Posts

Lorenzo at the Global Wellbeing Lab 2.0

Strategies for sustainable wellbeing: Lorenzo Fioramonti at the Global Wellbeing Lab 2.0

The Global Wellbeing Lab 2.0 officially kicked off with a two day workshop in Berlin (Germany) in early February 2015. The Lab aims to shift institutions beyond the pursuit of narrowly measured parameters of economic progress (such as growth) to broader aims that translate into sustainable wellbeing for our societies.

GovInn director Lorenzo Fioramonti  was among the 25 innovators invited to the Lab from all over the world. He had the opportunity to discover new ways of looking at leadership, sustainable development and wellbeing, as he tells us in this interview.

Lorenzo at the Global Wellbeing Lab 2.0

Lorenzo Fioramonti speaking at one of the sessions of the Global Wellbeing Lab 2.0, Berlin 2015

 

What is the Global Wellbeing Lab 2.0?

Lorenzo Fioramonti: These Labs are an initiative of the Global Leadership Academy, a programme funded by the German government to convene “thought leaders” and innovators from all walks of life and from all over the world to discuss, network and share ideas about promoting change at the global scale. In particular, the Wellbeing Lab focuses on new approaches to economic progress and what type of cultural, social and political change we need to build a different economy. It is led by Prof. Otto Scharmer, from the Massachussets Institute of Technology (MIT) and world renowned for his Theory U, and co-hosted by the Presencing Institute in Boston (USA) and the Gross National Happiness Centre in Bhutan.

What happened in Berlin?

The Berlin kick-off event was a very enriching gathering of extremely motivated individuals, from very different backgrounds. There were young innovators from the Silicon Valley, like Nipun Metha, who gave a very inspiring TED Talk on the economy of generosity watched by tens of thousands of viewers. We had the first lady of the State of Oregon, Cylvia Hayes, who is a dedicated environmentalist and has led the introduction of the Genuine Progress Indicator in Oregon.  There was also my friend Katherine Trebeck from Oxfam, who has developed the Humankind Index (another great Ted Talk to watch).
We had managers from the clothing giant Eileen Fisher and Google’s sale manager, Alfred Tolle. We then had representatives of various governments, from Costa Rica to Brazil, USA, Vietnam and the UK. From South Africa, I was joined by Louise Van Rhyn of Symphonia and Mary Jane Morifi from the Nelson Mandela Children Hospital Trust.

We were invited to spend a few days, in almost complete isolation, in the beautiful ecological resort of Landgut A. Borsig, one of the hallmarks of the civil resistance against Hitler. It was a great opportunity to share ideas on how to foster a well-being based economic transition for our countries.

Lorenzo Fioramonti from Presencing Institute on Vimeo.

How does the Lab work?

LF: This first meeting gave us an opportunity to get to know each other better. Indeed, the Lab will continue for 2 years and will become a ‘journey’ taking us to different locations around the world. It’s designed as a space for reflection, but also as an incubator for action. It is based on the Theory U approach, which shows how collective change is ultimately the outcome of a journey. This journey includes personal change as well as continuous interaction with likeminded individuals from different cultural backgrounds. We all share a conviction that the current economic system is not delivering on wellbeing, but the journey will help us identify a common ground on how to make the change happen in practice. Academics, business leaders, government officials and civic activists are all brought together to shape this intellectual and personal journey over the course of the next two years.

What is happening next?

LF: We will start scanning interesting social innovations in South Africa and then bring them back into our global debate. We will also need to identify ideas for change that could become prototypes for action. In May we will then meet again in Bhutan, where we have been officially invited by the government. After that, the journey will take us to other destinations. In the end, the initiative aims to build a strong network of leaders and innovators with a set of shared practical ideas to change the world!

Lise Pretorius

Lise Pretorius

Lise Pretorius planting a tree in Bhutan

Associate Fellow

Bio

Lise Pretorius joined GovInn as an associate fellow in January 2015 and is involved with the centre’s work on new economic governance.  As an environmental economist by training (but an ecological economist at heart) Lise is interested in the role of investment in creating systemic change, as well as the potential for “beyond GDP” measures of progress to create an economic model more capable of dealing with 21st century challenges.

Lise’s has worked on a variety of projects around the topic of sustainable investment in South Africa and the UK.   She was also previously a senior writer (energy and sustainability) at the Financial Mail, and was awarded the South African National Energy Association journalism award in 2012 for advancing the understanding of energy issues in South Africa.

Lise obtained her BComm Honours degree in economics from the University of Cape Town and her MSc in Environmental Economics from the London School of Economics.   She recently spent six months working for WWF in Bhutan, a trip inspired by an interest in Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness – an example of Beyond GDP in practice.

Lise is passionate about people, traveling, and mountains, and is slowly becoming more knowledgeable about good wine.

