Third Transition in Science: to include Evolving Biospheres

From EGO, to ECO

((Blog Updated July 18, 2021))

Summary: We are entering THE AGE OF VALUE CREATION. Do you enter it too?

That requires a totally different mindset from what are the main mantra’s of our present governments, politicians and businessmen, and unfiortunately also most scientists deeply embedded in vested interrests, funding systems and peer reviews. I do not blame any of them but i take the step to bring certain new directions to their attention. I am retired and independant, so I do not care if they agree or not. These mantra’s are based on the #NeoLib (market will solve all problems) faerytale, which is running against its boundaries. For instance things are failing in Health Care, Law, Education,Agriculture, Culture, Law enforcement, Banking, Defense and maintenance of Flora and Fauna. Also the infrastructues of Tranport of goods and people, Tranport of Information (FttH etc) and Transport of Energy are not maintained well everywhere or are seriously lacking. Reason #neoLib is based on Value Extraction, at the expense of People and Nature. Sure, it was a great motor for the economy and society but it is now running at its end

The point is that young people all over the world are concerned an curious what will happen after the Pandemic, which has harmed them and left them lonely and depressed, and after the floods in Europe and other large and small unexpected climate catastrophies. I see it as my task to help them look in new directions they can explore themselves 🙂

The recent paper from Kauffman and Roli, you can download below, marks a major breakthrough in Science. My impression is that it will also have huge impact on our society. In line with the slogan about the Third Transition in Science displayed above.

It is called: “The Third Transition in Science: Beyond Newton and Quantum Mechanics” –A Statistical Mechanics of Emergence–

  1. Here is what a review of it said:


The Third Transition in Science: Beyond Newton and Quantum Mechanics — A Statistical Mechanics of Emergence | by Stuart A. Kauffman & Andrea Roli | ArXiv

[…] It is fundamental to the Newtonian Paradigm that the set of possibilities that constitute the phase space is always definable ahead of time. All of this fails for the diachronic evolution of ever new adaptations in our or any biosphere.
[…] Therefore, with respect to all diachronically emerging adaptations via seizing affordances, no numbers. No integers, no rational numbers, no equations such as 2+3=5. No equations so no irrational numbers. No real line. No equations with variables. No imaginary numbers, no quaternions, no octonions. No Cartesian spaces. No vector spaces. No Hilbert spaces. No union and intersection of uses of X and uses of Y. No first order logic. No combinatorics. No topology. No manifolds. No differential equations on manifolds. Further, without an Axiom of Choice, we cannot integrate and take limits on the differential equations we cannot write.
[…] These facts mean that we are, surprised or not, at the third major transition in science.


2. Here is the formal summary of the paper as submitted to ArXiv :


The Third Transition in Science: Beyond Newton and Quantum Mechanics — A Statistical Mechanics of Emergence

Stuart A. KauffmanAndrea Roli

Since Newton all of classical and quantum physics depends upon the “Newtonian Paradigm” (NP). Here the relevant variables of the system are identified. The boundary conditions creating the phase space of all possible values of the variables are defined. Then, given any initial condition, the differential equations of motion are integrated to yield an entailed trajectory in the pre-stated phase space. In the NP the set of possibilities that constitute the phase space is always definable ahead of time. All of this fails for the diachronic evolution of ever new adaptations in our or any biosphere. The central reason is that living cells achieve Constraint Closure and construct themselves. Living cells, evolving via heritable variation and Natural selection, adaptively construct new in the universe possibilities. The new possibilities are opportunities for new adaptations thereafter seized by heritable variation and Natural Selection. Surprisingly, we can neither define nor deduce the evolving phase spaces ahead of time. The reason we cannot deduce the ever-evolving phase spaces of life is that we can use no mathematics based on Set Theory to do so. The ever-new adaptations with ever-new relevant variables constitute the ever-changing phase space of evolving biospheres. Because of this, evolving biospheres are entirely outside the NP. One consequence is that for any universe such as ours with one or more evolving biospheres, there can be no final theory that entails all that comes to exist. We face a third major transition in science. We must give up deducing the diachronic evolution of the biosphere. All of physics, classical and quantum, however, apply to the analysis of existing life, a synchronic analysis. We begin to better understand the emergent creativity of an evolving biosphere. We are on the edge of inventing a physics-like new statistical mechanics of emergence.

Subjects:Physics and Society (physics.soc-ph); Biological Physics (
Nature is strong and self creating


3. Let me explain my personal interest in this breakthrough paper. Since I was very young in the 1950’s I was amazed at how I and others could take apart/ down ‘things’ into smaller and smaller pieces and then learn how the ‘thing’ worked. I could then repair parts if needed and put the device back together, getting more curious each day. Family and friends started to bring things to me to repair. In the 1960’s lots of news came about atomics and physics finding smaller and smaller particles & waves to comprehend our world and extract value= energy from atomic reaction. Then I started to imagine explorations in the other direction: upwards synthesis. Necessary since for instance if you take living things apart and put them together again, sometthing is gone: LIFE. What would happen if we mix and combine components into greater and greater complexity. I leaned to design and construct networks and help build them for and between companies in Europe. Indeed, running up the stairs of the Tower of Babel. From signals, signs, words, information, data, meaning, imagination, images, and the top level: sociology, biology, wisdom and nature.

Yes, I studied emergent behaviour like in social media but also in ant-hills and how trees communicate in woods. All of this is part of the new “Complexity Science” where we have to find non-mechanic and non quantum explanations. This connects wonderful with the paper described in this blog. The “network effects” that are at work in society and ecosystems (biospheres) I have described in another blog [1]. There I defined a forth network effect which shows how value is created by combining = synthesis (see the direction !) people with diverse skills, to cooperate when they share understanding and a common goal. This value generation which can be attributed to “Synergy”. A very recommendable book about that is written by prof. Peter Corning [2]. I am curious why Stu and Andrea have not mentioned Synergy in their historic paper.

Nature does not ask permission

I am curious what leading edge scientist like Corning, Wolfram, Haramein, Barabasi, Yaneer Bar-Yam, E.O. Wilson, Nowak, Szathmáry, Alexandre Lemille and Csermely will comment on this paper. Maybe we should organize a Second Solvay Conference about the Post Transition Science?

Yes, I am impressed and delighted that we are making a transition to the Era of Systems Biology, Circular Economy and Regenerative Ecologies. If we survive, that is.

Jaap van Till, TheConnectivist

[1] Van Till, 2015,

[2] Peter Corning, 2018, “Synergistic Selection” – How Cooperation Has Shaped Evolution and the Rise of Humankind -; World Scientific Publishing Co.


For my readers in Brazil: Greed & Extraction vs EcoSystem
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Why has #Belarus Diktator Lukashenko a Problem?

The main reason, which he will not admit to Putin (who is considering Belarus a part of Russia) is that the bright young people in Minsk and other cities succesfully started to do things in mathematics and ICT that he can not grasp or plan. Luka has no clue about High Tech startups, and fears the lack of obedience by the whizz kids to his regime.

For instance this team of Game Developers of the company “Wargaming”, photo shows them in Minsk in 2017. They have now left to #Lithuania, where they wellcome high techies.

Even more frightening to him and his regime are young hero’s who refuse to recognise the power structure that Alexander Lukashenko, president of Belarus has built. This is minus zero obedience .

A very powerful example of such heroic person is Palina

This dialogue took my breath away. And I had to read it again and again. Palina has been sentenced by that court to 2 years inprisonment.

I hope that Amnesty International can contact and assist her, since she clearly is a case of conscience.

Whatever the Diktator, his judges, police , jails , torturers and military do, they can not stop THOUGHTS and Visions, full of hope and anticipation for a wonderful future as part of Nature and all its people on this planet.

jaap van till, TheConnectivist

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The Importance of being OPEN

Open in this context means “you are OPEN for new ideas”. This is in no way evident since most adults are obsessed with the notion that having order in our lives is essential for well being. Most teachers focus therefore on getting children drilled “under control”, obedient and spoon fed with their well established and proven knowledge. That may be not bad but it is not the ONLY thing children should be doing. It is sad if they loose playfulness and creativity, and a bit of daydreaming now and then. 🙂

I could understand & learn very fast and could daydream a lot at school. And later it puzzled me a lot that the best scientist and breakthrough inventors nearly without exception had left school, frustrated because they knew more than their teachers at an early age from reading and listening to family and friends. And by pure self discovery on a broad number of fields. Being curious and perceverent for wanting to know.

It is significant to understand that parents are dividend in two groups when asked what kind of education they prefer for their children: Authoritarian vs in Creative Freedom , see the “Four Questions” in very roughly this divided Trump voters vs. Biden voters.

Authoritarians insist on “Law and Order” in my humble opinion because they are nervous about rapid changes and can not cope with complexity and uncertainty. Religion and certain populist political parties then provide structure and answer as safe havens. It is better though to learn together to steer our boats through the waves of the oceans and LEARN to cope. Gibran, Jezus , Krisnamurti and Rumi teached us to have empathy, joy, play, dance, cooperate democratic, create art and music to create value by synergy and imagination to be part of natures ecology

Not only that but it is important for all of us and our future that such OPEN curiosity is not frustrated. Why? Because such CURIOUS people stumble on quite unexpected new knowledge and knowhow, essential for solving problems and opening new avenues of thought and experimentation.

In a very wonderful and for me very recognizable book this importance for our future is shown:

“Open – How Collaboration and Curiosity Shaped Humankind “ by Johan Norberg from Sweden. 2021. English but German and NL language versions are available too. Latest version Pocket Book: May 6 2021, with new Preface !

I very warmly recommend you read this book. It not only focusses on People with open minds, but also very much on rebuilding our INSTITUTIONS to function OPEN = as places where all of us can learn, be treated or are meeting the law. Bad news for bureaucrats and other controlaholics: we urgently need these young and old explorers and reaserch institutions looing into still unknown fields of thought and who can by meeting Create Value for all of us to enjoy. They will learn us to better cope with the unexpected and complex.

In essence it is an Anti-Authoritarian book, and very welcome in our fight against their rotten and destructive ideas.

