Three Paragraphs on ProxThink

(r] proxthink.com

[Note: This is a new short form press release I’m working on. – David]

Thanks to scientists and philosophers, we know that “it’s all relative” and that “being is about relating.” However, we don’t have a useful, shared framework for thinking and talking about, and making use of, these insights. “I’ve tried to develop something with that potential,” says David Loughry, creator of ProxThink. The developments include some new language, concepts, systems, models and tools that form a framework. The new language and concepts are designed to be general and simple enough for conversation, yet also present diverse possibilities. The perhaps surprising upshot is that this framework for relating helps us relate to and with contexts, networks and proximities. This is timely since social and technological networks, which are growing more common, shift some of the emphasis to contexts and proximities. Further, rather than only being theoretical, this framework can engender enjoyment and the arts; support science, engineering and design; promote sustainability; acknowledge and work with complexity; as well as be highly useful and practical in situations ranging from everyday life to business and markets. Loughry says, “I call this framework ProxThink, short for proximity thinking and relating.”

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. The new thinking structure 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 that are suggested as new standards. The growth model can be combined with some existing technologies, networks, and emerging participatory aspects of the Internet to create a new sustainable proximities approach. This sustainable proximities approach creates a wide variety of possibilities. Some of these include: 1) new ways to collaborate to deal with climate change, 2) alternatives to markets, 3) new ways to solve the intellectual property challenges of a networked world, and 4) sustainable proximity approaches which can complement markets, governments and democracies.

“It’s impossible to convey how these ideas and practices work with each other in a few paragraphs. It took a website and a blog to explain them, and provide tools based on them. I believe the framework and the sustainable proximities approach have potential, and should be explored, tested, and grown,” says Loughry. For a more thorough introduction to ProxThink, see this longer press release. For some practical takeaways and some proposed new standards in each related area, see the following links: 1) Boost innovation and creativity at http://proxthink.com. 2) Use and learn about a different model for downloadable digital content at http://artdown.com. 3) Become part of a new way to approach climate change which leverages social media at http://proxearth.com. 4) Discover more about the sustainable proximities approach at http://proxthink.com/ways/sustainable-proximities.php. 5) Explore the ProxThink growth model, and consider how you might adapt or adopt it for some of your proximities here: http://proxthink.com/brief/intro-growth-model.php.

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

We need some new approaches, now.

(r] proxthink.com

Summary

We need some new approaches to a number of major challenges facing humanity, such as those related to the economy, climate, biodiversity, energy, oceans and global instability. We need them now. I’ve developed an integrated set of ideas, tools, models and standards called ProxThink, that can boost thinking, creativity, growth and sustainability. Part of ProxThink is a new growth model that, when combined with the Internet and related technologies, can foster more sustainable proximities, an approach that applies to many of our major challenges. The combination of growth model processes and network-related technologies can shift some, not all, of our attention and efforts more toward proximities, and away from our personal and professional bottom lines. (This is something we often do in wartime, and a number of our challenges are as serious as war. However, it won’t be so grim, and may be enjoyable and even fun.) In times like these, one thing we must not do is stop trying new things. This is where you come in. I’m looking for users, funders, investors, collaborators and partners. At the very least, join ProxThink.com to support the work. As a bonus, you’ll get some new options for your own creativity and innovation. My minimum goal is to raise a year or two of funding, so I can tell more people about this, and find more people who want to get involved. Even better would be to find people to work with, to actually begin building some more sustainable proximities using this approach.

Full Text

We need some new approaches, now.

We’re in a major economic crisis, now. We’re facing looming climate crisis, now. We’re losing biodiversity, now. We’re in a major energy transition, now. The oceans are in decline, now. We’re at greater risk of global instability, due to job losses and the economy, now. We’re having trouble coordinating and collaborating to deal with each of these, now.

I’ve developed something called ProxThink. ProxThink is short for proximity thinking. ProxThink is an integrated set of ideas, tools, models and standards. Together, they can boost thinking, creativity, growth and sustainability. ProxThink can be applied to a number of major challenges and situations we face, such as those mentioned above, and more.

