The Tomorrow Makers Journey
In 1979, Matt & Gail Taylor founded the MG Taylor Corporation, a network company, to help people learn how to solve complex problems through learning new ways of working. Their methodology brought groups of people together in what became known as DesignShops: unique 3-5 day gatherings designed to tap into group dynamics and guide the group to think creatively about the future.
From the Taylor’s perspective in the mid 70's, people were relatively dormant with their creativity. Most seemed somewhat helpless to know how to make change and create better worlds. Collaboration was practically unheard of. Project based learning was an anomaly. As adults, most thought they were through with learning. Now their job was to go to college, get a job, get married, and live happily ever after. This apathy was occurring in the midst of exponential rates in the change of almost everything.
Although no-one could explain the Taylors’ DesignShop process or method to others, DesignShop events attracted people of all ages and from many, diverse disciplines, cultures and countries. Their way of working set a benchmark for better ways to learn across diverse boundaries and circumstances, communicate and solve complex problems. Today the process is used worldwide with somewhat over 1,200 practitioners and thousands of organizations and communities who have benefited from the process.
In 2002, Tomorrow Makers Inc, was founded as a non-profit network to expand the MG Taylor methodologies into social and ecological activist communities wanting to learn better, more collaborative ways of working with each other. More and more endeavors were grappling with diversity, with complex problems and with learning new ways of working. While much was accomplished, there was always an awareness that there was more Tomorrow Makers could offer.
A key observation about the rapid technological advances since the Information Revolution started in the early 1950s, is that digital technology is supporting humanity’s evolution from youthful expansion through competition to mature, peaceful collaboration. Key developments along the way include the telephone and fax, radio and television, personal computers, the World Wide Web, social media and smart phones. Each new invention made possible collaboration at a scale larger than previously.
On October 31, 2008, an unknown person or group of people going by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto, released the Bitcoin whitepaper. The paper, and the subsequent launch of Bitcoin in 2009, created a significant shift in the global psyche. For the first time individuals received the sovereign freedom to create currency. This was a big deal that created all forms of what Stuart Kauffman calls “adjacent possibles.”
The underlying technology that makes Bitcoin possible is blockchain. After deeply researching the emerging blockchain space, we believe this technological development has the potential to impact society at least 100 more than the Internet did—and the Internet changed everything. Blockchain is probably one of the most important inventions in all of human history. While it is still early days, we are convinced that developments in the Blockchain space are crucial to our project.
Above all, we recognized that new technologies alone—however much they enable collaboration on a massive enough scale to make real change—cannot produce the inspiration, mindsets, worldviews and collective purposive desire needed to co-create the more peaceful, inclusive and fair world people everywhere dream of. The only role model we have to fill this critical gap is Nature itself, along with the knowledge and wisdom many indigenous cultures reaped by studying Nature’s ways in far greater depth and intimacy than our own western science has enabled. Therefore we look to four billion years of biological evolution, to the evidence that peaceful cooperation is far more prevalent in Nature than hostilities, and to indigenous science and culture to inform our entire co-creative gaming process.
In 2018, Gail, Elisabet and Michael (GEM for short) came together to explore how we could build a bridge between social and ecological activists and blockchain technologists. Our starting point was that we had two options:
We could leave technologists to develop the next building blocks of collaboration tools on their own (we allowed this to happen with the Internet, and as a result we have platforms which benefit the builders and owners more than the users); or,
We could proactively come together to create the kind of governances and societies we all dream of, using the collaboration tools which either already exist or are currently being built.
We settled firmly on the second option and as we explored the possibilities of a new human operating system, we realized that if we as a species stand any chance of success at escaping to a higher order of complexity, we must have three things in place:
The necessary tools to build alternative forms of governance (this is what the blockchain world brings);
The right mindset for the citizens of these new societies (from dependence and control to sovereignty); and
An audacious and crystal-clear vision.
We immediately recognized that the most challenging piece of our project would be achieving the required mind shift, particularly when we took into account the existing systems designed to support the narrative of ‘life as usual.’ It was about the same time that we were introduced to the world of gaming. We were blown away by the power of games to influence or change human behavior at scale. Since we were all fans of Buckminster Fuller’s World Game, it made sense for us to explore the idea of using the fun and engagement of a game to create an entirely new way to coordinate human activity. It also made sense to use the MG Taylor methodologies to create a community of play where those creating “tomorrow by design, not default” can come to find each other, combine ideas, co-create workshop offerings, access broad, deep bodies of knowledge and forge paths leading to a more equitable world.
We believe, more now than ever, it is time for big, hairy, audacious dreams and goals. We want to encompass dreams large enough where many can find ways to contribute, to join with others, to step out and up to the challenges of the Anthropocene age. In 2018 we completely reorganized and refocused the mission of Tomorrow Makers and we’re excited to see where this may lead. We hope you are too.
Our aim is to have 1bn players of the game by 2030. Along the way, we will realize many of the ideas that come from the game. Each iteration will spark more innovation, adjacent possible opportunities and cultures will transform. In fact we expect that by 2030, people will be employing the new operating system as a way of being and living that they had not thought possible.
Because research has shown that once 10% of a group is committed to an idea, it is inevitable that it will eventually become the prevailing opinion of the entire group. The world population in 2030 will be 8.6bn. If we can reach just 10% of the world’s population (855mn, rounded up to 1bn) and get them committed to the idea of a new human operating system, it is inevitable that the audacious idea will become the prevailing opinion of the entire planet.
Once that happens, nothing can stop us.