Life Synthesis Manifesto
Life Synthesis Manifesto
A Sustainable, Ethical, Social Enterprise Network?
By: Richard Nelson January, 2006
Updated December 25, 2009 at the time of the formation of Life Synthesis AS, in Norway - minor corrections and this note.
Life Synthesis is a commercial, for profit business network that will maximize the financial benefit to an ethical entrepreneurs who operate in a cooperative and self-organizing pattern at Global, National and Local levels. The vision is much bigger than making money, it is to build a sustainable future and provide sustainable livelihoods for people in an open and inclusive grass roots community – this vision is intended to produce both material and spiritual satisfaction in our work. Then we can combine doing well with doing good. Thus our commercial business is not “business as usual”; we will be an effective agent for change that is urgently needed in society. Our business activity will enable the paradigm shift to sustainable living and the personal transformation required for individuals, families and communities to adopt an Eco Living lifestyle.
Life Synthesis builds on the fundamental Sola Roof inventions innovations and designs that have been contributed to the Creative Commons by Richard Nelson (Sola Roof Guy), founder of the Sola Roof Community. Further innovations and ongoing R&D will position our Life Synthesis Brand as a leading supplier of Sola Roof products and services and we intend to maintain a position in the forefront of the Open Source developers of technology for Eco Living. Our collaborative network will enhance the existing Sola Roof technology and the combination of Open Source best practices and our Life Synthesis Brand of Controlled Environment Applications know-how is the key to our commercial success in the global market place. Our products and services will create new positive trends while also producing earnings for members and profits for our associated businesses, who contribute a portion thereof to our cooperative development and ethical investment activities.
The advanced Life Synthesis innovations can provide a vast financial opportunity for commercial cooperation in the context of the proposed sustainable and ethical Social Enterprise Network? (SE Net). It is extremely important how we utilize the critical window of opportunity that is open now and therefore I am describing in this document how Life Synthesis will be organized around Leadership Teams who will build the cooperative global business relationships that will be the key to our success. The Leadership Teams will manage network resources with care for people and the planet. They will invest in ethical and non exploitive enterprises which are community based and they will guide the rapid and sustainable growth of our network, which has the mission to make Eco Living a mainstream lifestyle.
Together we have all the talent and skills necessary to build a sustainable future for our children. Open Source collaboration will inspire creative individuals to contribute to our Creative Commons and establish a “common wealth” based on distributed prosperity. How we work with authors and recognize copyrights and patent rights that are contributed is a key issue. Patents are a significant form of recognition that helps to establish a high visibility of our Life Synthesis Brand?. With the advantage of a strong technology position, it is more likely that customers who desire to have the most advanced, sustainable solution will be attracted to Life Synthesis and further, patent disclosure is supportive of the principle of “working openly” that would attract strong media attention and result in mainstream awareness.
Partnering with our customers (“early adopters”) will give high profile customers great public relations opportunities. The owners or developers of such key projects may also be invited to have a seat on our Global Enterprise Teams?. In a cooperative spirit of business development, receptive business customers are encouraged to form Development Consortia? with the purpose of taking initiatives for the development and commercialization of our technology; showcasing special applications for the Life Synthesis Brand?. Similar situations will also arise on the supply side of the Life Synthesis SE Net?, where we will have strong cooperative relationships with commodity suppliers of key Branded components, systems and materials.
Now is the time to take action to envision and implement such a new framework for our business relationships; to build an organizational framework that is not legalistic but that is based on ethical and friendly collaboration and cooperation. The sharing of best practices and operating plans and procedures will practically guarantee the success of each one of our Members? and Associates?. There is no time to loose – a window of opportunity is open now and a “go slow” approach is not appropriate – considering the urgent need for sustainable living.
Our plan is to establish a simple, robust and flexible organizational framework that will be foundation for supporting exponential growth of the Life Synthesis network. Our organization will be not exclusive; it will be open for all to join and acquire ownership through participation. This “Open Organization?” structure will enable multitudes of projects to move ahead rapidly in parallel since we will share business plans and thus reduce start up cost and risk for all projects. This will result in greater accessibility to funding so that we can fuel the growth of Life Synthesis and constantly attract more associates and members. The goal is to simultaneously build the Leadership Teams? at all levels and utilize the World Wide Web to coordinate world wide activities and trade. The Leadership Teams? will openly and transparently manage while showing by the example their initiatives a pattern of cooperation that will attract a vast network of associates and members who benefit greatly by participating in the Life Synthesis SE Net?.