ProxThink is built upon the idea that being is about relating, combined with a focus on the proximity. The proximity is a useful concept since the meaning of proximity includes nearness in relationship, allowing consideration of any elements related to a situation.

The most integrated and useful outgrowth of ProxThink is what I call a Sustainable Proximities approach, which leverages the ProxThink growth model. I suggest we begin trying it in some proximities. The basic idea is that we start keeping our attention and efforts more on the proximity, and shift some, not all, of our attention and efforts away from our personal and professional bottom lines. (This is something we often do in wartime, and a number of our challenges are as serious as war. However, it won’t be so grim, and may be enjoyable and even fun.) We can do this by combining technology and ProxThink growth model processes. Useful technologies include networks such as the Internet, combined with sensing and database technologies. New processes from the ProxThink growth model can help us coordinate, collaborate and manage resources in new ways that are relevant to proximities. This is critical — we have useful technologies available, and can put them to greater advantage with some new conceptual approaches and new processes which ProxThink and the growth model supply.

The Sustainable Proximities approach is more fully described on this page:
http://proxthink.com/ways/sustainable-proximities.php
To see an example of how the Sustainable Proximities approach can be implemented, see the Climate Change Project called proxEarth.org here:
http://proxearth.org
The Sustainable Proximities and proxEarth approaches can be adapted to a variety of other resources and proximities that we want to make more sustainable.

In times like these, one thing we must not do is stop trying new things. This is where you come in. I’m looking for users, funders, investors, collaborators and partners. At the very least,  join ProxThink.com to support the work. As a bonus, you’ll get some new options for your own creativity and innovation.

There are three membership levels ($4.95/year, $9.95/year, $19.95/year). You get a 30-day free trial, or a special offer for immediate payment. There are also opportunities to relate and contribute in more engaged ways. For yourself and others, if would be great if you join here now.
http://proxthink.com/join/

If you want to be funder, investor, collaborator and partner, or know people who might want to be, please contact me here:
http://proxthink.com/relatepoint/contact.php

I figure the bill to humanity for what I’ve created should be at least $50 million :-). The benefits should be far, far higher than that. Pay up! I’m partly joking of course. But I’ve invested decades of work, thought and care in this effort. Not to mention a lot of money. My minimum goal is to raise a year or two of funding, so I can tell more people about this, and find more people who want to get involved. I can live, and pay down my startup debt, for around $100K per year, so I need around $200K. I’m willing to start a non-profit for the development portion of the work, if I need to, so funders can write off their contributions. I just haven’t had time for that. I’ve been racing to finish the work and the main ProxThink website. The site isn’t perfect, but it’s a strong start. The ideas, however, are quite solid. Even better than telling people about this approach, would be to find people to work with, to actually begin building some more sustainable proximities using this approach.

Please forward this to others who might be interested.

Below are a few optional links to explore.

Thanks for your attention.

——– ( optional links to explore below ) —————

MAIN SITE: Main site for the ProxThink ideas, tools, models and standards.
http://proxthink.com

SUSTAINABILITY: Ways to create more sustainable proximities and resources.
http://proxthink.com/ways/sustainable-proximities.php

CLIMATE CHANGE: A climate change project, including what you can do.
http://proxearth.org

PRESS RELEASE: A good ProxThink introduction and overview.
http://proxthink.com/blog/2008/11/07/proximity-focus-bears-fruit/

BUSINESS/GROWTH MODEL: A new growth model.
http://proxthink.com/brief/intro-growth-model.php

INNOVATION, PROBLEM-SOLVING, CREATIVITY: Boost them.
http://proxthink.com/join/ways-to-use-proxthink.php#Innovation_Problem-Solving_Creativity

