Highlights from Designing Regenerative Cultures by Daniel Wahl

110 highlighted passages, references are to Kindle version, last annotated on June 4, 2017

Conventional economics justifies the over-exploitation of resources in the short term without regard to the long-term effects on vital ecosystems functions upon which all of life depends. The dangerous ideology of neo-classical economics offers economic arguments for the replacement of diversity with monocultures, thereby justifying and structurally embedding competition. This actively drives the erosion of natural resilience which depends on redundancies at multiple scales, in pursuit of ‘economics of scale’ and ‘competitive advantage’ in a globalized market. This system has worked well for a few, at the cost of the many and has driven the degradation of communities and ecosystems around the world. 475

Oikos (οἶκος) means ‘house’ or ‘household’. Logos (λόγος) means ‘that which is said of’ or ‘the study of’. The role of ecology is thus to provide a deeper understanding of life’s household including humanity’s participation in it. Combining oikos with nomos (νόμος) which means ‘rule’ or ‘law’ indicates that the role of economy is to establish appropriate rules for the ‘management of the household’. Clearly the rules of how to husband the Earth’s resources (economy) should be based on a deep understanding of the life-supporting functions of ecosystems and the Earth (ecology). Yet the narrative of scarcity and competition that forms the dogmatic basis of the dominant ideology of economics was established before the science of ecology was invented. An economic system in service to current and future generations will have to be rooted in an ecological understanding of interconnection and interdependence. We have invented an economic system that goes utterly against the basic rules for long-term survival of any living system. The good news is that, since we invented the rules of economics, we can re-invent them! 485

Ecology is the study of the healthy functioning and the continuous change and adaptation of ecosystems and the biosphere. These dynamics are not open for political discussion and compromise. They are about how life creates conditions that favour life. The economic rules of our current way of managing our household, on the other hand, are 100% made up by us. They can, therefore, just as easily be disregarded on the grounds that they are insufficient and anachronistic. We are free to dismiss them in favour of new economic systems that take the long-term survival of the household and ecological insights as a better basis for sound management than those of the current auto-destructive and structurally dysfunctional system. 495

Let us not forget that those who are setting the rules of the system have been directly or indirectly hired by us and are paid by our taxes. We have invited the pipers in, but allowed them to call the tune, and are now dancing to the tune as if it were the only tune possible. But another economics is possible and already being developed and explored under such diverse names as ‘new economics – http://www.neweconomy.net/’, ‘steady state economics’ (e.g. Daly, 1991), ‘the circular economy’ (e.g. Boulding, 1966), or ‘ecological economics’ (e.g. Costanza, 1991). If we stop dancing to the fateful tune of an economics of scarcity and competition and start to collectively hum a different one, we can begin to transform the way we inhabit our common home – planet Earth – in ways that do not damage the health and resilience of the life support system we depend on. We can and must create economic rules that let us share nature’s abundance collaboratively and incentivize business and communities to continuously regenerate the basic resources we depend upon. 502

We need to initiate culturally creative conversations about what kind of changes to our current economic system are more likely to deliver a thriving and desirable future for our communities and all of humanity. We are all part of, and participants in, the systems we have helped to co-create (or at the very least quietly consented to maintaining). There is no point in blaming the ‘others’, a lack of political leadership, greedy corporate executives, inadequate laws and regulations or insufficient education, since we all have contributed, and are contributing, to how things are. All of us, when we spend our money, do our work, educate our children, elect our political representatives and participate in our communities, are making ourselves accomplices in the status quo until we choose to act consciously as ‘cultural creatives’ (Ray & Anderson, 2000) of a thriving future for current and future generations. 510

Change starts with us! It starts in conversation with our neighbours, colleagues, friends and our communities, by asking deeper questions and being willing to live them: Q What kind of world do we want to leave for our children and children’s children? Q Why are we still at war with each other and with nature? Q Why do we allow an economic system that no longer serves the long-term survival of our species or the wellbeing of our communities to dictate the way we do business and relate to each other? Q Why do we let our political leaders convince us that spending large proportions of our national budgets on arms and preparation for war is a necessity, when we know that these funds could provide access to water, education, food and a dignified life for all humanity, thereby disarming the main drivers of war and conflict? Q How can we meet everyone’s basic needs while simultaneously ensuring our common future by protecting biodiversity, stabilizing global climate patterns and creating thriving human cultures that regenerate planetary bioproductivity? Questions like these invite us to think systemically over longer time scales and to pay attention to relationships and context, rather than rushing for quick answers and silver-bullet solutions. 517

By questioning dangerous ideologies that no longer serve us we take the first step towards collectively defining the kind of questions that might help us live into more viable alternatives and help us to create regenerative cultures everywhere. 531

Our dominant way of thinking in dualistic opposites makes us blind to the underlying unity. Nature is hardly ever that black or white; mostly we are dealing with shades of grey. The way we tend to try to establish certainty is by defining a particular way of seeing and limiting the boundaries of the system in question. What results is the illusion of certainty. This is a useful technique. 537

As Werner Heisenberg has put it: “What we observe is not nature herself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning”. 541

any perspective is a limited view of the underlying complexity. In order to befriend uncertainty, we need to let go of our need for prediction and control. Most causality in nature is not linear in the sense that effect follows cause in a linear way. Due to radical interconnectivity, systemic interactions and feedback loops, causality is more often than not circular rather than linear. Effects become causes and causes are the effects of other systems dynamics. 543

Brian taught me that any system that is constituted of three or more interacting variables is more appropriately described by non-linear mathematics and should be considered a complex dynamic system. One of the defining properties of complex dynamic systems is that they are fundamentally unpredictable and uncontrollable (beyond controlled laboratory conditions). Uncertainty and ambiguity are therefore fundamental characteristics of our lives and the natural world, including human culture, society and our economic systems. 548

Brian argued that since natural, social or economic systems are best understood as complex dynamic systems, 552

We are not supposedly ‘objective’ observers outside these systems, trying to manipulate them more effectively; we are always participants. He suggested that the insights of complexity science invite us to shift our attitude and goal to our appropriate participation in these systems, as subjective, co-creative agents. Our goal should be to better understand the underlying dynamics in order to facilitate the emergence of positive or desirable properties – emerging through the qualities of relationships in the system and the quality of information that flows through the system. We have to befriend uncertainty and ambiguity because they are here to stay. 553

We have to come to grips with the fact that knowledge and information, no matter how detailed, will remain an insufficient and uncertain basis for guiding our path into the future. We will increase our chances of success if we have the wisdom and humility to embrace our own ignorance, celebrate ambiguity and befriend uncertainty. More often than not, certainty is not an option. We are invited to ‘live the questions more deeply’, to pay attention to the wisdom of many minds and diverse points of view, and to continue the conversation about whether we are still on the appropriate path. We are encouraged into relationship and deeper listening, so that we can stop being at war with ourselves and with the planet. 559

More than 2,500 years ago, Pericles reminded his fellow Athenians: “We may not be able to predict the future, but we can prepare for it”. 564

will at best be partial and temporary. Yet by asking the appropriate guiding questions repeatedly and entering into conversations about our collective future in all the communities we participate in, we may be able to find a set of patterns and guidelines that will help us to create a culture capable of learning and transformative innovation. Living the questions together is an effective way of preparing for an unpredictable future. 566

Which cultural, social, and technological innovations and transformations will help us bring human activity and the planet’s life support system into a mutually supporting regenerative relationship rather than an erosive and destructive relationship? 574

