FWC Philosophy and its logo
The static version of the logo of Future Worlds Center consists of a four multi-centered, overlapping and interconnected circles. The animation reveals that the circles are not isolated, but they convey a dynamic and interlinked system that can take different forms, like the form of a human, a bee, a butterfly, a duck, a fish or a heart. The circles in our logo resemble the interlinked rings used by Indians in hoop dance, where each of the interlinked hoops represent a different created realm ... Two Leggeds, Four Leggeds, Swimming People, etc. According to the legend, hoop dance, inspired by the movements of animals and nature had much to teach the humans about values and relationships like loyalty, kindness and friendship in the realms of the never-ending circles of life. Our logo reflects both the modus operandi of the organization (i.e. living in “multiple” worlds) and the fact that its aims, projects and people are also overlapping, interconnected and multi-centered. Therefore, even our logo reflects the understanding that our modern world requires us to work:
• In multicultural environments and
• In virtual vs. physical environments
The Surfing Metaphor
Future Worlds Center's philosophy usually apples the surfing metaphor to describe how the organization positions its projects. Just like a surfer rides a surfboard on the crest and face of a wave, we are always a little ahead of the others but not too far ahead; we are also not where the wave breaks and becomes violent. In other words, Future Worlds Center is not an activist organization but an organization that uses intelligence, skills, planning and appropriate tools to create opportunities for positive social transformations. Even though we use research to scientifically ground our actions, the focus is in the chronological vicinity of a few years and rarely too far ahead. The reason is to be able to communicate our values and goals with the wider possible communities of stakeholders.
Living in "Multiple" Worlds
The Future Worlds Center is an excellent example of an organization that operates in multiple worlds that co-exist. From the point of view of our research activities, many projects focus on the interplay between real and virtual worlds. For example, we are interested on the marriage of the human brain with modern technology and the repercussions for humanity. Our projects focus in the study of virtual worlds, children’s’ behaviours and attitudes, new complex forms of bullying and harassment, the effects on attention, learning and development in general. From the social angle point of view, Future Worlds Center promotes the just implementation of human rights, the Millennium Development Goals, multiculturalism and international development. We seek to raise awareness and advocate for implementation of humanistic values and ideals such as understanding, tolerance, forgiveness and peaceful co-existence. Specific projects range from supporting vulnerable social groups, such as refugees and torture victims, to awareness raising actions promoting multiculturalism and Global Education.
Interaction of Projects
At Future Worlds Center projects operate in tandem. They do not only share people, but they also share values, aims, methodologies, and tools. The intermingling of people's ideas, knowledge and expertise is what attracts visiting scholars, social entrepreneurs, and interns from around the world to join FWC.
All our associates become experts in using professional software for the development, design, and communication of project management systems. At the same time, everybody at FWC is encouraged to become an expert in the structured dialogue process. With Prof Emeritus Aleco Christakis on the Board, Future Worlds Center is an international leader not only in the application of the structured dialogic design process, but also in its continuing scientific expansion. Our current focus is on developing the theory and tools to enable a scale-up that will engage up to 1000 people in a constructive dialogue that will lead to a consensus and consequently, to a large-scale social transformation.
Distributed Project Participation
Future Worlds Center associates belong to multiple “circles” (i.e. projects) at the same time. We use the term “Distributed Project Participation” to describe this process. People's individual contributions and responsibilities in each project can vary intensity. Projects have different sizes and pursposes. Each project has one coordinator (upper semi-circle in each project) and several members, who can also be external associates. In addition, every associate must commit a percentage of their effort to working on logistics. Approximately 10% of one’s time should be available “on demand” to those coordinating projects. Furthermore, eveybody is involved in securing funds and writing new applications. Again, approximately 10% of one’s time needs to be invested on what we call the “Distributed Organizational Responsibilities” principle.
Distributed Sources of Income
Projects may be funded or not. Money is not the criterion for supporting a project, but the interests of our associates and their compatibility with our philosophy. Usually, new associates negotiate their participation in at least 3 main projects: a primary, a secondary and a minor. In most cases, either the primary or the secondary project is the one that also provides for the income. Ideally, the two primary projects are funded, so that flexibility and stability can be offered to the individual. However, FWC aims to keep money issues separate from projects. In other words, funding options do not dictate our orientation and activities. This is called the “Tasks-money Separation" principle. An easy-to-understand explanation of this principle is that new associates are trusted funds that others have secured before them. In the realm of practical ethics, they are then expected to “pay back” the “gift” in three different ways:
• Secure new funds to support the continuation of activities
• Create analogous opportunities for others to join later
• Support themselves by securing funding and creating further work options
Principle of Organization-wide Awareness
Everybody in the organization shares a vision for a better world and that social transformation begins from within a system. People are meant to help each other in the implementation of projects, share successes, recognition, and satisfaction. In practical terms, this requires people to stay in touch with the whole of the organization, participate in each other’s activities and projects and consider developing new projects at the inteface of their mutual interests.