INTERNET AND NETWORKS: New ways to leverage them (three links).
http://proxthink.com/blog/2009/02/09/networks-plus-the-proxthink-growth-model/
http://proxthink.com/blog/2008/12/17/networks-nature-and-new-possibilities/
http://proxthink.com/blog/2008/11/23/upside-of-combining-the-proxthink-growth-model-and-the-internet/

FINANCIAL TURMOIL AND MARKETS: Also includes coordination, collaboration and resource management (two links).
http://proxthink.com/blog/2008/11/24/financial-turmoil-is-avoidable/
http://proxthink.com/blog/2008/10/31/financial-turmoil/

DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT: New ways to share downloadable content (music, movies, video, art, books, software, etc.).
http://artdown.com/downloads.html

MY BACKGROUND: A little about me.
http://proxthink.com/relatepoint/david-loughry.php

SHORT HISTORY OF PROXTHINK: A bit about the evolution.
http://proxthink.com/blog/2008/12/15/some-proxthink-history/

——– ( end of optional links to explore ) —————

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

Networks Plus the ProxThink Growth Model

(r] proxthink.com

Before networks, markets were a way for people to relate to proximities. But now, networks can allow us to more directly know about and relate to proximities. Especially networks such as the Internet.

But we need updated ideas, tools, models and standards for relating to proximities via networks. ProxThink provides these. Especially the ProxThink growth model.

Given what we’re facing, such as the effects of global economic linkages, the limits of markets, climate change, loss of biodiversity, and other challenges which relate to proximities, we need to begin putting the ProxThink growth model to use in combination with networks. This Sustainable Proximities proposal is a guide for doing so.

See also Networks, Nature and New Possibilities.

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

Letter of Introduction for ProxThink

Hello,

Consider climate change, conflict, innovation, creativity, problem-solving, financial turmoil, the recession and other challenges. Further, consider the challenges of coordinating, collaborating, managing resources and dealing with change.

For the above challenges, on personal to global scales, more breakthrough solutions, innovations and creations are possible.

They can and do spring from ProxThink.

They can even be more fun.

We’re not missing some solutions, innovations and creations because we don’t want them. But we may be missing them because of our conceptual frameworks. Different concepts can lead to different outcomes.

For years, I’ve focused on the hardest problem I could tackle: to develop new ideas and processes for these and other tough challenges, ranging from the personal to the global. The result is some integrated approaches that make sense from conceptual soundness to practical feasibility. It turns out these general ideas and processes apply to a wide range of situations, from climate change to financial turmoil to business to conversations to parties. Further, I believe some of the approaches are real breakthroughs, and potential paradigm shifts.

Together, the new ideas, tools, models and standards are called ProxThink, short for proximity thinking. They boost thinking, creativity, growth and sustainability in the proximity of situations. You can start using ProxThink quickly and advance as you go. The three primary ProxThink innovations include: 1) a new thinking structure, 2) new patterns and tools for innovation and creativity, and 3) a new sustainable growth model.

The thinking structure provides new conceptual frameworks for dealing with challenges, situations and opportunities. The patterns and tools for innovation and creativity use the new thinking structure, and are actually a huge and useful part of the ProxThink website. Taken together, the patterns and tools provide ways of generating and evaluating ideas for very diverse proximities and situations. Areas to apply the patterns and tools range from ordinary to social, to business, to community, to creative, to theoretical and to physical situations. ProxThink Hints are a group of interactive tools which leverage the patterns and work with words and phrases you enter to generate hint questions that can generate ideas, possibilities, options, consideration and action. The growth model, built with a focus on the proximity, has the potential to be sustainable, flexible, healthy, fun and efficient. “Sustainable,” in addition to the green meaning, includes the idea that diversity and complexity can persist, adapt and change as needed, and in this sense, sustainable also means lively. The growth model has four proximity-focused processes for connecting people, proximity awareness, sustainable agreements, and rewards called “proxri” which relate elements in the proximity.

Why a proximity focus? The proximity is a useful concept since the meaning of proximity includes nearness in relationship, allowing consideration of any elements related to a situation. So the proximity may include people and other elements related to a situation in physical, mental, emotional, temporal, intuitive, technological, historical, social and many other ways.

