Connected: The Film – Melbourne sneak preview, 8 September 2011

What does it mean to be living in a hyperconnected world? How is it changing the way we communicate, relate, work and consume – and what impact is this having on our wellbeing, and that of the planet around us? These are the questions asked and explored in one of 2011′s most eagerly awaited films – Connected.

Join us, and our three special guest panelists – leading thinkers in communications, technology, community and the environment - for this exciting Gathering event. It is a sneak preview of the film described by James Greenberg as,

A personal yet universal story about the Internet Age…Connected is a highly energized romp through a myriad of ideas about where the human race is headed.

Afterward, connect with other Melbourne change-makers and discover what great projects and initiatives are laying foundations for us to build better futures for all, together.

We’re also planning to have drinks and snacks available on the night from a couple of top Melbourne food and beverage social entreprises – which may include popcorn. ;)

Presented by Gathering ’11 host David Hood, with thanks to the AMPlify Festival and RMIT SEEDS, this event is a fundraiser for Gathering ’11 and future Gathering events and programs.

Connected: The Film [sneak preview]
Thursday 8 September, 6.00pm-9.00pm
Kaleide Theatre, RMIT, Melbourne

Please note: film screening commences at 6:30pm sharp.

For more information, and to book your ticket for Connected: The Film sneak preview, click here.



Book your ticket for Connected: The Film sneak preview

With wonderful heart and an impressive sense of scale, Tiffany Shlain’s vibrant and insightful documentary, Connected, explores the visible and invisible connections linking major issues of our time—the environment, consumption, population growth, technology, human rights, the global economy—while searching for her place in the world during a transformative time in her life.

Employing a splendidly imaginative combination of animation and archival footage, plus several surprises, Shlain constructs a chronological tour of Western modernization through the work of her late father, Leonard Shlain, a surgeon and best-selling author of Art and Physics and The Alphabet Versus the Goddess. With humor and irony, the Shlain family life merges with philosophy to create both a personal portrait and a proposal for ways we can move forward as a civilization.

Connected illuminates the beauty and tragedy of human endeavor while boldly championing the importance of personal connectedness for understanding and coping with today’s global conditions.

“Tiffany Shlain demonstrates, with lyrical simplicity, our interdependence on one another and the interconnectedness of humanity with all life on earth. With a tightly synchronized dance between her powerful images and insightful words — with humor, and with a creativity all her own, Tiffany illuminates the issues that affect us all — including environmental degradation, dizzying technological innovation and population growth — and helps us to understand our inter-relationship with the world in a way that is both freeing and inspiring. Throughout, she also presents and honors the deep wisdom of her late father, Leonard Shlain, reminding us of the deepest connections that breathe meaning into life.” – Al Gore

“A personal yet universal story about the Internet Age…Connected is a highly energized romp through a myriad of ideas about where the human race is headed.” – James Greenberg, The Hollywood Reporter

Book your ticket for Connected: The Film sneak preview

Event Partners: AMPlify Festival and RMIT SEEDS Program

At #Gathering11 a Thrivable World Emerges

Launched at Gathering ’11, featuring Jean Russell: Thrivable from alan rosenblith.



Jean Russell, Founder of Thrivable

There’s all this talk about breakdown when actually there’s also a breakthrough happening at the same time. It’s a thrivable world that emerges even as this old industrial order collapses. We’re making a world that works; that promises for more people better opportunities; and creates better futures for individuals, communities, organizations, and our whole collective. That old order? It’s destabilizing and there’s more and more uncertainty. We don’t really know what to do. All this stuff is happening at faster and faster rates but it’s also connecting people, ideas, and actions. We play in new possibilities, and that makes room for serendipity. Something else is emerging: a thrivable world.

From Stories to Action

The story that we’re telling ourselves? It’s really crucial. What we tell, the stories that we tell about ourselves, they determine the actions that we think work, what we think is possible. If we tell ourselves stories about breakdown, we start to limit what we think might be possible. What happens when we say, “What’s the future that we want to create? How can we co-create that?” and then open our possibilities to make that happen? The stories of collapse aren’t making this new world. We have to speak our thriving into being and create stories of this emerging world.