International Futures Forum (IFF). In Ten Things to do in a Conceptual Emergency, the IFF’s director Graham Leicester and founding member Maureen O’Hara (2009) suggest pathways to finding a transformative response which urge us to ask: Q How do we design for transition to a new world? Q What other worldviews might help to inform a wise response? Q What can we learn from letting go of the myth of control? Q What can we learn from re-perceiving the present? Q What can we learn from trusting our subjective experience more deeply? Q What can we learn from taking the ‘long view’? Q What would insightful action look like? Q Which new organizational integrities should we form and support? Q How can we practise social acupuncture? Q How do we sustain networks of hope? 578

The idea of ‘organizational integrities’ refers to the challenge that the traditional boundaries around organizations are dissolving as we focus more on collaboration (alliances, networks, partnerships, and outsourcing). We are moving from separate organizations and businesses to interconnected ecologies of collaboration that weave businesses and organizations into mutually beneficial partnerships. The notion of ‘social acupuncture’ refers to the catalytic transformative effect that well-targeted, small-scale, creatively designed interventions can have, even in large and complex systems. Metaphorically speaking, placing the needle of transformative change in the right place and on the right meridian of cultural meaning-making, can unblock pent-up energy and catalyse transformative social and culture change. 592

Caring for the Earth is caring for ourselves and our community To care for the Earth and for life’s common future does not require some form of spiritually motivated altruism once we are conscious of the systemic interdependencies that our survival depends upon. The motivation for intelligent and aware people to transform ‘business as usual’ can simply be a form of enlightened self-interest. Once we start the practice of caring for others (humans and other species) in the same way as we care for ourselves, we begin to realize that the experience of a separate self is a limited perspective and that we are in fact relational beings in a world where everything affects everything else and, as a result, to care for others is to care for ourselves. The word ‘individual’ reminds us we are undividable from the whole. We are integral participants and expressions of life. 598

The way to care for ourselves and our families, the way to sustain this and future generations of human beings is to care for life as a whole. 605

requirement. At their very core, all the world’s spiritual traditions and sacred texts reflect upon the question of right relationships between self and world. So maybe the way to finally disarm religious fanaticism and separatism could be to revisit these wisdom traditions and explore their common message about how to live in right relationship with each other and the Earth. Our future depends on the health of ecosystems everywhere. The health of the biosphere and the future of humanity are inseparable. More than sixty years ago Albert Einstein saw the challenge ahead: A human being is part of the whole – called by us ‘universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature […] [italics added] Albert Einstein (1950) 607

Einstein understood the limitations we impose on ourselves by our way of thinking, which determines what we focus on and how we see the world. He asked us to question who we are and our relationships with all of life and the universe as a whole. Einstein invited us to explore a more systemic perspective, holistic thinking and an integrative consciousness that acknowledges our participatory intimacy with the universe, as a fundamentally interconnected and continuously transforming whole manifesting as patterns of energy, matter and consciousness. In this view, matter and consciousness, matter and life, matter and mind, matter and spirit are not separate but intertwined. 617

What if consciousness – rather than matter – is primary? Q What if our species’ most astonishing evolutionary innovation and ‘raison d’être’ – our saving grace – is that through us the transforming whole (universe) is able to know itself and become conscious of itself? In The Passion of the Western Mind, Richard Tarnas (1996) explored the evolution of our dominant Western worldview and showed that over the last 200 years an alternative perspective has emerged that is based on the “fundamental conviction that the relation of the human mind to the world was ultimately not dualistic but participatory” (p.433). In this perspective “the human mind is ultimately the organ of the world’s own process of self-revelation” (p.434). As T.S. Eliot put it in ‘Little Gidding’: “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time.” So, are we worth sustaining? Life on Earth will continue without us. Yet will it not be a much impoverished place without a species capable of reflecting on the miracle of life’s evolution and able to be awestruck by the beauty of this precious planet? We have to be honest with ourselves. Even in dedicating our lives to the creation of regenerative cultures and a more sustainable future, we are not ‘saving the planet’ or ‘saving life on Earth’. Both will continue long after our species meets its almost inevitable fate of extinction. Nevertheless, we don’t have to actively accelerate our own demise, as we have done with increasing effort since the industrial revolution. Q Would we not do better to care for all of life and the planetary life support system in ways that ensure that our relatively young species gets its opportunity to live to maturity and wisdom? 627

Are you not also curious what our species might be capable of if we “widen our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature”? By caring for the Earth and all of life, we care for ourselves. By embracing our own nature as an expression of nature at large, humanity can become a conscious force of healing. Keeping the limits of our own knowing in mind, we can begin to humbly contribute to the flourishing rather than the impoverishment of life. 645

The ‘Santiago Theory of Cognition’ proposed by the Chilean biologists and neuroscientists Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela offers a scientific way of understanding the process by which living systems engage in ‘autopoiesis’ (self-creating or self-generating) through entering into relationships that distinguish self from other but without losing their fundamental interconnectedness with their environment. The act of ‘structural coupling’ – or relating to other – enables the living system to define itself in relationship to its environment as separate yet connected. Importantly, the environment that is defined by the initial act of distinction of self and other triggers changes in the living system which the system itself specifies as triggers of internal changes. Maturana and Varela argue that this is basically an act of cognition (which does not require a nervous system and is thus possible for all life-forms). Cognition is not a representation of an independently existing world, but rather the act of bringing forth a world through the processes of living as relating. 654

Love is our natural condition, and it is the denial of love what [sic] requires all our rational efforts, but what for, when life is so much better in love than in aggression? Love needs not to be learned, it can be allowed to be or it can be denied, but needs not to be learned, because it is our biological fundament and the only basis for the conservation of our human beingness as well as our well being. Humberto Maturana & Gerda Verden-Zoller (1996) 667

We are neither aware of any other species writing poetry or composing music to reflect the unifying emotion we call love, nor do we know what the passing of the seasons feels like to a sequoia tree, or how an emperor penguin subjectively experiences the first rays of sunlight after the Antarctic winter. But is there not something worth sustaining in a species that can ask such questions? Love and empathy widen our circles of compassion. 675

The evolution of consciousness is both a personal journey that we are all capable of experiencing through our lifetimes, and a journey at the collective level. We are on a journey from the ‘original participation’ of indigenous tribes that perceives everything as alive and meaningful relations, to the ‘separation of self and world’ (nature and culture) that brought us the Enlightenment and the multiple benefits of science and technology based on analytical reasoning; the next step is towards a new kind of “final participation” – as Owen Barfield called it (1988: 133-134) – which expresses a synthesis of both perspectives. We are part and parcel of nature and we have evolved to self-reflective consciousness and free will, which gives us the choice to participate in life’s processes in a destructive or a creatively supportive (regenerative) way. 678

what lies ahead of us is the promise of a truly regenerative, collaborative, just, peaceful and equitable human civilization that flourishes and thrives in its diverse cultural and artistic expressions while restoring ecosystems and regenerating resilience locally and globally. 687

Individually and collectively we are waking up to find out that the world knows and loves itself through our eyes and our hearts. What kind of culture will we create to express this wisdom? Becoming conscious of our interbeing with the world reminds us of our communion with all life as a reflection of our larger being. As conscious relational beings, love for life is our natural state. 690

The evolutionary biologist E.O. Wilson (1986), inspired by the psychologist Erich Fromm (1956), suggested that human beings as expressions of the process of life have an innate tendency to be attracted to all living beings. He called this love for life and attraction towards other life forms biophilia. 693

Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss (1988) calls the realization of our own self as a relational reflection of the larger community of life ‘our ecological self’ and sees in it the basis for responsible action out of enlightened self-interest. We bring forth a world in relationship to ‘other’ and without that ‘other’ – which is a reflection of our larger self – we could not exist. The ‘Santiago Theory of Cognition’, as we have seen, reframes dualistic categories like self and world as polarities of an interconnected whole which takes form by distinction without separation. 696

As we cease to be paralyzed by the fear-driven cycle of separation, scarcity and the struggle for control and power, we will begin to unfold the potential of a compassionate, empathic and collaborative culture of creativity and shared abundance, driven by biophilia – our innate love for all of life. The narrative of separation from the rest of life and alienation from nature’s wisdom is beginning to give way to a narrative that celebrates our communion with nature as the very essence of our being. Our subjective conscious awareness of the transforming whole (limited as it may be) is an important and valid reflection of that whole getting to know itself through all of us and as all of us. By living the questions together, we can learn to appreciate multiple perspectives and gain a shared understanding of our participation in that wholeness. 704

This means paying attention to how our culture and education system shape our worldview and value system. We need to encourage life-long learning and personal development through supportive community processes and ongoing dialogue, guided by questions rather than answers. We need to live these questions individually and collectively 715

we are called to switch out of the mindset that created these crises in the first place. In doing so, we undergo a species-level rite of passage that offers us a new and more mature perspective on our intimacy with, and responsibility for, all of life. We are “coming home” (Kelly, 2010). The creation of diverse, regenerative cultures collaboratively united in a regenerative civilization is the only viable future open to us as we move into the ‘planetary era’. Our collective challenge is to create cultures capable of continuous learning in the face of complexity, not-knowing and constant change. 719

life creates conditions conducive to life in all its designs, systems and processes. We can co-create a world that works for all of humanity and all of life. 724

We are distracted from distraction by distraction, filled with fancies and empty of meaning. T.S. Eliot (1943) 728

In Start with Why, Simon Sinek (2011) explains how Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela were able to drive large-scale cultural changes in a non-violent way. The common thread is that they articulated their vision from the why, to the how, to the what. Inspiring leaders start with what they believe in first, making their worldview and motivation explicit. Sinek suggests that once we are clear about why, we can define the values that will guide our behaviour and inform the systems and processes we put into place. The why defines the how in an action-oriented way. In a nutshell, why offers a purpose, cause, or belief; how expresses the values that guide our actions and how we aim to manifest the higher purpose in action; and what refers to the results of those actions. 729

The design guru Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, writes in Change by Design “Don’t ask what? ask why?” and continues: “asking ‘why?’ is an opportunity to reframe a problem, redefine the constraints, and open the field to a more innovative answer. […] There is nothing more frustrating than coming up with the right answer to the wrong question” (2009: 236-237). Warren Berger reminds us of the power of inquiry, encouraging us to ask ‘beautiful questions’ using why? and what if? as a path to breakthrough innovation. The art of asking beautiful questions is about i) challenging assumptions, ii) inquiring about things normally taken for granted, and iii) wondering about new possibilities (Berger, 2014). 736

The practice of living the questions together starts by frequently asking yourself and others: are we asking the right questions? Which questions will help us make wiser decisions? What if we did things differently? What informs our current perspective? 742

we are co-creative participants in a 14-billion-year process of universe becoming conscious of itself. We are a keystone species capable of creating conditions conducive to all life. We can design for human, ecosystems and planetary health, and nurture resilience, adaptability, transformability and vitality. We care; we are compassionate beings able to love and to express this unifying emotion through poetry, music and art. Like all other species we are life’s gift to life, creating meaning by being in and through relationship. 748

in response to a question I had asked him about the role of spirituality in the cultural transformation and transition ahead. David started his answer by saying: Humans are inevitably spiritual and the question is not whether we are, but whether we are authentically spiritual or not. It bubbles out of us. We are meaning-seeking creatures, and if the highest meaning in my life is soccer, I will make soccer my religion and it will orient my life. It will give my life meaning and gravity and direction. It just happens to be a bad religion. I could make environmentalism a religion. That happens to be a bad religion, too. We can’t help but make something into a belief system, and you can argue why this is for us. This goes back to the early cave paintings. This is part of humanity. As soon as we identify the human species, we see a species trying to grapple with: what does this mean? Where are we? Who are we? How did we get here? You see these questions being asked. They pop up in early philosophy, early art. This is what it means to be human. 753

David Orr, personal comment (2006) 761

What do we owe? How are we obliged? What do we owe to the far distant future? What do we owe to the distant past? What does it mean for us to be stewards or trustees?” Finding answers to all these questions can help us to re-contextualize our existence in a meaningful universe rooted in our interbeing. 763

we can find common ground in the communion of our interbeing with each other and all life. The future of our species depends on finding this higher ground as humanity, as nature, as life, as expressions of a living, transforming whole capable of self-reflection. 766

process of making sense of the relationship between the intimate and the ultimate. In Lamps of Fire – the spirit of religion Juan Mascaró offers a synthesis of the spiritual essence of religion through selected passages from Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism, Confucianism, Shintoism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Sikhism. Mascaró believed in the recuperation of a profound humanism to unite humanity beyond its differences (east and west, north and south) and offered his book in the hope that it would become “a light in deep darkness and a refuge in the storm” (1961: 9-11). 770

common ground for a coordinated, cooperative response. We also need to find a higher ground of shared meaning and significance so we all know why we are in this together and why it is worth transcending and including all our differences in pursuit of a shared vision of thriving together. 777

a report of a two-year conversation about why spirituality needed to play a greater role in the public realm. The report argues that “the spiritual injunction is principally an experiential one, namely to know oneself as fully as possible. For many, that means beginning to see beyond the ego and recognise being part of a totality, or at least something bigger than oneself” (Rowson, 2014). 781

“We are all surrounded by strangers who could so easily be friends, but we appear to lack cultural permission not merely to ‘connect’ – the opium of cyberspace – but to deeply empathise and care” (p.7). Trying to heal causes instead of symptoms, the report calls for “the spiritual to play a greater role in the public realm, because it highlights the importance of personal and social and political transformation” (p.8). It asks the important question: “How can we best speak of the spiritual in a way that helps us understand how best to live?” Reflecting on Martin Luther King’s insight that “power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anaemic” and his observation that “it is precisely this collision of immoral power with powerless morality which constitutes the major crisis of our time” (see also Kahane, 2010), the report calls for the spiritual practice of tapping “into the deep source of our own power and love” and embarking “on a lifelong challenge to bring them together in practice” (Rowson, 2014: 59). 785

The RSA project reviewed how deeper questioning into the nature of love creates a sense of belonging. Inquiry into death helps us live a deeper life. Questioning the nature of our ‘self’ catalyses personal transformation; and exploring the nature of the soul gives our life meaning and informs our creative expression (p.78) The final report suggests a need to revitalize spirituality in order to more deeply address the challenges of the 21st century. 793