Our new reality is that we live in an increasingly networked, participatory and transparent world, and that presents both positive and negative possibilities. ProxThink provides ways to think about, relate to, and make more of this new reality. The ProxThink growth model in particular, and the open standards it proposes, provides opportunities to solve, in an evolutionary way, some of the problems that can trip us in this historical transition. Networks shift the focus from elements, such as objects, people, businesses and governments, to proximities. The ProxThink growth model was designed with networks and proximities in mind. The growth model presents opportunities for greater stability as well as greater variety and vitality, leading at the same time to greater sustainability. The growth model allows for the growth of proximities and people by allowing more direct relationships between individuals and proximities, a strategy used successfully by democracy, markets, and other processes. In essence, the idea is that proximities become things people can have relationships with by means of democracy and markets. The growth model provides new more sustainable and integrated, yet flexible, processes by which proximities become things people can have relationships with, and these processes are greatly enhanced by networks. The next two paragraphs go further into this line of thinking, and provide several examples.

The biggest breakthrough ProxThink makes possible is the creation of more sustainable proximities, by combining the Internet (and related technologies) with the ProxThink growth model. Specifically, this combination provides new ways to deal with climate change and evolve democracies, legal systems and market economies. More generally, it can help us coordinate, collaborate, create, innovate, solve problems and manage resources at many different scales. It leverages fundamental opportunities the Internet presents which we are largely failing to exploit. It is well known that we have trouble recognizing large, slow-changing patterns, and our failure to recognize these opportunities is a case in point. Creating sustainable proximities is a key to decreasing conflict, dealing with change, boosting variety and enjoying life. The approach is similar to the give and take of a neighborhood, relationship, friendship or perhaps being a considerate traveler — you want the neighborhood, relationship, friendship or location you’re visiting to survive, thrive, and take care of you as you take care of it. I believe we need to aggressively move in this direction to create many more sustainable proximities, and specifically to deal with climate change. Competition and markets work for many situations, but for big challenges we face together, such as climate change, and other challenges such as those brought about by our greater connections due to networks, we need some better ways to coordinate and collaborate. Fortunately, networks are part of the solution as well, and the ProxThink growth model can help us leverage the opportunities presented by networks.

I’ve started several sustainable proximities projects which combine the growth model and the Internet. I’m encouraging other people to adopt and adapt the open standards of this approach. The projects I’ve begun include: 1) new proxri-based growth models for websites and blogs; 2) the artdown downloadable content proposal for digital content such as music, movies, video, art, books and software; 3) consideration of how this approach relates to financial turmoil and markets and how for some proximities financial turmoil is avoidable; and 4) the proxEarth climate change project, which includes a general proposal and also things you can do right now if you have a website, blog, or use social software sites, allowing us to collaborate globally across different sites and services via some global collaboration standards related to climate change. Each of these four are potential game-changers. I want to keep growing each of them, and have many other projects for sustainable proximities in mind. Next up, we should: 1) start some sustainable proximities related to renewable energy, and 2) continue development of the legal and technological infrastructure needed for growth model processes. Not every proximity may be appropriate for this approach. But for those which are, I believe it can be a win/win strategy for people involved, allowing a fuller range of voluntary and enjoyable engagement, while meeting needs at the same time. If you would like to be involved in some projects and trials which use the sustainable proximities approach, join ProxThink, as we will be updating members on opportunities and progress.

With the links after the end of this letter, you can discover ways to use and explore ProxThink, many examples, different perspectives on ProxThink, and the potential of ProxThink. Join ProxThink and try it out. With our proxri-based membership, it is free to sign-up.

