As part of our project to map the space that organisations like ours operate within, we had a great conversation with Adam Brock from Regenerate Change, about social design and deepening relationships. Read below to find out more.
Adam first got interested in regenerative design in college. He realised that we have the technology we need to live good, sustainable lives, and what was holding us back was the social dimension, which is what inspired him to apply permaculture design to the social realm.
He became the co-director of a project to renovate an abandoned building and turn it into a community that grew its own food. He is now part of the Regenerate Change network, which offers consulting and training to various organisations. The Regenerate Change network has recently launched the Social Alchemy Pods – groups of 5-16 people with similar interests/goals who meet at regular intervals and support each other. Each Pod has a theme related to social change.
The goal is to deepen relationships, so that when the time comes for the group or individuals in the group to take action about something they care about, they have the conditions to support that. Regenerate Change offers guides, training and resources for co-convenors and facilitators of the Pods.
Social Alchemy Pods are small because there is a missing link between our inner worlds and our outer-facing social activism – we often engage with people we don’t know very well, even if we have meetings once a week, the relationships are very prescribed. The Pods provide the glue between inner transformation and outer action, which is a very similar approach to Richard Bartlett’s Microsolidarity.
Main Priorities for Society
For Adam, we need to be working on all of it – at the individual level of unlearning exploitative patterns, at the level of human relationships with neighbours, at the level of local, municipal and national policy. No person or organisation can work at all of those levels, but as a movement of movements we need people working at each of those levels and we need to be in communication and connection across those levels.
Ultimately, as individuals we need to identify the thing that only we can offer because of our passions, identity and experiences, and focus on doing that really well – and be in solidarity with organisations with the same values that are doing different things really well so you can support each other.
Mapping the Space and Building Connections
This is one of the reasons Adam was excited to speak with us – he thinks the work we’re doing to map the ecosystem is really worthwhile and he doesn’t know of anybody else that’s doing that. It’s a very new ecosystem and it could use more intentional interconnection. It’s not a competitive space, and when people learn what others are doing they are typically excited to share and collaborate, but these things happen more by circumstance, due to existing connections or because you happen to stumble across someone, rather than through a clearing house of all the organisations that would allow you to find your pals.
Adam thinks there is a real opportunity to bring together people in this space; to assign common themes and create opportunities for deeper synergies and co-creation.
So much of the way Adam approaches his work is based in deep regenerative relationships, which take time to form. Meaningful collaborations are not necessarily going to happen just through “you two are doing similar things, you should work together!” – there needs to be a lot of intentionality around getting people together and framing dialogue in a way that allows them to explore what those overlaps, synergies and opportunities for mutual support might be. Just having a list of who the people are isn’t enough, there needs to be curation and facilitation. But if these things happen there could be so much cool potential.
To sharpen the definition of the ecosystem/space beyond “culture-making”, Adam would add that it’s about designing culture with intention, using regenerative principles – the conscious creation or stewarding of culture with a whole systems approach. He would call it ‘regenerative culture design’.
Check out our Ecosystem Mapping page for more info on this project, and please get in touch if you would like to speak with us about it, or if you know of any people it might be useful for us to get in touch with.
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