This September, with the buzz of Pollination still pulsating in our hearts, the Bloom Network team set out to Planet Home – a weekend long edutainment experience in San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts. Planet Home brought together thousands of individuals and organizations in the VILLAGE to amplify solutions to the planet’s greatest environmental challenges. The gorgeous backdrop for the experience was comprised of thought-provoking art and music, and the focus was a good dose of environmental awakening through workshops, talks, and incredible exhibits. The event also included VISIONS – an exclusive summit, as part of the Planet Home program, inviting “world business leaders and global thought leaders to discover actionable environmental solutions.”
The Bloom Network team took the opportunity to network with potential collaborators, reconnect with allies and supporters of our work, and take in the creative collective that was brought together by Planet Home, an EQ event. We also wanted to take the opportunity and extend a warm invitation to attendees to join Bloom Network at an Unofficial “Afterparty”. With the invitation of Sean Stevens, on Sunday evening we moved the festivities to the heart of SF, atop the home of an incredible emergent creator space he’s working on. Momentum ∞ [Momentum Infinity] brings together artists and makers for co-creation and exploration – a perfect space for us to stew in the radiance we’ve been absorbing.
Some 30-40 open minds came through the backdoor of Odd Job – a craft cocktail bar downstairs – ascended the stairs of the co-working space, and stepped through a portal of opportunities on the roof. The Bloom Network team took the chance to invite our guests co-create on the rooftop space with us. We brought pillows and notebooks, puzzles and markers, and asked our guests to help us create the space they’d like to play in. Our backdrop was the warm late-summer air, twinkling city, and the magical blooming techno flower of Sustainable Magic.
The result was a warm gathering of minds, sharing their experiences, brainstorming new connections and re-meeting each other for the first time. The event was a welcome continuation to what started at Pollination, furthered at Planet Home, and continues to this day with the work Bloom Network is doing to connect and co-create a billion acts of regeneration.
New relationships blossomed with experts in fields from solar to finance, from art to technology, movement building, indigenous leadership networks in the Amazon, and permaculture. The conversations that sprouted continue to inspire us!
We invite you to stay connected with us through our newsletter, and stay tuned for updates as our network grows and changes the world. It can’t happen without you!
by Hannah Mitchell – Bloom Network Community Lead, (Miss Hannigan)
Following Bloom Network’s Pollination event, I headed to Burning Man and made sure I saw the Terran Collective* (hosts of one of the Pollination Labs) speaking as a panel at the camp of Burners Without Borders**.
I was blown away by the poise and clarity with which all the members of the Terran Collective spoke. Their assuredness intertwined with vulnerability was a powerful thing to witness.
After their panel, I found Clare and asked how it was that she was able to speak with such coherence. Clare immediately responded that it was from the deep knowing that she was held, supported and trusted within her collective. This gave her the strength to do more than what she would be able to individually.
While we have become adept at embracing self-healing and restoring our individual resonance, building a close-knit team and working together in a healthy way remains a sticking spot for many of us. So diving deeper with Clare, we discussed further about what Terran Collective had discovered in working together to build collective resonance as a small working group.
Clare’s Tips on Building Collective Resonance
Being committed to your own healing and self-work is crucial. It’s difficult to work with people who are unwilling to look into themselves and work through trauma and other issues that arise.
Knowing Each Other
Meet in person – eye to eye, heart to heart. It is very important to meet face to face and to look each other in the eye. This means your energies will integrate better and the trust and collective resonance will grow. (Maori phrase: “kanohi ki te kanohi”).
Get to know each other’s stories, triggers and traumas. As scary as that sounds, it’s important to hear and share your life experiences with each other and how that has affected you.
Understand each other’s stories and hold each other. More than just knowing, it’s important for all members to understand how people’s life experiences have affected them. Then, when you see someone from your collective reacting to something, you understand the traumatised place it’s coming from. This makes it easier and more productive to counter-balance and lean into the situation to help
Commit to “having each other’s back”. Everyone needs a few people they can truly rely on. To be able to fall back on when times are tough, and who will stand up for you in your time of need.
Create shared goals and work towards them together. It’s hard to achieve anything without a clear idea about where you are going and what your goals are.
Work out how to be accountable to each other. Each group will have their own way of keeping each other accountable to the work you are committing too, both in the goals you have set and in the personal work you commit to. Being accountable also extends to the commitment you make to your group and being there for each other.
All of these aspects work together to be able to form a healthy, well-functioning and supportive group. This then leads to the ability to be able to speak coherently and confidently like I witnessed at Burning Man. When you are held and supported by a trusted group the possibilities of what you can do together are profound. Truly, most change happens when we have groups functioning like this.
Photo Above: Terran Collective including Tibet Sprague, Kelly Erhart, Neha Sharma, Clare Politano and Aaron Brodeur at Burners Without Borders theme camp, Burning Man 2019.
