If there is a revolution that marks the beginning of the 21st century, then this must be the connectivity with events, issues and persons all over the world. Connected to this connectivity is “participatory” effect.
After introduction, the notion of participatory democracy, notably thanks to the power of social media and online petitions, a new way of financing has blossomed. Individuals are gradually discovering that they can act by themselves for causes that are dear to them, to bring to the world the change they want to see.
Crowdfunding allows, through the financial participation of individuals who recognize themselves in a project or who want to support one, to participate in the development of a project that may not have been able to see by traditional financing. Beyond former borders, innovative projects have been created, that stand for innovation and change. Projects that wouldn’t be supported by the normal financial system, are now nourished. Crowdfunding is therefore part of the collaborative economy, since it relies on trust
The buzz is going around that crowdfunding creates new possibilities. But what is the success rate and what makes people participate? First of all there are a lot of different sorts of crowdfunding.
Crowdlending: an innovative way of financing personal projects
For a long time, banks were the only ones able to present an offer of financing. Now individuals can obtain peer to peer lending, whether for a cash need, a desire to travel, for a renovation of a house or a big operation that you are unable to finance yourself.
Small business and crowdfunding
Crowdfunding makes a real difference for small business. It also allows companies to federate around them a community of customers, collaborators and suppliers. Especially because small business should present their business model, product or service to the crowd of individuals to convince them to finance them, crowdfunding makes it possible to carry out a prototype of a new product.
Investors can either receive product or services from the business or they can invest in the business’ capital and receive interests in return. Unlike classical ways of financing, crowdfunding allows investors to choose themselves where their money goes. There is a direct connection between the investor and the entrepreneur. They share an goal. Success of the company.
Crowdfunding plays here the game of proximity through savings that are not only responsible and solidarity, but also transparent and close to investors.
How NGOs find a new way of fundraising
It now seems quite inevitable for NGOs to take a closer look at these new fundraising techniques if they want to sustain their budgets. First, because the financing through governments’ helps is less and less substantial. Secondly, because the growth of crowdfunding is increasingly orienting the public towards digital financing of projects, humanitarian or otherwise, which will undoubtedly divert it from the traditional physical collections for which it is solicited by the historical NGOs.
Crowdfunding allows the shortening of the circuit between the financer and the project, which reinforces the feeling of transparency and traceability. Indeed, it responds to the emergence of a concept of proximity in which citizens wish to give more meaning to their financial contributions by following their own sensitivities and limiting intermediaries.
To guarantee its independence, Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), launched in November 2016 a crowdfunding platform, with the aim of collecting 1 million euros in 60 days. Intended for the youngest, between 18 and 35 years old, it invited them to pledge on the platform independance.msf.fr and it offered a range of rewards for all amounts, including a guitar signed by the Muse group.
A platform for each project
Thus, the only term of crowdfunding encompasses many realities. Different platforms have different functions, and even different philosophies. While all have in common to create a relationship between a project and investors, some are more focused on NGOs and individuals, while others represent a lever for future business.
I myself pledged Boyan Slat to support him in his vision to clean this world from the plastic waste that we are surrounding us with. Please share your thoughts on crowdfunding so we can learn from it. I didn’t do it for the pledge. It gave me a feeling of participating in a solution of a better future.
As the banks are giving almost no interest on money on the bank it stimulates me to look for alternative forms of investment. From personal to solar and sustainable project. The future will tell, where I will invest my money in.
Now that it is all possible, leaves us with the question does it reach the bigger audiences. My question to you, did you ever pledge a crowdfunding campaign? Why did you? Because of the cause, the product, the pledges or to support a personal goal. Why did you get involved, please share your experiences so we can learn from it.
At DUTCH PICTURE INDUSTRY, we are aware that if people work together on a common project, they can collectively make things happen and change the world.
It´s time for society to wake up. We should stop looking with suspicion at the one who has skin too black, or not enough white, the one who is too old or disabled… At the same time, we shouldn’t ignore our differences either. And stop saying that difference is automatically good thing. To become a strength difference should come from a strong desire to succeed together. To have a common goal.