Review on the Amazon site :

Humanity’s embrace of openness is the key to our success. The freedom to explore and exchange – whether it’s goods, ideas or people – has led to stunning achievements in science, technology and culture. As a result, we live at a time of unprecedented wealth and opportunity. So why are we so intent on ruining it? From Stone Age hunter-gatherers to contemporary Chinese-American relations, Open explores how across time and cultures, we have struggled with a constant tension between our yearning for co-operation and our profound need for belonging. Providing a bold new framework for understanding human history, bestselling author and thinker Johan Norberg examines why we’re often uncomfortable with openness – but also why it is essential for progress. Part sweeping history and part polemic, this urgent book makes a compelling case for why an open world with an open economy is worth fighting for more than ever.

And…… It is a joy to read 🙂

jaap van till, TheConnectivist

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How to Organize a Nonviolent Revolt


Revolts, for instance against poluters, burning of forrests, and destruction of Barrier Reefs.

Our world is in the midst of a number of huge transitions. I described a number of them in a chapter I wrote for a book, see “Sneak-peek” in: Let us pray these huge transitions will be bloodless, so if you revolt do it on a city-regional scale. And show tolerance for those old souls who are unable to change.

And many very successful social-economic recipes, like #neolib capitalism and #hierarchies , do not function anymore. So we have to make CONSTRUCTIVE changes and learn while doing so. However, we are often manipulated, sidetracked and obstructed by oligarchs and groups with vested interests in the present power & control structures. Examples: Belorus, Miramar, Thailand, etc.

The powerful recipe for planning and Doing nonviolent revolt is shown below. I do add some extra advice.

  • Do the collective actions leaderless. This makes the activity less vulnerable.
  • Apply as many as possible totally unexpected acts: “Audace Audace Audace” was the slogan of the French Revolutionaries.
  • Use peer-to-peer communication channels for #Modemocracy, fast and spread widely, open to many people. I will not go into details, but blocking them also hurts the economy.
  • Plan ahead how to run society together after you gained control. Beware of new dictators waiting their turn for power, by neutralizing their friends, like Napoleon, Zuckerberg, Stalin or Mao.
  • Very good advice is also given by the rulebook of Alinsky (known by Obama and Hil Clinton), see:
  • Beware that the tyrannical regime people you want to fight can also read things on internet. An example is the very interesting list of actions to go From Dictatorship To Democracy (FTDT) used succesfully in Ex-Jugoslavia and Egypt, failed in Iran because activists where arrested and tried in court where the judges in their sentence referred to the specific FTDT article by number.

In short: Do not fear, Plan, Do and Learn together !!! Creating value by Connected Synergy is more important than power. Collective Intelligence by networking, with distributed Authority should be the aim.

jaap van till, TheConnectivist

=============The Path to Most Resistance============================

From TWITTER: @IvanMarovic ‘s highly pragmatic, exquisitely useful book, The Path of Most Resistance: A Step-by-Step Guide to Planning Nonviolent Campaigns is a must read, must have & must use book. Review: includes link for FREE pdf download from @CivilResistance

The book can be downloaded in full (108 pages) from:


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Book by Luc Sala about Corona in NL

  1. Luc Sala published a book, May 2021, in the NL language about Corona in our country. The book, including photos, can be downloaded from:

2. A rough English translation can be found here:

Both versions are updated nearly daily with comments and improvements, so that is why I have not posted the full text of the books here.

3. I have to add that this book NL or English version is the personal opinion of Luc Sala, and not automatically mine.

4. I have posted March 2020 my views about the Virality (fastness of exponential spreading) of the Covid -19 Virus on these pages:

5. Furthermore I recommend you follow the publications of prof. Yaneer Bar-Yam of the NECSI who has tracked and is daily tracking with his students and staff the spread of the virus in most countries of the world.

Yaneer Bar-Yam – Wikipedia › wiki › Ya…

Prof. BarYam is the president of Cambridge, Massachusetts-based NECSI, an independent research institution and think tank dedicated to the study of complex systems. (New England Complex Systems Institute).

And he has given a comprehensive list of government actions to follow to fight the outbreak. You can follow his recommendations and observations on Twitter: Yaneer Bar-Yam (@yaneerbaryam) | Twitter.

jaap van till, TheConnectivist

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Welcome back to the Civil Society

Many years ago I launched the idea of the “Trias Internetica” , that in the Internet Age we can reasign certain tasks over three poles: The State (long term general interests) / Business (the invisible hand of the Market) / Civil Society (volunteers and assistance). And in the graph I added when these poles where overextended: Bureaucratic Dictatorship / Monopolies / Racism, closed tribes and Nationalism. My point was that we need all three poles so they can suppport eachother and create Synthecracy.

In practice we could see. a trend of govenments and their civil servants transfered (or tried to) public tasks like [Education, Military, Health care, social housing, public transport] to be “better handled in the market” (#NeoLib policy), often in the hands of friends of the govt. (greedy to make profits, like on the NHS in UK).

Most of these transfers failed, and costed billions. So now we can notice an reversal in the thinking. May be these services should be re-nationalized in the capable hands of the State? Since most of the knowhow and engineering skills have vanished there ( NL Rijkswaterstaat is managed by PR people) we can foresee that this will end in new costly catastrophes.

The newest fad is to handle things in state controled companies but involve more able people from the Public, as many as possible. And so construct more Democratic ventures with clear objectives (see my next blog). (Demos = the People)

Marleen Stikker of “de Waag” innovation braintrust and project office in Amsterdam agues that “letting civillians participate in State ventures” is bound to fail also, since it is the wrong way around. She proposes to let the state participate in Civil Society ventures, like those that look extremely promising in Cities and City Areas. Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Barcelona have be been doing very well in that respect.

My position is that Task of constructive ventures and services should be assigned to the proper corner in the Trias Internetica and at least shoud stop trying to do eachother’s work. Knowhow, Skills and Getting Results are quite visible on Internet and in the human networks that support value creation, see

jaap van till, TheConnectivist

===== paper by Marleen Stikker (in Dutch)===(English Translation will follow I hope)

<Re-blogged here with her permission>

Quote: “If you ask me what participation is, I think mainly of the initiative from society. I think for too long we have seen participation as involving citizens in the government’s policy process. This rarely leads to good dialogue or serious involvement. Rather, the question is how can we ensure that the government participates adequately in society’s initiative.” Marleen Stikker as chairman of Overlegorgaan Fysieke Leefomgeving | OFL

Voorzittersblog: Marleen Stikker

26-04-2021 0 mensen vinden dit leuk. Klik als je dit leuk vindt.

Maatschappelijk initiatief als ‘derde weg’ voor participatie

Als je mij vraagt wat participatie is, dan denk ik vooral aan het initiatief uit de maatschappij. Ik denk dat we participatie te lang hebben gezien als het betrekken van de burger bij het beleidsproces van de overheid. Dat leidt zelden tot een goede dialoog of serieuze betrokkenheid. De vraag is eerder hoe we ervoor kunnen zorgen dat de overheid adequaat participeert in het initiatief van de samenleving.

Het maatschappelijk initiatief is in veel domeinen ongelooflijk sterk aan het worden; niet alleen in de energietransitie, maar ook bij opgaves op het gebied van wonen, vervoer en het sociale domein. Het maatschappelijk initiatief is een combinatie van actief burgerschap, collectiviteit en sociaal ondernemerschap. Het wordt ook wel de ‘derde weg’ genoemd: we hebben lang gedacht dat we alleen de overheid of de markt als betrouwbare route hadden om iets te bereiken, maar dat is een enorme beperking van de mogelijkheden. Ik zie dat maatschappelijk initiatief een serieuze factor is, waar je beleid op moet inrichten en modellen voor moet creëren.

In de afgelopen dertig jaar heeft de overheid grote delen van wat eerder nutsvoorzieningen of maatschappelijk goed was overgeleverd aan de markt. We zien nu dat het uit de hand is gelopen en dat marktwerking in veel gevallen niet tot beter resultaat leidt. De organisatie van het publiek domein, een combinatie van publieke infrastructuur, publieke diensten en publieke bronnen, is ondermijnd.

Dat de overheid de burger tot klant heeft gemaakt van de overheid draagt niet bij de legitimiteit van de overheid. Het beeld dat de burger louter calculerend is en, ten koste van anderen, het eigen belang nastreeft is een cynisch mensbeeld dat al veel te lang in beleidskringen rondwaart. Mensen zijn van nature coöperatief, anders overleven we niet, en over het algemeen geneigd om samen te werken. We vormen groepen en organisaties rond gezamenlijke thema’s. Dat kan sport zijn, spel, maar ook maatschappelijke opgaven. Er is een groot zelf-oplossend vermogen in de samenleving die we moeten stimuleren. Als we het maatschappelijk initiatief serieus nemen, dan vraagt dat om het wijzigen van het overheidsinstrumentarium en beleidsprocessen. Je zult andere economische modellen moeten hanteren zodat andere vorm van waarde kan worden gewaardeerd en de extractie van waarde wordt beperkt. Het is een systemische verandering. Het maakt het mogelijk om in nieuwe configuraties complexe en multidisciplinaire opgaven op te pakken. Configuraties waar diverse organisaties aan kunnen bijdragen: overheden, bedrijven, maatschappelijke organisaties en alle tussenvormen daarvan.

Voor deze vorm van participatie rond ruimtelijke opgaves heb je een nieuwe aanpak nodig. Minder belangenbehartiging en stakeholder management en meer als een gezamenlijk ontwerpproces. Daarvoor zijn drie dingen nodig. Het begint met een responsieve overheid die erkent dat zij haar legitimiteit ontleent aan een maatschappelijke democratie. De hoogste prioriteit is om die maatschappelijke democratie te versterken in plaats van te ondermijnen. Ten tweede is het cruciaal om het publieke domein te herstellen en te borgen in governance en economische modellen. Als laatste zullen we onze verbeelding en creativiteit moeten aanspreken om vraagstukken vanuit een ander kader *) te bezien. Dat wordt ook wel frame innovation genoemd. We hebben nieuwe gezichtspunten nodig om oplossingen te vinden, die we vanuit het oude kader niet voor mogelijk houden.