I want as many people as possible to take advantage of ProxThink, which is designed to be a sustainable resource. I’m raising funds for marketing and outreach, to pay off some startup debt, and to continue building more sustainable proximities. My fundraising goal is $250,000, and I have ongoing needs of about $5,000 a month on average. I need $4,500 by late December to cover January expenses, from some combination of fundraising, services and the ProxThink website. See our service offerings here, and please let others know about them as appropriate. I may also be eligible for some grants, but those will take time, and I have some immediate needs now. Over the course of more than 30 years, I’ve invested over $2 million in terms of foregone opportunities, and currently have over $71,000 in startup debt because of ProxThink. To develop practical new approaches to tough global problems, these numbers are trivial, but to continue I need partners, collaborators, funders and contributors.

If you are asking why did I build up that much startup debt, consider that future generations will be asking why did we wait so long to do anything serious about climate change? My passionate, urgent priority has been to develop integrated new approaches for challenges like climate change and other major problems.

I’d like you to consider and then make a contribution which relates elements in our combined proximity (yours, mine, the world at large and the future). Non-financial contributions, rewards, resources, services, connections, referrals, opportunities, links, telling others and so on can also make a big difference. In the ProxThink growth model, a “proxri” is a reward which relates elements in the proximity, so you will be rewarding with a proxri. In a sense, you are not making a donation or an investment, but rather helping grow, in a neighborly way, the proximity of a sustainable resource. Let’s build many more sustainable proximities together. It could even be a lot of fun. The ProxThink site has Proxri Now links for online contributions via PayPal. Although I need some large proxri to survive and thrive, if you’re unsure what to do, reward with the suggested minimum proxri for your anticipated use and benefits, plus some bonus for what I’ve already done so far. Consider the many challenging global situations we face. The ProxThink ideas, tools, models and standards can move mountains, but only if they become more widely used. The next critical steps are marketing, outreach and getting the word out. These are going to take more proxri than I have now. If you think ProxThink has potential, whatever you can do to keep it alive and thriving would be great. You can proxri here now. Thanks!

If you know someone who might be interested in ProxThink, please let them know. Tell them about this page with the bookmark button below. Here’s a list of people we want to reach. According to an old African proverb: “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

I’m open to your comments or questions. You might find some answers in the links below. Otherwise, please contact me.

Thank you very much,
David Loughry

Key Links for Exploration

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

Financial Turmoil

(r] proxthink.com

How does ProxThink relate to our current financial turmoil? I’ve noticed three problems with financial markets. The problems concern aspects of financial decisions, financial relationships, and the proximities of financial markets. I’ve also noticed these three problems are often present in other kinds of markets. I’ll mention possible solutions near the end of this post.

I think financial markets benefit from the strengths of diversity in some ways but not in others, which may increase turmoil and decrease sustainability. At first, you may think these three problems seem obvious or unavoidable, and that the observations seem economically naive, but please try a proximities point of view, and consider whether some new and useful light is shed on the issues.

One problem with financial markets is that although money relates to diverse things and people, in contrast many financial decisions relate only to whether a decision will be profitable, not how a decision will relate to the proximities of the specific people involved, how other non-financial solutions might relate to their proximities, or how the decision will enhance diversity and sustainability. There are limits to the single characteristic of profitability, just as there are limits to most elements and pieces of information.

Another problem with financial markets is it is hard to relate to the proximity directly, since most financial relationships must occur between financial players themselves rather than between financial players and the proximity of financial markets in general. Sustainability, diversity, and liveliness seem to be enhanced when elements, relationships and proximities can each relate to each other.

A third problem is that global financial markets pretty much require participants to largely share one dominant proximity, when from a proximity perspective they have multiple proximities which may overlap in some ways but differ greatly in other ways. These multiple proximities probably should and could be related more effectively.

As an alternative to, or enhancement for, some proximities related to financial markets as well as other kinds of markets, the ProxThink growth model combined with the Internet may address some of these problems while more fully leveraging the strengths of diversity. The Internet and related technologies present new opportunities to more directly relate to proximities. These are opportunities I don’t think we’ve fully grasped yet. With the connections and proximity awareness the web can provide, we have the potential to relate to some proximities more fully and directly than before the web existed. The ProxThink growth model provides a framework for relating to proximities with the web, supporting sustainability, diversity and liveliness. This approach can also solve some intellectual property and copyright problems the Internet helped create.