 

Links

TedX Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9DeLsqh1aY

Twitter : @lisenatalie

 

Research Interests

2015 Africa Prosperity Summit: “Promoting Wealth and Wellbeing”

Legatum InstituteAn interesting event for those who, like us at GovInn, are researching new economic governance.
The 2015 Africa Prosperity Summit: Promoting Wealth and Wellbeing, promoted by the Legatum Institute with the support of the Ford Foundation, is taking place in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, on 20-21 May 2015.

 

The conference will focus on four key themes:

  • How data can promote shared prosperity
  • Stoking African innovation: ways and means
  • Business values for prosperity
  • Personal safety and national prosperity

Keynote Speakers

  • Zeinab Badawi, Chair of the Royal Africa Society
  • Marieme Jamme, CEO of SpotOne Global Solutions
  • David McGinty, Team Manager of Human Development Innovation Fund

Registration closes on 20 February 2015.
For more information on how to take part in the summit check the Legatum Institute website

About the Legatum Institute

The Legatum Institute is an international think-tank and educational charity. Its aim is to promote prosperity by revitalising capitalism and democracy. The Legatum Prosperity Index, our signature publication, ranks 142 countries in terms of wealth and wellbeing.

VIDEO Rising economic inequality casts a shadow on the WEF -SABC

Rising economic inequality continues to cast a shadow over the World Economic Forum, says GovInn director Lorenzo Fioramonti in a live interview on SABC news (22 January 2015).
Oxfam set the tone earlier this week in a report timed to the start of the Davos conference: it estimated that the combined wealth of the world’s richest 1 percent could overtake that of the remaining 99 percent by next year.
Will the WEF do something about it?

“Creating a More Egalitarian Society”: introduction to the LEDDA partnership

“Creating a More Egalitarian Society”, by John Boik:  an introduction to the LEDDA framework and the LEDDA Partnership.

Houston, 7.12.14

GovInn joins RISC

RISC logo
We are glad to announce that our Centre has joined RISC, the Consortium for Comparative Research on Regional Integration and Social Cohesion.

Founded in 2007, RISC gathers socially conscious research centres from all over the world. Through the creation of a cross-regional and interdisciplinary network RISC promotes the comparative examination of the human and environmental impacts of various aspects of regional integration across geographic areas and time periods. What sets RISC apart is its commitment to conduct research that could support social action projects in local communities.
GovInn researchers welcome the opportunity to contribute to a better understanding of the global political and economic challenges from the privileged observation point of Southern Africa.

Learn more about GovInn research projects
Learn more about RISC

World needs a new Bretton Woods with Africa in the lead – Business Day 27.11.2014

This week on Business Day, South Africa’s leading business newspaper, GovInn director Lorenzo Fioramonti reflects on the need to redefine the economic system and the very definition of economic progress.

“After the 2007-08 global economic collapse, we have not yet seen one major reform. Both bail-outs and quantitative easing (a cryptic term to hide the fact that governments have resorted to the old-fashioned, Zimbabwe-esque remedy of printing money out of thin air) have done exactly the opposite: they have condoned business-as-usual practices, providing an incentive for the financial sector to continue speculating.”

Our leaders make public appeals for more growth, but fail to specify what “type” of growth they want. While in the postwar period the world could have been satisfied with economic growth at all costs — most countries had been destroyed by the conflict and the future was simply about rebuilding — the new century has brought some critical reality checks. The planet is in pain, unbridled economic growth has increased inequalities in many countries and environmental damage has become a concern not only for tree-huggers, but for anybody interested in social and economic stability.

Read the full article on Business Day. 

Presentations from “Beyond GDP in Africa: Innovative ideas for a regional dashboard”

On 28-29 October 2014, GovInn, in partnership with the Sustainability Institute,  hosted a workshop that brought together academics and practitioners from statistical offices from Sub-Saharan Africa to identify practical solutions to measure well being and prosperity and move beyond numerical indicators such as GDP.

The title of the workshop was ‘Beyond-GDP in Africa: Innovative Ideas for a Regional Dashboard.’ Its goal was to take stock of the various criticisms raised against the gross domestic product (GDP) as a measure of economic progress and to propose a way forward for African countries.

Read and download the presentations given at the workshop: 

Why it’s time to leave GDP behind, by Robert Costanza

The GCRO BAROMETER 2014, by Darlington Mushongera

MEASURING DECENT WORK INDICATORS AND WORK STATISTICS, by Coffi Agossou

Environmental Economic Accounting Water Resource Accounting for South Africa, by Robert Parry

Gross National Happiness (GNH) in Bhutan, by Lise Pretorius

Why reversing Africa’s Resource Curse requires calculating natural capital accounts and ecological debt, by Patrick Bond

Update on the UN System of Environmental-Economic Accounting, by Mandy Driver

Developing a Diagnostic Tool and Policy Instrument for the Realisation of Decent Work, by Edward Webster

Beyond GDP: Towards a composite well-being index The case of the Green Economy Index , by Anton Nahman

Beyond GDP in Africa: Day 1 summary

Click here to download the workshop official statement 

Partnership to Explore New Funding Sources for Innovators

leddaThe European Social Innovation Research website features the LEDDA partnership this week.

