By Gunther Sonnenfeld & Nigel Cameron, Managing Directors of C-PET’s New Policy Innovation Futures Platform
So the sequester grinds on, good men and women pursue the trench warfare at which Capitol Hill excels, and the future of the United States looks more precarious by the day.
Public and private policy in today’s world has boiled down to the tepid commitment of belief systems that seem untethered to foundational wisdom and anchored to party alliances that often do very little for our long-term social, political or technological advancement. In short, as corporations, legislators, lobbyists and citizen activist groups, we are seeking quick solutions to highly complex problems that are predicated on borrowed time and borrowed capital…. And doing so from falsely appointed sides of the same coin.
We are here to change that.
A new day has emerged in which fresh forces such as social media, ‘big data’ and citizen journalism provide the gateways for a greater understanding of our world and its constituent geopolitical systems. It’s no mystery why the likes of Occupy, Wikileaks and the Arab Spring have put institutions on their heels: We can no longer make assumptions about our political discourse, nor can we ignore the socio-economic contexts in which these events operate.
If we look back in history at events such as the Madoff ponzi and Lehman’s collapse, or even the Spanish Inquisition and the Monte di Pieta, it becomes abundantly clear that all of these institutional failings and examples of socio-political unrest could have been avoided. And not by virtue of strong-arming power structures (we know what happens there…), but rather, in aligning them through insight, intelligence, foresight and opportunity. By shifting the questions. By re-weighting, re-framing. By bringing new players to new tables, and old players under new rules of engagement.
Now consider this.
What if a new, mutually profitable and ethically fortified relationship could be forged between corporations, government entities, NGOs, citizen activist groups? What if these groups were in fact the new stakeholders? What if we could provide a process to get them not only talking, but creating solutions, together, that could be actioned for the near and long term? What if these comprised the markets of today and tomorrow?
We call it ‘designing civil intelligence’. Here’s what it looks like:
There are several pillars for civil intelligence design:
- The establishment, understanding and socialization of context; in other words, it is a process that asks better, deeper first questions such as what is the true nature of a problem set? Who are the agents and actors? What does the historical narrative really tell us? What scenarios might we imagine? What are the benefits if we change the questions?
- The development of relevant content through which to take action; this can come in the form of new storytelling, new advocacy groups, new policy movements, new coalitions, even new legislation, or all.
- Leveraging those actions to build a recursive, regenerative intelligence that stretches across domains, departments, educational centers and industries. Think of a giant feedback loop, replete with critical quantitative and qualitative information.
- The rapid prototyping of solutions with key stakeholders as actual products, plans and/or services such that new economic, social reform and technological models can be introduced into the fold with relative speed and seamless integration.
- Providing a viable platform to monitor changes, establish benchmarks and adapt to rapid shifts in the marketplace.
- Catapulting our conventional policy notions such as ‘lobby,’ ‘censure’ and ‘filibuster’ into redefinition or reinvention such that we transform our governance culture from perennial stasis into continuous innovation.
Join us in this effort to build a stable, democratic and prosperous future. We look forward to collaborating with you.
Your responses will be read with appreciation; and we shall respond.
Nigel & Gunther