The Anti-Fragile Neighborhood Wealth Production model is designed to bring forward the hidden wealth of neighborhoods, creating an accessible, inclusive story of the future for all, no exceptions. "The world outside our homes is changing faster than anyone could have imagined, and what we really need is a blueprint for a way forward, a codex for communities rooted in wisdom, and written by the people who are going to live out the story of a shared future." ~ Ruth Glendinning, Founder, FutureStory Labs
Bene Esse - Behind the Scenes (Corporate, Governance, Regulatory Compliance, and Activated Soft Capital)
54:47As shared in prior podcasts; the Anti-Fragile approach begins with a virtual community as a low-cost, light-weight method for establishing a beachhead, and leverages revenues generated as well as community engagement to accelerate the acquisition of any physical amenities that the community may define as necessary to community growth. And consistent with Anti-Fragile best practices: community engagement itself is accelerated through activation of various forms of soft capital (as briefly illustrated in this short video), inclusive to time, attention, relationship, and trust capitals, which reduces the necessity to secure upfront hard capital to “buy” people’s time and engagement. The result is a low-cost entry that begins virtually, designed to reach those who are in a state of outrage, so they might transition into lasting stewardship, through step-by-step action. Kent Dahlgren (of 214 Alpha) created this brief introductory video about Bene Esse to share the story, we also discuss it on the most recent podcast and in this Medium article written by Kent. An added bonus is that both Ruth Glendinning's company (Future Story Lab) and 214 Alpha have developed a 'copy and paste' franchise model that can be customized to the land owner's existing revenue streams, as illustrated in this brief “behind the scenes” video. Existing landowners stand to gain the following benefits: Recurring revenue with minimal liability Mobile and portable; a minimal dependency upon fixed infrastructure Reduction in costs (such as tax breaks) Greater power autonomy and improved soil quality Creating a legacy of opportunity for others In this manner, a small disciplined team of community activists might negotiate with existing landowners to address the root conditions of generational poverty and trauma by delivering upon a mutually-beneficial model designed to both elevate the value of existing land while creating the basis of growing generational wealth, which strengthens our connections to our roots.
"Bene Esse" a S.P.R.O.U.T. Product, Featuring Anti-Fragile Principles for Property Ownership (Intro)
1:06:30The reason for creating this very podcast is to discuss the creation of a playbook that would help people apply Anti-Fragile principles to community design, so they might realize benefits in a manner inversely proportional to declining conditions. The worse things become, the more an Anti-Fragile solution realizes benefit. The book is centered around the creation and launch of a living laboratory in the same community where Ruth Glendinning and Kent Dahlgren reside, and that community is calibrated to the local watershed, which is named Tannehill. The team has used the Community Activation and Launch Methodology on themselves, and the team have navigated the first six steps, which has brought them to "launch." And so as the Tannehill living laboratory begins socializing its vision and its plan, as well as enlisting participants, the Anti-Fragile team has been able to pivot to discussing how anti-fragile principles might be of benefit to related domains. In this podcast Ruth and Kent discuss a product Ruth designed called S.P.R.O.U.T., as well as a application of the S.P.R.O.U.T. product called "Bene Esse," which is Latin for "well being." The S.P.R.O.U.T. Anti-Fragile plan for real estate ownership aspires to deliver benefit to the property owner, relative to declining economic and ecological conditions, consistent with the principles of Anti-Fragility. Sound product design follows this same framework: Who is the target? Why does this matter to them? What is the solution? How does it work? In this podcast Ruth and Kent discuss "who" might be interested in this plan (property owners and public policymakers), and "why" it matters to them. They introduced a few key performance indicators (KPIs) which would help quantify and qualify their progress, as well as "what" elements are critical to the plan, and they follow up with a couple of high-level examples of "how" the plan works, which will be elaborated upon further in a future episode.
