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Help John Grant Edit His New Book “Co-Opportunity” [Introduction]

Help John Grant Edit His New Book “Co-Opportunity” [Introduction]
Design
John Grant
  • 13 august 2009

This is an extract from the draft of John Grant’s new book Co-opportunity, contracted for publication with John Wiley & Sons Limited, January 2010. This extract is the introduction to the book.

My new book, Co-opportunity is based on the growing realization that sustainability is going to require nothing less than a wholesale shift to more co-operative social systems. It’s not just about shaving off energy, waste or carbon emissions – nor about ‘band aid’ approaches to poverty. It’s about a new way of organizing society for the common good. Many people have described this shift. Prince Charles in a recent speech described it as a move to a joined up society. Bill Drayton describes it as a shift to an equitable model of parallel co-operation. These ideas will be as familiar to those working with web 2.0 and social production as in the ‘eco’ field. And numerous examples in the book are using social media for social good. Some but not all – there are just as many grounded in local community.

I see this book as a digest of inspiration for anyone working with sustainability, innovation, social ventures, policy… And as such it is mainly covering the many recent developments, which have inspired me. Once you have seen how microcredit works it’s hard to approach business models in the same way. The same with campaigning post #iranelections and myobama.com What it adds up to perhaps is a new way of tackling problems, but the bricks are definitely the case studies.

The Five Main Challenges of Sustainability

The book is structured around what I see as the five main challenges of sustainability. These range from creating a climate for change, to revisiting the idea of productivity (replacing ‘just in time’ with more resilient and abundant models). This of course makes it quite wide ranging, but sustainability challenges are systemic and hard to isolate anyway. The challenge overall is nothing less than “redesign life”.

The link to this post will enable you to download the introduction. This will be available for a few days before the next section goes up. We will be posting the entire book as a draft over the next 3 weeks. What I am looking forward is constructive comments to help me improve the final draft. Examples I have missed. Gaps in the argument. That sort of thing. I did this with the last book and it was incredibly helpful. Obviously if your are not that interested in the subject then it’s a big ask to be reading and acting as a community of editing during the month of August. But the book is aimed at those who are as obsessed with sustainability, systems design, social ventures and so on as I am. How it worked last time, also, is that different people commented on different sections, based on their particular interests. So for each section I will give a quick summary, so if you can see if this touches on the kind of stuff you are working with.

How This Works

My publisher, Wiley, has been quite broad-minded in allowing me to share the near completed draft in this public way, for free. I’d ask you to please be respectful of that and for instance don’t circulate all or part of the manuscript. Also by Wiley’s request only one section of the book with be available for download at any one time. If you or a colleague has missed an earlier section, you can always email me at thejohngrant@btinternet.com.

Please do post thoughts, ideas, comments and insights in the comments section. I will be checking into these, and using them to help me complete the manuscript. I’ll also be giving free signed books to the most helpful commenters and acknowledging all those that are helpful in the acknowledgements section of the final book.

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