Saturday, February 12, 2011

Clarifications and Process

I feel the need to write about the process I've been through with the Financial Institution of the Future Project. From the last post about the Possible Futures Film Contest, I got a couple of interesting emails mainly suggesting that the initiative was vague. It seems like people feel all this is all around the place and there is no concise actions or structure to follow. This is because there isn't. However, that doesn't mean that there is nothing to do, nor that there has not been any progress. So I thought it would be good thing to give you an idea of what has been happening and what I am building.

First of all, this project started with the idea that I want to create the financial institutions I believe in so that we can stop complaining about the ones we have. With that in mind I sent an open invitation  to join the project in the BetterMeans platform. I also wrote a post about the very basic ideas I have in mind. One of the things I want from a bank is that I should be able to make decisions, therefore, I need to allow democratic participation, not once the institution is up and running, but from its very beginning, from the conception of the ideas. So one thing to clarify here is that this project is not a call for help but and invitation to participate. 

Yes, it is true that since I am not an economist or related to this area, nor a software developer, I have no experience with what is necessary to create it, so at some point I need this input. But this was not intended to say "I have a great idea, you should all help'. And consequently, an open invitation implies that you take responsibility for whatever you want to. If you do not participate at all, or you join us in BetterMeans but do not generate ideas or join workstreams, that only means that you are not participating...until you do, until you find something and recognize a spot where you feel your ideas can contribute. Not that it is your fault if things go wrong. That is what BetterMeans also attempts to achieve according to my own interpretation: There are no culprits for failure, there are only those who participate at the level they want and can. That is part of self-organized communities.

"Failure does not exist unless I am captive of what the world has to say about me."  - Me

Additionally, I was worried because I was struggling trying to keep permanent communication with my team so that I could engage with them and get to know more about each other. But I am wondering now if I really need to worry about pushing them to participate, or if they will come back once they see that I care about them and I deeply care about this project coming to fruition. So far, with those who have participated and let me know, we decided to run a group in Skype just in case. You are more than welcome to join us there too.

So, the first stage was to generate the business model for this financial institution. But the more I was thinking about it, reading and making notes, the more I thought I had to go backwards to get it 'right' from the beginning. I have my own ideas of what I want this institution to do and how, but this is not just about me and I wanted to offer the space for people who believe they too can say what they want from a bank. So I thought that before generating the business model, I needed to create a presentation with those who have already joined BetterMeans, where we would use this presentation to say why we think this is a good idea, what we are offering and where you can join us. Ideally, this presentation would be created for us, and anyone would use it anywhere in the world. 

And then I went backwards again, I need to tell people very simply that there are options and alternatives to banking business-as-usual and that, if they want, they can participate in creating these institutions. Then, I got an email from Pachamama Alliance anouncing the film contest. A team mate from BetterMeans had previously offered his experience making videos so I thought that would be a good opportunity. 

Now, so far I haven't said how I am going to do what I am planning to do. Well, so far I do not have all the answers and as I posted once, I believe that when people say and ask "Yes, but how??", what they are really asking is "can you do it...I mean seriously??", and I reply with a book title: The Answer to How Is Yes: Acting on What Matters. I know that I'll do what I love. I would like to ask you, my readers, that without going too deep, tell me what questions you would like the video and a presentation to answer if you were completely new to this topic, other than 'how'?? or even if you are no so new and rather very experienced. I also have against the question 'how', that it seems to me that people want a formula, the solution that would solve all their problems and by doing so, they avoid responsibility because 'it was their idea'. I would love people to have some sense of belonging, but I can't push that. So the 'how' will come...when we work it out. 'How?' is a good question but I don't think it should be the first one to ask. Maybe I should include this in the script of the video: "The answer to how is within you: Just ask yourself, why do you do what you do in life? (animation of a 'normal' family week) and, more importantly, what are you willing to do to bring about the world you want to see?. Let's build the answer to 'how?' together."

Up to now, I know that after getting the video and presentation ready, I will work on creating the new definitions of money, profits and value. As well as determine what they are for and what they do for the society we are building. I believe this is essential before I start generating the business model because those definitions will be the platform on which the financial institution will build all what it needs. I strongly believe that as long as we 'fail' to give money a personal and completely different meaning to the one we have today, any financial institution will only replace the faulty pieces of a structure that doesn't work rather than changing the structure.

I am already using Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences for the presentation and I reached a point where I realized that I had to go backwards a bit and thought about the video for the film contest. I would love to read more about the draft script for this video. Then, I'll proceed to generate these definitions I was talking about, and finally will hopefully use Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers for what  I thought it was going to be the first stage...but wasn't. This project will keep progressing, if you want to see what  is happening, if you want to lurk around, or if you want to actively participate you are invited and more than welcome to do so. With your input, your help and your participation, we can do this a lot quicker than what it'll take me to do all by myself.

Below you'll be able to read 'The answer to How is Yes: Acting on what Matters". It is a challenging reading I think, but it strongly resonates with my perspective and it also gives you a different perspective on what questions to ask before throwing the big 'How?'. The introduction may be enough for some. It is only 13 pages long. To have a bit more information about what is going on in my brain, I would suggest to read pages 8 and 9. From the list that you'll find there, my strongest desire supports items 8, 7, 5 and 3 in that order. It is not about order of importance, it is just what my logic tells me to be a good order. 

Last but not least, thanks for your comments, feedback, appeals, are already part of this and I am immensely grateful to all of you and the world for giving me this opportunity.

Throw me an email or leave me a comment anytime you want ;-)

Tatiana Maya

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