Most challenges that human societies face today are systemic, complex, and critical. We cannot afford to treat symptoms anymore: it is time for us to lead our own social evolution by redesigning our institutions, our cultures, and even ourselves. That is why we came up with the Evolutionary Future Challenge as a vehicle for highlighting and supporting such work.
This past summer after three months of searching for and reviewing evolutionary initiatives, we at the Institute for Evolutionary Leadership selected eight finalists and invited them to present their evolutionary initiatives from Brazil, Greece, Uganda, the United States, and Zimbabwe to an independent panel of evolutionary judges at Saybrook University in Oakland, CA on October 9th.
Our finalists presented their #evolutionarywork on redesigning childhood and adult education, culture and process of early-stage funding, fundamental functions of currency, the culture of farming, production, healthcare and our individual lifestyles, cultures, institutions, and self-reinforcing mental models affecting people with intergenerational trauma, and the relationship between Western conservation and indigenous peoples.
At this event supported by our partners Global Chamber San Francisco, #ImpactJourney, Nordic Impact Week, EdCast, uBegin, and, of course, Saybrook University, our Evolutionary Leadership Community members and special guests were able to watch the presentations, discuss them with each other, and have generative butterfly conversations in the lunch area and conference rooms. We are very grateful to the finalists, the judges, the participants, and our amazing hosting team - Michael Sillion aka Captain Future, Rafael Gaia, Tatiana Vekovishcheva, Liza-Maria Norlin, and Thomas Norlin - who made this event a success.
Based on the presentations, three finalists received full-tuition scholarships to attend our Evolutionary Leadership Fellows Program that starts next year. Two recipients were announced on the day of the presentations and the third one was announced after the judges had an opportunity to review an asynchronous remote presentation by one of the finalists.
A moment before announcing the decisions, Gil Friend, Chief Sustainability Officer of the City of Palo Alto who represented our evolutionary judges at the award ceremony said: "It's an interesting process because these are all really compelling, well presented, and exciting projects. We were trying to find the balance between the maturity of the project and also who would benefit most from this process. Some of them actually we thought were too strong to be the most appropriate recipients of this [scholarship]. (...) This was a consensus decision, not a vote"
Other judges also shared some reflections on the experience:
Dixon de Leña, CEO, Integral Partnerships: "I am very excited to have participated in this panel. It is because of the diversity of the projects, but also the idea that there are so many projects that are trying to penetrate a crumbling system. This award really gives me a lot of hope."
Alonzo Young, Teacher & Evolutionary Thinker: "I think the experience was very interesting and challenging at the same time because when you are trying to project into the future you can't see and it's hard to make a decision."
Kaj Embrén, CEO, Crowdsourcing Week Europe: "I would like to thank the judges for the discussion that [allowed us to] come to this situation with a consensus. I think we had similar feelings about how to find a way to come to a conclusion, and we did it with a consensus."
We plan to make this challenge an annual event, so stay tuned for announcements about the Evolutionary Future Challenge 2018! In the meantime, below is the list of the finalists who received full-tuition scholarships to attend the Evolutionary Leadership Fellows Program:
Scholarship Recipient: Christiana Gardikioti with “W.E”. the Meraki People, Greece
From empty dying villages to thriving regenerative communities working in and for nature: redesigning production in the 21st century by humanizing technology and empowering locals at Mount Parnonas through wellness enterprises with global appeal
Scholarship Recipient: Cleofash Alinaitwe with Art Planet Academy, Uganda
From consumers to natural and climate-smart farmers: redesigning local culture of farming by building youth-led educational networks, farming innovation labs, and support structure in Western Uganda
Scholarship Recipient: Daisy Ozim with Resilient Wellness, USA
From illness caused by intergenerational trauma to mental and physical healing: redesigning cultures, institutions, and self-reinforcing mental models affecting people with intergenerational trauma through education and holistic health services
Here are our other amazing finalists:
Evolutionary Finalist: Chelsea Robinson with Funding Questions, USA
From funding ideas to funding questions: redesigning the culture and process of early-stage funding through educational and consulting initiatives
Evolutionary Finalist: Elizabeth Carney with Zen Heart – Lifestyle Intelligence, USA
From our passive support of systems causing preventable diseases to taking charge of our own health: redesigning our food production, holistic healthcare, and our individual lifestyles through self-empowered discovery labs and peer supported global networks.
Evolutionary Finalist: Leila País de Miranda with Moleque de Ideias, Brazil
From industrial hierarchies to glocal networked societies of purpose-driven co-creators: redesigning childhood and adult education by building a global network multi-generational self-learning spaces started in Brazil
Evolutionary Finalist: Marc Tognotti with Mukungule Community Nature Conservancy, Zambia
From extreme marginalization to leadership: redesigning the relationship between Western conservation and indigenous peoples by creating a community-led nature conservancy in Zambia
Evolutionary Finalist: Ray Podder with Free Your Life, USA
From valuing things to valuing people: redesigning fundamental functions of currency by creating an open value access based on blockchain technology