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.
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 as “making money through producing and selling”; it becomes “co-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.
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:
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.
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.