Richard Tarnas writes in Cosmos and Psyche: Not only our personal lives but the very nature of the universe may demand of us now a new capacity for self-transcendence, both intellectual and moral, so that we may experience a new dimension of beauty and intelligence in the world – not a projection of our desire for beauty and intellectual mastery, but an encounter with the actual unpredictably unfolding beauty and intelligence of the whole […] the open encounter with the potential reality of an anima mundi makes possible its actual discernment. In this view, only by opening ourselves to being changed and expanded by that which we seek to understand will we be able to understand at all. Richard Tarnas (2007: 487) Questions that invite us to explore the relationships between the intimate and the ultimate also help us to understand who we are and to find our place in the wider community of life and within a living and transforming cosmos. By living these questions together, the process of collective meaning-making in the face of uncertainty can itself become our guide and inform our appropriate participation. 797

Bill Plotkin offers his seminal book Nature and the Human Soul as a “contribution to the global effort to create a viable human-Earth partnership” and bases his exploration on three premises: i) “a more mature human society requires more mature human individuals”, ii) “nature (including our own deeper nature, soul) has always provided and still provides the best template for human maturation”, and iii) “every human being has a unique and mystical relationship to the wild world, and that the conscious discovery and cultivation of that relationship is at the core of true adulthood.” He adds: “True adulthood is rooted in transpersonal experience – in a mystical affiliation with nature, experienced as a sacred calling – that is then embodied in soul-infused work and mature responsibilities.” Plotkin lays out a model for individual human development that offers “a narrative of how we might grow whole, one life stage at a time, by embracing nature and soul as our wisest and most trustworthy guides” and “a strategy for cultural transformation, a way of progressing from our current egocentric societies (materialistic, anthropocentric, competition-based, class-stratified, violence-prone 812

and unsustainable).” Bill Plotkin explores why being truly human is only possible in relationship with the natural world and how our soul and the soul of nature as our larger being are not separate but co-arise. “All places and all things and all roles speak to us, if only we have the ears to listen. Likewise, your soul, your ultimate place, evokes something from you, wants something from you, speaks to you, sometimes in a quiet voice, sometimes in a roar” (2008: 39). He speaks of “living the questions of soul” in reference to Rilke’s letter to a young poet, cited at the start of this book. In this letter, Rilke encourages the young poet to spend time in nature paying attention to the little things “that can so unexpectedly become big and beyond measuring”; and his advice for finding one’s true work in the world is “to go into yourself and test the depths in which your life takes rise” (in Plotkin, 2008: 280). The encouragement to seek solitude and insight in nature and the advice to go within are mutually reinforcing. In John Muir’s words: “I only went for a walk and finally concluded to stay out til sundown, for going out, I found was really going in” (in Knapp & Smith, 2005). Ecology and spirituality are two sides of the same coin – understanding and making sense of our own interbeing with the world, and our interdependence. You can enter into an embodied experience of wholeness and meaning through the door of the natural world or through spiritual practice. In fact, the two are ultimately not separate but they are pathways to the same oneness of existence in and through relationships. A oneness we experience most of the time from the limited perspective created by the ‘illusion of separation’. If we want to reconstitute this oneness – the whole whose conscious reflections we are – we need to do so through the way we create meaning together and through the narrative we tell about our interbeing. Making time for solitude in wild nature helps us to have the largest conversation we are capable of having with the world. Communion with wild nature helps us embody our ultimate place and act wisely in recognition of our kinship with all life. 821

Parker J. Palmer (2004) reminds us that “to understand true self – which knows who we are in our inwardness and who we are in the larger world – we need both the interior intimacy that comes with solitude and the otherness that comes from community” (p.54). Palmer calls the soul “that life giving core of the human self, with its hunger for truth and justice, love and forgiveness” and continues “when we catch sight of the soul, we can become healers in a wounded world – in the family, in the neighbourhood, in the workplace, and in political life” (p.2). Deep listening can help us catch sight of the soul: listening to our inner voice, listening to our community, listening to wild nature, listening for wholeness. Without listening for wholeness, truth and beauty we will not find the answer to why we are worth sustaining – the key to our regeneration. Up North, in the wilderness, I sense the wholeness “hidden in all things” [Thomas Merton]. It is in the taste of the wild berries, the scent of sun-baked pine, the sight of the Northern Lights, the sound of water lapping the shore, signs of bedrock integrity that is eternal and beyond doubt. And when I return to a human world that is transient and riddled with disbelief, I have new eyes for the wholeness hidden in me and my kind and a new heart for loving even our imperfections. Parker Palmer (2004: 5) 838

Sustainability as a learning journey: pilgrims and apprentices Sustainability is not a fixed state that can be achieved and then maintained forever after. Sustainability is a dynamic process of co-evolution and a community-based process of continuous conversation and learning how to participate appropriately in the constantly transforming life-sustaining processes that we are part of and that our future depends upon. If we are not asking the right questions, it is very easy to get confused with the diversity of answers on offer. As practitioners in your own field you will have noticed that often there are a number of ‘sustainable design solutions’ competing to be applied to a specific problem. Even for the experts it is difficult – if not impossible – to decide with certainty which answer offers the better solution. 849

global petro-chemical, agro-industrial and pharmaceutical industries have used ‘scientific evidence’ and well-funded misinformation campaigns to sell the consumer supposedly sustainable solutions that at best sustain the short-term economic growth imperative of these multinationals but do so at the expense of people and planet. One such example is the way giant agribusinesses have patented GM seeds and have lobbied national governments to make traditional seed-saving of heirloom varieties illegal, while spending millions on campaigns to promote themselves as working for global food security. Surely the diversity of local varieties of food plants adapted to different ecological and climatic conditions is a vital factor in food security? In a culture of corporate greed and insidious disinformation it is hard to know which expert to trust and which proposed solution is worth implementing. 859

We are approaching shortages of many of the key chemical elements that are the basis of our current high technologies. For example, indium is a rare earth element that is crucial for modern photovoltaic technologies and touch screen displays, yet it is on the growing list of ‘endangered elements’ published by the Royal Society of Chemistry (Davies, 2011). At current rates of consumption many of these ‘endangered elements’ might not be available within 10 to 50 years (Cohen, 2007). In thinking about the implementation of sustainable solutions we have not only to consider the limited availability of certain key materials but also the energy required to develop and deploy these solutions. In the last few years the fossil fuel industry has tried to silence the debate about peak oil with reports on new discoveries. Ever more expensive, complicated, and dangerous technologies (e.g. the fracking of shale gas and the exploitation of tar sands) are opening up access to more fossil fuels stored in the Earth’s crust. The message is: there are a lot of fossil fuel resources left! 868

Yet, if we don’t ask deeper questions about our current consumer culture and its value systems and worldview, we are unlikely to use these technological innovations to humanity’s and life’s long-term advantage. 888

we need more than technological innovation to steer our way into an uncertain and unpredictable future. We need to develop a new sensitivity to the way life as a whole sustains itself and flourishes on a finite planet. Such deeper sensitivity and the humility of acknowledging the limits of our knowing is essential if we hope to apply our technological capabilities with wisdom and foresight. 890

How do we best apply the Precautionary Principle with regard to new technologies that seem promising but might have far-reaching environmental and social consequences if employed at a global scale? Q Is it wise to mass-deploy all technologies that are technically feasible, or should we choose more carefully how and for what we employ our technological capabilities? Q How do we choose wisely between one technological ‘solution’ and another, if experience shows that most of today’s solutions turn into tomorrow’s problems? Q How do we stay humble and act with ‘precaution’ in the face of uncertainty and constant change? 898

we had better prepare for the long – and at points surprising – learning journey that will allow us to chart our path into an uncertain future. To walk the path into an uncertain future we would do well to cultivate the attitude of a pilgrim – with respect for all of life, in gratitude for the abundance we can share along the way, and with reverence for the magnificence of participating in this beauty. We would also do well to cultivate the attitude of an apprentice – acknowledging that nature in all its forms – whether through our fellow human beings or through the multitude of fellow species on this planet – has so much to teach us. As pilgrims and apprentices we have to be willing to question and, at times, give up what we know and who we are for what we could become. 905

