Wayfinders Cooperative: Local Economics

WAYFINDERS COOPERATIVE ® | Supporting Small Businesses | Often small businesses are owned and operated by family members; a cost efficient way to run and sustain the cash flow during the start-up phase. Small business pay close attention to the essentials, meaning operating costs; rent, employee wages, overall  management, inventory, marketing, bookkeeping, accounting and valued-added services. Depending the nature of the endeavour, factors impacting the viability of a small business range from its own financial capacity, location, business – community profile, special events and weather.

Let’s say a small restaurant for instance; any increase in the price of commodities, food, utilities, fuel, maintenance, labour minimum wage would have an immediate impact in the livelihood of its owners. Then; there is the always changing consumer attitude, behaviour, and overall spending habits. Whether goods or services, small business owners rely on consumers and their choice-patronage. Then, there is the relational story, the opportunity to develop an ongoing relationship with a given place, getting to know their story, family members, unique talents and gifts.

For example; next time you go to a small restaurant or café to meet friends/colleagues introduce them to the venue; get the right person to tell a bit of their story, or something about the food & drinks featured – that’s the beginning of a business relationship that could be surprisingly endearing. Generally speaking try to spend $10-20 dollars with generous tips if you’re happy with their food & service, and overall hospitality. The idea is to support & encourage small business, and help them to succeed – you can also get one of their gift cards for that special friend/clients; even write a comment-review on social media or their website would be appreciated and you would feel part of their journey as well. – © Ben Sabet

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FUTUREPROOF REPORT | April 2017.

The Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship at Ryerson University has released a report on how technological change could impact youth employment in Canada in the future. The authors find that Canadians aged 15 to 24 are highly vulnerable to the effects of automation, face underemployment and part-time or precarious work and an “experience mismatch,” limiting their integration into the labour market. Over the next 10 years, approximately 66% of jobs in Canada are expected to be in occupations requiring post-secondary education or management experience.

Youth will require different skills, including digital literacy, entrepreneurship and social intelligence and institutions will need to adopt new approaches to talent development, adapting to a shifting labour market. This is particularly important in Alberta, as it has one of the youngest populations among the Canadian provinces, with a median age in 2016 of 36.3 compared to the national median age of 40.6. According to Stats Canada, in March 2017, the unemployment rate for youth 15 to 24 years old in the province was 14.1 percent, compared to 8.4 percent for all age groups in Alberta. –

Note: The full report can be found here > http://brookfieldinstitute.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/FINAL-FP-report-Onlinev3.pdf

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Wayfinders Business Cooperative®

WAYFINDERS BUSINESS COOPERATIVE ® | Diverse – Inclusive – Participatory – Democratic. Navigating the 21st Century from the Local to the Global Together.

At one time, we thought technological changes would simplify our lives. However, technology has helped create information overload and the number of choices we face adds to the complexity of business operations. Small and medium enterprises, independent contractors, non-profits/charities, and social enterprises, and civil society at-large are often unable to take advantage of tools and applications because they cannot navigate their way through the complexities of modern management science and technologies. As a result local economic performance is not optimal.

In an effort to grasp the nuances of innumerable options, people often spend hours tumbling down the internet rabbit hole only to find themselves more confused than when they began. Instead of clarifying options, explorations leave them in a morass of information with no vision on how to implement new strategies. Instead of moving forward, even the most innovative business stalls.

But what if these same organizations and individuals had easier access to advanced management tools and practice? The possibilities become endless for every organization from the non-profit that needs help with branding, marketing, and bookkeeping to the established business that wants to expand into global markets but doesn’t have the knowledge or tools to do so.

Wayfinders Business Cooperative ® helps members, organizations & businesses with the knowledge, support, and guidance they need to fully participate in their local economy while taking advantage of global economies of scale. The cooperative offers training in, and the use of, the advanced management tools, methods and open data that make large corporations successful. Online business match-making, collaboration and innovation applications support formation of regional industry clusters. An online marketplace supports local shopping.

