A conversation — Chicago Chamber of Commons


Here’s an intriguing idea I’d like you to join me in exploring.

The idea is to create a Chicago Chamber of the Commons.

The Chicago Chamber of the Commons recognizes, supports and highlights the green shoots of Chicago’s budding Generative Economy.

We see signs of it everywhere but we’ve not been using a framework to understand what we are seeing so we can better support it.

In her book, “Owning our Future,” Marjorie Kelly discusses the Generative Economy.

“It’s a corner of the economy (hopefully some day much more) that’s not designed for the extraction of maximum financial wealth. Its purpose is to create the conditions for life. It does this through its normal functioning, because of the way it’s designed, the way it’s owned.”

For me, the Generative Economy is fueled by compassion, enables material and happiness conditions for living a good life and honors our interdependence with the global environment.  Think sustainable generative systems. The focus is on the triple bottom line — the accounting framework that favors three parts: social, environmental (or ecological) and financial, or what’s known as the three Ps: people, planet and profit.

In her book, Thrivability, friend and colleague Jean Russell points to hopeful  green shoots for a new economic way forward – these include solutions-based media, hybrid social purpose organizations, impact investing, maker spaces, slow food and slow money, socially responsible investing , the go-local movement and collaborative housing models.

The concept of the Chamber of Commons emerges from the work of Michel Bauwens and his p2p Foundation. I was introduced to Bauwens and several hopeful peer-to-peer organizations at Cooperation2015, a convening at the Institute of Cultural Affairs in February.  You can learn more about that day.  Bauwen’s work on peer-to-peer networking says new structures and philosophies in many areas of human interaction have been inspired by the peer-to-peer networking enabled by the Internet. Think of Napster as an originator. Enabled in this way, we are now transitioning to a Social Knowledge Economy. He lays out the framework here.

In a nutshell here’s what ‘s emerging.

“The old way is this. Here’s a problem. We need resources to solve that problem. We create a hierarchy to direct resources at the problem,” Bauwens says.

“Here’s another way.  There are enough people in the world with time, skills and energy who would be willing to work to solve that problem.  The new solution is to create a commons and a platform that allows people to self aggregate and collaborate to solve that problem. “

Forming around these Commons is an entire economy created by new types of businesses engaged in market activities, but in an ethical way. These include fair trade organizations, solidarity organizations, B corps and social entrepreneurs, Bauwens said.

We are seeing the Commons approach everywhere.  Enabled by the Web and technology it is tumbling deeply entrenched hierarchies in all sectors worldwide. The Chamber of Commons and ideas forming around the Generative Economy pinged with me in part because they feel connected to the ideas I have been floating since 2009 for a crowdfunded newsroom.

You might also want to check out the Capital Institute, which takes a similar holistic approach and has laid out a framework it calls the Regenerative Economy.

To get this conversation started, I and co-host Terry Edlin, founder of New Communities Vision, whose passion is housing alternatives, are inviting all interested parties to join us May 12 for a conversation about establishing a Chicago Chamber of Commons at the Red Lion Lincoln Square. We’re holding our conversation there because the owner is deeply committed to community and thriving local businesses are a big part of the equation.

It’s part of the Chicago Community Trust’s 100th Anniversary 0n the Table 2015 event. The time is ripe to have this important conversation and we hope you’ll join us.

Here’s my reading shelf of affinity titles for this event and onward. Read along with me, won’t you?  Let’s learn together what a Chicago Chamber of Commons might look like.

Deep Economy by Bill McKibben

Natural Capitalism by Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins and L. Hunter Lovins

Owning our Future by Marjorie Kelly

PtoP and Human Evolution by Michel Bauwens

Slow Money by Woody Tasch

Staying Alive by Vanadan Shiva

The Mission Driven Venture by Marc Lane

Thrivability by Jean Russell

and for fun, I’ll add some great teachings from a wonderful Tibetan Buddhist teacher Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, The Joy of Living.

I and Terry Edlin are co-hosting an On the Table discussion inspired by Michel Bauwens’ Cooperation 2015 workshop on the peer2peer economy.  Our #OnTheTable Discussion topic is the Chamber of  Commons

At this conversation, we’re holding space to explore the creation of a Chicago Chamber of Commons and other ways to amplify the work of those in the peer2peer economy here in Chicago. We hope that you will join us. Using the #OntheTable2015 as a platform to discuss the Chamber of Commons melds the  ideas that community discussions spawn energy and interesting ideas.

We will submit notes of our discussion to the Chicago Community Trust for input into their programming for the year, the Chicago Community Trust’s 100th anniversary! Last year, some hosts were invited to speak at Chicago Ideas Week. Our goal in making this event part of On the Table is to heighten visibility AND to put the idea on the table with a general influential public. Who knows what could happen?

We are sending this invitation separately from CCT’s online interface and hope that signing up isn’t too complicated. If it seems so, please direct questions to either Sally (SallyDuros@gmail.com) or Terry (terry@newcommunityvision.coop).

An easy way to sign up, click as instructed: “We hope you will join us. Please click here to learn more about our event and please RSVP at your earliest convenience.”


