My Holiday Gift to You

Congratulations everyone! Great job! It’s the holidays and we have a civilization to be proud of. Before I review how great things are, let me say I think we can do even better. I think so because I have a new approach to share with you, which uses what we have in different ways. It’s my holiday gift to you. But first, let’s sum up how far we’ve come.

We don’t know what to do about widespread unemployment, and the social, mental and health costs that go with it. Ditto for avoidable wars. We can’t get together on climate change. Health care is a mess. Millions die from treatable or fixable problems. Income disparities threaten the social fabric. Banks get generous, flexible bailouts and are still ungenerous and inflexible with customers. We do a poor job of finding, testing and implementing new approaches.

You get the picture. Yes there are good, even great things about life. But we know there are a lot of problems which seem more solvable than they turn out to be. And that’s a key point. I think it’s less anyone’s fault in particular. It’s more the system we live within.

During the economic meltdown last year, and the events that led up to it, we realized we were not looking at what they called “systemic risk.” We missed the big picture. In a similar way, we’re not taking a large enough view of a lot of our challenges.

Taking the big picture view, and integrating it with the practical, is sort of my specialty. For over 30 years, I’ve been preparing for, and then developing, a framework which does that. It started with a few rules of thumb about life, a focus on proximity, and the known philosophical insight that being is about relating. After that, it kind of took on a life of it’s own.

Eventually, it grew into a large framework, including a new thinking structure, creativity patterns, models and tools. I call it ProxThink, short for proximity thinking. Perhaps the crown jewel is a sustainable proximities approach. The approach integrates all the other aspects of the framework with technology, networks, and emerging social practices such as networked communication and collaboration.

I implemented the sustainable proximities approach in several other projects I’m working on, in order to work out the kinks. After this conceptual work and implementation, I recently came up with a short “how-to” guide. The guide introduces both the concepts and how to set them up for a proximity you care about.

I’m including this guide in a linked blog post. It’s called “How to Create a Sustainable Proximity.” You are free to use this approach, and I hope you will. If we create many sustainable proximities, they will start to overlap. If you find this useful or interesting, there is a link at the end for ways to get more involved. Also, please share it.

So, pick up your gift at How to Create a Sustainable Proximity.

Proxri Deal: As you find our relationship rewarding, proxri with the proximity in mind.

Different Way to Organize Society

(r] proxthink.com

Not sure if I’ve mentioned this, but the integrated sustainable proximities approach amounts to an attempt to imagine a different way to organize society. Not only that, but it is designed to be able to exist alongside other organizational forms. And, to allow smooth transitions from other forms to it.

Proxri Deal: As you find our relationship rewarding, proxri with the proximity in mind.

Proximity-Focused ProxThink Framework Offers New Ways to Think, Relate, Create, Innovate, and Sustainably Grow

Short Summary

If we want to tackle tough challenges, such as globalization, economic turmoil and climate change, we may need new ways of thinking and relating. As a bonus, other things may get a boost, such as design, culture and fun. ProxThink is a framework for the proximity of situations, offering individuals and groups new ways to think, relate, create, innovate, and sustainably grow. People can explore, learn about and use it at http://proxthink.com.

Full Announcement

If we want to tackle tough challenges, such as globalization, economic turmoil and climate change, we may need new ways of thinking and relating. Thanks to scientists and philosophers, we know that things are connected and related, and that being is about relating. However, to make the most of these insights, we could use a general, widely shared, practical framework, which might suggest different ways of seeing the world and interacting with it. “I’ve tried to develop something with that potential,” says David Loughry, creator of ProxThink. The developments include a foundation, terms, patterns, models and tools that, with a focus on the proximity of situations, form a framework. The meaning of “proximity” includes nearness in relationship, so you can think of the proximity as elements related, or potentially related, to your situation. The framework is general and simple enough for conversation, yet also presents diverse possibilities, offering individuals and groups new ways to think, relate, create, innovate, and sustainably grow. People can explore, learn about and use it at the ProxThink website.