The French skipper Eric Bellion is the instigator of COMME UN SEUL HOMME (“Like a single man”) which claims that difference is a strength. After 15 years of sailing adventures with teams composed by valid and disabled people, Eric Bellion came to the conclusion that together we can push the limits of difference and reach summit, “like a simple man”.
His message: our differences are an added value, diversity is strength and handicap does not mean incapacity. With his project he promotes the value of differences in a European context, in a time where nationalism sentiments are vastly growing.
Bellion has decided to take the floor to counter the spread of fear and rejection of diversity and to bring a new perspective to diversity. He said: “This extreme situation has allowed me to realize just how far this message about difference has taken me. Thanks to this adventure, I have reached more people in a year and a half than in fifteen years of crewed sailing.”
THE UNKNOWN IS NOT A GREY AREA
By nature, we are suspicious of people which are different. We are gathering with people who look like us, this is without a doubt more reassuring than the unknown. However, difference is neither a weakness nor a threat. This could, conversely, be transformed into an advantage, or an inestimable strength. It is to defend this crazy dream that Eric Bellion decided to launch the #APPELPOURLADIFFERENCE (Call for difference) and embarked on the adventure of the Vendée Globe 2016.
Eric and his team have been creating projects that beat common preconception about visible differences like handicap, but also gender, differences between generations, cultures and social backgrounds. The idea is to convince people that diversity is strength and a wealth.
But for difference to become a strength, we must be patient, benevolent and persistent. We have to go beyond the times of doubt and despondence, be confident and have the certainty that difference could be positive. Difference between people stimlulates creativity and opens new opportunities. We must have a strong desire to succeed.
THE INITIATORY TRAVEL
With the tetraplegic adventurer Laurent Marzec, Bellion embarked on the Défi-Intégration (Integration Challenge) to form a crew composed of three disabled athletes and three valid athletes. They set the record for sailing in sixty-eight days. It is the only mixed team to have a world record. A challenge in the challenge…
“I discovered the value of difference with a teammate named Oliver. Oliver was a blind person. At the beginning of the travel, he was not the best sailor but at the end, he was our best helmsman. He was the fastest, as is disability forced him to feel the wind and it became an asset. His difference becomes a strength.” said Bellion
“TAKING CARE, IS KNOWING THE OTHER”
Weakness in a team often creates a kind of rejection or contempt. Do you remember at school, where you had to create sport’s teams? There was always someone chosen in last. Why? Because their visible frailty made them a less competitive person.
Bellion: “A few years ago, I had the opportunity to participate in survival training to learn sea rescue. I was in a pool and I had to escape from a false helicopter frame. Several disabled people were with me and they were all comfortable with this training because they all practiced swimming. Conversely, a camerawoman, who was valid, but claustrophobics, failed the training. She was the one who needed help, and not the disabled people which were with us. This demonstrates that our vision of weakness is often wrong.”
This is when all the members of a team are able to accept their weakness that the performance is coming. Each person complements one another and weaknesses become strengths.
“We are looking to protect people but this is a mistake. Protecting and taking care are two different things. When we protect someone, we isolate them; however, taking care is knowing each other”. Eric Bellion
THE VISION OF PROMOTING THE WEALTH OF DIVERSITY SUGGESTED BY ERIC BELLION BREAKS WITH THE THE GROWING NATIONALISM IN EUROPE…
Nowadays, the world is becoming globalized and people tend to be more and more scattered and mixed, but at the same time societies are in the way of becoming more self-centered and some people seem not to accept diversity.
The world has seen a sharp rise in support for authoritarianism, jingoism and racism, with a pro-Brexit vote in the UK, Trump coming to power in the US, Erdogan and Sisi further clamping down on their citizens in Turkey and Egypt, Marine le Pen and Geert Wilders making prominent gains in France and Holland, and far-right parties in Poland and Germany suddenly rising to the fore. In a global situation where ordinary people seem to be losing trust in their leaders or even traditional government structures, the risk is that they will opt for authoritarian leadership…
“Even if I am currently on the open seas, the news of Donald Trump´s election has come to me. For me this means to curl up and to build borders, when we should, on the contrary, take risks and go toward the others. This is the price to get rid of our fears, and believe me, this is fabulous.” Eric Bellion
Through his projects, Eric Bellion is promoting the idea that diversity brings dynamism and wealth in a group, and this wealth is the key to success. His message: we should stop focus on our visible differences and start concentrates us on our invisible likeness.
