Fund For Civic and Social Innovation

Pattern number within this pattern set: 
Douglas Schuler
Public Sphere Project (CPSR)

While the world is besieged with problems, experts and exisiting institutions are often expected to supply the answers. This not only unfairly neglects "ordinary people" and "teaches" them that they are not capable of important civic innovation, it ignores an immense potential resource and invites the possibility of making them inert intellectually and subject to political harrangues from media demagogues.


The context is global warming, pollution, resource over-extraction, over-consumption by the rich and mass poverty for the majority. Paired with this the continuing view that the "ordinary" person is incapable of innovative social thought.


This pattern proposes that a Fund for Civic Innovation is established that is directly focused on fostering the innovation of individuals and smaller and more community-minded organizations. It's intended to foster genuine problem-solving but the focus would not be on technology or other non-social realms. One of the main aims would be fostering the competency of "ordinary people."

The possibilities for this are immense. Figuring out how to use fewer cars is likely to be a much more efficient approach than developing large-scale programs to develop new fuels and encourage more and more use of cars. Figuring out how to waste less water in US cities is probably cheaper than developing big faciliities.

This pattern has presumably been used in various places around the world. It's important to incorporate the lessons that have been learned from these efforts into this pattern.

This pattern is (obviously) still under development.


Establish well-run and well-funded Funds for Civic and Social Innovation all around the world to encourage "ordinary" people to be involved in addressing important shared problems.

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