I have just returned from an incredible event in Asheville, North Carolina on the DIY Economy. I helped facilitate two sessions on building the coalition for the DIY Economy that Josh Middleman convened. Here are my notes and drawings with brief explanations for those who were not there.
Together, we are building a new, Do-it-yourself style economy. Or maybe a Do-it-ourselves economy. And some of us are taking up the work of building bridges from the old economy to the new economy.
A key, suggested Grace Kim, from GOOD magazine, to forming coalitions is a clear shared goal. After doing much of the work below, the draft statement of our goal is: Acting together to create ___ economic ecosystems grounded in people having agency. We coldn’t fill in the blank in the time allotted. Maybe you can help!
I suggested, reflecting on a values exercise from the first day, that there were three main camps attracted to the DIY Economy: those who value autonomy, those who value social justice, and those who strive for resilience. All of those camps share an interest in individual agency. Together, we discussed. (You could call autonomy the more libertarian or pro-business group, but the value they are honoring is autonomy.)
To encourage us to think beyond our own values to include others, I shared the following graphic from my work with Gerard Senehi on Evolutionary Philanthropy. The evolutionary change with the highest opportunity for impact includes all the other approaches, because it perceives them as pieces contributing to the health of the whole ecosystem.
To work at this Evolutionary level, we must appreciate our differences while bonding over our similarities. Valdis Krebs of orgnet.com uses the phrase, “connect on your similarities and profit from your differences” to capture the idea that if we are too much alike, we don’t add to our creativity by connecting. My ideas are like your ideas. If we have too much difference, we can’t find common language, perspective, or understanding to be creative together. However, the middle range, enables us to use the friction of our differences to increase our creative ability. Thus, by coming together, whether from social justice work, resilience, or from autonomy, the creativity of the whole can be increased.
So how do we get more creative together in building the DIY Economy? We can borrow from the strategies being employed by others and merge them – mashups – with our own. Here is a draft map of some of the ways people are practicing and innovating in the DIY Economy.
To move forward together, we need to continue this conversation, building out our shared goal and the diversity of the tools and strategies. We have several audiences to reach – not just the general public. Here is the map of the spectrum of people for us to be speaking our DIY language with and to:
The next steps for coalition building from here could be:
- organizing strategies by which camp and making a more exhaustive list
- discovering and mapping specific examples of the strategies
- creating a DIY Economy toolkit or game with selections from strategies
- map the strategies across domains, for example, which ones are through the legal system and regulation?
- inviting event attendees to tell stories on blogs and in magazines, answer DIY economy questions on quora, using the language of our shared goal and being clear which audience from the engagement spectrum they are speaking to.
Much gratitude for all who attended our session including: Josh Middleman, Caroline Murray, Robert Leaver, Rachel Berliner Plattus, David Brodwin, Grace Kim, Mark Frasier, and who else did I miss? Eli?