This blog post investigates the origins of some social and work problems and how we intend to tackle them through WE ARE THE PROJECTS;
1) A demotivated generation
2) Searching for Meaning
3) The solutions that already exist
4) The solution I suggest
1) A demotivated generation
According to the Generation What survey, 34% of youth (all fields included) feel depressed, 40% of youth from Grandes Ecoles are employed below their skills’ level, 62% of youth are not feeling self-fulfilled in their work. The growing number of drop-outs and job-outs reveals the dissatisfaction of a disenchanted working population.
French common beliefs about work, talent and skills results in people believing that they must conform and reformat themselves to find a place in the economy
The current education system focuses on delivering knowledge (top-down) rather than fostering self-knowledge (learning by doing)
The education system tends to produce “identically formatted” students who aim at filling the positions that are supposedly meant for us. However, by the time we enter the market, the same positions may not satisfy our needs/skills/aspirations, may have been replaced by automation, or may even have been suppressed.
Once employed, if this position is not suited to us, we gradually become less productive and competitive, and sooner or later, lose motivation.
2) Searching for meaning
«The very bottom of all problems is fundamentally that we, as human beings, in order to do anything in life, have to cope with the meaningful question of existence. And if we don’t go all way down to the bottom of that, we don’t solve much of anything at all.” Skinner Layne, founder, Exosphere, Read full interview.
In a complex, multipolar, distributed, inconsistent networked world, meaning appears to be the only stable and convergent point.
That is why need to create meaning in our lives more than ever.
- Digital transformation
Information technologies are changing our common sense and vision of reality, much faster than travelling. People all around the world creates new disciplines in sports, art, science that really open our minds. We have access to a lot of portraits of success stories, awesome projects, incredible videos of people making the impossible possible. So what can we do when everything is possible ? We start from what make sense for us personally. And how to create meaning in our lives ? Fighting in the direction of what motivates and inspires us, personally appears to be one of the options.
Very soon, we will have to face the consequences of mechanization and robotisation gradually eliminating many types of current employment, whether they be manual or intellectual.
The tasks that will be preserved from automation are those that require special creativity, a true artistic sense, social intelligence, psychology, specific intellectual/medical skills, or connecting various fields of research. Robotisation may leave more time and space for our creative self. It could result in people having to consider meaning over opportunity. Even the unqualified labour force will have to discover what their special talent is and how to apply it to the new work place. Then, people would no longer long for the moment they retire but rather seek to remain young and in good health forever as they would enjoy doing their self-fulfilling jobs.
- Rediscovering ancient wisdom
Modernity lies in both technological progress and ancient human wisdom. Occidental society is coming back to ancient values. Indeed, what people call innovative organisation, that is, collective intelligence, liberated organisations, is actually something that is not new. Self-awareness, self-fulfilment, mindfulness, empathy … are dimensions which traditional societies have always been familiar with. We are just rediscovering how essential it is to our humanity.
3) The solutions that already exist
Because the current system is not designed for modernity, more and more citizens are creating alternative solutions. All over the world, old cafés, clubs, bookshops, abandoned buildings or entirely new physical spaces have opened up or been redesigned so as to allow for freedom of expression and action. In these places you may find fablabs, open labs or free work space. What really matters the most is not the physical space you work in, but the community you work with.
Below are the commonalities amongst the people working in these communities :
- They have acquired quality knowledge in several disciplines which may not be connected fields
- They are aware of the problems the world is facing today
- They are authentic with themselves and the others
- They are used to challenging their own thinking
- They focus on experimentation rather than planification
- They learn and get inspired from each others
All these elements create something very unusual and long forgotten in our society, namely the feeling of JOY.
As "school labs" or "fac labs", they offer a different type of learning and working experience. "As a student, it is where I felt my truest self”.
These places, known as third-places, are not yet known to the general public.
Now, why in earth are they called third-places? Because they are the social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home ("first place") and the workplace ("second place"). They constitute a neutral ground where people may find a community of fellow free thinkers and entrepreneurs who think creatively and critically about the future. A place where people share ideas and skills to innovate and launch new entreprises (be they labs, start ups or think tanks, or associations).
4) The solution we suggest
We are preoccupied with one idea : How can we apply the conditions of the third-places to existing organizations?
What if we could create an impetus for people to help them move towards what they really desire ? To put themselves into exploration ? To get inspired and learn from each others ? What if we could enable people to start from who they are to develop a personal and/or professional project that really motivates them ?
“What if” is already a reality. This is the purpose of a new educational and training program called WE ARE THE PROJECTS
This program is based on an original methodology that empowers people to design their own learning path according to their motivations, inclinations and abilities. In this way, only they will be able to design their future with what makes them unique and singular and successfull, this is what we truly need in the world of tomorrow.
We are guiding them through 6 original steps, which are the following :
We are to create not just one but many, hundreds, of third-places at the same time by using the most efficient tool for accelerating ideas and connecting people, namely technology, as well as collective and swarm intelligence or stigmergy*.
As more and more trainers will be trained to recreate our 6 steps blended learning (both online and on-site) program, more and more people all over the world will benefit from the experience.
We will start by developing WE ARE THE PROJECTS within existing third-places so as to train anyone interested and will also implement the program within companies, schools and universities. There the program will be led by students for students, still coordinated and facilitated by Diane Lenne and Charlotte Riedberger or by a certified trainer.
Authors : Diane Lenne & Charlotte Riedberger
*Stigmergy is a concept which may be related to one’s evolving in a third place. It reflects a mecanism of indirect yet seemingly intelligent coordination between agents. For, as an agent’s actions leave signs in the environment, these signs are sensed by the same or other agents and thefore determine and incite their subsequent actions.