As social – cooperative enterprise, taking full advantage of both digital and face-to -face opportunities, members create a simple, yet powerful environment in which they do their greatest meaningful work with minimal stress. With advanced tools they strategically navigate choices, make tactical decisions and accelerate growth.

Members share in the benefits traditionally provided by the cooperative model: education, community knowledge, mentorship, democratic member control, and built-in resiliency. Using the power of community, they create an intelligence matrix to which each contributes and from which each draws on a routine basis. By contributing their knowledge to the cooperative, members help others while helping themselves and the entities they represent and/or are associated with.

Wayfinders Business Cooperative ® is in the early stages of development. We are forming a governance committee, meeting with potential stakeholders and creating consultative groups so we can gauge the needs our members are likely to have. Should this opportunity interest you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Thanks!

Randal Adcock, President & Chief Innovation Officer

Leo Campos Aldunez, Advisor & Community Outreach

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SOCIAL ENTERPRISE & COOPERATIVES.

SOCIAL ENTERPRISE | We are going to start featuring more frequently, the emerging social enterprise and the cooperative sectors in our city, province/country. Our aim is to spotlight creative, empowering and new economic development initiatives that are incrementally contributing to the well-being of individuals and communities by creating meaningful employment, a sense of dignity-of-labour and deep belonging.

COMMUNITY ECONOMICS | Some may be related to new technologies, others to goods & services, and so forth. What they have in common is the remarkable enthusiasm, resilience and in some cases visionary calling among those leading and/or participating in such endeavours. No venture of such nature is without risk of failure – yet, those actively engaged in this path towards economic self-reliance show an incredible level of tolerance to risk, and extraordinary stamina – it is indeed a powerful calling!

THE ORGANIC BOX: https://www.theorganicbox.ca/ | If the old saying that “you are what you eat” is true, it would just make sense to try to find the best quality food that you can for you & your family. The Organic Box has grown in a few short years to become Edmonton’s largest organic food delivery service. The family-owned company serves thousands of families and businesses in this city each week, delivering everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to baked goods, milk and hundreds of other pantry items – all of it certified organic.

VERTO LABOUR SERVICES: http://www.youcan.ca/programs/verto | Companies that hire Verto Labour Services are looking for a good day’s work – and that is exactly what they get. Eager young workers, trained in basic worksite rules, showing up on time, supported by a crew leader and ready to do whatever needs to be done. Verto is an off-shoot of YOUCAN Youth Services, an organization that has provided programs for at-risk youth in Edmonton for over a decade.  

EQUI-TEA MULTICULTURAL CATERING: http://mchb.org/programs/equi-tea-multicultural-catering/ | Equi-tea is a social enterprise operated by the Multicultural Health Brokers Co-op. For the past year, The Multicultural Health Brokers Co-op has truly enjoyed serving you all with the food we most love ourselves through Equi-tea Catering. Delicious food, excellent service and very much worth of your support.

SERVICE & COMMUNITY | As usual, we remain at your service. YOU and the individuals & communities we serve remain at the center of what we do. We thank you for your support and welcome your feedback; if we can be helpful, don’t hesitate to get in touch. And, if you appreciate this BLOG “like it” “follow it” or “share it.” – Many thanks!

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FYI | Shootings at Quebec City Mosque.

FYI | Message from Robert Philp, Queen’s Counsel,
Chief of the Commission and Tribunals | Alberta.

Re: Shooting at a Quebec City Mosque | “I am shocked and extremely saddened about the violent attack on the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec that took place in Quebec City this past Sunday. That this terrifying act happened in this country, in a place of innocent worship, counters everything that we are and that we stand for as Canadians. A mosque is a sacred place of worship where all Muslims and all people should feel safe and protected. In Alberta, and in Canada, we uphold the fundamental principle that all persons are equal in dignity, rights and responsibilities without regard to religious beliefs. It is our diversity, including our diversity of beliefs that makes us stronger and unites us as people. During this dark time, hate, violence and intolerance have emerged in their most horrific form. We must unite and reach out to one other with love and support. Collectively, we mourn for those lost and we mourn with their families, friends and communities. Together we stand in our common humanity.” – (January 31, 2017) | https://albertahumanrights.ab.ca/media_room/Pages/January_31_2017_chief_message.aspx