If we stop reminding ourselves of the limits of our own knowing and stop seeing the intrinsic (not just the utilitarian) value of all life, we will lose our responsiveness to what nature/life has to teach us. If we cease to understand ourselves as apprentices and begin to believe we have permanent answers to offer, we leave the path of ‘living the questions’ and we run the risk of stifling creativity, adaptive capacity and transformative innovation. 914

Sustainability is not enough; we need regenerative cultures Sustainability alone is not an adequate goal. The word sustainability itself is inadequate, as it does not tell us what we are actually trying to sustain. 917

what we are actually trying to sustain is the underlying pattern of health, resilience and adaptability that maintain this planet in a condition where life as a whole can flourish. Design for sustainability is, ultimately, design for human and planetary health (Wahl, 2006b). 920

A regenerative human culture is healthy, resilient and adaptable; it cares for the planet and it cares for life in the awareness that this is the most effective way to create a thriving future for all of humanity. The concept of resilience is closely related to health, as it describes the ability to recover basic vital functions and bounce back from any kind of temporary breakdown or crisis. When we aim for sustainability from a systemic perspective, we are trying to sustain the pattern that connects and strengthens the whole system. Sustainability is first and foremost about systemic health and resilience at different scales, from local, to regional and global. 922

Complexity science can teach us that as participants in a complex dynamic eco-psycho-social system that is subject to certain biophysical limits, our goal has to be appropriate participation, not prediction and control (Goodwin, 1999a). The best way to learn how to participate appropriately is to pay more attention to systemic relationships and interactions, to aim to support the resilience and health of the whole system, to foster diversity and redundancies at multiple scales, and to facilitate positive emergence through paying attention to the quality of connections and information flows in the system. This book explores how this might be done. 927

One proposal for guiding wise action in the face of dynamic complexity and ‘not knowing’ is to apply the Precautionary Principle as a framework that aims to avoid, as far as possible, actions that will negatively impact on environmental and human health in the future. 932

to the Rio Declaration in 1992, the Kyoto Protocol, and Rio+20 in 2012, we have committed to applying the Precautionary Principle over and over again. 935

The principle puts the burden of proof that a certain action is not harmful on those proposing and taking the action, yet general practice continues to allow all actions that have not (yet!) been proven to have potentially harmful effects to go ahead unscrutinized. In a nutshell, the Precautionary Principle can be summarized as follows: practice precaution in the face of uncertainty. This is not what we are doing. While high-level UN groups and many national governments have repeatedly considered the Precautionary Principle as a wise way to guide actions, day-to-day practice shows that it is very hard to implement, as there will always be some degree of uncertainty. The Precautionary Principle could also potentially stop sustainable innovation and block potentially highly beneficial new technologies on the basis that it cannot be proven with certainty that these technologies will not result in unexpected future side-effects that could be detrimental to human or environmental health. Q Why not challenge designers, technologists, policy-makers, and planning professionals to evaluate their proposed actions on their positive, life-sustaining, restorative and regenerative potential? Q Why not limit the scale of implementation of any innovation to local and regional levels until proof of its positive impact is unequivocally demonstrated? Aiming to design for systemic health may not save us from unexpected side-effects and uncertainty, but it offers a trial and error path towards a regenerative culture. We urgently need a Hippocratic Oath for design, technology and planning: do no harm! To make this ethical imperative operational we need a salutogenic (health generating) intention behind all design, technology and planning: We need to design for human, ecosystems and planetary health. This way we can move more swiftly from the unsustainable ‘business as usual’ to restorative and regenerative innovations that will support the transition towards a regenerative culture. 938

How do we create design, technology, planning and policy decisions that positively support human, community and environmental health? 956

we have a chance of making it through the eye of the needle and creating a regenerative human civilization. This shift will entail a transformation of the material resource basis of our civilization, away from fossil resources and towards renewably regenerated biological resources, along with a radical increase in resource productivity and recycling. Bill Reed has mapped out some of the essential shifts that will be needed to create a truly regenerative culture. Instead of doing less damage to the environment, it is necessary to learn how we can participate with the environment – using the health of ecological systems as a basis for design. […] The shift from a fragmented worldview to a whole systems mental model is the significant leap our culture must make – framing and understanding living system interrelationships in an integrated way. A place-based approach is one way to achieve this understanding. […] Our role, as designers and stakeholders is to shift our relationship to one that creates a whole system of mutually beneficial relationships. Bill Reed (2007: 674) 961

Reed named ‘whole-systems thinking’ and ‘living-systems thinking’ as the foundations of the shift in mental model that we need to create a regenerative culture. 970

“Sustainability is a progression towards a functional awareness that all things are connected; that the systems of commerce, building, society, geology, and nature are really one system of integrated relationships; that these systems are co-participants in the evolution of life” (2007). Once we make this shift in perspective we can understand life as “a whole process of continuous evolution towards richer, more diverse, and mutually beneficial relationships”. Creating regenerative systems is not simply a technical, economic, ecological or social shift: it has to go hand-in-hand with an underlying shift in the way we think about ourselves, our relationships with each other and with life as a whole.† 973

Regenerative design creates regenerative cultures capable of continuous learning and transformation in response to, and anticipation of, inevitable change. Regenerative cultures safeguard and grow biocultural abundance for future generations of humanity and for life as a whole. Figure 1: Adapted from Reed (2006) with the author’s permission 982

The ‘new story’ is not a complete negation of the currently dominant worldview. It includes this perspective but stops regarding it as the only perspective, opening up to the validity and necessity of multiple ways of knowing. 996

this tendency to favour answers rather than to deepen into the questions is in itself part of the old story of separation. The art of transformative cultural innovation is to a large extent about making our peace with ‘not knowing’ and living into the questions more deeply, making sure we are asking the right questions, paying attention to our relationships and how we all bring forth a world not just through what we are doing, but through the quality of our being. A regenerative culture will emerge out of finding and living new ways of relating to self, community and to life as a whole. At the core of creating regenerative cultures is an invitation to live the questions together. 1003

For both the poor of the world living in largely degraded ecosystems and the so-called wealthy in the developed world, transformational change now seems to be required. Humanity cannot survive without functional ecosystems, and the actions of all people are needed to act together as a species on a planetary scale. John D. Liu (2011: 24) 1013