Everyone in the Life Synthesis network, whether they are individuals, existing businesses or new groups formed to undertake a start-up enterprise, would be able to improve earnings and results through profiting from our business systems, chain of supply and support relationships. Associates? may be end-users, developers, manufacturers and/or service providers who operate under our Life Synthesis Brand?. Most associates will be involved in some way in the training, certification and education of the user community so that they are able to achieve the best use of the Life Synthesis products and understand how to shift into the Eco Living lifestyle.
Some companies will “do business” with our network but not be registered users of our Life Synthesis Brand?; as such they are independent but might still work with Life Synthesis as “strategic partners” – such arrangements would often be facilitated by the Leadership Team initiatives. Enterprise Teams? will coordinate specialized sub networks that will facilitate the distinct business sectors within the Life Synthesis SE Net?. There are a great number of specialized applications of our products and therefore a great diversity of types of enterprises will develop within the network; this provides a large spectrum of choice in sustainable, ethical livelihood options.
The entire Life Synthesis business network will combine efforts to specify and fine tune projects and business activity that represent our “best practices”. This support for individual enterprises and projects includes provision of the background documentation needed to gain government support and polices that favor sustainable, ethical business development. Our supply chain of materials, components and systems manufacturers will produce products that meet our requirements and specifications. We will attract ethical investors and engage the entire community in the “open and transparent” allocation of resources under the guidance of Leadership Teams so as to achieve sustainable growth of our business network.
Life Synthesis is fundamentally a knowledge business and it is imperative that we also encourage contributions of intellectual property to create a pool of creative talent. We will work in a systematic way to build a “Creative Commons?” that has mechanisms to fairly reward our innovators and original authors using a transparent process to guarantee that authors receive reasonable compensation for creative works, which is assured by the ethical code of our Community and through continuous public disclosure of compliance, referred to as “accountability through transparency”. Thus all of our members are continuously graded as to their actual sustainable and ethical practices and this information is created as a real time record, which is available to our members and to the public by means of our interactive internet websites.
A Life Synthesis innovative new product system could be protected by several new patents and each patent may issue in many countries. They will remain in the name of the IP Contributor? but will be used for the benefit of the Life Synthesis network, which is a concept called IP Pooling?. Each National Leadership Team? with a patent jurisdiction will have the option to register and maintain the patents that they wish to work with in their region. Each Life Synthesis Associate? will have an obligation under our Ethical Code? to make the Honor Payment? that is due and an inventor will receive a specified share of such payments (transparently recorded) as specified for the type of commercial use that the member exploited. The wide, non exclusive right to use the Life Synthesis intellectual proprietary is one of the key Open Source policies, coupled with this unrestricted application of technology is an expectation of reasonable life long income to the creative individuals in the community who have originated such developments. This “Open License?” process will protect the rights of inventors and authors to benefit from the commercial use of their innovations and creativity, without leading to exploitive monopoly practices.
All Leadership Teams? can bring in financial partners that are looking for ethical investment opportunities. Such investment will earn the returns determined at the time by the Leadership Team or they may be directed to invest with an associate of the Life Synthesis network on terms established directly with that associate. In general such investment will be for a preferred share with a stated value, which would also be redeemable. Full, voting Membership will only issue to persons, not legal entities, in ratio to their “active participation” (similar to the concept of employment) to the Life Synthesis network. This active participation of Members? will be recorded in a cumulative points system and based on this figure they will share in the responsibility of redistribution of the excess earnings to fund ethical investments. This points system is based on the contribution of time by each member and is not weighted by reference to earnings. Therefore redistributions (similar to profit sharing) are based on average earnings of the entire membership.
Participation is recorded and accumulates equity points during working years, and during that period distributions are reinvested but upon leaving the network and ceasing active participation for any reason, then the distributions flow out to the retired or withdrawn Member, who also has the option to use the distributions as income or to sell the equity at a market value.
