

  1. 1.

    The origin of data

  2. 2.

    The capturing, CalVal and context-driven interpretation

  3. 3.

    The interface with the surroundings.

All this is done in a circular format, in which data produce change and this change is then captured again by the system as new data.

2015 brought about a tremendous effort to assure quality along the lines of making choices and taking steps. The original entrepreneurial partners who had produced the airboxes needed to review their commitment , since they had not taken enough into account the maintenance and calibration requirements during the operation. Low cost networks can become very expensive if they provide incorrect information, especially if the data is used to influence the entire town’s dynamics. All kinds of issues needed to be resolved that had been unaccounted for in the original design and rollout of the ILM.

This learning process has been registered to avoid such issues reappearing in other regions where similar steps might be undertaken. A new economy was created that referred to the educational support for peer 4 regional development , as well as the deployment of products, services and experiences that could be used to determine network requirements elsewhere. Every region is based on the human beings that reside and live their lives there. All regions hence share the common core values but differentiate in decision-making along the lines of local priorities informed by cultural and demographical diversification. Local Sustainocrats would make the difference, as they know the complexity of the local culture and history.

4.4 Conclusion

The entrepreneurial context is relative to doing something of value for the surroundings in order to serve oneself. Reciprocity is another word that has a more diverse meaning than mere economic profit. It refers to the return one gets when engaging in value-driven entrepreneurial activities. The return can be to save money and resources (government), to develop or test new innovations (business), to collect new insights and knowledge (science), or to return to a healthier personal situation (civilian). All reciprocal rewards together in a multidisciplinary context do not tend to bite, but they do enhance each other. This lack of competition, with the freedom to defend one’s own interests, empowers people to become entrepreneurial in a value-driven manner, no matter what talent or expectations one brings into the group, as long as they contribute to the higher purpose.

A whole new world of integral, value-driven entrepreneurship developed that involved everyone within society. Reciprocity may be diverse, but a new value system is needed to compensate public creativity, particularly when it is not directly related to the speculative world of trade and euros. With such duality , stability can be assured in the region, while harmony and empathy become the leading core value-based triggers for continuous innovation. Change becomes the only constant, producing progress and a safe environment. Through the involvement of many pioneers, we started to develop such an entrepreneurial path in which the product does not lead, but rather its innovative, measurable contribution to the value-driven context does. The appearance of a product is hence conditioned to these expectations and will only be considered a success when proven through the chain of events of co-creation. This has also introduced a totally new way of rewarding the effort.

4.4.1 New Reward System

The sustainocratic table starts with no money, no budget, just the stakeholders and the higher purpose of health in relation to air pollution and regional dynamics. When a project is defined, then resources are allocated by everyone involved. Government tends to bring in public resources such as tax money and infrastructures. Others bring in innovative talent, existing or new technologies, social innovation and knowledge. So, when a project is started, the expected result is known, the commitments defined and the resources allocated. Everyone knows what to do. The money is deposited and people get paid instantly as their contribution materializes. Budgetary overshoots are not allowed and anything “unforeseen” is placed on the table as if it were a new project. The project is not finished if all commitments have not been covered and the expected results made visible. This includes the time needed to prove the effects of the multidisciplinary investment . The proof is for the benefit of all, in order that they might be able to expand the values created through contribution via the traditional transaction economy . Without this proof, the arguments that sustain the pursuit of core values are lost and the project loses at least three lines of profit. With the sustainocratic proof, the product reaches a leadership status of value creation that enhances its positioning.

4.4.2 Global Expansion

Another significant entrepreneurial activity is the expansion of our values into the global setting of evolution. The first phase of AiREAS already introduced the basics of peer 4 regional development : the unique method of working and the need for qualified information to feed innovation for the pursuit and sustainability of core values. Phases 2 and 3 will further boost this internationalization of the evolutionary steps. The immense struggle we all had to go through to structure our new reality can be largely avoided elsewhere. It also made our arguments robust and our presentation persuasive worldwide. While Eindhoven did not get the politically-desired temporary title of cultural capital of Europe in a competitive environment among cities, we had already informally claimed the title of “global capital of cultural change”. Each of the pillars of our society is living up to that commitment by representing our values and co-creation. AiREAS itself, as a cooperative community, has also connected those commitments by presenting itself to the world through the following outlets:

  • Open access publications, from Springer and New Horizons

  • VINCI Award of Innovation

  • Presentation in Barcelona, Global Expo Smart Cities

  • Presentation in India: Smart Cities, Smart India

  • LOI with China through Province North Brabant

  • European programs H2020, Interreg V, Erasmus+

  • Regional development programs with Turkey

  • Healthy Airport

  • Participative education program development

  • Etc.

The transition affects everyone:

  • New entrepreneurship: sensor development, applications, drones, complex ICT data infrastructures, integrated Traffic and Air quality management structures,

  • New governance: Health Deal, health-based regional development, peer 4 participative society, new allocation of public funds,

  • New science: DAMAST, POP Health, persuasive communication, city design, etc.

  • Civilians: Social innovation, social entrepreneurship, participative learning.

Interestingly, we can hardly refer anymore to individual entrepreneurs, but have reached the point of an entrepreneurial society in which all participate and share the values. We still have a long way to go to make this mainstream, but the fundamentals are visible and growing, and seeds continue to find fertile ground across the world. Every year, we will see it develop itself and get more and more robust, in Eindhoven, North Brabant and throughout the whole world.


  1. 1.

    Handboek voor de toekomstige marktleider (2005), published by Move to Holland.

  2. 2.

  3. 3.

  4. 4.

  5. 5.

    “Succesgids voor Ondernemers”, 2007—Jean-Paul Close, Pearson Education (Success guide for entrepreneurship).

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Close, JP., Schmeitz, J. (2016). New Entrepreneurship. In: Close, JP. (eds) AiREAS: Sustainocracy for a Healthy City. SpringerBriefs on Case Studies of Sustainable Development. Springer, Cham.

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