In het programma aardgasvrije wijken zie je bijvoorbeeld hoe in sommige wijken energietransitie wordt gecombineerd met sociale vraagstukken. Door het eigenaarschap in de wijk te versterken, komen nieuwe relaties tot stand die leiden tot nieuwe vitaliteit, betrokkenheid en maatschappelijke kansen. Door niet energietransitie als frame te gebruiken, maar de sociale cohesie in een wijk komt je tot andere oplossingen Die hebben we nodig.


*) That “other mental framework” can make use of what we have shown in the Musk Manifest :

=======translation of Marleen Stikkers paper =======

Social initiative as a "third way" for participation

If you ask me what participation is, I think mainly of the initiative from society. I think for too long we have seen participation as involving citizens in the government's policy process. This rarely leads to good dialogue or serious involvement. Rather, the question is how can we ensure that the government participates adequately in civil society's initiatives. 

Social initiative is becoming incredibly strong in many areas; not only in the energy transition, but also in the areas of housing, transport and the social domain. The social initiative is a combination of active citizenship, collectivity and social entrepreneurship. It is also called the "third way": we have long thought that we only had the government or the market as a reliable route to achieve something, but that is a huge limitation of the possibilities. I see that social initiative is a serious factor, for which you have to structure policy and create models.

Over the past thirty years, the government has turned over large parts of what used to be utility services or social good to the market. We now see that things have gotten out of hand and that market forces in many cases do not lead to better results. The organization of the public domain, a combination of public infrastructure, public services and public resources, has been undermined.

The fact that the government has made citizens a customer of the government does not contribute to the legitimacy of the government. The image that citizens are merely calculating and, at the expense of others, pursue their own interests is a cynical image of humanity that has been circulating in policy circles for far too long. People are cooperative by nature, otherwise we won't survive, and generally tend to cooperate. We form groups and organizations around common themes. That can be sports, games, but also social tasks. There is a great self-resolving capacity in society that we must stimulate. If we take social initiative seriously, it requires changes to government instruments and policy processes. You will have to use different economic models so that other form of value can be valued and the extraction of value is limited. It's a systemic change. It makes it possible to tackle complex and multidisciplinary tasks in new configurations. Configurations to which various organizations can contribute: governments, companies, social organizations and all intermediate forms thereof.

You need a new approach for this form of participation in spatial planning. Less advocacy and stakeholder management and more like a collaborative design process. Three things are needed for that. It starts with a responsive government that recognizes that it derives its legitimacy from a social democracy. The highest priority is to strengthen rather than undermine this social democracy. Second, it is crucial to restore and safeguard the public domain in governance and economic models. Finally, we will have to use our imagination and creativity to view issues from a different framework *). This is also called frame innovation. We need new points of view to find solutions that we do not think possible from the old framework. 

In the natural gas-free neighborhoods program, you can see, for example, how energy transition is combined with social issues in some neighborhoods. By strengthening ownership in the neighborhood, new relationships are created that lead to new vitality, involvement and social opportunities. By not using energy transition as a frame, but using the social cohesion in a neighborhood, you will arrive at other solutions. We need them.
==============================end of translation======
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The Musk Manifesto

What use would buying a new car have during lockdown or even after the pandemic you drive only once a week up & down to work? I do get very annoyed that when I watch TV the films are constantly interrupted by commercials. For things i do not want to buy, even if we had money. The car industry, like the German auto makers (800.000 employees !!) must be desparate. And beyond the pandemic and lockdowns there is a total breakthrough in technology going on. Elon Musk with his Tesla cars is breaking through and …. he keeps several steps ahead of the other car makers in the world. Others can not even imagine what he does already have made working. In fact he is doing again and again things that “everybody knows are impossible”. And he has stated that his motivation is to work in the long term & general interest of society.

Yes the other car makers now have Ecars too, but do they have : countrywide loading stations, selfdrive software gaining ground, so your car can be send away to work as a taxi while you are at the office, can cars be turned into a swarm of rolling power transport batteries to go from overproducing roofs to locations where solar does not produce enough electricity (and thus stabilize the grid in a networked decentral way (@RedGrid_io, together with Tesla neighborhood batteries & rooftop solar pannels). See the bigger picture?

As you can see from this scenario which Musk HAS pronounced in parts, he has DONE more than two things extremely well: concentrate on Batteries (and build cars on top of them) AND build mass production and delivery chains together with suppliers. Sure, he made mistakes too but he has organised a group of very clever craftspeople and software engineers around him. Selected for their abilities and cooperation skills to solve problems together. And he has talent scouts all over the globe to identify the best joung smarts all over the world:-) . I ran into these twice. So Elon is a connectivist for life on earth too.

What is not obvious to many people is that there is a recurring PATTERN in most of Musks ventures : CIRCULARITY : batteries are filled and unloaded, Ecars return to home, rockets can be re-used, etc, etc.

That is why prof. Alexandre Lemille, the author of the following ‘manifesto’ to improve circular progress and re-vitalise economies and societies after Covid, and I have decided to dedicate the circular and regenerating ideas in the manifesto below to Elon Musk. And name it after him as an example for other young engineers who want to create value in networked teams.

In a recent blog I did introduce the Future Scenario combination of Perez phases and the next jumps as presented by Lemille,

With this approach of The Musk Manifesto, both Perez’ and Lemille’s frameworks invite us to move and stay ahead in the long-term thinking. They are dashboards helping us look beyond the current thinking, already preparing our next necessary steps. Here the idea is not to say what is currently discussed is not needed. Rather, it helps those already in the field of advanced circularity to go beyond into more regenerative life model approaches. The Circular Humansphere explained below by Lemille is one of these approaches.

So, here I help to present the Musk Manifesto:

jaap van till, TheConnectivist

============= The Musk Manifesto =================

The Circular Humansphere (2020 Update)

Alexandre Lemille

Alexandre Lemille Oct 20, 2020·26 min read

The Humansphere helps Perceive Abundance in the Anthropocene Era

The Circular Humansphere (2020 update) by Alexandre Lemille

Designing a new model is primarily about identifying where pockets of abundances are.

Below are the latest thoughts (last 2019 review here) on a model called “The Circular Humansphere”. This proposed approach is opened to debate.

The raison d’être of ‘The Circular Humansphere’ is primarily to question our roles and functions in a future regenerative or circular economic model, to understand what it takes to lead within a model that must protect everyone and everything, such as any economy should. But it also goes a long way into debating our belief system as well as what it would take to change it so to avoid the creation of secondary negative externalities that would neutralize all efforts.

This series of questions and suggestions is based on the recognition that a regenerative economic model will be implemented and, is in addition to the already existing concept.

On the left-hand side of each figure you will find the biosphere (or biological sphere), what we call ‘Nature’ in our discourses and views. Since we are entirely part of the bios, the term ‘ecosystem’ will be used here because it encompasses everything and everyone. Within the ecosystem, we are biological nutriments that are part of the complete symbiosis, like all other elements on our planet.

On the right side you will find the technosphere (or technical sphere), where most of our resources come from. We transform them into products for our daily uses, these are our technical nutriments: metals, non-metals.

These notions of biological and technical nutrients come from the concept of Cradle-to-Cradle, first coined by Professor Walter R. Stahel. Here, everything in our economy is of biological or technical origin and flows there endlessly.

In the below text, we will build on these concepts of biomimicry, performance economy, regenerative design, Cradle-to-Cradle, permaculture and many more integrated into the circular economy and asking ourselves few — difficult — questions only from a human point of view, as if the regenerative or circular economy is already implemented.

The main objective would be to understand why and how one could perceive new forms of abundance, recognize them and co-design new ways of living by integrating them into any future conception.

What if a populated world could be good news?

Obviously, this question is meant to elicit certain reactions, most probably more negative than positive. But what if we take the liberty of asking this question given that we are in a densely populated world today according to experts, and for many decades to come?

This is not about getting into the debate about whether there are too many or not. The point here is to recognize that our world has entered the Anthropocene era (awaiting official scientific confirmation), that is, climatic change is due to humans, but not necessarily because there are too many of us. The fact that we have bypassed many environmental boundaries and social foundations is mainly due to our consumption patterns and our belief system, hence our necessary drastic change in behavior from now on and in the centuries to come.

So what can we do about it? How can we think this is good news? How could we look at a populated world with a positive outlook?

Figure 1: Redesigning a new model begins with understanding where abundance lies.

Answers could possibly be found in the axis from which abundance comes today. In the Anthropocene, -where both the biosphere and the technosphere are under immense pressures — abundance comes from humans themselves. And this abundance could well be very positive if they decide to redefine their relationships with the ecosystem they belong to.

Our beliefs have been centered on the endless development of individualistic interests without an appropriate cap on when to say stop and rethink, or on a period of transition that preserves us from the unsafe and unjust space in which we live currently. This led us to bypass 9 of the 12 environmental limits, moving us away from the very stable era of the Holocene with the destruction of the biosphere. Besides the physical limits, we have also bypassed countless social limits of a poorly designed unequitable economic model where competition and greed are at its heart.

The resulting outcome here is not so much how many we are, but rather how much damage — the so-called environmental & social footprints — this most ‘developed of us’ model has unleashed due to patterns of lives that take us away from a reality:

“we can all live on a finite planet with prosperous societies if we so wish.”

So what about looking back at humans and seeing the answers to the questions asked?

Previously, our acceptance in the sources of abundance came from the subsoil of Earth’s crust, Her waters and Her air: they were then considered infinite resources. This craze for this abundance has generated an unimaginable excess in the wastage of everything spawning the devaluation of everyone’s values. So much so that trust in our so-called today’s linear economy — in opposition to circular — has disappeared.

Needless to say, these planetary abundances are long gone. We have no other choice but to find alternative approaches based on the same past questions: how to access resources immediately available – but this time – constantly renewed?

These are energies and distributed energies from the biosphere, where we minimize resources of fossil origin while maximizing those which are abundant from a dynamic and numerous source: human energies (to circulate), human resources (to rediscover), human knowledge (to rethink) and human empathy (to prevent). It will mainly be about reconnecting many humans to the ecosystem where since new forms of thought would emerge new sources of abundance based on advanced knowledge and deep empathy.