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2016: A COMPLEX GLOBAL CIVILIZATION

My grandfather, Ben Garside, died in 1970 when I was 15 years old. Born in 1880, he had lived nearly his entire life in one house or another with no insulation, no furnace, no phone, no electricity or running water. He was a farmer-turned-market-gardener. He didn’t see an automobile until he was over 35 years of age, yet he lived long enough to see astronauts land on the moon. He taught me one important thing; that it is possible to live with very little, as our ancestors did for thousands of years, and find genuine happiness.

New Energy | Around the time my grandfather was born, there was a flurry of inventions based on the cheap new energies of fossil fuels and electricity. My grandfather’s uncle worked with Nicola Telsa on the first power generating station at Niagara. My wife’s great-great uncle Melville Bissell came up with the Bissell electric vacuum cleaner. The telephone was quickly invented and you could then connect by telephone to relatives in a distant city. Oil was discovered, pumped out of the ground and soon put to use in diesel engines in trains and ships. Cheap shipping made the world a much smaller place.

Literacy | Aside from the abundant cheap energy there was something else even more catalytic to the perfect storm of 20th century progress. Just a couple of decades before Ben was born there was a popular movement to provide a general education for all children. In the back woods of St. Joseph Island in Lake Huron, Ben was going to get to read and write. I have a copy of the same primer from which he learned to read. He would be able to read newspapers and magazines and keep informed of events and trends across the country and around the world. But more than learning information, schools taught us how to make meanings by deliberately connecting events and processes into a myriad of repeating recognizable patterns.

Modernity | In 1921, American sociologist named William Ogburn coined the term ‘cultural lag’. Cultural lag captured the idea that hard technologies, like ploughs, guns and automobiles, can be adopted at a much faster rate than the values, beliefs and behaviours associated with the use of those technologies. Today we have billions of smart phones in use and thousands of people still die in traffic accidents when using them while driving. These lags don’t close before new ones are added. The lags are often cumulative.

New Foundations | My graduate thesis advisor, Richard Jung, worked with Ludwig von Bertalanffy, the founder of general systems theory. Von Bertalanffy was one of a handful of scientific genius giving birth to the esoteric sciences of information theory, operations research, systems theory and cybernetics beginning a decade before I was born. This science would not only give rise to the computer, but to the artificial intelligence that promises to one day soon make humans irrelevant. They also form the foundation for the management science that makes global corporations possible. This same science helps explain life itself so we can manipulate it in genetic engineering and even make new synthetic life forms. It may yet help us simplify our world and save ourselves, but for now, few people know anything at all about cultural lag associated with the science and technology boom.

Back to the Future | The year my grandfather died, American journalist Alvin Toffler published his book called ‘Future Shock’. In it he chronicled the rapid expansion of complexity in the modern world. Toffler stated that there was as much diversity and change in the current lifetime as there was in the previous 800 lifetimes put together. And he was right! Not only are there more things but there are more people, more ideas, travel, publications, and relationships. Knowledge was expanding exponentially in every direction! In 1920, just one long lifetime ago, atoms were just a theory and there was only a handful of known galaxies. We now know about sub-atomic particles smaller than quarks, that there are thousands of identifiable planets, and billions of galaxies filled with billions of solar systems. We may already be suffering from future shock and not even know it!

Small Planet | Cheap transportation, electrical appliances, public education and mass communication brought us globalisation. Globalization quickly brought us closer together than ever. There is a global brain drain going on as people with credentials move to industrial gravitational poles around the planet. They gather in giant metropolises. Moreover, there is growing exposure to variety, diversity and complexity in everything from science and disciplines, to races, religions, cultures, education, entertainment and political views. We really don’t know how long it takes for people to effectively acclimatize to these changes. We shouldn’t be surprised by popular upheavals.

