SPEC
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Introduction

Make the world work for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or disadvantage of anyone.

Richard Buckminster Fuller
The Sustainable Progress and Equality Collective (SPEC) is an open learning organization that helps individuals and communities become catalysts for positive change. SPEC's mission is to empower individuals to become globally-minded change agents by helping them learn the essential skills required to build sustainable careers and make a positive impact in their communities. We aim to shape the next generation of leaders who will need to tackle the complex challenges facing society. SPEC achieves this aim through research, mentorship, training, work experience, service-learning, and events for people from underrepresented backgrounds, underserved communities, non-traditional backgrounds, and allies to the causes of environmental sustainability and social justice.

Background

SPEC was founded in June 2020 in response to the challenges of the COVID19 pandemic and social unrest facing communities across the United States. Its co-founders, Dr. Rhianna Rogers and Joe Torreggiani, connected online when Joe posted on social media, offering mentorship, training, and micro-loans to individuals from underrepresented groups. Dr. Rogers reached out about collaborating, and the two immediately discovered a shared passion for environmental and social justice. They decided to spontaneously cooperate and establish SPEC to help members of their communities learn new skills, build careers, and make an impact during this time of crisis and uncertainty.

Our Vision

SPEC takes inspiration from the work of the renowned 20th century inventor and visionary Richard Buckminster Fuller. Fuller dedicated his life to creating systems and technologies that would enable people to live healthy and productive lives. Fuller viewed problems from a global perspective. He argued that society can't tackle global challenges with piecemeal approaches to problem solving. His contention was that only a systems approaches that takes the whole world in account can address the complex problems facing humanity. [1]

The World Game: Integrative Resource Utilization Planning Tool

In the 1960's, Fuller proposed was he called the "World Game", which was a kind of logistics training exercise and simulation intended to facilitate a "comprehensive, anticipatory, design science approach to the problems of the world." [1] Fuller envisioned the world game as a place where individuals or teams of people cooperated to:

make the world work for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or disadvantage of anyone.

In 1971, Fuller authored a paper titled The World Game: Integrative Resource Utilization Planning Tool, in which he proposed an alternative to military war games, where groups of players work cooperatively to create peaceful and sustainable solutions to complex problems such as uneven distribution of global resources and overpopulation. The world game required players to replace their nation-state based perspectives with a more holistic worldview. To Fuller the entire world was the most relevant unit of analysis, not the city, state or nation. Players would analyze information and data collected on all of the world's resources and industries, and use the knowledge they gained to develop solutions to global problems.

Making The World Game Accessible To Everyone

The use of the word "game" says a lot about Fuller's approach to governance and social problem solving. Fuller chose to call his vision a "game" because he wanted it to be accessible to everyone. The world game was intended to be a serious tool for change, but Fuller didn't want it to only benefit the elite few who he believed were "running the show." [1] In this sense, Fuller's vision for the world game was profoundly emancipatory.
Making the world game accessible to everyone meant widely disseminating its findings to the masses through a free press. Fuller believed this would lead to a "ground-swell" of public review and acceptance of sustainable solutions to challenges facing society. This movement would ultimately lead to governments adopting the democratic values and open solutions developed by the world game. [1] During Fuller's time, many considered his visions of change to be naive and untenable. However, they were constrained by only seeing the world as it was when Fuller was proposing his ideas (in the 1960s).

Ahead Of Its Time

The world game needed a comprehensive database that could provide players with better information and data than their political counterparts. This inventory of the world's vital statistics would give players knowledge of where everything was located and all relevant quantities and qualities. From "minerals to manufactured goods and services, to humans and their unmet needs as well as capabilities," the world game required critical information about the current state of the world to be continuously monitored and streamed into a "game room" in real-time. [1] Unfortunately, none of these technologies existed when Fuller began talking about the world game. He didn't live long enough to see the advent of personal computers, 24-hour news cycle, the Internet, supercomputers, and the zettabytes of data being generated by society today.