*Terran Collective are a Bloom Bay Area Chapter, and hosted one of the Pollination Labs – focussing around trust, and building a measurement tool that could be used to track it. Follow this link to the Terran Collective website: http://www.terran.io/
**Burners Without Borders are also partnering with Bloom Network to deliver trainings to Burners and Bloomers in 2020.
Anyka Barber is founder, director and curator of Betti Ono gallery in Oakland, California.
We reached out to Anyka in response to Betti Ono’s fundraiser to power arts, culture, and community resilience. Contribute at https://bettiono.com/donate/.
Betti Ono is an experimentally minded space for art + culture + community. They are 100% Black women led and operated, dedicated to amplifying the work and voices of under-represented artists. Their vision and creative practice embody the bold, curious and unapologetic spirit of the gallery’s name-sakes Betti Mabry Davis and Yoko Ono. At Betti Ono, making art is a function of activism, community transformation, and cultural resilience.
Born and raised in Oakland, California Anyka Barber is a mother, an artist/activist, curator and entrepreneur. In 2010 Anyka founded Betti Ono, a creative social enterprise and center for arts, culture, and community committed to the cultural, social, political and economic emancipation and development of low-income, immigrant, and LGBTQ communities of color. In her role as director and curator of Betti Ono, she has curated and produced more than 60 exhibitions and public programs, as well as designed and integrated art, enterprise and social impact strategy to leverage creative capital, cultural products, and networks for good. She was most recently Director of Engagement and the Center for Audience and Civic Engagement at the Oakland Museum leading the museum’s signature education and public programs teams. She was Program Officer and Fellow at The San Francisco Foundation working with the Anchoring Communities/Place team to activate more than $10M in investments to preserve the racial and cultural identity of the Bay Area, prevent the displacement of low-income and communities of color and bring greater racial and economic equity to the region.
Behind the scene, Anyka is committed to strengthening the Bay Area arts community as an arts advocate and advisor. In June 2015, Anyka initiated the formation and design of a grassroots arts action and advocacy body, the Oakland Creative Neighborhoods Coalition, whose mission is to “#KeepOaklandCreative, affordable and vibrant!” Anyka was named Most Socially Engaged Curator in 2015 and Betti Ono was nominated and voted ‘Best of the East Bay’ for the past five consecutive years 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014 by East Bay Express.
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DAO stands for decentralized autonomous organization. It’s a new kind of organization that is native to the internet. DAO’s make it easier to run companies that don’t necessarily have hierarchies of power, or they can have more diverse and subtle power relationships. They decentralize power – meaning that decisions and resource allocation can happen among customizable sets of people, peer-to-peer, without having to funnel decisions and money up a hierarchy of people that make more money or otherwise extract value. DAO’s can also be called “smart organizations”.
The technology that powers DAO’s – blockchains – also make it possible to do things like “liquid democracy“, which theoretically can achieve more deeply informed and equitably distributed decision making. Peer-to-peer democracy is possible now! Think about that. Soon you’ll be able to do it through Bloom Network.
Anyone can start a DAO, and with a platform like Aragon or other DAO applications, it literally takes 30 seconds, compared to weeks or months if one sets up an organization through their state. Yes, today there are applications on the internet that allow you to instantly start an organization to collaborate with people locally or internationally. We need those! Now.
Bloom Network is really excited about DAO’s because they make it possible for us to run our collective as an international cooperative, that is truly owned by all our members and can freely self organize, without risking the kinds of power abuse and siphoning of value that are endemic to most of our older paradigm institutions. Bloom Network is a strange beast in that we are actually more like a connective tissue for many companies to collaborate through – DAO’s provide more flexibility to have collaborative business models. We are doing a governance hackathon now and at our conference, Pollination this August to set it all up and work through the intricacies. Please join us! Or keep reading to learn more about DAO’s and digital currency.
One of the technologies behind DAO’s is called smart contracts. Those can be coded so that, for example, in an activist organization, three of five people have to sign off on a transaction in order to issue funds to a specific person or for a specific project. DAO’s eliminate some of the administrative load of running an organization. Once a vote passes that approves, say $30,000 being allocated to an organization to build an urban food forest, that money is automatically issued to the organization and no human has to administer paperwork for that to happen. This all also puts in place some safeguards for collaborating with people you might not have yet established deep trust with – this will soon be important with more large-scale disaster response efforts.
Another thing DAO’s make it easier to do is work as an international organization. Instead of paying for currency exchange and wire fees, and waiting several days for transactions to clear, DAO’s run on the blockchain and cryptocurrency. You can nearly instantly send money from one country to another, in pure math, and not have to run the transaction through the third party of a bank with all its overhead costs and siphoning of some value. This isn’t just exciting for some “buck the system” reason; it is absolutely essential for the large-scale mobilizations that will need to happen increasingly often in the coming years due to climate change, migration, and large-scale demand for decentralized, localized autonomy. The reason local autonomy is important, is that part of resilience to weather anomalies, and part of restabilizing our planet’s carbon cycle, AND having less extreme inequality, is making local changes to the ways we do transportation, watershed repair, community forestry and agriculture. DAO’s make the legal landscape of this much more streamlined, fluid and fast. We think it’s also going to make it easier for large-scale finance institutions to work with these smaller fast-moving community groups. Our Bloom Network crew wants to help people get familiar with and orient to this new governance operating system that is better designed to handle the 21st century’s challenges.
