We Are Human builds and invests in technology-enabled ideas, many of which act within complex ecosystems. To be successful, these ideas must inspire action at scale and result in systemic change.
In the summer of 2019, we were invited by our friends at Katapult World to meet some people working on an initiative focused on developing “learning ecosystems”.
Given our history, we are frequently approached for advice on emergent #LearnTech projects but they are rarely framed as “developing ecosystems”. It piqued interest.
As the conversation unfolded, we were introduced to a new term—“weaving”—that was being used to describe leadership behaviours that felt very familiar to us. Weaving involves:
- Aligning people to a shared vision and values
- Fostering collaborations and organising for collective impact
- Thinking and acting systemically
- Being a better system
We Are Human was founded upon the principle of “values-based entrepreneurship”. We believe that business can be a force for good.
Entrepreneurs naturally draw upon their core beliefs and values for vision, direction and motivation. Authentic leaders will always act in accordance with their values as they are central to our sense of identity.
We are drawn toward and collaborate with organisations who share similar values. It's easier to establish trust and gain commitment to projects when core values are aligned.
These powerful intrinsic motivators can be combined with the extrinsic indicators of market dynamics. The market can help us validate the level of support for ideas, and gain a sense of their potential sustainability and scale of impact.
Entrepreneurship can thereby “weave” solutions that model better systems, influence government and nonprofit allies, and deliver systemic change.
The Weaving Lab
“A global community of weavers and other change leaders who are weaving empowering ecosystems for universal wellbeing.”
The nascent weaving initiative has now become The Weaving Lab. It has spun-off from its roots as an Ashoka project to become a global community in which we participate, working for universal wellbeing.
Ross Hall (previously Director of Ashoka’s Education Strategy) authored much of the language of weaving “as a synthesis of interconnected and overlapping ideas” and is now a Co-Founder of The Weaving Lab.
It’s central beliefs are:
- Universal wellbeing is humanity’s deepest purpose and highest aspiration
- Everyone should be empowered (equipped and inclined) to live for universal wellbeing (to practice changemaking)
- Living for universal wellbeing means choosing and acting, from moment to moment, to achieve the optimal balance between the wholly interdependent and ever-fluctuating variables that constitute personal, socio-economic and planetary wellbeing
- Every human system should have Universal Wellbeing as its central purpose—and be thought of as an empowering learning ecosystem (a system which, through the choices and actions of those in the system, senses and improves itself continuously)
- To create and improve any empowering learning ecosystem that is directed towards Universal Wellbeing, a critical mass of people in the system need to be consciously and continuously weaving change
The Weaving Lab’s mission is to advance the profession and practice of weaving ecosystemic change for universal wellbeing (increasing the number and the effectiveness of change leaders who are weaving empowering learning ecosystems).
Weaving in practice
“Weaving is an approach to leadership that relies less on hierarchical authority and centralised control, and more on curating circles, hosting conversations and building trusted relationships. It involves taking the lead but, equally, empowering others to lead.”
The Weaving Lab
The empowering philosophy of weaving is central to our approach we take in business. We have not labeled it as such, but our own projects, and those we have invested in, exhibit weaving characteristics.
E/One seeks to influence, organise, empower and mobilise a community to effect systemic change in #OceanTech.
71% of the Earth’s surface is covered by oceans, which are responsible for 70% of the world’s oxygen production, yet we know more about the moon than the deepest parts of the sea. To protect our oceans, and realise their untapped potential, we need to understand them, and then, fall in love with them.
Nyby is a #SocietalTech collaboration platform that helps municipalities and organisations match needs and resources, connecting citizens and building communities.
Different challenges call for different actions. Working in partnership with governments, nonprofits and private organisations since 2015, Nyby has developed a platform that enables the systemic transformation of public services.
Variable’s #ClimateTech makes it easy to operationalise sustainability efforts and reduce the financial risk of climate change.
Climate change threatens ecological and economic catastrophe. Variable develops tools to identify and quantify the risks and create informed, systemic mitigation strategies.
A new mindset
Adopting a weaving mindset has helped clarify an evolved set of evaluation criteria for new projects.
We are proud to participate in growing network of practitioners who identify as “weavers” and work on projects empowering ecosystems for universal wellbeing.