Zeitgeist | There is now a general background uncertainty and anxiety. Alleged facts and logical arguments do not validate hopes. We don’t know which scientists to believe. Political pundits argue with different sets of facts. Meanings are apparently so complex and interdependent that anyone can spin them to get whatever results they want. Lies are easily disguised as someone’s truth. People search the workplace, lifestyles and other religions for a sense of meaning and purpose. They feel busy, but in a moment of reflection they realise they’re spinning their wheels and going nowhere. There is little time to analyse and deliberate so people more frequently depend on quick intuitive assessments. Less time spent in deliberation means deliberation skills get weaker.

Media | What people really know is what they feel day in and day out. TV showcases the lives of the rich and famous. “Why not me?” The psychological reactions to cumulative stresses are feelings of powerlessness, frustration, envy, anger, fear, suspicion, anxiety and depression. People talk of information overload, change fatigue, choice fatigue, apathy and disengagement. There is nostalgia for the past when times were simpler and you knew who you could trust. Conspiracy theories and post-apocalyptic dystopias are popular entertainment. Now “get off the grid, prep and hunker down.”

Planetary Paradoxes | Though apparently history repeats itself, we also live in unprecedented times. The familiar rhythm of life is becoming chaotic, unrecognizable. Aside from climate change, the death of the oceans, extinction of many species, and over-population, what else is happening that we have not even identified? Scientists are calling our times the Anthropocene Period because of the dramatic impact our population is having on the planet. Never in 3.6 billion years of life on the planet has there been anything like what we humans are doing in this lifetime.

Underlying all that is happening in our global mono-culture and its proliferating sub-cultures is the compounded exponential growth of complexity, acceleration of change, and convergence of multiple cumulative cultural lags. Cultural ideas, not genes, are the medium of civil evolution. It’s not slowed by the need for hundreds of generations. What systems science tells us is that this growth pattern, with mathematical certainty, will come to an end one way or another. We had better put our little heads together and figure out what we want and how we’re going to get it. How shall we define humanity in the 21st Century? – RBA © 2016

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AMERICA: November 09, 2016.

November 9th presents an opportunity to start a new kind of dialog in America. Not only is it an opportunity, but respectful dialog is an imperative for our cousins across the southern line. The unbridled sibling rancor cannot be allowed to escalate. We have no alternate parental recourse to intervene.

If good Americans do not raise their quiet voices in numbers against the formation of war camps and deliver the sage wisdom that formed much of the American way, then, violence will eventually have its way. There are always two things that can happen in nature – things come together or they come apart. Humans can choose to work together or they can kill each other. In today’s crowded planet, avoidance is not an option.

Angry strategic and tactical name-calling is not what made America great. The great nation is built on calm deliberative contemplation and a fundamental respect that the opponent is not evil. I have seen and heard with my own senses how some people will manipulate the thoughts and feelings of others for personal or tribal gain. By ‘tribal’ I mean any kind of camp – ethnic, religious, political, socio-economic class or other.

I am seeing this pattern of behavior being played out on the big screen, played out with tens of millions of innocent victims. It is easy to play on fears and doubts and tribal differences. Those instincts are often close to the surface in all humans.

But in today’s complex world in which you don’t know what or who to believe, when you barely have a moment alone with your thoughts to figure out what you really want for yourself… it is too easy to play on the worst of our inner demons.

It has always been easier to destroy than to build. That is written in the physical code of nature. It may seem impossible to set a stage for reconciliation. It will be easier on November 9th and the days to follow than it will be if the disrespect and conflict are allowed to fester. I, too, am guilty of getting in on the mob-behavior online. Though it is tempting to join the mob, it really is not helpful.

We are going to have to dig deeper into the human psyche and retrieve some forgotten fundamental skills to rebuild trust in a big way. Viral anger can escalate with incredible speed and leave us all wondering what happened. Before it is too late: let’s call for Respect, Wisdom, Dialog and Reason. –

© 2016 Randal Adcock

Canada – Winter 2016

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