For proximities in which it is appropriate, the growth model and web combination may be more stable over time than markets, and also more dynamic, since diversity, complexity, sustainability and liveliness are enhanced and encouraged by the growth model. Given the way ProxThink and the growth model relate to proximities, even transitions to using the growth model with the web can be engaging and lively.

Of course, financial markets can’t be quickly transitioned to using the growth model on a widespread basis. However, there are ways we might begin. Briefly, the growth model has processes for connecting with people (RelatePoints), proximity awareness (ProxMonitors), sustainable agreements (Vadi Agreements) and rewards which relate elements in the proximity (proxri). We might start with parts of financial markets, in which the use of ProxMonitors of various scope might allow more direct relationships with proximities, as well as allow greater consideration of a range of proximities related to financial decisions and arrangements. ProxMonitors with a large scope might make more transparent certain variables associated with risk or financial strength or other factors, not just for a few organizations but in proximities more generally, which might allow more trust and less fear among market players. ProxMonitors with more narrow scope might show more dimensions of information, especially non-financial information, about market players, to allow creative possibilities to emerge and innovative proxri to be used. In addition, ProxMonitors could show actual (non-financial) problems that need to be solved and actions that need to be done, which people might like to do as their proxri for the proximity. Given the willingness of people to contribute work, ideas and comments on and via the Internet in web 2.0 kinds of ways, this probably isn’t so far-fetched. Gradually, with greater implementation of the growth model in combination with the web, a focus on revenues and costs might shift to a focus on proximities, ProxMonitors, proxri and relationships, at least for some proximities. This might work for financial markets as well as other kinds of markets.

Any such transitions will probably be remarkably slow, and will probably occur for only some proximities. But we should probably keep our options open, and be willing to try and test new approaches. We should probably not assume markets are perfect, or that markets won’t evolve. They’ve certainly already evolved from simple bartering. Computer trading and open source practices are only two recent evolutions. We should pay attention to opportunities that new technologies create. Communication networks and the Internet may be evolving such that getting better at relating to proximities may be less of an option, yet also more feasible with some new approaches. Combining the Internet with the ProxThink growth model may be one of those approaches.

For some perspectives on related issues, see Sustainable Proximities.

Learn more about the ProxThink growth model here.

Other proximities in which to begin trying the growth model and web combination might include:

  1. Proximities in which there are market failures or negative externalities, such as downloadable content or pollution and climate change.
  2. Proximities which allow quick implementation and experimentation, such as websites, blogs and short-term projects.
  3. Regional and local projects in which people want to get something done that relates specifically to their area, and also build their sense of community, get more engaged and have some fun.

For other examples of the ProxThink growth model in combination with the web, see these efforts:

  • The Artsdown proposal for downloadable content (music, movies, art, books, software, etc.) includes a Proxri Deal and standards for creators as well as fans and users of downloadable content, and can be found at artsdown.org (http://artsdown.org).
  • My personal blog at loughry.com (http://loughry.com)
  • The proxri-based membership approach on the ProxThink site (http://proxthink.com/join/proxri-membership.php)
  • A climate change project, called Proxearth, lays out a proposal for using the ProxThink growth model to address what are perhaps some of our greatest areas of need regarding climate change, which may be coordination and collaboration at local, regional and global scales. The project can be found at Proxearth.org (http://proxearth.org), and includes things you can do right now if you have a website, blog, or use social sites/apps.

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

Shifting Your Attention

(r] proxthink.com

You need to shift your attention between elements, relationships and the proximity. An over-emphasis on any one of these can be less effective.

This is also true when thinking about yourself. Sometimes see yourself as an element, sometimes a relationship or relationships, and sometimes either as a proximity or as part of your proximity. Then shift again.

Sometimes it’s possible to take two or three of these perspectives at once. Then shift again.

To find out more about what I mean by elements, relationships and the proximity, join ProxThink.com.

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