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A Post-Holiday Review of "Living Laboratory" Volunteer Activation, and a Pre-Launch Preview
50:34This podcast discusses how the activists responsible for the Anti-Fragile “living laboratory” (the Austin-based “Tannehill Marketville Collective”) were able to make significant progress through the holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas/Chanukah, and New Years, and without funding, through the daily stresses of financial challenges, COVID illness, and attrition from within the team. It’s now mid-February, and the small, unfunded activist committee responsible for delivering the Anti-Fragile “living laboratory” is on the cusp of announcing their vision and plan to the community (a formal “launch”), and through the holidays was able to define and deliver upon a professional and capable “go to market plan.” In this podcast episode, Ruth Glendinning and Kent Dahlgren discuss attributes of what Kent once called the “hive mind operating system” for activating a sustained collective effort, and with creative continuity, through periods of hardship and attrition, and without formal modes of compensation. The “hive mind operating system” (later known as “org,” for “organizational competency” as it was tuned through on-the-streets activism, and now known as the 214 Community Activation and Launch Methodology, or C.A.L.M.) is a step-by-step program for guiding activists from a state of outrage to sustained stewardship, through action. It’s at this precise intersection that Ruth and Kent have merged their respective visions for, as Ruth calls it: “transacting transformation,” or as Kent elaborates (borrowing from the domain of interaction / user experience design): constructing a series of transactions / interactions to bring about transformational change, relying entirely upon soft capital (gift economy) for compensation. The following tactile deliverables were creatively defined and delivered by a small, unfunded group of committed volunteers. Through the holidays, through COVID, and through inevitable attrition: (Visual identity / Branding) A newly-created logo, icon, and style guide, ensuring consistent and professional brand presentation across all materials and online platforms. (Audience) Defined audience engagement categories of “sellers” and “members,” which mixes the benefits for "buyers" and "community" Defined “what’s in it for me?” options for "members" (Materials) Draft informational email Informational video Definition for "engagement packages" (defined as Seed, Root, Grow, Sustain, and Flourish Logos for “Seed, Root, Grow, Sustain, and Flourish” are done and added to materials Brief presentation for those who want more info (vision and step-by-step plan) New handout flier design: messaging and logos (Operations) Corporate / Co-op structure Governance and operational decisions regarding financials
Anti-Fragile Playbook: examples of activated soft capital (Burnside and Community Renaissance Market)
58:43Imagine a pop-up market that funds hyper-local self-governance. Imagine a self-funded, hyper-local, self-governing committee that breaks the cycles of generational trauma. Anticipating a retreat in formal government that will leave the vulnerable behind, Ruth Glendinning and Kent Dahlgren have partnered to create an Anti-Fragile Playbook that will guide people through the steps necessary to launch and sustain their own renegade “pop-up” market that funds their community’s self-governance. This self-governance model delivers hyper-local “earn and learn” programs encouraging people to become producers instead of just consumers, with an explicit focus on regenerative best practices. In so doing, people become place-makers instead of just placeholders, producing their own wealth, on their terms. At the heart of the whole thing is a model for short-circuiting the cycles of generational trauma, poverty, and abuse, designed by Ruth herself, and explicitly acknowledging the value of soft capital. In Ruth’s words, this plan helps people “transact transformation.” This community activation app was designed to address the challenges faced by charities seeking to secure hard capital in pursuit of their visions. We do so by: helping the community generate hard capital themselves through a built-in business model that delivers economic rejuvenation and quantifying forms of soft capital, such as trust, wisdom, and attention. In this episode: Ruth Glendinning and Kent Dahlgren elaborate upon certain key topics regarding forms of soft and hard capital, and conclude with a brief overview of the Burnside Skatepark (an illegal skateboard park that's currently celebrating its 30th anniversary), as well as Ruth's experience with Community Renaissance Market, which landed her on ABC Nightly News for incubating several dozen local, organic businesses.
