Relinking to an old idea: the basic income

“Ideas can and do change the world,” says historian Rutger Bregman, sharing his case for a provocative one: guaranteed basic income. Learn more about the idea’s 500-year history and a forgotten modern experiment where it actually worked — and imagine how much energy and talent we would unleash if we got rid of poverty once and for all.

How progressive campaigns are won in the 21st Century

This is an interesting site innovating social strategy for non-profit campaign organisations. Download their latest free report from


Social change is hard, and harder still if our institutions haven’t adapted to the cultural changes of our networked society and the complexity of the world’s wicked problems.

The Networked Change Report maps out the strategies and practices that made 47 of today’s most successful advocacy campaigns work while so many others failed to create lasting change.

These campaigns achieved success, we found, because of their ability to open up to the new cultural forces which favor open-ness and grassroots power, but also because they framed and strategically directed this power towards concrete policy outcomes. In short, these “directed network campaigns” married old power with new.

With a special focus on directed-network campaigns, the report isolates the strategic and operational approaches that were common to all high performing examples in our case studies.

Simply put, our intention is to accelerate innovations that work. Understanding and implementing these principles and approaches will allow organizers to apply a model that is consistently achieving high impact and force amplification in today’s challenging advocacy landscape.

“The conventional rules of organizing and the practice of building institutions to create change is being replaced by the demand to innovate and spark new connections and a mandate to build platforms that allow for participation and self determination. This report examines and connects the dots between emergent strategies and provides concrete mechanisms to adapt and improve social change efforts.” 

Marisa Franco, Director of the Not1More Deportation Campaign 

The report is available for free download.


Big data’s power is terrifying.

Online information is already being used to manipulate us. We must act now to own the new political technologies before they own us.

Has a digital coup begun? Is big data being used, in the US and the UK, to create personalised political advertising, to bypass our rational minds and alter the way we vote? The short answer is probably not. Or not yet.

A series of terrifying articles suggests that a company called Cambridge Analytica helped to swing both the US election and the EU referendum by mining data from Facebook and using it to predict people’s personalities, then tailoring advertising to their psychological profiles. These reports, originating with the Swiss publication Das Magazin (published in translation by Vice), were clearly written in good faith, but apparently with insufficient diligence. They relied heavily on claims made by Cambridge Analytica that now appear to have been exaggerated. I found the story convincing, until I read the deconstructions by Martin Robbins on Little Atoms, Kendall Taggart on Buzzfeed and Leonid Bershidsky on Bloomberg.

Either we own political technologies, or they will own us. The great potential of big data, big analysis and online forums will be used by us or against us. We must move fast to beat the billionaires.

 Twitter: @GeorgeMonbiot. A fully linked version of this column will be published at

Vertical Videos? Oh yes, you need them

In years gone by, recording and uploading video with the camera held vertically was looked upon with ridicule, producing big black bars either side of the picture and a narrow viewing angle, guaranteed to turn viewers off.

But times are changing. 

ThisSocial Media Today post lays out five reasons why your business should be experimenting with vertical video for social media marketing in 2017, and the potential benefits it can bring.

The key points presented:

1. People naturally hold their phones vertically 

2. People access social media on mobile the most

3. Social networks are vertical video-friendly

4. Vertical video ads convert better

5. Your customers are lazy

Read the full article on Social Media Today.





Are Global Solution Networks an emerging alternative to Governments?

In Ethiopia, Human Rights Watch  works to free bloggers who were arrested on politically motivated charges. Throughout India and Brazil, the nonprofit Medicines for Malaria Venture fights a disease that still kills 500,000 people per year. Far to the north, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute gathers international policymakers and researchers to unknot the tangled ethnic problems tearing at places like Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan.

These highly wired and international organizations, and hundreds more like them, are doing the work once done by governments—working to solve intractable problems that leave countries and populations damaged and unstable. But they’re doing it in a new way that is not dependent on old power structures.

“With many problems getting worse, there is growing urgency to rethink our aging global institutions,” says business strategist and author Don Tapscott. “Now we’re beginning to see new and radically different platforms.” Tapscott, who has written more than 15 books on the global impacts of technology, has even coined a name for a new form of collaborative, web-based problem solvers: global solution networks (GSN).

Read full article on Wired.

A promising process of osmosis picks up speed

Britain’s changing face

This is a highly interesting article about the ethnic diversity of the UK, and how it will develop over the next 15 years. Try and toggle between the two dates in the interactive graphic. You’ll be quite surprised. What impact might this have on your job, business etc? Bear in mind though that this does focus on a selection of council wards, and is not representative of all the UK.

Britain is becoming less segregated. The 2011 census showed that ethnic minorities were moving out of big cities, making smaller towns and suburbs less white. Beyond the hyper-diverse capital there are now three “plural cities”—Luton, Leicester and Slough—where no single ethnic group makes up more than half the population. A new analysis of the census by Stephen Jivraj and Ludi Simpson at Manchester University shows that across the country, ethnic groups are starting to mix more evenly.

In the ten years from 2001, the authors found, all but one of the 407 local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales became more ethnically diverse, according to an index they constructed to measure the local representation of each of the 13 main ethnic groups that are recorded in the census. One reason is that London, once the main landing pad for new immigrants, has become unaffordable. Migrants used to congregate in London boroughs where housing was cheap, such as Croydon, Southwark and Newham. But now even the poorest London neighbourhoods are pricey. In 1995 houses in Newham cost 17% more than the national average; now they cost 33% more.

Read the full article on the Economist website.

Is the internet influencing your decisions for good and for bad?

The internet

Vast. Powerful. A bridge between hearts and minds across the world.

The internet has become integrated into our every waking moment: from work, to rest, and play. Yet how often do we stop to think about how this extraordinary technology is shaping us?

In the last few years, we’ve seen a huge surge in the number of businesses applying behavioural science principles online. Whether through their products or platforms, companies are engineering our experiences in order to influence our decisions and guide our behaviours –  and not always with mutual benefit in mind.

Whether you’re approaching this question from the perspective of a business or an individual, the inescapable truth is that our technology is shaping us, for good and for bad (and everything in between).

The time has come for us to consciously consider what this might mean at the individual, societal and global level.

As a technology, the internet is far too exciting not to feel inspired and exhilarated by what its future may hold. But unless we have choice, unless we are armed with the knowledge of how its unspoken architecture influences and subverts our behaviours, relationships and experiences, the ‘choices’ we make will never really be ours alone.

Since our online environments have become so inextricably linked with the world in which we physically exist, if we are to make the most of ourselves, our actions and our lives, we must first understand the hidden forces that shape them.

Whether we thrive as individuals and communities, or remain suspended by the strings of our virtual puppeteers, it comes down to one simple premise: technology is a tool – and if you want to create something good with it, you must first understand how to use it, so it doesn’t use you.

Humanise the web is an exclusive event on the 18 June 2015, which explores the ethics of online persuasion, the secret life of your data, the hidden world of the dark net and much, much more…