Cryptocurrency software is built out enough now that an average person can use it easily enough. We’re hosting an introduction to getting started with cryptocurrency this Monday U.S.-time if you’d like to get a walk through. It’s much easier if someone shows you step by step and you do it with them. There are more and more services built on the blockchain so you can use cryptocurrency to purchase things and otherwise transact, without having to exchange the money back into your country’s currency. We could go farther down the rabbit hole with you, but we’ll stop here for now. Stay tuned for more updates and opportunities to participate.
The purpose of this post is to introduce the two main types of activity happening at Pollination 2019. Pollination is best thought of as the start to a longer-term process of forming mutually nourishing relationships among types of organizations and social movements that aren’t yet collaborating with each other. As we face climate change and the need for massive systems transformation, our goal at Pollination is to support people in working together across silos so we can build more capacity for regenerative ways of being together on this planet.
Pollination Labs is a program we are prototyping with 40 participants at Pollination this year. It’s like a hackathon or design sprint, where you’ll be collaborating with types of people you normally wouldn’t run into in your day-to-day work life.
In this track, you’ll engage in participatory design teams that work on real innovation needs among regenerative development communities. So far we have defined the following two focus areas for the Pollination Labs: Collaborating Across Organizations, and a more open inquiry: Surfacing the Needs of the Regenerative Cultures Community as a Whole.
Each team will be approximately seven people, supported by a facilitator, a pattern observer, and an artist who will help capture insights and communicate outcomes.
If you register in this track, you’ll remain with your design team during each of the two-hour blocks during the day. That will give you enough time to get to know each other, reach a level of depth with the issues at hand, and conclude with a prototype, or with having identified an existing initiative(s) that could address the issue well if adequately resourced.
Outcomes will be supported in the year following Pollination by a set of organizations who have stepped up to anchor development processes for issues that are aligned with their goals. Outcomes will include:
a) prototypes that can be applied immediately after the conference b) partnerships c) business ideas to be incubated post Pollination d) coalitions e) insights f) magic will happen here!
Even more important than innovating on the topics themselves, we aim to give people an opportunity to be in a generative mindset and experience that together.
We have designed this program to support the level of collaboration that is necessary for this time of rapid transition, and to cross-pollinate resources and capacities across industries and silos that together have the ability to create healthier, more equitable human systems. This whole process will be documented and made available to other conferences, and our design team will available to help with implementation.
Mansi Kakkar is the primary architect of this program, bringing her experience of working on innovation design labs around with the world with MIT’s D-Lab, Stanford, and the Social Innovation Collective which she founded to focus on development led by communities on the ground, from their own frameworks and understandings.
200+ people at Pollination will be participating in what is most easily described as an unconference. Pollination has few one-to-many type presentations. Every registrant receives an invitation via email to propose and request trainings, case studies, brain trusts, and artistic offerings. We will complete the first set of curating July 23, and leave a set of spots open for the final wave of registrants. Your creativity and desires will drive what happens here!
During the unconference sessions of Pollination, you’ll be able to choose from sophisticated coordination workshops such as: a benchmarking session to gather and document best practices among the different aspects of regenerative cultures. These will be documented and distributed to all participants to use in our companies and networks, to deepen our regenerative practice and effectiveness.
Another session you might find yourself in is a skillshare on metrics frameworks that help you demonstrate the value of regenerative enterprise, by measuring types of social, community, and health outcomes.
A company could ask for a braintrust on a specific program they are developing, or a problem they are stuck on. They can make a call for types of experts they wouldn’t normally find inside of their industry or movement, such as a data analyst, a carbon credits specialist, an engineer, or an artist who is active in the urban gardens movement. Again, this is the kind of cross-pollination of wisdom and resources we are potentiating with this gathering. Novel collisions and brave creative ideas are welcome here. There will be more chill workshops too, like mindfulness tools for leaders. If you want, you can hang out in the cinema space’s squish nest and just relax all weekend.
Lastly, you will have the opportunity to post needs and partnerships you’re looking for on a large display at Pollination, for one-on-one matchmaking sessions. This should accelerate our connected capacity. In some ways Pollination is like a big embodied collective intelligence experiment and playspace!
We invite *you* to bring your ideas, your queries, your generosity and wisdom.
Everyone will be supported throughout the conference with comfortable lounge spaces, inspiring visionary art, and delicious food and beverages to uplift your spirit and sooth your body.
If there’s anything in common among the people coming so far, they are brilliant, passionate, and creative. We are working at emergent edges of what enterprise is and how regenerative communities can be valued and strengthened. We hope you’ll join us to learn and contribute!