The human sphere is based on the “axis of abundance”, an approach which aims to rethink the way of conceiving the centuries to come — as too often we see projections stop at 2100(!) — by including the preservation of human values, knowledge, energies, resources and empathy from within. Why?

“Because they are infinitely available as they are the only ones constantly renewed together with those of the biological cycles!”

From this standpoint many discoveries could take place.

Why ‘discoveries’ and not innovations? Discoveries are to innovations what unused resources are to waste. Today innovations are often linked to solutions based on an endless access to fossil fuels, with a view to maximizing profit, most often with a huge negative impact on our environmental and/or social dimensions. The belief in technologies as our sole solutions to challenges is very high here. However, this is of course not always the case. ‘Discoveries’ is a much more neutral and positive term to qualify for the benefit of findings that move humanity forward to a safe and just space. In addition, the discoveries are there to surprise us positively, such as experienced to date with, for instance, our many ‘Aha’ moments in biomimicry. They are based on various widely distributed energies of human and biosphere origins, always renewed, evolving in a world of constraints where fossil fuels will become our last resort since no longer in abundance.

Who are we really? What are we here for?

In a post-financial crisis world, in a post-environmental crisis world, in a post-pandemic crisis world, in a post-societal crisis world, recent events have just sounded the alarm bells of what scientists and experts have been saying for decades: we are at a turning point. This turning point is not necessarily all doom and gloom, but it does mean that we will be in a phase of transition for years to come (often chaotic) before the system stabilizes on new ground. But these new foundations will have to be more than simple economic bases.

It is during such a time — when energy systems, business models and societal beliefs are changing — that we need to ask ourselves the right questions before designing a new model, especially this time around!


“Mainly because we won’t get a second chance.”

And whatever model is adopted, it must be a model where everyone can have a chance to flourish in life without pressure or power struggles of any kind. Most likely, such a model will not be unique, it will be locally designed according to local customs and beliefs.

In any case — and to avoid the mistakes of the past — our next model(s) should most likely use an ecosystem perspective, a totally symbiotic outlook far from the current three dimensions too often referred to the social, the environmental and the economic silo-ed dimensions. Rather, the answer will lie somewhere in the rooting of these three inseparable dimensions with the aim of preserving living systems forever.

This is a crucial moment as this upcoming model will have to bring us back within the carrying capacity of the planet while ensuring a decent way of life for all humans. That is, increasing the resilience of human systems as a piece of the puzzle of a much larger all-other-species’ one.

“A pause before moving on to a next model is therefore deemed necessary… don’t you think?”

Figure 2: Change our behavior by imagining our future functions within the biosphere and our future roles with the technosphere in an empathetic model that takes care of all.

Thus, who are we, really? And, what are we here for?

How could we regenerate the living system while thriving? What would such a world look like? What do we need to make the change?

What if we could adapt deeply by reconsidering human functions in relation to living ecosystems? What if these functions could only aim to regrow the biosphere, as an integral part of it, while preserving conditions favorable to life?

What if we could reassess everyone and everything by reconsidering human roles in a new nested model that takes into accounts the limitation of quantitative stocks, their level of quality, their ability to preserve intangible values and how best to access them so that communities can benefit from them in a distributive and open-sourced way? What would the world look like if we regulated ourselves at the rate at which regenerative cycles work while being an integral part of their regeneration? All of these elements combined would increase the capabilities and choices of any local communities known to be the best at preserving the commons.

These new human functions in relation to our ecosystem and these new roles within a human community of diverse communities could be designed with compassion and empathy at their heart of a deeply caring strategy — that is, taking care of all beings and all resources — where human organizations have the preservation of living systems as part of their value proposition.

Put simply, our companies will be one element of a chain of elements working towards preserving LIFE.

That is who we should be, at least for our own children and their own descendants, don’t you think?

How do we move to a Safe & Just Space?

How do we get there? We will have to understand our path to reach such a space: how far are we to that space according to the distance-to method to “out there”: a just and safe world.

As always, what gets measured gets better, that is, improved. This will involve implementing universal measures at three levels, the macro- (the planetary system and the unique community of all beings), the meso- (large geographical bioregions and communities of interacting communities) and the micro-levels (our public and private organizations, cooperatives, foundations, governments, for-benefit companies and local associations), so we understand whether we are on par or not.

Maybe our next Universal Human Goals (UHGs)?

On the “safe” side — or how to live within the limits of the environment — it is a question of retroceding (i.e. we start from the end result, working backwards to find out what is needed today so we maximize our chances of success tomorrow) on how far we are from what we see as a regenerative or circular life system.

On the “just” side, it would be a question of knowing how far we are in relation to what we consider to be prosperous societies according to the depth of their adaptation to their own biosphere and the benefits generated from their economic model(s).

It would signify understanding what it really means to advance humanity under hostile conditions — when we failed under friendly conditions.

Figure 3: Our macro-level goals should be based on the evolution of messages received from our biosphere as well as the means by which humanity would thrive under hostile conditions.

The two spaces, the safe and the just, complement each other at all times, since the safety of our world cannot be guaranteed in an unjust model, and vice-versa. There are no more borders between these two spaces.

How to avoid a Consumption Rebound?

There is one final ‘distance-to’ measure to be calculated to ensure that we reach the safe and just space for humanity: the distance-to full system consciousness, and this is the most complex of all measurements.


Because it is up to each one of us to feel we need to be successful as a “1-Earth:1-Living Beings” framework to paraphrase John Elkington here. It is about our sense of belonging here, anchored here with the common goal of preserving the “Equation of Life” on Earth. It is about changing our belief system into a scheme that recognizes long-term climate change, resources mismanagement, societal injustice, pollution, poverty, greed and many others as all our negative externalities.

All these negative externalities can only be designed out if we all move towards that very goal, applying the same thinking as we do to design out waste and pollution!

Why is it so important? What does it have to do with a potential consumption rebound?

Well, to this day, there is no real answer to such rebound which has happened every time we have moved on to a new economic revolution. There are of three types of rebounds: direct, indirect and macro-economic ones. To this date there is no clear answer on how to avoid them. Just that this time around, there won’t have any plan B if we do not manage to avoid them in a concerted plan prior to jump into a new concept!

As Zink & Geyer (Yale University, 2017) demonstrated, a new economic model always goes hand in hand with more consumption, including the circular economy. Why? Because, since you no longer have to buy a car to get you from point A to point B, but are spending a fraction of your previous car acquisition budget in lighter mobility services, you could well spend the remaining budget flying for the weekend in a beautiful countryside, a direct rebound. In addition, maintenance, repair, refurbishment and remanufacturing are likely to increase overall production, as they indirectly reduce the cost of the second life products. And even in the case of dematerialization like the shift from hardware video consoles to on-demand games, the pressure on data transfer and storage will go exponentially and globally. These simple examples show the ripple effects of the increase in our consumption habits, therefore a larger footprint in the end often due to too much efficiency.

How do you prevent yourself from buying additional products in the store when you are alone in front of this shelf on the grounds that you may be over-consuming?

Just nobody and nothing could stop you.

You will — of course — please yourself as much as you can!

This is up to us to decide which common future we want. As always, the models were designed with the belief that human roles and functions were about concentrating the powers of some humans on others in a race for more growth, following the principles of “The Art of War” taught by well-established business schools and universities. These beliefs have led us to distance ourselves from the connection with living systems, to destroy our biosphere and to colonize its inhabitants for hegemonic reasons. In addition, the timescale used for such decisions has kept shrinking, forcing us to make decisions under pressure without even thinking about the future impact they would have.

The good news is that a rebound in consumption can be avoided, but the tricky part is that it is about changing our mentalities…

Figure 4: Inventing a decision-making process based on renewed spatial relationships and time scale is our best barrier against a greed-centered model.

Our sole priority is to preserve life on Earth, nothing else.

To have a chance of success, we would need a complete change in our own ‘operating system’ and our in many false beliefs. Respecting the rules of ecosystems implies two major changes of perspective: expanding our spatial relationships and lengthening the time scales on which we rely.

Today, we aim to maximize the experiences of our life on Earth, that is, achieve as much as possible between birth and death. To preserve future generations, one would prefer to see oneself as part of an endless chain of beings maximizing their time on Earth under increasing conditions conducive to life for them. Clearly this is a huge shift in perspective, as it is not just about adding empathy to a set of new business models when one care about understanding the other’s conditions. No, this is a deeper empathy. Long-distance thinking on preserving life is deciding as if future generations would agree. This thinking implies that we are part of an endless chain of complex relationships and that it is our duty to preserve this chain in passing.

A fairly significant change in mindset…

Long-distance thinking, thus leading into a ‘WEcosphere framework’ (see Figure 9) will help us in two ways: to orient current public and private organizations towards the preservation of life on Earth as integral part of their core values, like as well as move us away from greed, thus avoiding any rebound in consumption. In fact, greed disappears when the future benefits of a decision have their effects beyond the life of the person or group of people who made them. It is only by designing greed out of our models of life that we will succeed in preserving the lives of future generations.

This is called decentration, or the act of decentering oneself from decisions made as they are decided solely for the benefits of others or for the betterment of something, and over the very long-term (long-distance thinking). Getting leaders and students to familiarize themselves with decentration may be the best remedy against any kind of rebound in consumption, keeping us in a safe space for all, on decent terms for all to truly prosper.

How to design for Abundance?

Designing for abundance entails looking at our planet through symbiotic lenses: where are the cycles that are constantly renewing themselves and how might we align with their rate of regeneration in order to adapt to its rules safely and in a fair way to all, non-humans and humans?

In a nutshell, designing for life (DfL) is about “re-evaluating abundance while avoiding scarcity”.

Figure 5: A fully distributed model that designs power concentrations out, leads to abundance

Preserving living systems — and therefore business continuity among others — consists in identifying places where resources are scarce, in applying innumerable direct and indirect strategies to avoid as much as possible losing these stocks by slowing down the flow process until matching their rate of regeneration. Here the Axis of Abundance (Figure 1) could play a key role. Throughout our last economic revolutions, our world has gone from a low population/abundant resources ratio to a populated world/scarce resources ratio. In addition, resources may still be abundant, but our biosphere can no longer cope if we extract them further. In such a scenario, pockets of abundances will have to be found elsewhere.