Clayton Christensen (1997) identified two fundamentally different kinds of innovation. The most common kind simply aims to keep ‘business as usual’ going on for longer by improving upon already established ways of doing things and existing systems structures. It helps a company, organization or culture to keep doing what it is known for and used to without fundamentally changing services, products or the system’s structure and identity. Christensen called this ‘sustaining innovation’, not because it is ‘sustainable’ but because it sustains ‘business as usual’ and helps established systems to function in the way they are used to. The second type of innovation described by Christensen is ‘disruptive innovation’. He identified a wide range of cases where companies were caught out by competitors that had invented a completely new kind of service or product that made the offers of ‘business as usual’ companies in their industry sector obsolete. This kind of innovation is a game changer. Disruptive innovation can lead a company to compete with its own ‘business as usual’ offer in a disruptive way. The challenge becomes how to introduce the disruptive innovation in a sequenced way that allows the company to keep the lights on while preparing to phase out obsolete ways of working and technology and, at the same time, phase in the innovation that reinvents, redesigns and redefines the ‘new business as usual’. 1016

magnetic tapes to compact discs as devices to store music. This fundamentally disrupted the business of those who were still trying to sell tapes, but the companies distributing the music were able to stay more or less the same. Another kind of disruptive innovation not only makes older technologies obsolete but initiates a process of transformation that leads to companies innovating a whole new way of doing business and providing service and value. The change from compact disc to digital media files downloadable from the Internet led to fundamental changes in the music industry. Established companies were forced to transform themselves in order to stay alive and companies like Apple and Spotify were able to capitalize on these fundamental changes by taking the first mover advantage. In other words, one form of disruptive innovation leads to a change in technology without fundamentally transforming the industry in itself. The second type offers a bridge into a deeper cultural transformation that will lead the company, community, or society to transform and reinvent itself. 1029

Building on Christensen’s work, the International Futures Forum distinguishes a third type of innovation that describes the long-term innovation process of fundamental changes in culture and identity. In the context of sustainability and the transition towards a restorative culture, it is this kind of ‘transformative innovation’ that is particularly of interest to us. Q How do we keep the lights on, avoid revolution and turmoil, keep children in school and people in work, yet still manage to fundamentally transform the human presence on planet Earth before ‘business as usual’ leads to run-away climate change, a drastically impoverished biosphere, and the early demise of our species? 1037

Only by experimenting with and accepting change can we bring about transformation. Transformative change requires us individually and collectively to live differently, rather than to continue repeating unhealthy patterns of behaviour and ways of thinking that no longer serve us. We have seen how we are living in between two narratives – separation and interbeing – and we will have to carefully evaluate what aspects of the old story can continue to serve us once we re-contextualize them from the more inclusive and integrative perspective of the ‘new story’ of interbeing. 1046

Innovation for cultural transformation towards a regenerative culture is about finding the right balance between envisioning and designing our common future and letting it simply emerge while we pay close attention to how we relate to ourselves, our communities and the world. One of the questions we should keep asking is whether these relationships are nurturing, loving and healthy, or whether they are stifling, aggressive and pathological. Transformative innovation is as much about deep listening into what wants to emerge as it is about conscious and intentional interventions on the path from our current industrial growth society and culture of competitive individualism to a life-sustaining society and truly regenerative cultures. 1052

We are living in extraordinary times and transformation is already happening and accelerating all around us. In almost every area of our lives old structures are breaking down as we witness the unfolding impacts of unprecedented technological innovation. All of this is happening within the context of an expanding human population, profound societal and economic transformation on all continents, and – most urgent of all – a dangerous destabilization of global and local climate patterns. 1057

Whether our structurally dysfunctional economic system can ever deliver sustainability is being questioned more and more. Not just anti-globalization activists but people in institutions such as the World Bank (Soubbotina, 2000), government think tanks (Jackson, 2009a), academia (e.g. Victor, 2010, Jackson 2009b) and the World Economic Forum (2012) are questioning the economic growth paradigm. At the same time, the evidence that inequality has devastating social and health impacts is mounting (Wilkinson, 1996, 2005, Wilkinson & Pickett 2011, Stiglitz, 2013); yet the gap keeps widening globally. Demographic changes are challenging some countries, such as Germany and Japan, with the effects of over-ageing populations, while other countries in South America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East have a growing population of disenfranchised youth with poor economic prospects and inadequate education, facing a century of potential turmoil. Rising fundamentalism and resource conflicts over oil, water and land have led to a series of wars which have caused humanitarian crises in the Middle East, Africa and Europe as rising numbers of refugees herald another era of mass migration. Environmentally, politically and economically induced migration are on the rise, driving potential conflicts between immigrant and resident populations, and adding to a resurgence of xenophobia just at the time when humanity has to pull together in order to successfully chart the turbulent waters ahead. 1069

Food, water and energy supply issues are already leading to localized scarcities, famine and conflict in many parts of the world. Nevertheless, some predatory multinational corporations are still actively exacerbating these problems in the interests of a few, rather than helping to find solutions that protect the global commons and ensure basic access to essential needs for all of humanity. The root cause of this misguided behaviour is the narrative of separation that justifies aggressive competitive behaviour and generates artificial scarcity. This ‘old story’ still fundamentally informs our culture. Education and health systems the world over are stretched to their limits as they are forced to reinvent and restructure themselves while at the same time maintaining and improving their services in a difficult economic climate. 1080

The transformations afoot today will reshape the human presence on Earth in less than a century, and if we want to have a ‘snowball’s chance in hell’ we need to learn how to see all the diverse change processes and transformations as part of a systemic transition which we are unable to control but which we can navigate more wisely if we learn to ask the appropriate questions. If we nurture the ability to see the interconnections between the different crises we are facing, if we learn to pay attention to the underlying systemic structures and narrative that drive our current deeply unsustainable behaviour, we may be able to equip communities everywhere with the ability to respond appropriately to the challenges ahead at their local and regional scale, while offering them a global context for collaboration in the transition towards regenerative human cultures. 1093

We live in a time of extraordinary opportunity. The Renaissance and the Enlightenment were relatively minor variations on an already existing theme in comparison to the transformation that is now under way. The birth of regenerative cultures and a regenerative human civilization is the most profound transformative innovation that our species has undergone since we started to turn from nomadic hunters and gatherers into settled agriculturalists some eight to five thousand years ago. The ancient Greeks had two words for the concept of time: chronos – sequential, quantitative, chronological time – and kairos referring to extraordinary periods when culture transforms qualitatively and profoundly as individuals and collectives seize the transformative future potential of the present moment. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union, Nelson Mandela’s transformation from prisoner to president, and the end of the British Raj through non-violent direct action led by Gandhi are all examples of kairos moments that affected the course of history. We are now in the midst of a kairos moment at the level of our entire species on a planetary scale. Transformation is inevitable and already under way. 1099

International Futures Forum (IFF) as one of a small group of ‘next generation’ members. The IFF is an international collaborative network of people committed to pooling their experience and insights to explore “the complex and confounding challenges that our world faces”, to “support a transformative response to those challenges” and to “enhance our capacity for effective action”. One common perspective shared between the members of the IFF is that we need a more systemic approach to the complexity of the interconnected problems and opportunities that we face. Another shared belief is that, in order to appropriately respond to the changes around us, organizations, communities, businesses and governments must not only pay attention to possible short-term responses to symptoms of these crises, but must also address the underlying structural and systemic causes that drive these symptoms. In addition, working with complex systems requires us to befriend uncertainty, change and unpredictability. We aim to engage communities in the deeper cultural dialogue that asks the kind of questions and proposes the kind of provisional answers that drive cultural transformation and continued learning. 1110

The ‘Three Horizons’ framework is a foresight tool that can help us to structure our thinking about the future in ways that spark innovation. It describes three patterns or ways of doing things and how their relative prevalence and interactions evolve over time. The change from the established pattern of the first horizon to the emergence of fundamentally new patters in the third occurs via the transition activity of the second horizon. The model not only makes us think in interactive patterns, but more importantly “it draws attention to the three horizons always existing in the present moment, and that we have evidence about the future in how people (including ourselves) are behaving now” (Sharpe, 2013: 2). Figure2: Adapted from www.bit.ly/DRC229 with permission from IFF The framework helps us to become more aware of how our individual and collective intentions and behaviours actively shape the future today. 1126