Members agree to a formula that will typically send 40% of earnings as Honor Payments? to the next level Leadership Team and 10% to the Gift Economy? (Pay It Forward?). Any business issue that cannot be agreed on by members or that relate to associates will go to the appropriate Leadership Team, who will have the final say and any technical issue that we cannot agree on will be resolved by the principles of “working openly” – with the formation of a consensus based on merit. Every 5 years our Members? will vote to appoint a portion of the Local Leadership Team? and the National Leadership Team? or Global Leadership Team? vacancies will be filled by plurality vote of the Leaders of the Teams below.
There is a very positive response to this initiative to form Life Synthesis as a network of associated enterprises and individual members that subscribe to our ethical code and who use and represent the Eco Living products and services. It is a most favorable time to undertake this development and Life Synthesis has a great prospect for building a prosperous future for its members while making the world a better place for everyone. During this formative stage it is appropriate for the Leadership Team members, who participate in various functions to push hard for project development and demonstration in collaboration with those in your own networks who are receptive so that we can have the benefit of a multitude of supply opportunities all of which will generate net cash flow to help launch this breakthrough business network.
Within the Life Synthesis organization we encourage individuals and enterprises to take the initiative and to find various ways and means to collaborate. Collaboration is the key and we will be successful to the degree that we can build the synergy of the network. Therefore, individuals are encouraged to form groups (a base from which to create a Local Leadership Team) and enterprises are encouraged to form Development Consortia?. The initial pioneering projects will be undertaken by individuals who can bring together the necessary team support. Also, at the business level the first strong commercial developments will emerge through the formation of cooperative business relationships. Each of these groups and Consortia is able to spread the “cooperative meme” that will enable our network to grow rapidly and instill a pattern of commercial activity that is quite distinctively different than the model of power, control, manipulation and monopolistic striving that is characteristic of the “winners” in the business world of today. Thus we will gradually build a sustainable and ethical business environment.
In addition to that – I invite every member to invest some cash into the start up phase. To the extent possible, but without undue stress I would like to see members contribute to the initial capitalization of Life Synthesis. These funds will support the activities of the Leadership Teams to establish project development and invested in demonstration projects with all of the use of funds transparently recorded on our Life Synthesis Wiki. One of the key projects worldwide will be the establishment of a Unity Center? in each Locality that will have a central social, educational, cultural role in adapting Sola Roof design and Blue Green concepts to each diverse community. They will also have a practical Eco Living skills training and certification role. These Centers are as essential to the new sustainable millennium as libraries were to the emergence of the knowledge economy.
Working capital that is formed at the Local and National Leadership Team levels and 50% is used at that level with 50% going inward to the Global Leadership Team; except in the Developing Countries? where all funds remain in the local and national networks. With such financial support the leadership and other key people can fully dedicate time and talent to the development of the Life Synthesis SE Net.
During the past year of 2005 Richard Nelson, founder of Life Synthesis has brought together the first Leadership Team, which he has designated to be the Global Leadership Team? until such time as the Life Synthesis enterprise has grown to have several National Leadership Teams – at which point the members of the GLT will be elected by the NLT members and the location of the GLT may be rotated if that is the decision of the GLT members. At this time we have an Executive Director group of three and a Non Executive Director group of about 6 individuals, all of outstanding capability and vision.
In the short term, the first Life Synthesis projects to launch in 2006 will generate the necessary funds to cover the startup costs of organizing the Global Leadership Team. There is a short term requirement for start up funds and thereafter we can operate out of commercial cash flows from the first Development Consortium which will begin very quickly and thereafter earnings and business development will expand rapidly. In general our overhead will be exceptionally light because Life Synthesis is a network of self reliant enterprises and individuals and additionally, the wealth that we create will re-circulate to the Local and National levels – with a small percentage of associated enterprise earnings also moving inward to the Global center and then outward to all who need help to get on the path to sustainable living.
The planned 2005 start up in the UK did not take root and while there remains a strong core team of Sola Roof people there, the focus of formative steps to implement the Life Synthesis vision has now shifted to Norway. While the concept of emergence of National and Global Leadership Teams is still a valid organizational model, I see the importance of building from the ground up and would like to generate a pattern in Norway that can be replicated globally. This is an experimental development and we will learn by doing. My wish for 2010 is that it is a year of putting ideas into action. - Sola Roof Guy