The Human Mind: Our Social Wiring

There are several key aspects of this emerging world. The first one I want to talk about is: how do our brains really work? Who are we? There’s a whole bunch of brain science showing up to tell us what we’re motivated by, what makes us happy. It turns out we’re actually predictably irrational instead of that rational, self-interested actor that economics tells us we are. And we’re easily nudged and swayed to do different things. This is really self-empowering for us because it brings an element of self-awareness to how humans work that enables something new to emerge. We need to think of ourselves as not so much wired for self-interest – which is true, we are that – but we are also wired to connect and share.

Marcia Shenk, Business Anthropologist: A neuroscientist would say to you, “The human brain is wired, organized, completely triggered for sociality.” What they mean by that is that a little force we call emotions keeps us oriented to other people and what we are doing with other people. As the research gets richer and deeper – it’s happening right now as we’re speaking – they’re discovering, for example, that one of the major pleasure centers in the brain (as powerful as sex and chocolate) is the pleasure that comes from contributing to another human being.

Network Organisms: The Me/We Dynamic

Another key aspect of the thrivable world that is emerging right now is the shift in group dynamics, or our social structures. We’ve come through a period where we’ve treated those things in a very mechanistic fashion. There are pyramidal structures. Leaders are dictating orders to the people below. We’re shifting to an open network or an open culture in which people organically come together. They serve each others’ needs and their own. They produce things together. This is really exciting. We see things like Wikipedia, and we have new group processes like wikis. I call this the great rebalancing of the “me/we dynamic.” The way that we handle this is really crucial to being able to increase network health and individual health in a way that’s going to open up more and more possibilities for a thrivable world.

Rachel Botsman, Author and Social Innovator: I actually think this is driven by self-interest, and that sharing is the new self-interest. What’s happening is we’re actually finding this common ground where self-interest can meet collective-interest. It’s utopian to believe that most of the world are going to put collective-interest before self-interest. It’s just not the way we’re wired. It’s ok if people go into these things because they’re better – they’re more convenient, they’re offering more choice, they can make money, they can save money — but it benefits the whole. That actually becomes a sustainable economy.

Ward Cunningham, Inventor of the Wiki: A collaboration among possibly strangers that, self organized, produces something of surprising value… Some people might say, “We’re going to have a meeting in real space. This is going to be a wiki-style meeting. We’re going to plan what we’re going to do on the day we meet with the people that we have.” And they turn out to be very good. What they’re really saying is, “We bring something and we know we do. We’re willing to share. We’ll dynamically organize. We’ll organize our efforts by paying attention to each others’ needs, and [by] bringing hope but not necessarily too many preconceived notions about where this is heading. And at the end of the day we’ll have something we can be proud of.

Metrics Matter: Feedback for Behavior Change

So the next key aspect of creating this thrivable world is about seeing ourselves: how do we get the information that we need in order to adjust the behaviors that we’ve got? We’ve got to be able to know where we are. There are all of these breakthroughs in data visualization, and metrics and feedback loops, that allow us to know what we’re doing. We’ve moved away from GDP and measures of the economy towards Gross National Happiness. And we’re even creating games that give us immediate feedback so that we can adjust our behaviors. That opens up room for us to change our course and create the thrivable world we want.

Kevin Kelly, Founding Editor, Wired Magazine: The main event happening is that we’re becoming more pluralistic in how money is made. There’s no longer a single business model for whatever industry. There are multiple business models. Mom and pop stores will never go away – they’ll remain as a way to make money – but every other possible way of running a business is still out there. We’re inventing newer and newer ways of having a business. When we look to the future, what we want to imagine is not that there’s a single way of doing it but that we’re going to continue to increase the variety of ways of having and doing a business. Increasing the variety of ways in which the economy is organized. Increasing the variety of ways in which things are monetized. Increasing  the variety of ways in which things are demonetized. All those things are happening. I think that gives us great hope and we should look forward to that, because its means there are more possibilities for more choice and freedom for all of us.

