Socrates explains that his role is that of a “philosophical midwife”, not to tell people what the truth is, but rather to help them get out the truths that are already inside them. From Socratic encounters came a new way of being in the world - democratic, curious and scientific - that has influenced human societies to this day. Today’s challenges are too complex for individuals to tackle, but a collective approach will succeed where individuals can’t. Our times need a new Socratic method, pitched at the collective rather than an individual; a midwife of collective wisdom, a Socratus rather than Socrates.
One could say Socrates pioneered window shifting in the way he used reason. His arguments were built on a series of “obvious” steps that no one would disagree with but whose conclusions were dramatically counter to accepted belief.
Our goal is similar, we want to shift the way we approach wicked problems in a series of “obvious” moves - units of reasoning, of moral clarity, universal compassion, background design, visceral experiences and solid data - that in combination organically change the way we think and feel about wicked problems.
Socratus believes that unless our minds are not 'wicked', we will not be able to solve these wicked problems. Such a mind is capable of dealing with two aspects. First, the external situation and complexity it entails. And, secondly, the minds that are making sense of this complexity.
Our theory of change is based on unlocking wisdom at the individual and the collective level. We start with individuals who bring a quality of presence to wicked problems; simultaneously, we also bring design and data to unlock the wisdom in others.
We are committed to cultivating individual wisdom while also bringing data, design and viscerality for the development of collective wisdom - our approach to wicked problems depends on fully autonomous “wise” Individuals who work collaboratively with others in the larger ecology of development. Ultimately, we want ecosystems where wisdom is maintained across generations.
We believe we don’t have to ‘solve’ climate change. Instead, we have to build a new society. In India much of that remains to be built, which is both good news and bad news. The question we want to solve for is - How can we ‘write a new India in a climate and citizenship grammar’? Climate Centric Design becomes the grammar of our human and planetary systems, which is to say:
- When building a road, you have to incorporate climate change into its lifecycle just as today you have to take the safety of motorists into account.
- When passing a law, you have to take climate change into account just as today you take the interests of underprivileged communities into account.
- And so on, you get the point - climate change is baked into all the activities of our society just as making a profit is today.
What might that society look like?
Green Up is our shorthand for this approach.
We have developed two products so far to execute our theory of change - Wicked Sprint and Janta Ka Faisla or Citizens Jury