It’s not all about business, Founders – in fact, this is a trap so many of us fall into (thinking that all our efforts need to be business related). Jean-Paul Close has founded a movement that provides alternative options for those of us who are committed to lifestyles that are a little more deliberate and earth-conscious. The same commitment and drive is required as someone who founds a business but the reach and results have a far reaching potential.
Jean-Paul Close was born in Den Bosch, the Netherlands, in 1958 as first born son within a family of six. After studying Maths-Computer Science at York University in the UK, and International Business Studies at Nijenrode in the Netherlands, his career rapidly developed into top executive levels with national and global responsibilities within the technological markets of telecommunication equipment.
As a single father, he received powerful opposition from the government which referred him in a role of tax paying executive rather than taking responsibility for his children. This is when he decided that such governance was not the one he wanted.
He decided that it was time to develop a new one. In 2009, he set up the STIR Foundation and in 2012, Sustainocracy was real, published and recognized – thanks to the establishment of AiREAS. Now, they receive attention from the entire world, publish their experiences as new age science through global open access editorial channels and try to deploy Sustainocracy in other cultures.
Can you tell us about Sustainocracy? Why is it so important?
Sustainocracy is an awareness driven co-creation movement. It establishes multidisciplinary cooperatives in which the relevant stakeholders develop local quality of life and resilience by engaging with five core values for sustainable human evolution.
These core values are: health, safety, co-creation, awareness and our basic needs (quality food, water, air and energy). Within Sustainocratic initiatives, local priorities are defined and named as a specific movement. The process follows the proactive wellness continuüm rather than the current treatment continuüm which tries to repair our damages through expensive remedial means.
It is important for the integral wellness and engagement of all people and their communities to solve the problems we face; pollution, climate issues, the competitive attitude of greed, migrations and other issues of local and global concerns and vulnerability of communities as well as entire cities.
What have been your primary challenges in spreading sustainocratic awareness?
Creating the first precedences of Sustainocratic cooperatives that show the world how it works and the results that can be achieved.
The main challenge was to get the local stakeholders, especially the political-economic driven government executives, around the sustainocratic table to deal with the higher purpose together, without hierarchy, based totally on commitment, equality and trust. The other stakeholders are: entrepreneurs, citizens, educators and science. They all join the creative and innovative table together, connected by the local sustainocrat.
The first formal venture created like this was AiREAS, dealing with air quality in the city, human health and mobility, established in 2011 and globally announced in 2012. After that, others were established such as FRE2SH (food securities in cities), COS3I (social inclusion in health) and School of Talents (participatory learning in Sustainocracy).
How have you used situations of personal chaos to strengthen your resolve as a founder?
Personal chaos and emotions are the gateway towards new layers of awareness. This awareness then shows a new personal path ahead. One transforms attitude which subsequently determines one’s own leadership.
How does being a Founder affect your personal life and space?
It represents a total engagement with the mission and purpose one deploys while inviting others to engage too. My space fills with a powerful and positive reference energy that connects new people, establishes new relationships and causes new events to happen. It is a very warm, compassionate and powerful energy.
What are your primary objectives that you seek to achieve?
A human world that focuses on developing harmony and wellness with ourselves and our natural environment by deploying sustainocratic ventures everywhere.
What advice would you have for anyone looking to start their own initiative?
Go for it if it feels right and don’t look back.
About STIR Foundation – City of Tomorrow
Instead of focussing on money driven processes and speculation, STIR Foundation – City of Tomorrow concentrates on the innovative challenges of co-creating regional resilience based on core human values. This new focus has received the European Prize for Innovation as it challenges our entire lifestyle and societal functioning in a natural way. It produces such a continuous stream of relevant innovations that a totally new economy and societal reality appears.
Every cooperative engages thousands of participants, develops dynamic project clusters and equal numbers of innovative challenges that are faced together. The holistic approach of human value-driven productivity does not only generate new products but also creates additional value among the multidimensional entrepreneurial measurement system (human, societal, environmental and economic value).