An Investment in Anti-Fragile Operations Pays Dividends
56:44Satisfied that the administrative team for the local "Anti-Fragile living laboratory" was up and running, one of core members did something healthy by saying: "I need to press pause and take a break." Again, this is healthy; activists cannot be expected to run non-stop for an extended period, because overwork leads to burnout, and this team member in particular had been running non-stop for years in support of a large network of "buy nothing" communities. She took the time to document her current status, went above and beyond by sharing key insights, giving the rest of the team more than enough of a hand-off as she took her well-deserved break. And so in this manner the admin team for the local "Anti-Fragile living laboratory" managed the unexpected (temporary) absence of a key core member, while concurrently processing feedback which flowed real-time from Kent's approximately 50 in-person conversations within the community. Central to the Anti-Fragile Playbook, the Community Activation and Launch Methodology (or C.A.L.M. model) walks activists from outrage to stewardship through action, and an important part of the Anti-Fragile model is Ruth Glendinning's framework for constantly refreshing the screen, inviting us to ask the following four questions: Is it true? Has it ever been true? Could it be true? Should it be true? It's in this manner the team was able to quickly and nimbly move through the events of the past week, while deepening (and complexifying) its engagement with its community. Many benefits flow from an investment in a small, but properly-diversified and empowered core team, and one is: execution continuity in the context of growth and periodic attrition (even if temporary). In summary: the team didn't skip a beat, even while a critical teammate took a well-deserved break.
Start Small, Build Trust, Change Everything: a Report on Progress Within Three Communities
1:09:10In this episode, Ruth Glendinning and Kent Dahlgren report upon progress within three representative 214 Alpha communities, including activities within the Anti-Fragile "living laboratory," calibrated to a local watershed, in Austin, Texas. Ruth and Kent discuss outreach at a farmers market (validating solution statements defined by community activists to address root conditions of outrage), as well as the first meaty governance discussions within a recent in-person community meeting. From Alchemy to Xerosere: Ruth and Kent additionally discuss the transformational nature of community activation at the local level, inviting people to embrace a spirit of hope to displace a sense of outrage and despair, by embracing wealth that's right beneath our noses.
The Legacy of Opportunity
1:01:20In this podcast, Ruth Glendinning and Kent Dahlgren discuss not only how they learned how to recognize opportunity where others see chaos, but how (and why) they invest in leaving a legacy of opportunity which might encourage others to do so as well. There's plenty of reason to feel an authentic sense of optimism. Podcast began at 10:10, and ended at precisely 11:11.
Our Shared River of Story: How the Network Effect Informs Disruptive Innovation
1:04:43Think about a well, used to provide water. Did you know that the word "well" was once used to quantify the beneficial "halo effect" provided by access to safe drinking water? The size of a community was limited to the number of those the community's well could serve - a great example of a "commons." Additionally, the well (west Saxon: wielle) is the root of the word "welcome," which sounds very cozy when one thinks about the word printed on a welcome mat, but in fact: water will find its own way, with little regard for levees, dams, rail, freeways, and sometimes homes. Indeed, recent research has demonstrated that ancient migratory routes mirrored subterranean waterways. As Ruth says: "waterways formed the first paths to market," and so it's not impossible to imagine how an embrace of these ancient waterways might form the basis of introducing a disruptive model for technological innovation. Let's define this. Disruptive technology is an innovation that significantly alters the way that consumers, industries, or businesses operate. A disruptive technology sweeps away the systems or habits it replaces because it has attributes that are recognizably superior. In this episode, Ruth Glendinning and Kent Dahlgren discuss the status of two local "living laboratory" pilot communities which have chosen to join forces so they can better focus upon calibrating a local economic footprint to their local watershed. In this manner, the community can launch a hyper-local marketplace to self-fund social programs, while setting aside resources for improving the ecological quality of the watershed within which they live. A focus upon watershed transcends freeway and arbitrary neighborhood boundaries, and weaves together people from across the social and economic spectrum. Also discussed is how this same "network effect" extends beyond Austin: because communities in other geographies (such as in Canada and North Carolina) aren't competitive, there's every reason for them to share innovations with one another, thus delivering upon the philosophy that the "rising tide lifts all boats." This technology innovation thus introduces a model for what Ruth calls a "peace economy" which may serve to augment and potentially rival the existing war-based economy in a manner which may someday be acknowledged as "disruptive."
