Seán Dagan Wood discovers how a new series of innovative workshops run by the award-winning filmmaker, musician and ‘creative catalyst’ Jamie Catto, is inspiring people to realise their potential...
“I think we’re living in a world where we’ve all agreed a massive compromise through the pursuit of approval,” Jamie tells me. “We get addicted to the ‘crack’ of approval very early on in life. Because of this, we edit ourselves incrementally until we’re these crippled 30% versions of ourselves. On a date or job interview we’re brochure versions of ourselves, tailored perfectly for the part.
The speed at which he cuts to the chase in getting us to open up could be unnerving for some. Yet the humour and playfulness of his approach – alongside the caring intentions behind it – makes the workshop feel entirely safe. We’re also encouraged by the fact that he sets the example for how to be ourselves in all our absurdity.
I want to do it quick and I want to do it funny; that’s the criteria I have for my evolution.”
Here, “home” is reinvented with a new purpose. It’s a community, an ethos, a series of opportunities for collaboration. And while most young professionals are flocking to urban centers like San Francisco to live in modest apartments, some are building a new American dream in once empty suburban McMansions and luxury downtown digs. In this new scheme, your network isn’t just your Facebook friends or business contacts; It includes your friends, influencers, ad hoc family, and your shared home.
Frugal Innovation requires some hard questions to be answered. Is it affordable within the context of that economy? Or, is it accessible for everyone within everyday culture?
Frugal Innovation is the means by which everyday people find solutions to everyday problems, by using not much more than their ingenuity, and skills of observation. These entrepreneurs are also social innovators as they work for the collective good.
And the story that follows is very much about appreciative inquiry, A requirement for us to listen deeply and learn from all that which surrounds us. Even if it does not come from our normal sources of information and influence. For me this poses the question if we cannot afford business as usual where do we we need to look for inspiration and guidance? How do we minimize resources and maximize value? The answer is we need to look further afield.
a mind-expanding mental wormhole voyage to the future courtesy of another guest at our table, *JordanGreenhall, known to me only as the co-founder of DivX, Inc., the prestigious leader in software creation for video authoring and encoding.
$techgnotic: What do you think will be the “paradigm shift” in how new superheroes (or even our traditional iconic ones) will be conceived and how their stories will be told?
*JordanGreenhall: Personally I think that the next wave is going to be the re-absorption of the (super)hero into the hero. The superhero is largely the expression of the desire for power on the rest of the powerless. One of the major themes of the current era is the “flattening” of power and new, more complex, challenges. I sense, perhaps, a return to the more human stories of adventure and heroism to which the normal person could, in principle, actually aspire. We will be witnessing the most dramatic “leveling up” of individual power since the invention of multi-cellular life. In many ways, a mid-21st century human will be a superhero. When you speculate about cybernetics, genetic and chemical modifications, and the more esoteric man/machine interfaces (for example, one mind controlling multiple geographically separate bodies) – not much of the “superhuman” is left outside of the “adjacent possible”.
The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!” – Jack Kerouac
via @StevenPutter | Imagine Rural Development Initiative
What goes through Peter Parker’s mind when he first realizes he has superpowers? This scene in the original Spiderman movie sent chills up my spine. What goes through your head in a moment of vision? ‘I am alive, I am empowered, I have the capacity to think, feel, act, and experience life in some way’. In a moment of vision, we understand our sources of power and our powers themselves. We realize that we are empowered through having the capacity to think, feel, do, and be.
“Social media is not the catalyst for change, but merely one of its agents. We must remember that Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and the like are the networks that facilitate an uprising. However, it is repression, angst, injustice, inequality, vision, aspiration and hope that serve as the true stimulus for insurrection and progress. Technology plays a part in transformation and it is up to you to learn how social, mobile, real-time, and all other emerging trends are affecting your industries, communities, or markets.
What we learn as a result however is that these new tools can bring people together and unite them under a common front or concerted mission. At the center of any revolution is the burning desire to bring about change. But it always comes down to people, shared experiences, and a common ambition. And it is people who need one another for leadership, support, and inspiration. What’s missing from the equation is your vision and leadership.”
"Now I’m not predicting Armageddon, but it’s obvious that we’re staring right in the face of change – not just here, but worldwide. The things you hold near and dear, may soon be gone. That security that was always first and foremost in your mind, may now become nothing but a memory of “the good old days.” All the constants you believed in … are now just more variables, variables you have to figure out. What are you going to do?"
"You need a lot of passion for what you're doing because its so hard. Without passion, any rational person would give up. So if youre not having fun doing it, and you don't really love it, you're going to give up..."
Daniel Suelo's decision to live without money was conceived on a backpacking trip to Alaska in 1998. He writes,
"Thus began a hypothesis of why wild nature’s economy is balanced while the commercial economy is not and can never be. I saw that nature is a constant free current – a true currency, that is. Money and possession represent our control, our interruption, of nature’s current, both in our minds and in our environment."
As a species we are stumbling blindly due to a model of separation based on nationality with no coherent system of monitoring or design. We are engaged in economic and political power-play, a fight for unsustainable resources, a religious war rearing its head between Islam and Christianity and to top it all off have done more damage to the biosphere in the last 10 years than in the whole history of humanity. We are waging wars on the trivial and sometimes I wonder if it is a self protection mechanism to prevent us from seeing the truth that is staring us right in the face at this moment of human history.
The facts are clear, we as a species have created a situation where we have to stop, stop to think, stop to address the major issues that can and are potentially affecting us as a species. This is a very small planet indeed, we as individuals tent to look at it from our personal perspective that stretch about as far as we can see, and for the ones being a little more engaged as far as our national interest lies. This small perspective of a “large planet” can and might be the undoing of a sustainable abundant planet for our future generation.
You manifested more than 4 and a half billion years ago and life began to manifest on you less that one billion years later. Since then, you have gradually become the beautiful living planet that you are today. Life evolved from deep within the oceans, multiplying and prospering on your body, slowly improving the atmosphere so that countless species could manifest. After one billion years, there was enough free oxygen in the atmosphere to create the ozone layer, which then prevented harmful radiation from reaching your surface, thus allowing life to develop on land.
We need to rebuild our institutions around open source technology, wikis, social media and all the other distributed models that are shaping our networked world, says Tapscott, who has brought together a number of other leading thinkers – Jonathan Zittrain from Harvard and writers Parag Khanna and Richard Florida, for example – to participate in this ambitious project to reinvent the planet in our digital century.
The concepts of individual and group agency are recurring themes around our virtual water cooler discussions of late. As eager change agents, edgeriders, and transitioners to a new world, we’re all more than blessed with big ideas. What many of us lack is the ability to reign in the ever expanding “cone of possibility” into a laser beam, pick a specific actionable project, and execute. Instead of implementing ideas, much time is wasted pitching them at each other, with no discernible path towards action.
"All life can be traced back to some single-celled organism in the early Archean sea. Today − nearly 4 billion years later − you and I find ourselves sharing the planet with elephants and whales, and over 8 million other eukaryotic species. Clearly, we’re all interrelated, but are we part of a single and absolute totality, a common being? Are we like the hundreds of different types of cells in our body that are constantly dying and being replaced, part of a complex organism greater than ourselves?"