At DUTCH PICTURE INDUSTRY, we create concepts born from our personal experience, our vision to create inspiring content, building cross media concepts and innovative media productions to make a difference in the world around us. Our productions are based on the unique story behind human beings, their experiences and their spectacular surroundings.
If you want to read more about the project, visit COMME UN SEUL HOMME
“Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting a particular way… you become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions.”
People are their actions, and a story is only worth telling if it is about people who act outside of their normal behavior. Entrepreneur and innovator Edwin ter Velde of Zero Waste Center is a person whose story is well worth documenting. His story is an ever-evolving effort to breach the boundary between comfort and discomfort: he is a man of focused action, an innovator who believes that social innovation reigns highest in the hierarchy of innovation.
“I have studied together with my old friend and cofounder of the Zero Waste Center Cees Hebing human behavior (to start with our own behaviour) and the way you can change it, and I understand that your behavior is not how you are, but how you behave. So, why is it that in companies or in people’s everyday social behavior, we are not playing with our behavior? We think that’s how we are. No, it’s an instrument you can use,” believes ter Velde.
As human beings, we can experiment with our actions to change for the better. However, most people would rather not admit that their routine behaviors are just that: routine. The opposite of innovation. Stories that no one wants to read or watch.
Ter Velde wants to rouse people from their stagnancy to experiment with actions that force them outside of their comfort zones and to transform themselves. The problem, of course, is that most people are not as comfortable as ter Velde is with questioning the routines that make up the foundation of their everyday lives.
We’re sitting in a spacious nook in the Zero Waste Center production facility in Amsterdam-Noord, coffee in hand as 3D printers whir silently along one wall, and we chat facing the several meters high mock-up of the Solar Voyager. Ter Velde has found a way to inspire people to change their behaviors towards plastic waste, but elegantly framed in the concept of Zero Waste and in the story of the Solar Voyager Expedition.
“Talking about behavior is not a nice thing. Because people think, why are you talking about my behavior? It is uncomfortable. And I learned that if you put it in a concept that’s not directly related to yourself, but at the end it is, then it’s more comfortable to talk about it and to teach people,” explains ter Velde. “And this is the reason I founded Zero Waste because throwing things away is a behavior, not respecting materials and thinking it doesn’t bother you, is also behavior. If you’re talking about the zero waste concept, then we think it is all related to waste, but after a couple steps you understand that the concept is all related to you as a person.”
EXPERIMENT IN ACTION
The Solar Voyager is a solar powered vehicle partially made of recycled plastic. For one year now, ter Velde has been collaborating with renowned adventurer Wilco van Rooijen on the Solar Voyager Expedition. He is busy all day every day working on the project.
Edwin ter Velde is a sailor, but he is not a professional explorer. Nevertheless, come December 2017 he will embark with van Rooijen on an expedition to the geographical South Pole aboard the Solar Voyager. Their mission: to show the world that it is possible to journey to the center of Antarctica based on the concept of Zero Emission and Zero Waste.
The construction and expedition of the Solar Voyager is an experiment in behavior. Ter Velde not only wants to challenge himself to go outside his comfort zone, but he also wants to inspire people to change their behavior towards plastic waste. By creating a story and a community around the Solar Voyager Expedition and the zero waste concept, ter Velde hopes to encourage people to change their behavior by taking action to change their daily lives.
“We are showing that it’s all a matter of doing. Just do it! Stop talking about the world and sustainability and things like that. Act. Act. Directly, and that’s it,” emphasizes ter Velde.
The completed Solar Voyager will testify to ter Velde’s message of individual action and social innovation. If the Solar Voyager can make the journey to the South Pole, the most extreme climate on earth, then the expedition will set an example, challenging even the most average person to make radical changes in their daily life – to eschew comfort for the sake of preserving our environment and resources. To act, and by acting, to transform not only the world for the better, but themselves.
NOT WASTE, BUT PRECIOUS MATERIAL
The Solar Voyager will be made partially out of discarded water bottles, leftover packaging, disposable forks and spoons – what many of us regard as plastic waste. But not ter Velde, who doesn’t see plastic as waste, but as precious material that demands our respect and innovation.