In Sum

Together, we can create a great world that works. First we have to tell ourselves stories about a  world that we want. Stories of possibility. Then we have to have faith in how people are connected. We’re wired to be empathic and altruistic. We want to care and share. Next, give people an opportunity to be a contribution to something larger than themselves. Form network organisms of purpose. Lastly, design data visualization and metrics and feedback loops so we can see themselves. Have fun in that process. Invite play. Make games. Together, we can co-create a world that works.



Presented by Thrivability and symbionics

with Jean Russell, Thrivable, Inc. @thrivable,,

edited by Alan Rosenblith,, @AlanRosenblith

The Living WE… Accelerating Emergence…

In my dreams I see a Living WE, a matrix, a womb, where WE, each of us and all of us, the Willing, inspired, enabled and empowered, give birth to a caring, meaningful and purposeful future. Where WE coalesce to co-construct new rules, reproducible ventures, and concrete positive outcomes. Where WE converse, tell stories, exchange experience, examine possibilities, learn, research, evaluate, create, invent, modelize, experiment, adopt, practice… Where WE initiate and LIVE the change we want to see…

The Living WE is a global laboratory of thought and actions, taking multiple paths. Where WE, each of us and all of us, have a role to play, each with our diverse talents, sensitivities, passions and energies to achieve better futures… It gives us a voice, stimulates our choice and transforms our activity into achievements…

The Living WE is purpose centered and allows the purpose of each of us to be a center of organization and action, while converging towards an overarching purpose. It creates an appreciative connection between each of us and our environment, between all of us and our ecosystem…

The Living WE is based on our shared idea of why change must occur, on a shared direction towards our converging purposes with a compass to guide us along the way, a few virtues and philosophical principles as the stars and planets of our expanded horizon that we use to navigate…

The Living WE gathers human trust and harnesses commitment. It absorbs, channels, aggregates, debates, integrates, enriches, acts upon and renews an ever-evolving flow of tacit knowledge and experience. It provides the substance, tools, and practical examples that enable us to bridge our macro and our micro perspectives and dynamics, to transform our big ideas into small local actions and combine our small actions into large outcomes. It inserts our local independence in a global interdependence, and bridges our virtual and physical worlds…

The Living WE encourages self-organization and evolves organically. It grows by contagion, through interaction and influence, P2P. It snowballs ideas, innovations and practices and expands consciousness. All in ways that enable us to see evolution in the making and the transformative impact of each of us and all of us…

The Living WE adds up the small power and influence of each of us to move mountains. It is a legitimate counter and balancing power against any new world or national order or superpower. It keeps us safe from accelerating pace of life and protects us against collapse & singularity…

The Living WE is humanity as custodian of our ecosystem…

The Living WE is US. It is the framework, the platform I dream to build at Gathering 11…

Many thanks to Ulrike Reinhard who inspired me to put a name on my dream! Hope you will succeed in crowdfunding the launch of WE Australia!

Want a better future? Here’s how we can start building it.

Something needs to change. It’s clear that industrial age institutions and systems aren’t the answer to today’s complex social and environmental issues.

Albert Einstein once said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” So how do we come up with real solutions to the big issues facing all of us?

It’s time to change our approach.

It’s time to build new institutions and develop new systems. It’s time to move from industrial age leadership to 21st century buildership. It’s time to stop saying they need to do this or they need to fix that. It’s time for us to come together and take action – after all, there is no they, we are the they.

So how might we address local and global societal problems? How might we come up with solutions that are wholistic, sustainable and have real impact?

How might we be the change we wish to see in the world?

By bringing together diverse community members, socially innovative thinkers and progressive leaders in the not-for-profit, corporate, social, government and academic sectors.

By coming together to explore challenges, identify opportunities, envision pathways, and lay down foundations for real solutions to today’s pressing social and environmental issues.