Anti-Fragile Strikes Again! The Launch of Two Pilots (Seemingly in Spite of Hardship and Stress)
1:11:11It's the funniest thing: each time Ruth, Trudy, and Kent experience hardship, the Anti-Fragile Playbook project plan advances beyond that which should otherwise make sense. This same thing happened during the snowstorm of 2/14, where the project accelerated seemingly in response to historic power outages and hardship. As you may recall, an anti-fragile system is one that thrives in the context of stress and hardship, and once again this serves as an example of what happens when one explicitly invests in forms of soft capital to make a project truly anti-fragile, eg: able to thrive in the context of stress and difficulty. This week the team launched not one, but two pilot communities in Austin, released a highly-refined brochure, and realized the software can run on desktops and laptops. Additionally, the team of three grew now to seven core members, all while Ruth, Trudy, and Kent navigated significant hardship. Topics discussed include project updates, as well as how an investment in "faith" really fuels a project's success. Separate aside: this podcast episode length: 1:11:11.
Refining the Vision and Engaging New Activists Through Rapid, Low-Fidelity Prototyping
1:48:51Imagine a product in a store named "Seed," which will: Preserve community Create economic opportunity and leverage technology to define the future What's in the box? 150 hours of hands-on community activation 24/7 virtual community marketplace, where creating a job is as easy as creating a listing Additional household revenue, and access to assistance to launch and sustain a home-based business. But "Seed" is not an actual product. "Seed" is the product of a single day's collaboration, using less than $3 in materials (cardboard box, printouts from the Internet, no more than 50 words, and ordinary Scotch tape). In this podcast, Ruth Glendinning and Kent Dahlgren discuss the use of low-fidelity prototyping tools (such as hypothetical retail products like the imagined "Seed") to secure and retain the attention of new team members, enlisting their assistance to bring about the desired outcome, while refining the project's aspired vision. As discussed in the prior podcast, the three core team members (Ruth, Trudy, and Kent) have been joined by two additional contributors, but it’s important for the new team members to hit the ground running, and from a place of ownership and an authentic spirit of shared attribution. This podcast introduces the methodology for rapid and streamlined onboarding of management-level collaboration, because the team might have not the luxury to invest months or even years for new team members to acquire all of the requisite background and context. Low-fidelity prototyping: using an empty cardboard box, printouts from the Internet, no more than about 50 words, and scotch tape, Ruth, Kent, and Trudy created a physical prototype, representing what they would hoped to deliver to their pilot community in the first three months. This crude, “low fidelity“ prototype stimulated within the team significant and high context discussions around how the concept and the plan might be further streamlined, the overall message further refined. For this is vital and important: these core team members will be “training the trainer“ of those who will join at a later date, and those “third generation“ participants will be on the front line for community members seeking a safe refuge where they can vent their sense of justified anguish and outrage. For the local Anti-Fragile pilot, things are coming together in a very real way. This podcast discusses a variety of practical, battle-tested, and accessible tools for navigating a community activation process worthy the investment. Further, Ruth and Kent discuss pragmatic reasons why activists might want to actually recruit "the broken" to participate as peers, so the collective effort is able to deftly navigate the community engagement process as it evolves. Therefore, it's discussed why the core activist team may care to invest in a spirit of forgiveness and redemption, in reference to the Japanese art of Kintsugi (金継ぎ), where a broken dish is repaired with gold, creating something new, and of transcendent value. Ultimately, this plan delivers a structured series of transactions and interactions to bring about a transformational experience.