At a Recent Changes Camp in Portland Oregon February 2-4, 2007, I had a powerful two-hour conversation with Jair. I have not stayed connected to him, but in that conversation he mentioned the word thrivability. And it took hold of me for several reasons. Jair and I share a connection to Tom Munnecke, and I had been engaged in conversations with Tom on Omidyar.net community. Tom wrote about solution-focus, positive deviance and other ideas that informed my concepts of thrivability. So I chewed and chewed on the idea, starting a blog to track my explorations in January of 2008.
Our definition of thrivability evolved from that blog. Because this was so alive for me, I would talk with people wherever I went about it. It is also strongly informed by the three years of conversations on Omidyar.net. I came to the Omidyar.net space as a writer focused on philanthropy, but while there I learned about such a wide variety of elements of social benefit work. I let my curiosity lead me, and the great wisdom of many there guide me. So, for me, thrivability is the umbella that holds all of these efforts - it speaks to the unified whole of our efforts and the world those efforts aspires to.
In the fall of 2008, Christine Egger (from Social Actions) and I started discussing the idea of a thrivability conference. We decided not to pursue it yet, but the kernal of the idea of bringing people together to share their wisdom about being and acting thrivable persisted for me. In January 2009, I took several weeks to focus on building something around thrivability. I posted giant sheets of paper around my space, and I listed values and core innovations. Frank Hamilton, Justin Lowell-Bellew, and Lewis Hoffman contributed significantly to this process. At that time, I wanted to do video and audiocasts of conversations with the thought leaders I was meeting with, so I could share that with others.
Through twitter, I found a partner who really resonated with the concept, David Hodgson. Or he found me. David has a Green MBA from Dominican, grounding him in both the consciousness as well as green components of thrivability. For three or four months, we traveled between Chicago and San Francisco, drawing, talking, exploring, refining. David and I have different ideas about how our talents can further this work, and we work in parallel now. By June 09, I was clear about the space I wanted to create, but I hadn't figured out what business model would support the time and energy necessary to make it successsful. I gathered a circle of champions who strive for a thrivable world.
July 2009 brought the first call of the Champions for a Thrivable World together. Arthur Brock, Evonne Heyning, Gil Friend, Jerry Michalski, Jill Palermo, Ken Homer, Kevin Clark, Kevin Jones, Tracy Gary, Steve Crandell, Valdis Krebs, and I spoke for an hour. With their involvement and encouragement, thrivable.org took on a whole new level of energy. And that is what we are building from today. We are testing out a deck of cards for exploring thrivability, creating a membership organization for others committed to a thrivable world, and collaboratively refining what we collectively mean when we talk and act from thrivable values and principles.