In other words, Horizon 1 is ‘business as usual’, or ‘the world in crisis’ (H1). It is characterized by ‘sustaining innovation’ that keeps ‘business as usual’ going. Horizon 3 (green) is how we envision a ‘viable world’ (H3). We may not be able to define this future in every detail – as the future is always uncertain – yet we can intuit what fundamental transformations lie ahead, and we can pay attention to social, ecological, economic, cultural and technological experiments around us that may be pockets of this future in the present. Horizon 2 (blue) represents ‘world in transition’ (H2) – the entrepreneurial and culturally creative space of already technologically, economically and culturally feasible innovations that can disrupt and transform H1 to varying degrees and can have either regenerative, neutral or degenerative socio-ecological effects. At the point where these H2 innovations become more effective than the existing practices, they begin to replace aspects of ‘business as usual’. Yet some forms of ‘disruptive innovation’ ultimately get absorbed by H1 without leading to fundamental and transformative change, while other forms of ‘disruptive innovation’ can be thought of as a possible bridge from H1 to H3. Within the context of the transition towards regenerative cultures we introduce a value bias into our use of the Three Horizons methodology: solutions that create conditions conducive to life and establish regenerative patterns are valued more highly than those that don’t. Throughout this book I refer to H3 as perspectives and patterns that intend to bring about a ‘viable world’ of regenerative cultures able to creatively transform in continuous exploration of the most appropriate responses to a rapidly changing socio-ecological context. 1140

From the perspective of the present moment, H3 describes regenerative cultures capable of constant learning and transformation in adaptation to and anticipation of change. Yet, as we approach H3, it recedes, or better, it transforms in response to wider systemic change. By the time we reach the cultural maturity that we today describe in terms of the third horizon, this H3 will have turned into the new H1 and we will face new and unpredictable challenges that will require us to take a new H3 perspective. The pilgrimage towards a sustainable and regenerative future has an endless string of false summits. As we reach the top of the green summit (H3) of our horizons map, we stand on the red ground of our new H1. Looking ahead with future consciousness we see the new second and third horizons stretched out in front of us. Since the process of cultural evolution and transformation is continuous, there is no arriving at and maintaining an H3 scenario forever. Moving towards the third horizon always entails acknowledging our ‘not knowing’ and therefore staying with an apprentice mindset – ready to learn from experience; humble enough to regard no solution as final; and open to acknowledging the valuable perspectives of all three horizons. 1163

While aspects of today’s H1 are obsolete and among the root-causes of unsustainable practices, other aspects of H1 are also helping to provide vital services without which we would face almost immediate collapse. The transformation has to occur while these vital services continue to be provided. It is not possible for humanity to switch off the lights, leave the room, and start afresh in a different room that holds more promise. We only have one home planet. We have to find ways to transition from a status quo that is now deeply unsustainable to a new one. Sustainability and regenerative cultures are not endpoints to be reached but continuous processes of collective learning. As we move towards the third horizon we are likely to be surprised by the emergence of new challenges. To respond wisely to these challenges the perspectives offered by all three horizons should inform our actions. Three Horizon Thinking transforms the potential of the present moment by revealing each horizon as a different quality of the future in the present, reflecting how we act differently to maintain the familiar or pioneer the new. Bill Sharpe (2013: 10) In order to avoid the common mistake of ‘throwing out the baby with the bathwater’, it is important to see all that is valuable about H1 and understand the importance of the contributions it makes to co-creating regenerative cultures. Bill Sharpe compares the H1 perspective to the role of the manager responsible for keeping the lights on and the business operational without massive disruption to its basic functioning. The H2 perspective is that of the entrepreneur who sees the potential advantage of doing things differently, challenging the status quo in operational ways but often without questioning the cultural narrative that maintains the H1 culture. 1172

In the transition context, H3 thinking is informed by the new cultural narrative of interbeing and the scientific evidence for our interdependence with the rest of life. As such, it is defining a new way of being and relating based on a fundamental shift in worldview acknowledging the valuable contributions of H1 and H2 perspectives and putting them into the context of wider eco-social transformation. In charting a path to regenerative cultures that aims to avoid massive disruption and suffering, we need to value the bridge that certain types of H2 innovation offer. Most H1 systems might be in need of profound transformation, but still have to be valued as a basis from which innovation and transformation become possible while we avoid the often regressive rather than evolutionary effects of revolution and systemic collapse. The H3 perspective itself is populated by many different visions of the future. In the context of this book I concentrate on those that value viability and regeneration, yet it is important to stay open for the lessons we can learn from all three horizons and the diversity of perspectives on the future they represent. Maintaining an open mind and learning from multiple perspectives can help us to develop ‘future consciousness’ as we chart our path into a future that will always be characterized by the emergence of novel conditions – some predetermined and inevitable, others unpredictable. 1187

Diverse H3 visions and experiments are needed to take our collective conversation about the future to a level that is inclusive and participatory. We need to question our own cultural conditioning and the myopia caused by H1 education and cultural discourse. H1 managers can often be locked into a specific way of doing things and a specific mindset (the narrative of separation) – a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. H3 visionaries remind us to see future potential and possibilities beyond the rigid H1 mindset that resists change, in particular those kinds of change that invite cultural transformation. The bridge between H1 and H3 is constructed by paying discerning attention to the space of innovation and the period of transition that is opened up by the second horizon. The H2 perspective sees opportunities in the shortcomings of H1 and aims to ground the visionary possibilities of the third horizon with some practical next steps. Many of them are likely to be ‘stepping stones’ or transitional innovations. Since H2 innovation takes place in an economic climate and within power structures dominated by H1, many of the proposed H2 innovations are ultimately captured to serve H1 goals. As the second horizon is about experimentation and entrepreneurship, many of its initiatives fail, offering opportunities for learning. Only a small percentage of innovations succeed in building an effective bridge between H1 and H3, enabling implementation of H3’s high visions in tangible, convincing and ‘positively infectious’ ways. Three Horizons thinking allows us to acknowledge what is valuable in each of the three horizons’ distinct perspectives and ways of relating to the future. It helps us to see the opportunities and future potential of the present moment. It can help us to ask deeper questions as we engage in conversations informed by ‘future consciousness’ that turn rigid mindsets into valuable perspectives. 1197

Transformation happens as the emergent result of everything going on in the world – there is always an emerging third horizon at every scale of life from the individual to the planet and beyond. Some things will be the result of conscious intent, others will surprise us for good or ill. The way we live now was once the third horizon, partly imagined and intended, largely unknown. Future consciousness will not bring the future under control, but allows us to develop our capacity for transformational response to its possibilities. Bill Sharpe (2013: 15) Three Horizons thinking offers a methodology and practice of seeing things from multiple perspectives and valuing the contribution that each perspective makes to the way we bring forth the world together. Simply holding a facilitated conversation using the Three Horizons framework in your local community group, business, organization or local council already has the potential for transformative cultural innovation within it. 1212