Head on over to Meet Sally Duros http://www.onthetable.com/meet-sally-duros/  Sign Up from the drop down at the top. It will ask for your name and email address. Look for the event at the Red Lion Lincoln Square and mark that you will be attending.

CCT’s boilerplate is: That day and evening, thousands of Chicago-area residents – from Alsip to Zion – will pull up a chair at gatherings like ours to discuss the future of our communities while sharing a meal together. We will be one of thousands of locations across the Chicago region hosting similar events where community residents from all ages and backgrounds will come together to put real issues and solutions “on the table” and share their commitments to helping shape our collective future.

Date:                                     Tuesday, May 12

Time:                                     6 p.m.

Location:                              Red Lion Lincoln Square, 4749 N Rockwell, street parking

Location Details:               Free. Food is available for purchase but it is not required. Please don’t bring in food from the outside however.

Host email:  SallyDuros@gmail.com or terry@newcommunityvision.coop


We hope you will join us. Please click here to learn more about our event and please RSVP at your earliest convenience.

If you are unable to attend but want to be on the list of people to follow up with, please click here.


Sally Duros, Independent Journalist  | Terry Edlin, Healing the world, one household at a time

Your last f***able day— time to wax your beard!

In this clip from Inside Amy Schumer, Schumer comes upon Tina Fey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Patricia Arquette celebrating Julia’s “Last f***able day.” It’s meant to skewer Hollywood but yeah, it’s a  a mirror of our culture at large. Since it’s about all of us let’s toast and chug  the melted ice cream, ladies!

LOVE this.

For those engaged in the conversation about social change through culture change or political change here’s your answer. Do you want to listen to a bunch of males mutter about what they will think about doing for you if you put them in office or do you want to watch this and share with your friends and heighten awareness of the unspoken belief systems that  keep women down.

Art is a way forward!

Yes, we need political change and let’s work for that but also as important, perhaps more important let’s prime the culture for change with smart commentary like this.

Your digital brand — journalism ethics

acts of journalism

Committing acts of journalism—  What’s that?

The Web and digital technology have made it possible for anyone to commit an act of journalism.

Today, more people than ever are participating in journalism. People are breaking news on Twitter, covering their communities on Facebook, livestreaming, distributing news via email and writing in-depth blogs on issues of civic and community significance. Some of these people are what we’d consider “traditional” journalists working on new platforms, but many are not. — Josh Stearns, when working at The Free Press. Read the Free Press Report on defining press freedom in the digital age.

That’s why as an independent journalist it’s important that you hard-wire certain attributes into your brand from the beginning.

Among others, these include:

These attributes will become increasingly important if news outlets evolve into a platform for our talent as some of us are predicting.

Continue reading Your digital brand — journalism ethics

Your digital brand 101 — identity as journalist

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you’re doing it.

acts of journalism
When your brand and your purpose are aligned, you have passion working to your advantage, pulling you forward and drawing others to you.

Getting started on your brand
If you haven’t  established a strong Web presence yet, it’s a great time to get started.  So many tools are available now to make it easy to establish your digital brand and identity as journalist.  In addition, there’s a community of  helpful people on the Web to assist. The biggest challenges these days for building your digital brand and identity as a journalist is doing the work upfront to identify your brand attributes — what you want to be known for, your beat and niche as well as the audience for your niche.

Your brand is about what THEY think

“It’s an editors job to reduce what a readers brain has to wrestle with,” Nick Bilton in his book, “I live in the future & here’s how it works”

That’s the work of your brand. It’s a short cut to the identity that you are co-creating with your audience.

A cautionary tale
Andrew Sullivan is an early blogger, a former New Republic editor – who started his blog, the Dish in 2000. Because his brand as a political commentator had earned him a following at an existing platform, The New Republic, Sullivan’s persona was solidly established when the Dish was hosted by TIME, The Atlantic and finally, The Daily Beast. Continue reading Your digital brand 101 — identity as journalist

Prezi – Your digital brand as a journalist 101

screen one

Here’s a link to the Prezi.

Here’s the transcript.
Your digital brand as a journalist: Showcase your strengths, find your niche to stand out online authentically

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Maya Angelou

That is really what a brand is about – how you make people feel. In real life and online, your brand is how people feel about you.

Steve Jobs hated the word “branding” but his brand as a creative perfectionist was iconic . The brand he created, Apple, continues to reflect his core attributes – smart, creative, genius .

To get started
Develop  one word or a phrase —  enthusiastic, passionate, energetic, confident — to express the best of who you are. Express that in all you do and say online and Continue reading Prezi – Your digital brand as a journalist 101

Branding on the Web 101 for Working Journalists

savingsChicago journalists, join me for a conversation about practical ways to move your journalism career online by building a personal brand and using the social Web.
The first step to getting found on the Web is knowing who you are and what you have to offer that is unique to you. These days, this expression of our identity, this knowing who you are, is called our “personal brand.” It’s basically how the world experiences us. Visit our event page on Facebook. 

About Working Journalists

Working Journalists is a start up by the Chicago Newspaper Guild. Membership is Continue reading Branding on the Web 101 for Working Journalists