The perhaps surprising upshot is that this framework helps us relate to and within contexts, networks and environments, which can be considered from a proximity point of view. This is timely since social and technological networks, as well as global social, political, economic and environmental challenges, shift some of the emphasis to the proximity of situations. Further, ProxThink can relate to many different proximities, and in the process boost fun, the arts and culture; support science, engineering and design; promote sustainability; acknowledge and work with complexity; as well as be useful in situations ranging from everyday life and personal relationships to business and markets. Loughry says, “I call this framework ProxThink, short for proximity thinking and the different ways of relating that can result from proximity thinking. In the process of creating it, I’ve developed a number of proposed standards I hope others will adopt and adapt. These include standards for thinking structures, creativity patterns, downloadable content, climate change efforts and a growth model for people who share a proximity. I’m also curious how people will use the patterns and tools designed for creativity and innovation. As a designer, businessperson, inventor, writer and artist myself, they have helped me. In fact, some of the patterns co-evolved with my creative activities. On a larger scale, the ProxThink sustainable proximities approach is an effort to create, for some proximities, new options more suited to our highly networked world.”

Although the full framework cannot be explained here, a brief overview follows. ProxThink, with a focus on proximities, consists of the following three elements: 1) a new structure for thinking and relating, paired with 2) a creativity and innovation system. These were then used as building blocks for 3) a new kind of growth model for people who share a proximity. The new structure for thinking and relating consists of two foundational elements, four terms and two tools. The creativity and innovation system consists of 16 related proximity patterns and tools which leverage them. The growth model consists of four related processes, was created to work with networks, and includes new kinds of rewards called “proxri.” The growth model may provide a kind of evolutionary path for business models. The growth model can be combined with some existing technologies, networks, and participatory aspects of the Internet to create a new sustainable proximities approach, which can enable proximity-focused cooperation and collaboration while fostering greater sustainability. Loughry has begun to apply the growth model and the sustainable proximities approach to several areas, including climate change, downloadable content, web business models, intellectual property, and enhancements to markets. He believes ProxThink may be especially useful for challenges in which standard approaches are not working, for things that have never been done before, and for when people are stuck. People can explore, learn about and use it at the ProxThink website, where memberships start at $4.95 per year (yes, per year) with a 30 day free trial. There are also some free ProxThink resources, including videos. In addition, Loughry is available for webcam support as well as for seminars, speaking, consulting or collaboration on a short- or long-term basis. He is based in Los Angeles. For more, visit http://proxthink.com.

In a networked and copied world, we often overlap.

(r] proxthink.com

In a networked world, we often overlap. It can be hard to tell where you begin and I end. Where one business begins and another ends. Add to that how easy it is to copy things, whether information or products and services. In this kind of world, paying attention to the proximity makes more sense.

If being is about relating, then you are your relationships in a sense. You are your network. If we are in proximity, we share parts of each other’s network. We overlap. So we should take care of our proximity, and place less emphasis on ourselves.

In a digital world, you can often not be sure where content came from, or how original it is. Yet that copy can benefit the network and the proximity where it exists at the moment. The content can also exist for everyone in the network, since it is duplicated for everyone who accesses it. The content overlaps. Focus on taking care of the proximity, and the network, and you also take care of the content creators, who are also part of that proximity and that network.

Again, in this kind of world, paying attention to the proximity makes more sense. Taking care of the proximity makes more sense. Relating to the proximity makes more sense. That’s where ProxThink comes in. That’s part of why the ProxThink growth model makes sense. And why a sustainable proximities approach based on the ProxThink growth model makes sense.

Join ProxThink here.

Proxri Deal: As you find our relationship rewarding, proxri with the proximity in mind.

“If you’re bored, it’s you,” is too simplistic.

(r] proxthink.com

Some people say “If you’re bored, it’s you.” This thinking is too simplistic.

Why? You being bored is about the proximity of your situation. There are many different elements and relationships in the proximity of your situation. Follow the links in the last sentence to decode it.

So, a better way to say “If you’re bored, it’s you,” would be “If you’re bored, change elements, relationships and the proximity to better relate to each other.” This is an alternate formulation of the Core Idea of ProxThink.

Join ProxThink here.

Proxri Deal: As you find our relationship rewarding, proxri with the proximity in mind.

Bored or Engaged

(r] proxthink.com

Probably any ProxSet can become boring if you are not engaged with it.

The more diverse the ProxSet, the more engaging it can probably be.

ProxPatterns provide some clues for ways to stay engaged with ProxSets.

For more about ProxSets and ProxPatterns, join ProxThink.

Proxri Deal: As you find our relationship rewarding, proxri with the proximity in mind.