Evaluating disruptive innovation in the age of transition It is useful to classify H2 innovations into two categories. The first category is called H2 minus. H2- innovations change the technology employed and therefore disrupt ‘business as usual’ temporarily but without leading to a profound systemic transformation. The second category is H2 plus. H2+ innovations offer a bridge to H3, leading to a structural change and transformation of the system in question. For example, providing power to the national grid via large-scale wind-farms is on the one hand part of the H2+ strategy of moving towards a 100% renewable energy based system, and on the other hand an H2- innovation locked into an H1 mindset as it is still structurally supporting a centralized energy system. An example of a genuine H2+ innovation in this area would be a blend of diverse and decentralized renewable energy technologies that combine stand-alone and grid-connected options in order to increase the flexibility, efficiency and resilience of our energy system overall. Figure 3 shows how we can evaluate potentially disruptive innovation within the context of the longer-term transition towards regenerative cultures, applying the Three Horizons’ framework. 1220

H2+ type disruptive innovation tends to disrupt H1 (‘business as usual’) by offering improved solutions that buy us time to evolve the deeper H3 type transformative innovation. Widespread, culturally creative behavioural changes and worldview shifts only come about if we involve everybody – those who are invested in maintaining the status quo, those who see the entrepreneurial potential of doing things in a different way, and those who can envision fundamental worldview and value changes that would create a more regenerative culture. All three perspectives need to inform an ongoing conversation about our collective future. 1236

Three Horizons thinking and practice is an invitation to move from rigidly held and defended ‘mindsets’ to being able to develop future consciousness by valuing the perspectives of all three horizons. As a sustainability educator and consultant with a particular interest in bridging between organizations in order to find common ground for co-creating a regenerative economy and culture, I have witnessed many entrenched arguments in rooms full of people who all wanted to do the right thing. Three Horizons thinking is a way to discover common ground and move forward together. Paying attention to, and trying to support, both H2+ and H3 types of innovation is very important during the turbulent transition period we are in, but we also need to value the perspectives of H1 and H2- innovators trying to meet basic operational needs during the transition. If the lights go out, we risk taking a revolutionary – not an evolutionary – path, which could set us back into anachronistic, them-against-us thinking. 1240

In a rigid mindset even H2+ innovators and H3 visionaries will tend to argue with each other rather than seeing that they are powerful allies. Far too often I have witnessed well-meaning visionary people wasting time over arguments that were trying to critique H2+ innovations as insufficiently transformative. Arguments between rigid mindsets tend to compare and contrast the slower, more complex transformative innovation (which often includes social innovation, value and behaviour change, and the redesign of economy, society and governance) with the more rapidly deployable technological changes in our energy, transport or production systems. In my opinion, we need technological innovators who are developing, say, new kite-based wind energy technologies that use less energy and materials than large turbine-towers, just as much as we need innovators who are designing complementary exchange and currency systems to enable a cooperative economy. 1248

It is important to be aware that all three horizons are present at any point on the time axis. They do not fully replace one another, but simply change in their relative ‘prevalence’ (as scored on the y axis). 1254

The red line at the right end of the diagram represents just these useful aspects and structures of Horizon 1 that are worth maintaining and transforming. Similarly, the green line of Horizon 3 on the left side of the diagram reminds us that “the future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed” as the science fiction writer William Gibson has put it. One way to accelerate the transition towards a regenerative culture is to identify these pockets of the future in the present and work to amplify and spread the transformative innovations generated by such visionary experiments. 1259

The path of cultural transformation is made by walking it with an open mind and a willingness to learn from each other, from our mistakes, and from the community of life. Transformative innovation is about deep questioning True innovation occurs when things are put together for the first time that had been separate. Arthur Koestler and John Smythies (1969) The third horizon gives us a long-term guiding vision and invites us to expand the time horizons we are thinking in. In the search for a sustainable and desirable future we would do well to remember the wisdom of many traditional cultures that thought in much longer timeframes than our fast-paced modern culture. Many traditional cultures took important decisions with future generations in mind. Most of our current decision-making on the other hand seems to aim for short-term maximization of limited systems parameters, like for example the increase of GDP from one year to the next, or at the most, from one election cycle to another. The Native American Iroquois Nation famously had the practice of taking any important decision with special consideration for its possible effects on the seventh, yet unborn, generation in mind. This is the kind of cultural and civilizational guidance system that can create regenerative cultures. 1269

Structural, cultural, technological, political, educational and economic transformations will occur not just once or twice but in a continuous sequence, at different scales, and in different regions at different times and in different ways. Both H2+ and H3 transformative innovation has the potential to drive the cultural evolution from our current industrial growth society of resource exploitation and social competition to a life-sustaining society of humanity as nature caring for systemic health and resilience out of enlightened self-interest and rooted in local, regional and global collaboration aimed at optimizing the system for all. 1288

In the transformative journey towards regenerative human cultures, how we get there – what relationships we form within the human family and with the community of life, our path of continuous learning and transformation along the way – matters more than arriving. In fact, there is no arrival at the end of this journey, only continuous adaptation and transformation. We are participants in life’s continuous exploration of novelty. 1294

This does not mean we do not have to propose answers and implement solutions; we simply have to be aware that they will only serve temporarily.   Q What are the basic assumptions and beliefs that inform how we define the problem and offer solutions? Q What are the unmet real needs that are obscured by the perceived needs we are focusing on? Q How can we more effectively work with the people affected and involve them in finding solutions that work for them? Q How can we design flexibility and the capacity to transform and adapt into our proposed solutions? Q What can we learn from nature’s patterns and processes in order to create solutions that strengthen rather than weaken local ecosystems and the planetary life support system? Q Why are we focused on this particular issue and how does it relate to its wider context (are we asking the right question)? Q Are there related problems that we could include in finding a more systemic way of dealing with multiple interconnected issues at once? Q How does what we are proposing to do affect ourselves, our community and the world? Q What implication might our ‘solution’ have for future generations? Q How do we stay flexible and keep learning from systemic feedback and unexpected side-effects? 1298

As Thomas Watson Sr., president of IBM for 42 years, said so aptly: “If you want to succeed, double your rate of failure”. The response time and cycles of transformative innovation can be faster at the local scale. If you want to effectively adapt to and influence economic, social, cultural and environmental change, start with small-scale experiments that give you quick feedback as to what works and what doesn’t. Deeper questioning into the underlying real or perceived needs that make us identify and frame the ‘problem’ in the first place might lead us to discover that we are treating symptoms rather than causes. 1336

All over the world our ancestors evolved unique cultural expressions, informed by a sense of place and a deep reciprocity with the unique ecological, geological and climatic conditions of that particular place. The local and regional scale is not only the scale at which we can act most effectively to preserve biological diversity, it is also the scale at which we can preserve cultural diversity and indigenous, local wisdom as expressions of living in long-term connection with the uniqueness of any given locality. Much can be learned from such place-based knowledge. At the same time we have to be aware that most local cultures have already undergone a profound transformation and erosion of local tradition and language. We need to value traditional place-based knowledge and culture without falling into the traps of a resurgence of radical regionalism and narrow-minded parochialism. We need to value local and regional solutions supported by global collaboration and knowledge exchange. A regenerative human culture will be locally adapted and globally connected. The future will be glo-cal, enabled by collaborative, peer-to-peer networks and social innovation. 1352

A social enterprise or social business’s primary objective is to have a positive social and/or environmental impact and to contribute to the wellbeing of society and local communities. Rather than aiming to generate profits for owners and shareholders beyond reasonable salaries for those running the business, surpluses in social enterprises are primarily reinvested in improving the business’s ability to achieve its social impact effectively. Let me illustrate this distinction by two brief examples: Avaaz and Zopa. 1381

REFERENCES ABC Carbon (2012) ‘Profile: 100 Global Sustain Ability Leaders’, www.bit.ly/DRC01 Abram, David (1996) The Spell of the 6232