The session ‘Living Together’ represents a window of opportunity, where a group of people, coming from different parts of Europe with different backgrounds, cultures, dreams and skills, but sharing the same desire to work to improve their environment, are meeting for dialogue in order to generate actionable ideas about how to develop healthy relationships with other people and themselves.
Why not just generating actionable ideas that will be articulated in a report recommending policies to the European Commission, but also taking advantage of this enormous concentration of energy, resources, contacts and talent that represents the session, in order to implement ourselves a sustainable social project to help develop healthy relationships in the community?.
Current socio-economic context relevant to the session
(a) Social relationships and social context:
Social relationships form the basis of the social structures building the society. Family, religion, law, economy and organization are all examples of social structures. Every social structure, such as economy, has defined a set of specific social relations, which regulate and determine the actions of individuals, thus determining their behavior and thus creating a mental structure that defines the limits of the possible. Therefore, we live our lives moving within the limits of our mental structures, determined by the social relations, and we rarely realize that are just that, something virtual that exists only in our minds and that is why they are called mental structures. Changing our mental structures, by changing our social relations, we can redefine what is possible and what is not, expanding or contracting our horizons of possible.
Today, we live conditioned by the mental structures created by the different types of social relations, that at least in its original form, come from when our basic social organization was small and isolated groups of humans living in caves and escaping from predators. But our environment is no longer the same, it has changed dramatically, especially in the last 50 years. Changes, such as disruptive technology advances, that have opened doors and unsuspected possibilities so far, and yet we are using them conditioned by the same mental structures developed for a totally different environment.
(b) Economic context:
Currently a huge crisis, of confidence and trust basically, is sweeping the planet, where an economic model, based primarily on short-term financial incentives, encourages the development of unsustainable social and ecologically relationships. Creating a deeply divided society that is structured by relations of inequality, and questioning our viability as a specie in the not too distant future. A concrete example of the effects of this inequality, one of many, are the thousands of young people better educated than the previous generation, who are unemployed and hopeless throughout Europe and the world.
Big question that guides the dynamics of the session
- Autonomy: the urge to direct our own lives
- Mastery: the desire to get better at something that matters
- Purpose: the yearning to do what we do in service of something larger than ourselves
The session dynamics is based in a conversational process structured by the World Café methodology. This process aims to gather the main ideas and next steps in order to implement a previously given social idea into a sustainable social project within the framework defined by the session 's big question. Thus, the session dynamic 's objective is to offer some answers to the session 's big question by analyzing how to implement the given social idea into a sustainable social project that in itself is also an answer to the big question.
(b) Dynamics example:
Nowadays an idea implementation in the “normal” business world involves patenting the idea and creating a “normal” company in which the owners of the idea retains a certain percentage of shares that allow them to increase their profits indefinitely.
In the session 's analysis of the social idea implementation into a sustainable social project, what is raised is an alternative scenario, where someone has an idea, share it with others, the idea is enriched by the contributions of others and is implemented by creating a kind of social business. A kind of social business with a transparent operation to society where it is inserted. A sort of social business without shares but where every member, regardless of their original contribution to the idea, is equal to the others to the extent of their work. A kind of social business that is open to new members as they bring new ideas to improve the current functioning, or because its needed more people to work because the social business operation is requiring that. A sort of social business where each member receives no unlimited profits but what is needed to get a decent life, while the surplus is reinvested in the social business itself and also in the society where it is inserted.
Thus, the group attending the session is divided into smaller groups. Where each of these subgroups answers a series of specific questions in a specific area - economics, law, organizational structure, etc… - in order to implement the social project framed by the alternative scenario described above. This process of answering the given questions requires analyzing and restructuring many of the social relations in our various social structures, such as law, economics and organization. Then, this process not only is giving many answers to the session 's big question, but also, the resulting social business is also an answer, both in how is organized its internal structure, and its external purpose for the society.
(c) Social idea seed for a sustainable social project:
Key insights for the social idea:
(1) It’s not a lack of desire and resources that keeps people from performing the necessary actions to reach their goals. The goals may be about reading more, learning something new, spend more time with family, exercise to improve health, or recycling more. The experience of thousands of dissatisfied people and thousands of goals abandoned, show us that there is a common cause: people are finding difficult to go alone. The lack of a clearly designed plan to the goals, and the lack of companion to design and follow this plan, is what keeps us from reaching our goals. Situation that makes us live unfulfilled and without the ability to realize our full potential, thus living a life without a sense of autonomy, mastery and purpose.
(2) We are using the technology in a way that we are sacrificing real conversation for mere connection, and through this process we are running more isolated from each other and running out of the ability to reflect.
(3) The technology is here to stay and represents an opportunity. The opportunity is that we can use it to develop a new kind of social networks. Social networks that develop real human ties and not mere connections. Social networks that reserve space in our real lives for real conversations, while are taking advantage of the ubiquity of technology and its ability to overcome the barriers of distance and time, in a way that, from the spirit of self-reflection and awareness of the other people earned in those spaces of real conversation, is giving us access to give and receive help, care and companionship of people that without the technology would be impossible or impractical to access and manage a day to day relationship. Social networks that in this way are expanding our capabilities to reach with true sense other people and live a richer social life in ways that before the technology would have been impossible or impractical.
Social idea based in these insights and framed by the session 's big question:
Goal2us, a new kind of social network based in:
(1) A social site on the web with the aim of helping people reach goals that can be achieved in a period of one to three months. This help is provided facilitating the access to other people in similar situations and using specific tools in order to help people define their goals, design a plan to achieve them and run them with the help and companion of others seeking the same
(2) A network of physical collaboratives spaces with the aim of bringing people together to strengthen the relationships developed on the web social site through real conversations about things that really matters:
Talking about their experiences, encouraging others, sharing their problems and even working face to face on their goals