The approach would be first examining the regenerative nature of the biosphere, then the Axis of Human Abundance, and then, only then, to tap into the stock of technical resources as a last resort. In simpler terms: how can our local ecosystem provide us without upsetting its equilibrium, how to apply as much human energies, human resources, human knowledge and human empathy as possible to avoid choosing the path of scarcity? What is new here is that humans are part of the ‘Circular Thinking’, a way of designing out all negative externalities (here our social, environmental, economic shortages) by applying strategies to eradicate them in concert with all types of actors of the same bioregion (ecological geography accounting for ecosystems and people interactions).

This would mean mainly two thoughts: reassessing new sources of abundance by aligning ourselves with the speed at which cycles regenerate, and, preventing stocks of non-renewable resources from becoming scarce by considering tapping into those resources as a last resort. This reflection has already started thanks to the countless alternatives, which are regenerative, we see appearing here and there replacing plastics, leather, porcelain, or other materials, moving us away from extractive strategies only. Embedding humans into the equation leads also to proposing approaches for replacing fossil fuels with human energies. The more open source our products of tomorrow will be, the more their components can be accessed, updated and upgraded locally. The more they create employment opportunities locally, the further we will move away from extractive options. And in addition to creating local jobs, open source devices will become the urban mining sources of tomorrow, securing communities’ resource stocks while requiring standard skills. Imagine that beyond Fairphone, a modular and socially responsible open source smartphone, most electronic devices entering your bioregion give you access to their components?

What kind of change in job creation does this represent?

This reflection will also lead to more and more low-tech type discoveries where distributed renewable energies (solar, wind, kinetics, etc.) will be integrated into the design of the object so that humans operate it, a bicycle for example. Low-tech is not opposed to high-tech, and the two will complement each other. Low-tech simply means designing with the features you really need and with the least amount of energy. And it gets the job done! Just look at this low-tech energy storage tower by Energy Vault! The lower the technology, the more it will allow communities to increase their capabilities and choices, generally improving their livelihoods. Increasing capabilities and choices of communities via a model designed for all is explained here (Making the Circular Economy work for Human Development, Elsevier Academic Journal, Desmond, Lemille, Schröder, 2020).

Living on a ‘1-Earth:1-Living Beings’ setting consists of deploying discoveries on our inner side, that is, within the limits of Earth’s boundaries and beyond.

An anchored spiraling vision bestowing abundance on others.

Mimicking the regenerative nature of our ecosystems — including all its humans — allows us to design out all cycles that lead to shortages of all kinds: from obvious cycles of pollution and waste to those of poverty or social inequality. Designing for abundance leads to preferring the biological world to the technical world, that is the world that regenerates itself, accounting for all the values of its beings. When you design for abundance you avoid all the paths in which the concentration of power of all kinds lies (referring to the principle of the ‘least intensive ratio’ — see Figure 10). This approach allows us to value everyone and everything from a full symbiotic perspective of our planetary system. Here you have the choice of viewing people as users or consumers of services only as part of a financial value silo-ed approach, or of recognizing more someone beyond being a user or consumer by perceiving her or him under a constellation of diverse values.

Designing for abundance and learning how to decenter ourselves from the impact of decisions can design out any intentions to concentrate power and monetary wealth in the same hands, in a new paradigm where financially-related values are only one among many other values as part of a constellation of values that communities would choose to recognize and to use.

Here human ventures become our link with the preservation of life.

They become ‘WEaders’ — leaders within a ‘WEcosphere’ perspective — leading us to a more decent world for all beings. WEcosphere being here the space on Earth where all species benefits from one another as part of a fully symbiotically-designed framework, humans included.

How to adapt deeply to the Biosphere?

Becoming one with Mother Earth creating this ‘1-Earth:1-Living Beings’ relationship is our common goal here. In a populated world, humans should be part of the design that preserves life on Earth (the ‘We are Nature’ in Figure 1) and as alternatives to wrongly allocated energies (the ‘We are Energy’ in Figure 1). This could lead to a fully relocated model of life where countless communities of humans are regenerating the commons (also called bioregions) on which they depend for survival.

To succeed, we must encourage abundance and avoid scarcity

To succeed, we must encourage abundance (reassess what regenerates such as ecological cycles, human energies or knowledge) and avoid scarcity (tax endangered resources to better preserve them). Here, using an ‘ecosystem life model’ as the next framework would mean, for example, rethinking our belief system so that trees, rivers and seas have the highest values while a tree chopped in cubes would lose most of its ecological value since no longer playing its role of living systems regulator. The values of living ecosystems must not be expressed in monetary terms but in sacred terms. That is to say that the forests and the rivers are untouchable, given they are outside of the rules of the market, yet within the rules of a bioregion measured thanks to a constellation of diverse values. New Zealand started by granting Maori’s sacred river same legal rights as a human being. Thus, doable…

Let’s make it happen elsewhere!

It also means that these tree cubes are more valued when accessed or shared with many of us, when maintained by local human communities, as low-tech strategies would allow them to repair them, so that they stay as long as possible within these bioregions. Ensuring that human energies translate into jobs would guarantee that some value is preserved in these wooden cubes, thus making more economic sense the more they circulate longer in our bioregions.

In addition, consider the value of our direct or indirect intangible outcomes (the air we breathe, the knowledge we have acquired, our increasing stock of skills) rather than the tangible outputs (number of products manufactured or built) would help us understand how far we have come from the distance-to strategies summarized in Figure 9 below. The decision-making processes of our leaders should be based on creating abundance while avoiding scarcities.

Figure 6: in the Anthropocene era, humans have become abundant biological nutrients and endless sources of decentralized energies to the benefits of our biosphere.

Relations within the biological sphere, the human sphere success should be based on human adaptation and deep-adaptation strategies.

Adaptation is to mimic the biosphere. Adaptation is about activities that we could implement in a decolonial empathetic manner to grow the biosphere through discoveries that have a direct or indirect positive influence on our Earth system. They could be, but not limited to, permacultural and vegan-based strategies or, for example, biomimicry-based thinking to help us improve our relationships with other living beings.

Deep-adaptation is to be part of the biosphere. It goes more into changing our belief system where humans are at the service of our Earth system — and not the current way around — like any other species since ‘we are Nature’. Here we are replacing the biological functions destroyed by our excess energies. For (symbolic) example, since bee colonies have disappeared from some regions of China, workers hand-pollinate the flowers of fruit trees, replacing the missing environmental function of the bees. While waiting or ensuring the return of bee colonies, humans deploy their energies to be part of the biosphere. Finally — and beyond most beliefs — in a populated world, considering humans for what they are, biological nutrients, — that is, the word ‘human’ comes from ‘humus’ — that would feed the Earth. The more we are the better for our biological cycles, so a populated world can be good news. But our current beliefs do not allow for immediate changes. Humusation is prime example where we look to our original environmental function — as humus nurtures soils — to spawn future lives.

What more beautiful symbol of humility?

How to reset our Belief System?

Obviously, changing our beliefs is the most difficult of all. Switching to new business models to conserve resources is much easier than creating a world where all living things will live in harmony in a space that is safe and just for all of us. Yet, it is possible!

Some human communities have been successful, why not all of us together?

We must have the courage of questioning our beliefs. It is about “opening the closed door of beliefs” as Monica Gagliano, Professor at the University of Western Australia, said during her opening speech by explaining that plants could have a form of conscience at the 2018 National Bioneers Conference.

Humans are the complex parts of our system. They are unpredictable, so it is uneasy to insert them into future projections of any kind. Yet, they are the key to our survival on this unique planet. All humans are at risks, not just the poorest of the poor, ‘we-all-depend-on-all-of-us’ in symbiotic ways. It is not about being 7 or 10 billion people. It is mostly setting-up the correct ratio from the perspective of human-nature dynamics while moving from our greed-centered model to a decentered empathetic one.

Figure 7: Decentering will help us reposition ourselves in the Earth system and become human again.

Here, it is a question of returning to our two previous questions: “who are we?” and “what are we here for?” Success in a life may not be about accumulating power and money — at all? To be successful in life, it may be about something else: possibly and solely about making sure our time on Earth should be devoted to preserving the living conditions for my children, their children and their own children. This is how far I can go when I am a leader in a ‘WEcosphere’, a ‘WEader’ showing us the path to safety and to justice. When the decisions you make during your life are only aimed at preserving life, their impact will be over the very long-term, that is, beyond a lifetime. Over such a scale greed disappears.

Taking human complexity into account will prevent us from making future mistakes.

Yet, changing our belief system is the most critical of all dimensions.

We should work at it as one-human-community within Planet A, doubling our efforts as we did not do so when ecosystem conditions were stable. And we have no choice but to succeed in this mission at a time when all conditions are unfavorable.

And no utopia here.

It is in difficult times that humans ‘re-wake up’.

Adapting to biospheric conditions is not just a matter of decarbonizing the atmosphere so that we can continue to consume and recycle. Adapting to Earth system is about believing in life by no longer fearing death. It is a deep collaborative reflection as a single community so that we change our soul for the benefit of all beings alike.

Life is sacred.

Rivers and forests are sacred.

Billions of human lives are sacred.

The economy is not.

If we make what is sacred and what is not interact, we could define the rules to align with the regeneration of this life-preserving biosphere.

Why do we need an Ecosphere Life Model?

As seen previously, accounting for everyone and everything in a new approach to life on Earth should not only be recognized but open to debate and co-creation at global level but above all locally. The design of our next foundations should encompass all elements of the planet — even the most complex ones — which should not be forgotten or which should participate in the advancement of humanity as one species among others in an orderly complex structure, the web of life.

Humans are living beings with values, beliefs and a conscious like all other beings on this planet.

Our only goal during our time on Earth should ideally be to aim to preserve conditions conducive to life in a decolonial and deeply empathetic manner. We are the vital elements to tackling challenges one by one and providing an appropriate response, in a collaborative way, as not a single government, not a single company, not a single community is able to solve these challenges given their sizes and intensity.

