The earth, the Blue Planet, dear to us all. Humans as a dominant species have learned to respect its limits. Nature has its own rights, now. Humankind has evolved. Every individual gifted uniquely, every talent put to use. Living and working together in harmony, making responsible choices. A union of global citizens to cope with the most complex challenges. Wisdom councils to govern our places of residence and companies. We cherish the places where we are, care for all life and bring nature back to fruition. As the future-determining species on earth, we choose to create favourable conditions for other species and ecosystems to thrive. We are the ancestors to rely on, for next generations. We cannot live by dreaming alone, but we can create a loving and all-embracing vista to see in front of us, every day.
It has taken us a long time to become aware of what is happening at a planetary level. Despite our good will and best efforts, we will have to accept, that in the coming decades life conditions on our home planet as a whole will deteriorate further. This calls for transformative change, at all levels: economy, governments, cities, businesses, individuals. Everyone is needed, all talents count. On the quest for guidance for the manifestation of the vision an all-inclusive principle was found, called Humanity’s Code of Care: Taking care of self, others, place and planet. The aspiration in all work with lifemaps is to find ways to learn to live according to Humanity’s Code of Care, individually and collectively.
The purpose of the lifemaps is to offer experiences in which people can connect to societal and global issues, discover new information about their own unique position and role, and determine a realistic and environment-friendly course for the future. A coherent set of lifemap scenarios is developed in which Humanity’s Code of Care is embedded. Insight is useful and it can have impact, but the lifemaps aim to invite people to go one step further: to find new ways to apply Humanity’s Code of Care in their every-day life. The challenging question for this is: How can we learn to take care for ourselves, others, places and planet simultaneously, at every step?
Applying Humanity’s Code of Care at city level brings together a variety of engaged parties in a way that established positions play a lesser role. It draws individuals out of their own affairs so that ingrained habits are left at home. The city is dependent on supply areas for most of its basic needs. Making this explicit opens up new ways of taking care of the earth. A city is partly defined by the place, which makes it easier to include taking care of the place in everything. The city is the think, do and socialise bubble not only for people; it is also home to plants and animals and consists of earth and water, architecture and arts, maintenance and waste management. The city offers an ideal setting to explore and apply Humanity’s Code of Care.
During the design and development phase of the current lifemap scenarios being part of the Integral City core team was of great support. In 2020, it was Marilyn Hamilton, founder of Integral City, who was the source of inspiration for the creation of the lifemap scenario: 4 Voices in the city, working together as bees in a hive. The physical place is of great importance for a human being to connect with nature. Consciously connecting with nature is essential for human beings to develop capacities of caring for place and planet. All in all this makes a city an ideal context for societal programmes centring on greening and sustainability. Integral City offers an extensive and holistic framework for cities. An integral city takes its example from the beehive, giving and taking in harmony with the natural environment. In the harvesting round of the lifemap workshop the four voices in the city collect honey for themselves, the group and the city.
Meshworking is a great way to collaborate in order to make a success of multi-stakeholder projects. The work of Anne-Marie Voorhoeve, co-founder of The Hague Center for Global Governance and Emergence and a thought leader when meshworking is concerned, has been another source of inspiration in the development phase of the lifemap scenarios. A key to success in meshworking is to jointly define overarching goals which unite the parties involved and let people rise above their own interests. An important practice is to include these interests, jointly develop guiding principles and forge cooperative agreements. One of the lifemap posters, the Compass poster, can carry a meshworking process. Lifemap scenarios which use this poster offer stakeholders in a societal programme an opportunity to get acquainted with this approach. All work with lifemaps is infused with the power of a meshworking.
The lifemap scenario 4 Voices in the city working together like bees in a hive uses a simple meshworking process to enable multi-stakeholder groups in a city to discover and experience Humanity’s Code of Care, and find new ideas and perspective for collaboration. Workshops with this scenario were organised in cooperation with the Caravan of Unity, an initiative of Co-Creating Europe for peace, democracy and solidarity. During the journey of the Caravan a mixture of online and on location workshops were hosted for London and Findhorn in the United Kingdom, in Klaipeda in Lithuania, Tampere in Finland, and Lisbon in Portugal. Both the experiences and the outcomes created a rich harvest.
Much has been woven into each lifemap: in the posters and sticker sets, in the mapping and discovery processes and in the scenarios. Besides the concept of the four voices and the meshworking approach, the Doughnut Economics model is introduced, but bits of wisdom from many other sources are part of the lifemaps, too. A workshop host can work with lifemaps without prior knowledge of all this. During a lifemap workshop a lot is touched in people that cannot be grasped immediately. It is important that a host is sensitive to what goes on in the participants and can respond to it in terms of content, process and relationship. Lifemaps are meant to raise awareness at an experiential level. This will manifest itself in various ways: as insights and concrete ideas, but also as experienced feelings or a realisation of not knowing. It is important, that the host can create the conditions through which the full richness comes to the fore.
Getting acquainted with lifemaps through participation
All work with lifemaps is project-based. A project starts with the development and validation of a tailor-made scenario and functions as a training-on-the-job. Each project focuses on a key personal, societal or global theme. The scenario is adapted or designed with Humanity’s Code of Care in mind. People who want to know more about a particular scenario can get an invitation to participate in one of the running projects. As a participant you are invited to bring in your own key questions or development goals, a city, a big issue, or your expertise and experience.
Building on earlier projects and engagements
Former employer, UWV Data Services (Social Services), hosted the try-out of the first lifemap scenario for teams. In the years after that, the focus has been to create lifemap scenarios for self-discovery and personal growth – always responding to an innovative initiative: as co-author of the book New Business Models, as a committed participant and workshop host in the Veerhuis, as an ambassador for an inclusive and flexible employment market in Werken in Netwerken, in a partnership with Inspiration at Work, as an active member of the IHBV group for highly gifted entrepreneurs and as a co-creator at Tilburg Municipality of the BOOST013 Workshop. Thanks to the experiences and stimulating collaborations in these projects, the lifemaps have become robust enough to go out into the world.