This first-of-its-kind partnership is envisioned as a global, diverse set of academic, civil society, government, business, and philanthropy groups focused on ushering a new, parallel economic system through the development and pilot trial phases.

says Georg Mildenberger in his article.

“The economic system, called the Local Economic Direct Democracy Association (LEDDA) framework, or synonymously, LEDDA economic direct democracy, represents a rethinking of economic purpose and money. Among other things, it uses money as a democratic voting tool, and distributes voting power by increasing and equalizing incomes. This is a local economic system designed to complement and compete with existing systems within local (city or regional) economies.

A LEDDA itself is a membership-based, community benefit association open to residents, businesses, schools, nonprofits, local governments, public services, and others that choose to participate. Each LEDDA governs its own local framework through an online direct democracy process, and all LEDDAs are networked together within a global association.

The LEDDA framework is comprehensive, including as elements a novel local electronic currency, intellectual property pool, financial system, online direct democracy governance system, socially responsible business model, and buy local program. According to Boik, who outlines the framework in his 2014 book Economic Direct Democracy: A Framework to End Poverty and Maximize Well-Being, “the framework diversifies, strengthens, and infuses a local economy with democracy, and in so doing empowers residents to address local and global issues of interest.”

One key characteristic is that the LEDDA framework employs new motivations for economic decision-making. Rather than focusing attention on strict self-interest (by rewarding individuals who strive for higher corporate profits and investor returns), it focuses attention on cooperation, via a process of maximizing community well-being. A LEDDA assesses and forecasts social, economic, and environmental well-being using modern data collection and computer modeling tools. It uses the results to guide decision-making, especially in the LEDDA financial system, called the Crowd-Based Financial System (CBFS)”.

Know more about the CBFS and read the full article on the SIR website

“Competing with Capitalism to Maximize Well-Being” LEDDA framework on Thruth Out

What would you do to reinvent capitalism, to make it less destructive and more focused on what people really need?
It’s not that the benefits of capitalism are undesirable – jumbo jets and smart phones are sheer wonders – it’s that the collateral damage is growing untenable. Democracy and the commons are being sold off to the highest bidders.

GovInn Director Lorenzo Fioramonti and John Boik, creator of the Principled Societies Project present on TruthOut the Local Economic Direct Democracy (LEDDA) framework.

A LEDDA, Local Economic Direct Democracy Association
, is a membership-based, community benefit association open to residents, businesses, schools, nonprofits, local governments, public services, and others that choose to participate. The LEDDA framework is the local economic system – comprised of software, policies, standards, and procedures – that a new LEDDA implements. Once live, the membership can alter the local framework as desired.

In effect, the framework offers a secondary level of organization on top of an existing local economy.

Each LEDDA governs its own local framework through an online process of direct democracy, and all LEDDAs are networked together within a global association, which is also governed through online direct democracy. Thus the focus is both local and global.

The LEDDA framework integrates and builds on numerous initiatives already existing in cities and regions around the world, including buy local, local currency, open source, crowdfunding, socially responsible business, open data, smart cities, and participatory democracy. It contains its own monetary system, which issues a local electronic currency, called the token. And it has its own financial system, called the Crowd-Based Financial System (CBFS), which resembles crowdfunding and participatory budgeting. The framework is sophisticated, and there are many more elements.

The LEDDA framework is synonymous with LEDDA economic direct democracy, an economic system that offers all participants roughly equal and direct opportunity to influence their local economy. The framework infuses a local economy with democracy, in part by using money as a voting tool and by increasing and equalizing family incomes.

A computer simulation model has been published that illustrates the process. Inflation-adjusted mean family income more than doubles during the twenty-eight-year simulation period. As incomes rise, they become more equal. By the end of the simulation, every member family receives a pre-tax, take-home income equivalent to about $107,000, just above the 90th percentile of baseline income. Even very wealthy families would see a small direct gain.

By the end of the simulation, the LEDDA, located in an averaged-size US county, channels the equivalent of more than $2 billion dollars annually toward local businesses, schools, public services, and nonprofit organizations. Tax revenues for the county markedly rise. With such abundant resources, and democratic control over funding decisions, a community could remake its economy into one that best suits its needs.

The LEDDA framework is still theoretical, and the partnership is just forming. Over time, we hope to provide answers to the host of questions that such an approach naturally raises. In this, we invite your participation.

Imagine a democracy-infused economic system that maximizes well-being. The long-run social and environmental returns might be valued in the trillions, thousands of times greater than the costs of development and pilot trials. Isn’t it worth the effort?

Read the full article on TruthOut