Such a symbiotic framework where all the nutrients taken into account, from the biosphere, the humansphere or the technosphere, are sources of new discoveries. Yet, this proposition like all others will not succeed without a new value-based frame, far from the current silo-ed thinking. A framework that should recognize all values with full respect for every culture, every community, every belief, as part of a global community that recognizes that we need all of us to be successful in this fight for a deep adaptation to the Earth system. Within this new belief system, we will have to rethink our functions in relation to ecosystem services and our roles within an immaterial economy of being superseding a material economy of having.

Spatial relationships and timescale will develop in the distance from now until we reach a space where social justice and environmental safety are achieved. On top, our next generation of humble-enough-leaders would decenter decisions they make accelerating the regeneration of the biosphere, the protection of the humansphere and the restoration of the technosphere.

Decision-makers that succeed in keeping us away from all kinds of rebounds will be designated as our leaders then, and only then.

Figure 8: Setting our new guidelines at the right level, that is at the ecosystem one, is our best option for understanding the system we depend on.

Designing a framework at the ecosystem level seems to be the right level of design to consider everyone and everything. Adopting an ‘ecosphere life model’ as our next way of living on planet Earth will help us think beyond our current belief system where the complexities could be unlocked in a deep collaborative approach ensuring everyone wins, starting with living systems, that is, us too. Given our current projections for disruptive climatic conditions, loss of biodiversity, and a socially unjust economic model, turning the tables by looking at a glass half-full is our most disruptive strategy. It is only at that level that we can find with advantageous solutions.

With this symbiotic approach in mind, some of the principles related to the Humansphere could be suggested such as:

The Principle (1) invites us to “Focus on Vital Needs of Beings”, by which we recognize that we live in a world where the needs of all species can be met, including humans;

Principle ‚(2) suggests to “Design Out All Externalities”, where new types of human organizations should seek to implement discoveries allowing abundance while avoiding scarcities;

Principle (3)ƒ explains that when given a choice, one must “Choose the Least Intensive Ratio”, because the path towards the least concentration of something (energies, power, choices, beliefs, money, etc.) or of someone should be preferred, as leading to more distributive strategies;

Finally, the Principle (4)„ recognizes that a “Change in Timescale & Space” would help design greed out of our systems thanks to long-distance decision-making processes;

Taking this helicopter view of an ecosystem where all living beings interact from a model — resetting our past beliefs in an open-minded way — is our best chance to see our children’s children live a more decent life than our children today will.

A regenerative world populated by humans is up to us to make good news. And it is not just a matter of perspective but willingness.

When and How do we know we will get there?

To get there, we need a new breed of humble leaders who think through the eradication all negative externalities because they understand the multilayered challenges we face, and who make decisions that are deeply empathetic for others. Who I call ‘WEaders’, those leaders who evolve in a ‘WEcosphere’ perspective, that is, us among many others. We need a lot of them, starting with those who have the expertise in preserving life against all odds, that is, ancestral indigenous communities to start with. These WEaders need to guide us away from the current paradigm.

To succeed in finding their way through our upcoming challenges, these new leaders would measure their progress against distance-to strategies as described in Figure 9. These strategies are result-based. They will help to think about how to get there with outcome-based indicators and outcome-based values.

Altogether they would be playing the role of a human compass for any communities or any organizations willing to preserve future generations.

Figure 9: WEadership is about understanding the path that will take us all there by making wise but painful decisions today to preserve the day after.

In this paradigm, any discovery will benefit life, any public or private organization will have in its value proposition the ‘preservation of living systems’, and a compass on when and how to get there while thriving in a new value setting. Within it, financial indicators will be taken into account with a few other indicators completing the picture all the perceived values that we will generate.

It is now up to you to define what these indicators are in order to get us there.

Becoming Regenerative Beings, our Common Goal?

All the elements circulate within our planet.

They are mostly in the wrong place and not rated at their right level, based on a belief system that needs a reset.

We can successfully rebuild the foundations of an ‘ecosystem life model’ that works for all of us, including humans. It is a matter of joint willingness.

Written in any State Constitution, or in any raison d’être of an organization, protecting of the ‘Equation of Life’ becomes your unique common vision. Your strategy becomes very resilient when you apply your understanding of abundance while setting rules to avoid scarcities at all costs. This ‘circular thinking’ — where all kinds of negative externalities, from the environmental, the societal or the economical dimensions disappear — will drive your communities towards the constant improvement of a benevolent approach to everyone and everything. The measurement of human advances will be based on your degree of adaptation within the biological sphere and, on how much you care about everyone and everything. If aligned, these two measures stand a chance to trigger the wellbeing of all for all. Human organizations will be taken into account for the outcome from these three measures: how deeply adapted we are, how deeply we have applied the care and, how each one thrives thanks to these two pre-conditions.

With the above in mind, the Circular Humansphere (as depicted in Figure 10) aims to increase our chances of a future notion of success based on avoiding any form of rebound.

Learning the best ways to make long-distance decisions will help us create the necessary buffer as we see greed disappearing in the decades to come.

Figure 10: The Circular Humansphere (2020), a comprehensive perspective of our symbiotic planet where all the elements interact with each other and a thought proposal for better tomorrows

This is what The Humansphere aims at: include these perspectives into our debates.

======== end of the Musk Manifesto ===============

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Trees form Underground Connected Societies: Wood Wide Web

Community of ‘Wood Wide Web’ with underground links

As described before on these blogpages *) trees form networks with the help of fungi wires between their roots, which connect them with other roots for transport to share of food and information. Dr. Suzanne Simard, who discovered this together with scientists in other countries, like Germany, has proceeded further into this magic kingdom. Below is part of an interview with her in New Scientist, dated April 28, 2021 and a description of her book which will be published the coming weeks. I have ordered it and it did reach me on July 13, so I can report on it here soon I hope.

I am very curious to find in her book:

  • if trees communicate only with their own kind / tribe/ offspring or also with other breeds of trees and other living things in the forrest.
  • How the language of trees is constructed: signals, syntax, semiosis ?
  • Is there anything like ‘collective intelligence’ using “Aperture Synthesis” at work in woods??
  • And if we can learn from that to communicate with other lifeforms in Nature and maybe employ it to encode and route photon streams on Optic Fiber cables. ?????

jaap van till, TheConnectivist

=================== part of New Scientist Article======

Suzanne Simard interview: How I uncovered the hidden language of trees

First she discovered the wood wide web. Now Suzanne Simard has found that underground connections in a forest are like a brain that allows trees to form societies – and look out for their kin LIFE 28 April 2021

By Rowan Hooper

New Scientist Default Image
An old-growth conifer forest in British Columbia, CanadaR. Tyler Gross/Getty Images/Cavan Images

Suzanne Simard was raised in the Monashee mountains in British Columbia, Canada. Her research, beginning with the discovery of the wood wide web, has transformed our understanding of forests. She is now a professor of forest ecology at the University of British Columbia.

FEW scientists make much impact with their PhD thesis, but, in 1997, Suzanne Simard did just that. She had discovered that forest trees share and trade food via fungal networks that connect their roots. Her research on “the wood wide web” made the cover of Nature. What was then a challenge to orthodox ideas is today widely accepted.

But Simard and her colleagues continue to challenge our preconceptions of how plants interact. Among other things, their research shows that the wood wide web is like a brain and can communicate information throughout the entire forest, that trees recognise their offspring and nurture them and that lessons learned from past experiences can be transmitted from old trees to young ones.

Simard calls herself a “forest detective”. Her childhood was spent in the woods of British Columbia, Canada, where her family had made a living as foresters for generations. As a young woman, she joined the family profession, but soon realised that modern forestry practices were threatening the survival of the ecosystem she loved. She knew that, when logged with a lighter touch, forests can heal themselves, and she set out to discover how they are so naturally resilient. Along the way, her concern for the future of forests sparked an intense curiosity about what makes them tick. …

Continue reading…..

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========end of New Scientist ====article, rest is behind paywall======

Book announcement:

Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest (Random House) Paperback – Large Print, June 8, 2021

by Suzanne Simard (Author)

Arrived at my house NL: July 13, 2021

From the world’s leading forest ecologist who forever changed how people view trees and their connections to one another and to other living things in the forest–a moving, deeply personal journey of discovery

Suzanne Simard is a pioneer on the frontier of plant communication and intelligence; she’s been compared to Rachel Carson, hailed as a scientist who conveys complex, technical ideas in a way that is dazzling and profound. Her work has influenced filmmakers (the Tree of Souls of James Cameron’s Avatar) and her TED talks have been viewed by more than 10 million people worldwide.

Now, in her first book, Simard brings us into her world, the intimate world of the trees, in which she brilliantly illuminates the fascinating and vital truths–that trees are not simply the source of timber or pulp, but are a complicated, interdependent circle of life; that forests are social, cooperative creatures connected through underground networks by which trees communicate their vitality and vulnerabilities with communal lives not that different from our own.

Simard writes–in inspiring, illuminating, and accessible ways–how trees, living side by side for hundreds of years, have evolved, how they perceive one another, learn and adapt their behaviors, recognize neighbors, and remember the past; how they have agency about the future; elicit warnings and mount defenses, compete and cooperate with one another with sophistication, characteristics ascribed to human intelligence, traits that are the essence of civil societies–and at the center of it all, the Mother Trees: the mysterious, powerful forces that connect and sustain the others that surround them.

Simard writes of her own life, born and raised into a logging world in the rainforests of British Columbia, of her days as a child spent cataloging the trees from the forest and how she came to love and respect them–embarking on a journey of discovery, and struggle. And as she writes of her scientific quest, she writes of her own journey–of love and loss, of observation and change, of risk and reward, making us understand how deeply human scientific inquiry exists beyond data and technology, that it is about understanding who we are and our place in the world, and, in writing of her own life, we come to see the true connectedness of the Mother Tree that nurtures the forest in the profound ways that families and human societies do, and how these inseparable bonds enable all our survival.