The Future is Now

At SPEC, we believe that the technologies needed to realize Fuller's vision exist today. Modern computers enable distributed collaboration, information processing, and data analysis capabilities Bucky only could have dreamed of. We can use these technologies to build sustainable systems of living and working. However, advanced technologies alone won't make Fuller's vision for the world a reality.
We will need to adopt a radically transparent and equitable approach to building organizations and communities. SPEC must foster participation and action by members of the communities affected by its work. By working alongside underserved communities and uplifting unheard voices, SPEC's collective intelligence and collaborative network will continue grow. Only then will we be able to collaborative innovate to create solutions that truly make the world work for all people and the planet.

Core Values

Organizations, companies or individuals without core values are exactly like a boat without an anchor; it can be easy tossed to and fro following any direction the wind blows.

Dr. Lucas D. Shallua
The Sustainable Progress and Equality Collective (SPEC) was founded when two like-minded individuals, with a shared mission of making the world a better place, connected and decided to spontaneously cooperate to respond to the challenges facing their communities. SPEC's founders established the collective based on the core values of sustainability, progress, and equality. They chose these values, because combined they provide a recipe for building organizations that are radically transparent, sustainable, and equitable. The world is constantly changing and SPEC will continuously evolve to adapt, incorporating the voices and collective knowledge of its members.
How we interpret and formalize our core values and operating principles will need to be regularly revisited and updated to reflect the organization's goals, user feedback, and community contributions. To learn more about about SPEC's Core Values click the link below.

Our Work

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

Richard Buckminster Fuller
We are developing a model for building radically transparent, equitable, and sustainable organizations and communities. SPEC is only a year old, but we've already accomplished a lot!
    Provided credit-bearing internships or paid work experiences
    Incubated and supported several community partnerships focused on addressing issues of inequity in the US and abroad
    Hosted a series of panel discussions and deliberative conversations designed to provide safe and brave spaces to address critical issues
    Launched the Journal of Engaged Research
    Sponsored an virtual LGBTQIA+ art gallery
    Developed the SPEC Learning platform and piloted a free micro-credential course
    Contributed to open source software and sustainability initiatives
Hear from some of our contributors about their experience working at SPEC.

Our Team

SPEC is run by a small and dedicated core team of part-time contributors and volunteers. We come from difference social identities, backgrounds, and perspectives. Our team is 100% distributed and composed of part-time contributors and volunteers. SPEC's co-founders and steering committee work entirely on a volunteer basis, have no financial stake in the collective, and do not receive compensation in any form.

Our Collective

SPEC is organized as an open collective, a collaborative group that has a shared mission, which raises and spends funds transparently to achieve goals. SPEC is hosted on Open Collective, an online funding platform that provides groups with the tools for raising and sharing their finances in full transparency. The platform makes all contributions and expenses visible to the public. SPEC's budget and expenses can be found on its Open Collective page.
SPEC is fiscally sponsored by the Open Collective Foundation 501(c)(3) (OCF), which allows it to operate without legally incorporating, and accept tax deductible donations, and pay contributors. OCF's mission is to empower impact-focused groups working on increasing access to educational resources and training, creating a positive social impact, and fostering civic participation within cities and communities.
OCF is creating a legal, financial, and technical commons for a solidarity economy, economic activities that prioritize social profitability instead of purely financial profits. A distinguishing characteristic of solidarity economy entities is the participatory and democratic nature of their governance in decision-making processes. Active participation of all people involved in decision-making contributes to community empowerment.

Become a contributor!

SPEC is always looking for highly dedicated contributors who have an interest in and passion for sustainability, social justice, and community development. Help us build a world that works for everyone and protect the planet! If you are interested in becoming a researcher or contributor at SPEC please email us at [email protected].
The more information about your research interests, areas expertise, and learning objectives the better. Please attach or link any helpful information about you including your resume, CV, cover letter, and portfolio. You can also review on onboarding documentation to familiarize yourself with SPEC processes and procedures.

References

Last modified 10d ago