What a gathering! What energy! What a start to a thrilling new adventure. Not normally the words one would associate with a conference, even less so one about economics. However, this was the feeling shared by many that attended the 2017 New Economy and Social Innovation (NESI) Forum in Malaga in April…and there were many, with over 700 attendees from 43 countries spanning the 4 day event.
NESI was conceived as a vehicle for bringing together those who are interested and involved in co-creating a new economy, an economy that aligns itself to nature, has cooperation as a guiding principle for how we work together and has a social purpose to maximise our common wealth.
Individuals representing organisations from across the three sectors of society – private, public, civil were present at NESI. And that was the intention, that it be a vehicle for all actors to engage with the new economy, not simply those with a long history in this space. So while the co-organisers of NESI such as Ouishare, B-Corps, Economy for the Common Good and Transition Towns were all well represented, El Mundo, the Financial Times, the European Parliament and Commission as well as the Malaga county and city councils were also present.
With such a wide variety of participants and interests, it was important to put a marker in the sand at the outset as to what the new economy is/can be and what it stands for. NESI did this through opening the conference with a presentation of the NESI Charter. The Charter – co-created by multiple organisations present at the forum, sets out the goal of a new economy, as well as the values upon which a new economy needs to be built. It recognises a number of different initiatives that match the Charter’s four principles of 1) social purpose, 2) ecological sustainability, 3) collaboration, openness and justice and 4) re-localisation.
All themes commenced with Keynotes and Dialogue for Change with presenters providing both inspiring speeches and engaging debates before participants moved into open space workshops giving the floor to participants to generate the narrative, debate the issues and co-create future actions.
To accommodate the interests of all, and to give voice to all the relevant issues the new economy needs to address, the conference was built around 4 themes.
Reports of the four workshop themes can be found here:
Over 100 actions were suggested from across the workshops and NESI is busy ordering these and looking at way to support bringing those ideas and suggested actions to life. Exciting approaches are emerging for taking forward the actions generated at NESI 2017 as well as taking forward NESI in general. For updates, watch this space!