=================== end of book review============

*) see (2018)

and (2015)

PS There is a very interesting flim made to explain what the Wood Wide Web is and does:

Can we talk to a wood, like some people say we can? Jaap van Till, TheConnectivist

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Stukje over de impact van Cloud Networks voor bedrijven

Transborder backbones

======================Interview =====================

Het potentieel van het combineren van krachten via het NDIX-netwerk

29 april 2021 00:00

Inmiddels zijn er al meer dan 140 Nederlandse en Duitse ICT-dienstaanbieders aangesloten bij het NDIX-netwerk. Deze bedrijven zijn afkomstig uit allerlei verschillende hoeken, zowel op geografisch gebied als vanuit verschillende gebieden van expertise. Ook heeft NDIX duizendenklanten die via vaste glasverbindingen aangesloten zijn. Dit maakt het NDIX-netwerk zo uniek, maar wat heeft een gewoon bedrijf daaraan? En hoe kan het netwerk ervoor zorgen dat jouw bedrijf ook stappen vooruit maakt? Wij spraken met oud-hoogleraar aan de HAN en TU Delft en huidig lid van de Raad van Commissarissen van NDIX, Jaap van Till, over dit fenomeen.

NDIX Jaap v Till

Jaap van Till (1944) heeft als geen ander kunnen zien hoe het internet populairder en groter werd, met als gevolg dat het de gehele samenleving voor altijd veranderde. Als voormalig netwerk-engineer met een ingenieurstitel bij de TU in Delft in Elektrotechniek en Informatietheorie, is hij altijd al bezig geweest met telecommunicatie, computernetwerken en de internetinfrastructuur. Sinds de oprichting van NDIX in 2001 is hij ook actief in de Raad van Commissarissen bij NDIX. ‘’De infrastructuur is enorm belangrijk. Je rijdt ook liever met een Lamborghini over asfalt dan over zandpaden. Nederland heeft een enorme voorsprong met digitale infrastructuur, vooral wanneer het gebruikmaakt van Dark Fibers, aders in de optic fiberkabel die op dit moment nog niet gebruikt worden. Hierbij werkt NDIX juist ook voor de kleinere bedrijven die weinig geld hebben en toch aangesloten kunnen worden op de Dark Fibers.’’

Met een aansluiting bij het NDIX-netwerk kan de aangesloten partij gebruikmaken van een digitale marktplaats, waar op dit moment meer dan 140 Nederlandse en Duitse ICT-dienstaanbieders deel uitmaken van het netwerk. Klanten die een NDIX-aansluiting hebben, hebben dus veel om uit te kiezen, en bij de keuze van de diensten speelt NDIX geen rol. Deze openheid zorgt voor een vrijheid die veel grote bedrijven niet kunnen bieden aan hun klanten. ‘’En dat is wat de positie van NDIX zo bijzonder maakt’’, zegt van Till met trots.

Het aansluiten van verschillende skillsets

Er zijn verschillende ideeën over hoe bepaalde factoren zich tot elkaar verhouden binnen een netwerk, waarbij er netwerkwetten zijn die deze ideeën vaststellen. ‘’Er zijn drie netwerkwetten en ik ben bezig geweest met een vierde netwerkwet.’’, vertelt van Till. De eerste wet is de Wet van Sarnoff, die stelt dat de waarde van een publicatie of uitzendnetwerk proportioneel groeit met het aantal lezers, luisteraars of televisiekijkers. Robert Metcalfe (ook de bedenker van Ethernet) heeft de tweede wet bedacht waarin hij stelt dat het netwerk nog waardevoller is met communicatie door middel van tweerichtingsverkeer, wanneer bijvoorbeeld meerdere computers op elkaar zijn aangesloten. Reed’s wet gaat over de waarde van het netwerk voor de gebruikers, omdat de gebruikers graag bij een groep willen horen. Hierbij kan gedacht worden aan groepschats op bijvoorbeeld WhatsApp.

Het internet heeft veel effect gehad op deze groepen, volgens Jaap van Till: ‘’Vroeger als je in Limburg of Brabant geboren werd, ging je naar de voetbalvereniging, naar de kerk en naar het café. Je hele leven was die clubjes en je kon niet meer uit deze bubbels komen, tenzij je naar Amsterdam vluchtte om te gaan studeren. Tegenwoordig kan dat dus wel via het internet en kan er sprake zijn multi tribe membership.’’ 

“Als je mensen met verschillende skillsets bij elkaar aansluit, dan vermenigvuldigt zich de waarde. Delen is dus vermenigvuldigen.” – Jaap van Till

De vierde wet, door Jaap van Till bedacht en dus toepasselijk door anderen de wet Van Till genoemd, stelt dat je niet alleen lid wilt zijn van een club, maar dat je ook samen iets wilt doen. Het NDIX-netwerk biedt een oplossing voor deze behoefte. ‘’Als je mensen met verschillende skillsets bij elkaar aansluit, dan vermenigvuldigt zich de waarde. Delen is dus vermenigvuldigen. Het is nog wel zo dat de meeste klanten het NDIX-netwerk voor heel simpele dingen gebruiken en binnen hun Intranet blijven. We hopen langzaam maar zeker dat ze ook combinaties met elkaar gaan maken. Je kunt bij elkaar over de schutting kijken en elkaar bij projecten betrekken. Een infrastructuur kan ook niet aangelegd worden door één bedrijf, en bij een netwerk is het mogelijk dat combinaties gemaakt worden en we het aldus samen veiliger en meer robuust maken.’’

Dhr. Van Till heeft om het nut van coöperatie en het delen van kennis uit te leggen ook de Telescoopmetafoor bedacht. ‘’Er zijn inmiddels steeds grotere telescopen om beter naar de sterren te kunnen kijken. Maar er is een betere optie, want je kan met een aantal kleine telescoopen die je op elkaar aansluit samen één grote lens maken. Je hebt dan meer invalshoeken en het werkt ook zo met organisaties. Deze verschillende organisaties hebben allemaal hun eigen skills en diverse invalshoeken en filteren informatie op een andere manier. Met al deze verschillende invalshoeken krijg je uiteindelijk een beter beeld en dus ook een beter resultaat bij projecten. Je merkt dat dit bij de wetenschap inmiddels ook vaker gebeurt, want verscheidene mensen worden bij onderzoeken in de teams gehaald.’’

Een blik op de toekomst

Dhr. Van Till heeft ook nog enkele ideeën over de toekomst als het op de digitale infrastructuur aankomt. ‘’In Den Haag bij de kabinetsformatie beginnen ze hier ook over na te denken. Sinds de coronacrisis blijkt gewoon: ons digitale wereldje is deel van de infrastructuur en hield Nederland draaiende samen met water en elektriciteit. Daar draait de hele economie en maatschappij op. Er is weinig dat niet via de digitale paden gaat. ’’Met een unieke manier van aanpak hoopt NDIX het algemene denkbeeld over netwerken en de digitale infrastructuur te veranderen en helpt het ervoor zorgen dat de digitale infrastructuur kernprioriteit van het volgende kabinet wordt. Het NDIX-netwerk is uniek en biedt veel voordelen, maar het potentieel is bijna onbeperkt.

=======================Einde Interview ===============================

jaap van Till, TheConnectivist

PS. Formal definition and explanation of Van Till’s Law:

and in the book described in this blog :

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Get the 3rd Network Working in your organization = The Value Creation Structure

3rd structure: for Value Creation; Power: Reputation with things that are done and that work

((Update june 23 2021)) : In my humble opinion the Central Theme of the governing document (RegeerAccoord) of our next Government in The Netherlands should be “Waarde Creatie” by connections between a DIVERSITY of civilians, scientists, teams, companies, municipalities, institutes that cooperate and can show Synergy. Instead of Value Extraction (alles door marktwerking) that dominated in former cabinets.

(( Update May 5 2021: Niels Pfleging is giving a online course about the value creating network:

Link to enlist in the short course: ))

The article, reblogged with permission below, made me smile. For decades I have teached about the 3rd ‘network’ in every succesful company or organization. To my students and clients when i was consultant/ network architect. It is the structure where work is DONE. Problems solved and value created in teams of exceptional skilled and able people. Each of them connect if necessary with DIVERSE others they trust and have a tested reputation that they can solve particular problems or….. know somebody else somewhere who can, etcetera. There is a set of do’s and do nots for this kind of “Networking” (social activity). I have a half day course with hands-on exercises available, now we can travel again. Especially useful for young professionals (if they HAVE a skill or ability), since it saves them a lot of time, when they want to build their own “network”. Because they often mistakenly think that shaking somebody important’s hand and giving a business card makes them a network contact.

I learned that in the field when I was a young electronics engineer in the Akzo Corporate Research labs in Arnhem, NL. I learned to be able to working-connect every expensive apparatus with every other machine if necessary. (CCITT V24, IEEE RS232C connectors, (2 wire or 4 wire current loop links for TTY and printers). In the labs and factories and later all over Europe, I did that with computer networks. And I helped start up Internet all over the world. That is where my name “theConnectivist” comes from.

Great fun. The PTT’s where really baffled 🙂 It gives pleasure to get things working and seeing the synergy driving it further. In Finland they call it that you have found the #Sampo as a source of value and natural power.

The Chemist Justus Liebig found a way to cope with complexity too in the 1850’s when there was a big quarrel what to do to improve crop yield in the agricultural fields vs. the famines: More sun? more water? fertiliser? fighting weeds? “No, declared Liebig, find out what element is the OBSTRUCTION and remove that”. Sure this will lead to another element which is scarce and obstructs. So….just repeat the Liebig approach ! This recipe is valid for any < Non-linear & Complex & Dynamic > system which is heavily interconnected (most present systems are !!)

