We now have a website for our work, designed by the super-talented Los Angeles based designer and illustrator Ophelia Chong. Please let us know what you think.
The social activist, co-founder and CEO of Purpose Jeremy Heimans, in a recent talk at the Royal Society of Arts in London, shared his ideas around 'movement entrepreneurship'.
Heimans placed special emphasis, when working with people to advance change, upon fostering shared destiny - a value that anyone working with communities needs to pay special attention to just now.
In public culture at the moment, especially those aspects that involve technology, innovation and brand marketing, fostering communities and collectives of people is en vogue.
In the technology and innovation sectors, forming new communities is behind mainstreaming ideas such as open-source and crowdfunding, and success in it is central to the high valuations of social media platforms.
The nuturing, aggregation and curation of communities of people - and not their management - mirrors the values of an age that appears to prioritize the publisher, rather than producer, the mediator and not the boss.
One thing that’s becoming increasingly apparent to me is the extent to which this gathering of communities takes a laissez-faire attitude towards leadership, relying upon an emergent approach to destiny.
Problem is that however powerful the commonality of interest of a community, however wise the crowd or effective their collaboration, time and again just now there seems to be a private shareholder cashing in on the labor of all, coupled with a corrosion of the public good.
While pushing for an open, democratized approach to assets, a vaccuum seems to appear around leadership and in that vaccuum, value is privatized. Behind a rhetoric of sharing and common good lurks the selflessly selfish.
For the commodification of the idea of open-source, it's worth reading computer scientist Jaron Lanier's Who Own's the Future - or listen to Will Google and Facebook Destroy the Middle Class, his fascinating conversation on KCRW with Matt Miller of the Washington Post.
For the privatization of the 'social web', watch the recent lecture by blogger and technologist Anil Dash on The Web we Lost at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.
For corrosion of the public good by 'market triumphalism' and its contribution to inequality in society, read Michael Sandel's brilliant book What Money Can't Buy.
And for the ultimate lack of accountability of curators to the curated, remind yourself of the role of internet hosts and platforms in the data economy in The NSA Files at The Guardian newspaper.
Take a look at our new website and you'll see that building communities is central to what we do in urban development - be it innovating new for-profit and social ventures, enabling effective investment by real estate companies in cities or delivering initiatives that make cities great places to live and work.
I am slowly but surely seeing everything through a lens of shared destiny – in part because the lack of it in Western popular culture appears to so subvert the power of good and its collapse in countries like Egypt, Syria and Turkey is proving so costly.
My fixation is also because, over the last year, in the fourth dimension of my creative life, I've been producing and directing a series of three documentary films for BBC Television on the life of Napoleon Bonaparte with the historian and Daily Beast columnist Andrew Roberts.
I swear to maintain the territory of the Republic in its integrity...to respect and enforce Equality before the Law, political and civil Liberty...to govern only in accordance with the interests, the happiness, and the glory of the French people.
And when he abdicated on April 5, 1814, he said in his Army Orders:
A soldier shares the good and evil fortunes of his General, his honor and his religion … The Emperor’s honor will never be in contradiction to the happiness of France.
While no paragon of virtue, Napoleon appreciated that, in a world populated by humans and driven by competitive advantage, destiny could not be left to accident, luck or some kind of Mystic Meg osmosis.
Destiny needed to be cultivated and shaped through leadership - that's how Napoleon secured the values of the French Revolution forever more - and communities built for more than just inventory, or database management.