By gathering together to cocreate pathways to better futures for all, and implementing plans for action.

Register for Gathering ’11

At Gathering ’11 you will:

  • experience new approaches to idea generation and problem solving;
  • learn how to engage and mobilise your friends, your community and your organisation around a cause;
  • discover models for business that are having a positive social impact and thriving in challenging economic times;
  • find out how you can use technology and social media to make a real difference;
  • hear how small moves, smartly made, can set big things in motion; and
  • develop ideas and cocreate opportunities for world-changing projects and game-changing enterprises.

Why you should join us…

If you’re wanting to live a life, or start a business, or bring people together in ways that make a real difference, than you should join us at Gathering ‘11.

We’ve created a program to support the emergence of radical innovation and creativity with the intention to inspire implementable ideas that can effect real change and build foundations for better futures. Come to Gathering ‘11 to learn how you can do things like:

  • Bring your community together to address climate change and ensure low-carbon, secure energy futures.
  • Start your own enterprise that has a positive social impact and helps those in need.
  • Build your own business that thrives from providing goods and services with real meaning.
  • Develop your own systems that enable a shift in the way that people buy, consume and lessen their impact on our precious planet.
  • Help your organisation shift from being just a service provider, to one that connects people who want help with people that need it.
  • Design your own online platform for open participation to facilitate creative problem solving for today’s big challenges.
  • Make a living and a difference by being creative and sharing your passion.

Join us at Gathering ’11 to share, learn, grow and build. Come plant the seeds for a community of practice with other visionaries, though-leaders and change-makers from across Australia and around the world – taking steps toward better futures for all, together.

Join featured participants including: John Hagel, Michel Bauwens, Pete Williams, Venessa Miemis, Kate Carruthers, Stephen Johnson, Jean Russell, Kristin Alford, Tim Longhurst, Christine Egger, Benny Callaghan and Ehon Chan, for an immersive weekend of presentations, participant led discussions and generative processes.

Every revolution begins from the bottom up. Fed up with the status quo? Tired of the 20th century? Then don’t just talk about it. Reject it and refuse it. Build a better 21st century instead. Real change doesn’t begin with governments, presidents, or prime ministers. It begins with each of us. ~ Umair Haque

Where does change come from? You, me, we.

Join us for the inaugural Gathering in Melbourne 11-13 June to build better futures.

Gathering People


Feeling rather impish today, I was thinking about what would happen if I took three random people and put them together. Let’s try @randomdeanna, @ladyniasan, and @pritharaysircar, for example, although they don’t yet know each other.

Deanna has this thing called gigglecon, which we think of a subversive conference within a conference where you connect to people you can giggle with. Deanna wrote the book on sharing. No, really, it is called Share This. Let’s tag Deanna: women, media, politics, and nonprofits. Every time I see her, I learn, laugh, and grow.

Now, let’s add in the fabulous @ladyniasan who is likely in some outlandish costume perturbing people’s sensibilities and asking some challenging questions. Let’s tag her: digital activism, prototyping, fablab, design, art.

Next, let’s add @pritharaysircar for some spice, intellectual rigor, hard questions, and very practical utility. She is on theMAKE. Let’s tag her: economics, local community, hands on.

If you put these three women in a small room, it would be a dangerous… and likely explosive… situation with social change confetti flying everywhere (made from the shreds of thoroughly critiqued newspapers – be sure to recycle or repurpose).

So what combinations of people make change? What gathering will be explosive with action leading to impact from mindful people collaborating for a larger and better purpose? That is the experiment of Gathering11. We like being entrepreneurial about it. What happens when you take the nimble edge-rider like Venessa Miemis, mix with the practical integrator Christine Egger and swirl the whole thing with the creative emergence powers of Michelle James? Take the deep business acumen of John Hagel and stir with some gamification?

What happens when you come and join us?

Reviewing the list of people participating, I keep imagining the side conversations I might hear, the projects that might emerge, and the insights that will infect everyone with memes of the futures we are creating. I can’t wait!!! Come play and co-create with us!