Now What?! uses virtual and in-person dialogue, and other forms of live engagement, to weave across a broad set of movements for systemic transformation, in domains including social justice, climate and other environmental challenges, indigenous rights, new economic paradigms, new guiding stories and narratives, and new approaches to all major human systems including food, water, energy, government, organizational governance, education, health, community-building, spiritual growth, etc.
The concept of The Great Turning articulated by David Korten and further developed by Joanna Macy is one way to summarize these transformational impulses. This includes the goals of 1) stopping harm and dismantling systems of oppression, 2) developing new paradigm alternatives for all aspects of the human presence on Earth, and 3) shifting consciousness towards the recognition of our essential unity, interdependence, and the sacredness of Earth and all beings. Now What?! also supports a fourth goal of fostering healing, regeneration, and reparations, as well as the decolonizing of thought patterns and behaviors that come from the dominant Western culture's roots in white (and other forms of) supremacy, patriarchy, and a "power-over" mindset.
Now What?! engagements are convened in partnership with conferences, networks, alliances, and organizations that are aligned with the vision of The Great Turning. A collective forms around each iteration to coordinate invitations, communications, hosting/facilitation, collective meaning-making, and a “pop-up gift economy.”
An initial set of Now What?! engagements were prototyped in March and May-June 2019, followed by October-November 2019, March-April 202, October-November 202, and April-May 2021. Each edition lasts six weeks.
The pop-up gift economy accompanying each Now What?! edition provides resources to its conveners, hosts, and other “staff,” and also pays forward the next edition.
The financial component of the gift economy is supported by gifts from participants and people in their networks, as well as contributions from sponsoring organizations. All funding for Now What?! is managed via this Open Collective platform. Net proceeds after the deduction of fees charged by Open Collective and Stripe are allocated as follows:
- 60% to the Collective Members who work to convene and host the current edition of Now What?!
- 20% divided up pro-rata among all those Collective Members who request a "participation dividend."
- 20% paid forward to fund the next edition