Integral Community Building & Collaboration Ecology – 05 Economic Opportunities for Communities

Encouraging, facilitating and fostering pluralistic conversations and action for a flourishing planet and society in an environment of exponentially increasing social diversity and complexity on all scales, this is the larger purpose Community Development Professionals stand for. To fulfill this purpose we focus, beyond the traditional economic capital, on social, cultural and environmental capital and co-creating it in a new abundance become its stewards. Doing this we will surely craft and foster new types of organizations and communities that provide innovative solutions to environmental and societal challenges, organizations that also create large economic profits because the world-market is ready for them.

According to an Edelman study[1] published Nov 15, 2007, 85% of the consumers around the world are willing to change the brands they buy or their consumption habits to make tomorrow’s world a better place, and over half (55%) would help a brand promote a product if a good cause were behind it.

Obviously brands aligning themselves with a good purpose that consumers care about will strike a meaningful chord. An innovative brand with a collaborative structure, a community using its collective intelligence and creating products and services that reflect the developing needs of the global community are certainly the coming economic and societal winners, actually win-win-winners as they cater to the triple bottom-line of economic, societal and environmental profit. Areas that according to the Edelman study are of greatest concern to people wishing to spend money, inventiveness and energy are “protecting the environment” (92%); “enabling everyone to live a healthy life” (90%); “reducing poverty” (89%); “equal opportunity to education” (89%); “fighting HIV/AIDS” (83%); “building understanding/respect for other cultures” (82%); “helping to raise people’s self-esteem” (77%); and “supporting the creative arts” (69%). Products and services in these areas, created by organizations and communities that have the above mentioned structure and uses collaborative processes will belong to the strongest assets in the economic processes of the 21st century.

The “business” of the communities and organizations Community Development Professionals help develop, be they non-profit or for profit or, most likely, a mix of both is creating economic, societal/cultural and environmental wealth. The measurement of success of these “collaborative enterprises” is a positive triple bottom line.[2]

Yet the “climate of hope” that results from the success of these novel forms of working and making profit will be the largest asset; we will be able to say, “It can be done, we can live on a healthy planet in flourishing, open societies that care.” And eventually we will be looking back to this time and age as The Age when we made the Turn.



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[2] What exactly will bet he criteria of the societal/cultural and the environmental components of this bottom-line? Surely the equitable participation of all who contribute to the final product or service, a good work-climate (people love going to work!) and all the already available measurements of ecological sustainability will be part of this equasion.

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