Thrive Design Studio is guided by the following set of principles, which encompass a new way individuals, institutions and cultures can transform 21st century challenges into meaningful opportunities.
1: Redefining Progress // In recent decades, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has become the de facto measurement tool for successful human development. This interpretation of progress has come to represent a model of development that is destructive and unsustainable, converting nature into products, people into consumers, cultures into markets and time into money. Progress in this new century must be attached to a deeper purpose, one that is inclusive, humane, ecologically regenerative, honest, accountable, and in service of life-enhancing development.
Inspiration: Sacred Economics
2: Transdisciplinary Collaboration // If we are to take on the ‘wicked’ challenges of our time, we’ll need to increasingly rely on the proven intelligence drawn from diverse perspectives. Deep collaboration between community members, institutions, industries, and political bodies is imperative to co-create shared visions of a future where everyone’s voices are heard and needs met. Transdisciplinary collaboration is also the most effective way of accelerating innovation and solutions to a scale that meets the challenges that they aim to address.
3: Placemaking // Correspondingly, leadership is evolving away from heroic individualism and into communal spaces. Collective leadership is a relational approach where multiple individuals assume leadership roles within a group while the entire group provides leadership to a wider community. It is fluid and evolves in response to specific situations and settings, as opposed to leadership models which are strict, rigid, and hierarchical. Within the built environment, the philosophy of Placemaking can be seen as collective leadership in action as it encourages citizens to be active and engaged in designing and creating the spaces in which they live in and use.
4: Biomimicry // Nature has been creatively addressing Earth’s challenges for nearly 4 billion years. Through the ongoing process of evolution, nature has evolved a set of principles that allow organisms to live sustainably and resiliently. Successful organisms are adaptive, optimizing, systems-based, values-based, and life-supporting, characteristics which leading institutions and communities will increasingly aim to emulate.
Inspiration: Biomimicry for Creative Innovation
5: Biophilia // And nature is not only a fantastic guide for ongoing innovation, but it also provides deep intrinsic value to us. Biophilia literally means the ‘love of life or living things’ and encompasses a body of research which has determined that our relationship to nature is as important as our relationships with other people. With more and more individuals living in urban and artificial environments, it’s imperative to embed natural components like green roofs, living walls, and pocket parks into our cities to optimize this connection to living systems.
6: Expanded Empathy // Far too many of us search out truths from self-interested or limited perspectives… by asking what’s best for me, my business, my political party, or my country, we effectively limit our ability to generate solutions that support the broader systems which we all rely upon. Only through an expanded sense of empathy that supports the needs of future generations and greater biodiversity will we be able to create the conditions for life to sustain, and ultimately thrive into the future. Architect Bill McDonough captured this best in his query, ‘how can we love all the children, of all species, for all time?’
7: Thrivability // Lastly, and somewhat embodying the previous six principles is thrivability, a regenerative philosophy which is currently being brought to life by a body of social innovators throughout the world hungry for an aspirational vision of the future. Thrivability aims to be a catalyst and barometer for cultural flourishing. It speaks beyond sustainability, beyond bottom lines, and beyond efforts to merely neutralize our impacts. At its core, thrivability recognizes organizations, communities and economies as living systems, each nested within the living biosphere, and each with the potential to thrive if given the proper fertile conditions. This, of course, is exactly what Thrive Design Studio aims to do (and read our own post on Thrivability HERE).
Photo via Flickr La Citta Vita