Thanks Niels for permitting to reblog it here. At least it is less complicated than my Future Scenario but it overlaps with that and allows practical measures for politicians and CEO’s that want to boost value generation and synergy. The source for future jobs and weath 🙂

And the article below confirms my secret slogan which was often very effective : ” When active in innovations to improve things and create value, DO NOT ASK FOR PERMISSION .” Just proceed with your #P2P team until it is not possible for the first structure of #controlaholics anymore to stop you. I often asked people I helped elsewhere in the company to call my boss to give me credit for what I had done 🙂

PS. Hats off to Michiel Bauwens of the P2P Foundation: This initiative seeks to reward Managers who have boosted value creators in their organization:

jaap van till , The Connectivist

================================ reblogged from

Org Physics: The 3 faces of every company

How a triad of structures allows companies to absorb complexity

Niels Pflaeging

Niels Pflaeging Mar 6, 2017·9 min read

Since the rise of the corporation at the dawn of the industrial age, much has been said and written about leadership, power, and structure in organizations. Some in the field of organizational research believe that developing a coherent theory of leadership is an illusive, even utopian, undertaking. Most practitioners, on the other side, do not seem to care much about theory at all. Consequently, two sets of beliefs tend to be constantly repeated in our field: On one hand, the tale of heroic leaders and their followers, combined with calls for hierarchical control. On the other hand, the story of the coming end of hierarchy, and future elimination of power from organizations.

Both sides are wrong.


A new, practical theory of leadership, organizational power and structure has emerged. It is ending one of the biggest misunderstandings in organizational science: The notion that organizations can be described through a single structure, a structure that has since the glory days of the railway corporation in the middle of the 19th century been usually depicted in the shape of org charts.

While it is clear to most practitioners today that org charts, or connected boxes, cannot even remotely describe organizational complexity and reality, theory and organization development have not advanced much from the original metaphor of organizations as top-down pyramids, lines structures, silos and stand-alone functions. Just a few years back, John P. Kotter started to promote a slightly advanced notion of organizational structure: That of a “dual operating system”, of two intertwined structures that could together explain organizational life. The first structure “formal”, the other one, described by Kotter in somewhat more fuzzy and generic terms, geared towards the “social” and the interaction. From the interdependence of these structures, performance would arise. The secret would be in “building” the second of those two structures.

This is also a misunderstanding. Organizations do not have two faces, but three. All of them. And naturally. What John Kotter is missing is how actual work is happening, and what the structural laws behind work and performance are. His way of describing complex social systems as having “operating systems”, as in a lifeless machine, is also entirely inappropriate in the context of living systems. The metaphor is simply under-complex.

The new, emerging theory of organizations is this: Every organization has three kinds of power, and three forms of leadership, three structures. This is not a menu. There is no decision to make about having all three structures, or not. None of the three structures is optional, or nice to have. They are part of organizational physics — universal laws that apply to every organization, large or small, old or new, for profit or social.

Structure №1: “Formal Structure” — realm of hierarchy

The first structure and type of organizational power to turn to is the one we are most familiar with. The most widely understood concept of power in organization is that of hierarchy, which resides within Formal Structure. As a structure, it is neither networked, nor complex, but it is necessary. Its versatility is usually over-estimated, and has been so, since the industrial age.

Formal Structure is capable of producing one important thing: Compliance with the law. No less, no more. Because Formal Structure is the domain in which compliance is produced, every organization, large or small, old or young, has one.

“Formal Structure is where you nominated a CEO, and an audit committee. Where you do the bookkeeping and the external reporting. Where you set up contracts of all kinds. This is what this structure is essentially about.”

But Formal Structure is dramatically over-emphasized in most companies: We make way too much of it, even though we sense that too much use of formal power by managers, or too much emphasis on hierarchy, has serious downsides: As only one of three powers within any organization, hierarchy must not be over-emphasized, or the other two other structures will push back, or kick into a dysfunctional mode. The epic struggle between Formal Structure and the two other structures that make up Org Physics is one of the key sources of reduced organizational effectiveness, diminished complexity-robustness, and lack of innovation we find today in most companies.

“Formal Structure & hierarchy: Over-estimated and over-emphasized in most organizations. It is this excessive reliance on hierarchy that is the key source of suffering in the world of work today.”

Problem is: Most managers, or in fact most working people, are blinded to the two other structures of any organization that we are about to discuss.

Structure №2: “Informal Structure” — realm of influence

Informal Structure became more popularly known and talked about with the rise of social networks. But it has long been a well-known phenomenon in the social sciences. Informal Structure can be thought of as “clouds” of interconnected individuals, with varying numbers of links to others — placing individuals either in central or more peripheral positions in the cloud. Informal Structure is networked. It is neither good, nor bad. Informal Structure is. Think of water cooler and corridor talk, gossip, conspiracy, bullying. But also of solidarity. There is power in the informal. We call this power Influence.

“Informal Structure: Very alive and dynamic. Often taboo. Very powerful. Impossible to accurately pin down or map.”

It should be mentioned here that the two structures, and the two powers we looked at so far, are interdependent. So if a CEO mentions hat he or she intends to hire a large consulting firm for a “restructuring exercise”, this CEO is intervening in both structures: Formal and informal. Both structures will duly react: In Formal Structure, managers will immediately take action to secure their turfs. But part of the reaction is likely to happen within Informal Structure: politics, coalition-building, intrigue — these are phenomena arising from Informal Structure. They can be incredibly powerful, capable of wrecking even the most well-planned restructuring effort. Especially those executed by consultants and managers whose repertoire almost exclusively covers interventions suited for Formal Structure.

One of the few large companies that developed mastery in positively acting on and engaging with its Informal Structure is Google. If you want to learn how to carefully curate the informal, learn from them. What have you done lately to irritate your organization´s Informal Structure, constructively?

Structure №3: “Value Creation Structure” — realm of reputation

This is where Org Physics gets most interesting, and most paradigm-shattering. This is the least understood of the three structures of any organization. Ironically, it is also the one structure in which actual work can get done. It is here where the key to a much-improved understanding of org effectiveness lies. The only structure from which performance and success can arise: Neither success nor performance can be produced in Formal Structure or Informal Structure, because these are just carriers of the compliance dimension, on one hand, and of the social dimensions of the organization on the other. For actual work or value creation, all organizations possess a third structure: Value Creation Structure.

From this structure arises a particular third kind of power. We call this power Reputation. You have seen power of those with mastery, or Reputation, happening. It is when people who have a work problem which they cannot solve on their own, turn to someone else, asking: “Who knows about this?” or “Who is the expert on this particular matter who I can ask about it?” They are looking for mastery, and they can find it by hooking up to the network of power that is Value Creation Structure.

“Formal Structure and Informal Structure can be enablers of value creation, and lubricants of work. But they cannot themselves produce performance, success, competitiveness, or value.”

Value Creation Structure is inevitably networked, as is Informal Structure. All value creation flows from the inside out: From center, to periphery, to market (for more on this crucial distinction read the Organize for Complexity white paper, or book). Value Creation Structures can be mapped as networks of cells, which contain functionally integrated teams, and which are interrelated by value flow, pay, and communication relationships. In the structure, any cell either creates value for other network cells (in case of the center) or for the outside market (in case of the periphery). Cells, or teams, respond to market pull — not hierarchy. It is cells, or teams who create value in their interrelations “with-each-other-for-each-other” — not individuals. Value Creation Structure and its workings make it clear that individual performance, or individual value creation, actually does not exist in organizations.

“While Formal Structure is the domain of positions, Value Creation Structure is the domain of work roles. Of which every member of an organization has not one, but many.”

Sadly, Value Creation Structure is rarely well-understood, or consciously curated by organizations. Most of the time it is not even being worked upon systematically — with a few notable exceptions. One large company that has developed true mastery in empowering and leading through its Value Creation Structure, by turning it into its dominant structure, is Toyota. Here, you can learn a lot about intelligent curation of value creation, through empowerment of teams in the periphery — not individuals at the top.

Every organization knows three kinds of leadership. Not one

Within the three structures of organizations, thee three kinds of leadership reside. All important, but dramatically out of balance in most organizations we know:

  1. Compliance Leadership — emerging from Formal Structure.
  2. Social Leadership — emerging from Informal Structure.
  3. Value Creation Leadership — emerging from Value Creation Structure.

Following this thought, there is not “leadership”. But “leaderships”. Just like the three structures they emerge from, these types of leadership are interdependent and complex, not independent or linear. In the presence of too much hierarchy, or formal power, the two other kinds of leadership are actually quite impossible to happen: Social density and connection will deteriorate. Members of the organization will find it harder to get the work done, while they game Formal Structure and its complicated mechanics of steering and control. Organizational energy is wasted on bureaucracy (Formal Structure), and self-defense against command-and-control from the top, carried out within Informal Structure.

“It is Value Creation Structure that should come first — not Formal Structure. Only by putting Value Creation first, organizations can find balance. Achieve great leaderships. Become aligned with Org Physics as they are.”

McGregor was right all along

This is what Douglas McGregor said about structure, power and leadership, in his book The Human side of enterprise, from 1960: “It is probable that one day we shall begin to draw organization charts as a series of linked groups rather than as a hierarchical structure of individual “reporting” relationships.” He was right all along. We have, however, only just started with what McGregor predicted more than fifty years ago. A new, robust theory of organizational leadership of the kind McGregor theorized about can finally explain organizational complexity, and the complex phenomena of power and leadership within organizations.

A little over 100 years after Frederick W. Taylor´s pioneering and often misinterpreted work on management science, we may finally end the quackery around organizational structure, power and leadership. And turn to practical theory and insights that have long been available to us, but that have been widely ignored by the business community as much as by academics.

Every organization has three structures, not one. Ignore them at your own peril.


The concept of Org Physics was developed by Niels Pflaeging & Silke Hermann, and first outlined in the BetaCodex Network white paper №11. It is also featured in the forthcoming book Complexitools by Niels and Silke. You can pre-order the book on its website.

Niels Pflaeging is the author of Organize for Complexity. How to get life back into work to build the high-performance organization, a highly visualized, dense and entertaining book on leadership, change and learning in the knowledge age. Niels is an entrepreneur, influencer, management exorcist, change curator, speaker, author, and globally working advisor on leadership. He is founder of the open innovation movement BetaCodex Network, and was a director with the Beyond Budgeting Round Table for five years. For more about the topic of organizations in complexity, and about Niels´ work, visit his YouTube channel, read his papers on SlideShare. Niels tweets here. He usually will respond to your comments.Niels Pflaeging

Leadership philosopher, management exorcist, speaker, author, advisor, publisher, founder. Red42 co-founder. New book: Essays on Beta, Vol. 1



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