“Why is it waste? Has one molecule in the material changed because you call it waste? I don’t believe that. It is still plastic, so it’s still material. In nature, everything is important. So, materials are also important. So, respect it. Take it up from the street, and let’s make the freshest thing you can imagine. Now for instance, the Solar Voyager, there’s a high added value. So, we learn – children, but also organizations, everyone – that it’s all in your mind. It’s all in your mind. We think it is waste, no it isn’t. It is material. And you can do such nice and precious things with those materials.”
At this stage, ter Velde is busy calibrating the 3D printers that will print the plastic material into pieces that will make up the body of the Solar Voyager. He hovers over his laptop, monitoring the printers. It’s easy to be swept away by the project there in front of the Solar Voyager mockup and listening to ter Velde. When he fits several plastic samples together and holds them up against the mock-up, you become infected with his fervor. And then there is still the most important aspect of the expedition to discuss: Antarctica itself.
INNOVATION SHOULD BE UNCOMFORTABLE
Journeying through Antarctica will not be luxurious – it is the driest continent on earth, with low temperatures and wind speeds of 350 km/h. But for ter Velde, the physical challenge of the journey is just as important as the technical challenges: if there is no discomfort, there is no change. Living sustainably and without waste will not be comfortable.
“If you want to change, you must change your standard behavior. And that’s a difficult thing for people. We like to have a comfortable situation. But if it is comfortable, you are acting as you always have. So, if it is uncomfortable, you know that things are changing. That you are moving forward, or back. It’s just a matter of testing and seeing what it will bring. It should be uncomfortable to innovate, to make a real innovation,” believes ter Velde.
When asked why Antarctica should be the site of the Solar Voyager’s route, ter Velde replies: “It is the most extreme. It is the most unknown continent.” For if there was a continent that would host a journey meant to assimilate the goals of zero waste and radical behavioral change, it would be Antarctica.
EVERY PIECE HAS A STORY
Ter Velde’s strength is not only in his motivation or his ability to realize ideas, but in his storytelling. When he describes the communities of schoolchildren, or stadsjutters (or urban miners in English), and their efforts to gather discarded plastic material, he lights up. His excitement at having motivated a community of people to act, to effect change is more fervent than any other aspect of the Expedition.
He explains to me how every individual piece of the Solar Voyager will have a numbered certificate that will document the people who helped collect the plastic for that piece. “Every piece has its own story,” says ter Velde. “So, this car is very precious because the energy in all those pieces is being shown to the world.”
The story of the Solar Voyager, he tells me, isn’t about him. “I do not want to have a notation in the Guinness book of records. It’s not about me. It’s about the fact that we can create things, and we should do it all together,” says ter Velde.
Despite what he might say, ter Velde is one of the main actors in this real-life story. His drive and his energy to act drives the story of the Solar Voyager. He inspires each of us to act outside of our comfort zones– to do. For it is only by doing that the we can transform, innovate, and grow. DUTCH PICTURE INDUSTRY believes in stories like ter Velde’s, helping him to share his story so we might accomplish our own goal to inspire people to create, to innovate, and to challenge themselves – to cross the boundary between possible and impossible.
Have a look yourself and be inspired by the Solar Voyager test drive.
The Mirror room is making you aware of all the data you produce. Who owns all this data, and are we able to reclaim them? The Mirror room is part of the FabCity in Amsterdam, a temporary sustainable urban area, where young creative’s present their solutions for current urban issues.
The panel says: ‘’Examine and experience the pros and cons of our data-based life, and the effects on your privacy, social interaction, health and security.’’ This innovative Mirror installation offers you a whole new experience on what it feels like to become data.
When you enter, you type in your name; then you have to stand in the middle of the room. You are surrounded by mirrors and I felt strange not knowing what would happen next. An electronic voice welcomed me by my name and then begins by giving my physical details: my age, my weight, my height, and my heart pulsations, my BMI while some images are projected on the mirrors…
The next step is kind of surprising, hearing an AI talking to me reminds me of the movie “Her”: where people start building relationships with Artificial Intelligence. I had the feeling of entering the future. Still standing, alone in the middle of the room, a succession of simulations and animations, are scrolling around you. Immerse you in a strange atmosphere, one that I never experienced before. At this point, I still didn’t know what’s the purpose of all of this until the electronic voice came back to me and give me my “data profile”. Before leaving the room, the voice asked me if I agreed to make my data public or not… I had to answer by looking at the YES or at the NO.
