Acupuncture Points

Eight Acupuncture Points for Transforming our Economic and Societal Systems from Ego to Eco

We are facing multiple and compounding crises, leading to a state of planetary emergency. Addressing these crises at their root requires the transformation of our essential societal systems – the key ‘acupuncture points’ for systemic change. u-school is organizing its capabilities and partnerships around these key acupuncture points. If addressed together, they hold the potential to transform our dominant civilizational forms by bridging the ecological and social divides of our time, and by transforming our underlying operating systems from from ego-system to eco-system awareness.

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Soil, Food & Climate Justice

Transforming Energy, Food, and Economic Systems from Extractive to Regenerative.

With our soil degrading, water tables sinking, and the amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide shooting up to more than 50% higher than pre-industrial times, we must address our planetary emergency at its roots by transforming of our systems of energy (regenerative energy), food (regenerative agriculture), and development (wellbeing for all).

How are we addressing it?

  • In partnership with Ashoka and other partners, we are co-convening a collective of 25+ European system-changing organizations, coordinating their efforts to regenerate soil across their regions by co-creating Bioregional Weaving Labs that support innovators, changemakers, and stakeholders from farmers to land conservationists.
  • In partnership with the University of California’s Center for Climate Justice, we are supporting the building of a climate justice social movement that approaches the climate crisis through science, systems thinking, and social-ecological justice. The goal is to train a million climate justice activists per year. 
Business & Entrepreneurship

Transforming Business for Regenerative Ecosystem Economies.

How do we help business leaders to reinvent their core business, from extractive to regenerative business practices? How do we reimagine and reshape business ecosystems from being grounded in the deepening of the three divides – ecological, social, spiritual – to being grounded in bridging these divides? 

How are we addressing it?
  • Together with Eileen Fisher we are forming a collaborative of responsible companies that want to pioneer new pathways for transforming old extractive business practices into new regenerative practices.
  • 4.0 Businesses: with several companies, we are working with leadership teams to develop capabilities that are based on an eco-systemic view on company strategy and operations, seeing the company and its future as intimately linked to the wider eco-system in which it operates.  

Photo Credit: GABV

Consumption & Planetary Wellbeing

From GDP to Human & Planetary Wellbeing.

Our focus on GDP as a measure of national welfare over the past six decades has been accompanied by gross over-consumption that has stretched the planet’s regenerative capacity beyond its limits. Shaping a better future, achieving the SDGs and improving the wellbeing of all requires a profound shift in mindset, skillset and toolset. We need to shift collectively towards a new economic paradigm based on ecosystem regeneration, planetary healing, and inclusive wellbeing for all.

How are we addressing it?

  • In partnership with the GNH Centre Bhutan we initiated a Global Wellbeing Lab that offers a unique opportunity for leaders across sectors and around the world to jointly explore key challenges innovating beyond GDP, to approach the deep-seated roots of these challenges and to develop new responses and solutions. The lab offers learning journeys for immersions into key sites where innovation in wellbeing and sustainability will come into effect.

Photo Credit: World Health Organization (WHO) | Changemakers in Health

Governance & Democracy

Transforming Society Through Collective Action from Shared Awareness (CASA).

We need to upgrade our political and economic operating system from one driven by hierarchy, competition and special-interest-group-led legislation ("ego-system awareness") to one that operates from shared seeing and common will ("ecosystem awareness"). This requires a widespread, meaningful engagement of citizens and alongside the other stakeholders, and an evolution of our democracies that make governance more direct, distributed, data driven, and dialogic.
How are we addressing it?
  • Together with the UN Development Coordination Office and UNDP we are running SDG Leadership Labs and Action Learning Labs. These Lab support the UN to build capacity in awareness-based systems transformation and innovation in multiple countries and regions, including those experiencing humanitarian crisis, to accelerate the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Photo Credit: meriç tuna on Unsplash

Education & Learning

Learning & Leadership Development Infrastructures to Support Planetary Healing & Human Flourishing.

Regenerating our learning and leadership structures in society means enabling leaders and learners to profoundly reimagine and reshape their systems going forward. This requires transformative methods, tools and processes; practice fields to experiment with the new; a global network of changemakers to support and co-inspire; and opportunities to learn by doing. Changemakers of every age, region and sector need to build capacity to co-shape the future that stands in need of us in this time of rupture, polarization and fragmentation.

How are we addressing it?

  • In partnership with MITx we co-deliver u-lab 0x, 1x, and 2x as a massively scaled online learning infrastructure that has activated a global ecosystem of 200,000 changemakers working to bridging the ecological, social, and spiritual divides through thousands of local hands-on prototypes, focused on these eight acupuncture points of transformation.  
  • Through our Pathways for Transformation we offer a developmental learning process guiding leaders and pioneers to build their capacity in awareness-based systems change and Social Presencing Theater.
  • In partnership with the OECD we are co-convening an action learning lab for national policymakers and educational leaders from ten countries to help co-pioneer the next wave of innovation through transforming their learning systems. This partnership aims to better address the challenges of this century and serve human flourishing by building the capacities for generative problem solving, ethical decision making, as well as aesthetic and transformational literacy.
  • In partnership with the MIT Center for Comparative Global Humanities we explore avenues for linking diverse ways of knowing and sense making across regions and cultures, to better support the process of reimagining and reshaping learning in higher education, not only at MIT but worldwide. 
Money & Finance

Transforming Finance as a Force for Good.

Money and finance, well harnessed, can be used as tools to address the pressing challenges of our time. The allocation of capital is one of the most important determinants of our future. We need to redesign and redirect money and capital flows to serve all sectors of the economic system, including the development of our ecological, social, and cultural commons.

How are we addressing it?

  • In a partnership with MIT CoLab and GABV (Global Alliance for Banking on Values) we are creating an inspired global community of innovators who develop financial solutions to fight economic inequality and the climate crisis.
Data & Technology

Inventing Awareness-based Technologies.

Today, almost 3.5 billion people connect to social media, yet as well as bringing benefits this technology has also turned out to be a major force of destruction – amplifying disinformation, polarization, and violence against minorities, whilst also undermining the foundations of democracy. How can we reimagine the use of technology and data in ways that enhance human connection and co-creativity, rather than diminishing it? 

How are we addressing it?

Together with MIT and United in Diversity (UID), we are engaging leaders across sectors in a profound learning process in order to harness the power of data and technology to take on complex challenges of conservation, education and business/social enterprise.

Photo Credit: Alex Hudson on Unsplash

Health & Wellbeing

Strengthening the Sources of Human & Planetary Wellbeing.

According to the WHO, depression is the top cause of disability in the world today. Globally, one person dies from suicide every 40 seconds and suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15- to 29-year-olds. We need to shift from a pattern of reactive responses to illness (pathogenesis) to strengthening the sources of health and wellbeing which means focusing more on planetary health, social determinants of health, and on the deeper mindset shifts that support inner development and spiritual growth.

How are we addressing it?

We are working with the World Health Organization on a series of global Health & Wellbeing Hub gatherings convening health care professionals, community health workers, patient representatives, health educators and activists, across low-, middle- and high-income countries engaged in health system transformation in the post-COVID-19 pandemic era.

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