A short history of our journey with Doughnut Economics and what is coming up in Birmingham, UK
Our journey with Doughnut Economics started back in early 2017 when one of our team, Andy who was at the time a disenfranchised economist, saw a few of the videos being shared about Doughnut Economists. Right away he knew this was something different and would be something that members of the Impact Hub Birmingham community would be interested in too. So as soon as the book was launched he set up a Food for Thought session at Impact Hub Birmingham. Straight away we saw the appetite for this new type of thinking. We had members from the Hub attend as well as employees of multinational, organisations each with a different view on what is needed from a 21st Century economy but with the same yearning and desire for a new economic narrative which encompassed so much more than just public v private or state v business dichotomies.
This was just the start of bringing the principles to Birmingham and getting people enthused about doing economics differently in our city and in other places around the world. Through this work we were able to start to think about how we might also embed these principles, our business model, our ways of working in our organisation, and as Impact Hub Birmingham transitioned to CIVIC SQUARE, how this could be shared even further within our neighbourhood(s). There were of course doughnut's at that first lunchtime session in 2017.
Our 2019 started in the best way when we invited Kate to come up to Birmingham in the first working days of the year, to start thinking about how to put those principles into action. This allowed us to delve deeper into the world of Doughnut Economics, Biomimicry and more as well as to talk through how a neighbourhood can start to use these principles and values in open, shareable ways. Whilst here Kate gave a talk at Impact Hub Birmingham which brought along even more people to hear about the ways in which would implement 21st century economics. The energy in the room after that was absolutely palpable and a clear reminder that there were plenty of people in the city keen to build a more regenerative economy together. We can probably hands down say, these were some of the most inspiring days of learning we had the privilege to be a part of of, and changed the course of ideas, dreams and future of the work.
We learned together in the open over two days, with friends and partners from across funders, WMCA, and with a broader community over dinner.
Over 2019 we were very lucky to spend time with Kate's growing team, and share across our partners at Project 00 and Dark Matter Labs as well as Kate joining us for the Impact Hub Birmingham's closing festival, this allowed us to show how we had evolved our thinking on the ways to build regenerative businesses as well to hear how Kate had evolved her initial principles into an exciting movement for change. DEAL was starting to grow, the energy across so many places and people palpable, and we had a renewed hope about what might be possible.
The Doughnut Economics Action Lab was starting to gain form and traction, once that started we knew it was going to be big, our team was honoured to join a series of community design sessions earlier in 2020, hope in the dark times of the first COVID-19 lockdown, with peers from across the world, and meet the growing team.
Every time we have spoken with residents of the Birmingham who want to see our economy evolve and adapt to the multiple challenges the doughnut has always proved to be a valuable frame to take this energy forward. We can’t wait to see how the community on the action lab grows and starts sharing, as we hope to do more to make these principles, tactics and actions spread far and fast in regenerative, open, distributed manner. The power in these tools will only get stronger as they are shared, tweaked, reshaped and redistributed. Something, that even made even Andy in our team want to be an Economist again.
Over the next few months we will be starting a long term project based in B16, Birmingham looking at how you work with residents, neighbours and a range of actors across a neighbourhood, embedded doughnut principles to support an equitable transition to more regenerative places. We are so excited to show you what we have planned first, there is a lot of making, cutting, building, doughnuts and creativity to come.
Watch this space, and follow along @CIVIC_SQUARE, we cannot wait to be an active part of this growing community, platform and revolution.
Thank you Kate, and the entire DEAL team for your vision, ambition and open sharing, we cannot wait to build alongside you.