The computers in the room registered all my emotions during all the experience and transformed them into data. It analyzed my physical data, tested my fear, my preferences… and established a profile that was handed out in print while exiting the room. So, who do you see when you look into the mirror? There is a difference between what you perceive and what you are. The experience makes you realize that WE ARE DATA : there is your reflection, who you think you are but it makes you realize you are also an infinite composition of data.
Well, the program is still experimental and not totally accurate but the purpose of what is called an “art experience“ by its creators is to make us realize how collecting selling and using data, even if we’re not aware of it, can have a profound impact on our personal and professional life.
Indeed, while more and more applications are capable to analyze our physical condition and emotions, imagine the infinite possibilities that could give. All depend on who has access to our data and what are our rights on them? Governments, companies could have some advantages to use our data…
Brands could also use our emotional data on a marketing purpose… Reading our emotions is becoming the next challenge for brands as emotions represent a huge factor in the decision-making process… And thanks to data collection they would be able to build algorithms to predict customers preferences and likelihood of purchasing from their emotions.
It’s already happening, recently Belgium police advised not use Facebook’s new reactions buttons as they consider it as a new way for Facebook to use your profile on a marketing purpose. With more information about your mood, reactions, emotions, it’s easier for advertisers to reach you at the right moment and at the right emplacement. By creating algorithms that could make calculations on your mood, considering your reaction to a post. However, the technology could be use in a positive sense too. As applications could analyze in an early stage a disease and suggest a cure. It could determine easily your skin or heart conditions…
The most important is that we keep the right to control our own data and to be aware of who and when they are used. Privacy regulations are becoming more and more essential and urgent in this world where all are data have the possibility to become public.
It´s always seems impossible until it´s done – Nelson Mandela
Of course, no matter what you want to achieve, you will be confronted to many obstacles, you will doubt and be afraid to fail. However, don’t be afraid of failure, successful people often describe failure as a condition to succeed. You can learn a lot from failure. Failure is a need to go further. And that’s clearly true; you’ll never know how far you can go unless you try one more time. If people keep failing it is only because they give up at some point… Because at the end, when you try again, you only have two possibilities, fail again or succeed. And if you keep going, you will certainly find the path to success.
Don´t wait this moment of your life when you´ll realize that nothing will never be like before to fulfill your deepest dreams and desires as long as you can. As long as you have the physical capabilities, do not let yourself being stopped by any obstacle.
Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm – Winston Churchill
We dreamed about a new Mt Everest adventure, and were working on it for the last 1,5 years. But no financial partner was really willing to take the risk, neither a broadcaster. In February we launched a Kickstarter campaign. After this failed we felt like giving up. It wasn’t meant to be. Was it not the right time? Is it not possible? We could only answer this with no and we decided to just GO! Not giving up and make it happen anyway. We had already spent a lot of time and money on this project, so not going there was not an option for us. We just had to find different ways to do it.
I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have – Thomas Jefferson
So here we are, last Sunday our cameraman and sound engineer left for Kathmandu. There they teamed up with Lynne and Noel Hanna and will spend 2 months on Mount Everest together to realize this incredible production. We still don´t know if it will be a success or not, if people will like it or not, but at least we didn´t stay on a failure and kept going. And we believe in it!
With never giving up you have to keep believing and hoping. It goes hand in hand with failure’s acceptance. You are the only one that can put limits, barriers to yourself. If you keep believe after failures it will bring you further…and then, you’ll learn to never give up. You cannot give up on something that counts for you only because you failed at it once. It would avoid you to torment yourself with those “What if…?” that we all know. These “what if?” will prevent you to fully enjoy and appreciate your life. And guess what? I believe that the best way to prevent them is … to never give up!
Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. – Thomas A. Edison
It is funny to think that this production is in a way to giving also others the opportunity to experience an Everest’s expedition, a true experience of perseverance. It makes you suffer, doubt so you can go beyond your limits to achieve what you want to achieve. You’ll see that once you crossed all obstacles: face extreme cold, adapt yourself to the low oxygen level,… standing on the top of the world make you feel more alive than never. You will forget all you have been through to arrive there so you can fully enjoy the moment; the relief, the beauty around you, immensity. You’ll see that all your efforts, sweat, fears can lead to something that really worth it. That is why we hope we’ll be able to share with you all these unique sensations through virtual reality.
Fall seven times, stand up eight – Japanese proverb
Working to fulfill a dream gives energy to your life…
Nothing should stop you to build the life that you want. Make projects that make you feel alive and never giving in on them. Never let a place for regrets and complaints in your life, it’s too short and fragile for that. Nothing is impossible, the best like the worst, keep that in mind.
Recent documentaries and movies dismantled the hidden face of finance and banking sector and showed how they truly are. The wolf of Wall Street, the big short, Inside Job unveiled some complex and scary pieces of info about this “big money industry” on which we have no influence but can have so much impact. Speculation, hedge fund managers, private equity fund managers, real estate fund managers, and future and shorts… The industry is often depicted as a dehumanized world in which the only goal is to make more money.
What do I know about banking? Not so much, I hope the bank keeps my money safe but don’t try to understand what is behind this complex system. However, is it okay to know so little about what are banks doing with our money? As an individual always looking for ways to make this place on earth more pleasant and better, I believe that we SHOULD be aware and interested of what our banks are doing.
What if the bank invests in the nuclear arms industry industries or very polluting industries, as many of them do?A recent Belgium’s study revealed that our money placement, were at the top of our carbon footprint with 100 tons of CO2 per year. That is so much more than our consumption and production footprint so we should care about the banks investments. We can make a choice by choosing a bank that doesn’t do this kind of investment. Big improvements have been made in this direction, particularly by the DIVEST movement; an international movement which only goal is to put away investment from polluting and fossil energy corporations through petitions and campaigns. I believe that these kind of initiatives are necessary to build a better world. Finally, changing our behaviors, sharing our beliefs and international movements of this type have all the same common purpose to influence the settled globalized system runs by big corporations.
Luckily some “ethical banks” are emerging; these banks are working according to the same model as the usual ones but with a different guideline: transparency and trustful policies. Their first objective is not to make profit and enrich the elite but invest and support actions and companies with social and environmental purposes; letting their customers aware of the bank’s activities. Then, choosing a more responsible bank can be a way to show that we don´t agree with the current system and would like to make it change. They are more and more present and popular in Europe.
But still they are part of the financial sector and work on the same model. I would like to explore if we can do without them? So what are our possibilities?
Alternatives to the current banking system exist; new currencies are emerging with communitarian monetary systems. A good example is the district of Brixton in London which has its own “Brixton pound” with its own printed bills and coins. I see these initiatives as a clever way to break the globalized consensus settled in the world today coming with a lot of advantages but some undesirable effects too. It reconciles communities, reduces the production circuit and proves that pull ourselves away from the usual national and international bank system is possible. On top of that, they personalized their money appearance and its 10 pounds bill has the face of David Bowie printed on it; which is much more fun than the Queen! Those solutions are more sustainable as the economy doesn’t only profit to the elite but encourage local economy and small businesses, while limiting environmental impact.
But what to do with your savings? Today, interest rates are so low and economy so fragile that it´s difficult to trust banks for our savings. Savings that we want to make for our children to have an education or to save for a nice holiday. Some people would just take out their money from the bank and hide it under their mattress. But actually, our possibilities are wider today. Crowdfunding platforms and projects like ‘kickstarter’ and ‘kiss kiss bank bank’ for example are a good way to place your money in projects that you believe in. However, you will not be able to send your children to university through crowdfunding invests. So, if you keep looking, there are still other solutions to make profit from your invests… Going in this direction, new crowdfunding platforms like www.oneplanetcrowd.com allows you to invest in some startups and businesses’ projects with the possibility to get good percentage from it in return. Or, invest directly in renewable energy for example seems like a responsible option too to make profit if you’re concerned about the environment and sustainable solutions to fossil fuels and want to slow the bank industry’s power.
So, making businesses, profit, investments, savings without banks is possible; collectivity and sharing have a lot of promises.