NOW, a place for possibilities

 

On the 26th January 2013, the first edition of NOW, a place for possibilities, took place in Madrid, Strängnas (Sweden), Saint Louis (USA) and Los Angeles (USA).

NOW is born as an international collaboration with three wise, visionary and honest colleagues whom I learn from every day, who live on the other side of the world but with whom I feel a great connection. A generous and respectful collaboration in which we all contribute despite having different backgrounds, experiences and personalities.

NOW is my way of contributing to creating a better world. A project which is bigger than myself and wants to help think big about what is near, as one would lay a stone to build a cathedral.

NOW is an event which aims to help my city, for those who are closest, for those who are having a bad time right now and also for those who have good and beautiful things to share. In Madrid we need an event which will help us believe in the essential role each individual plays when making a better world.

NOW is also an opportunity to combine worlds which often function in parallel: companies, universities and culture; thoughts, actions and behaviours.

NOW is a space to voice those initiatives which are advocating a sustainable future and a space for dreamers, to enable them to have their place in the world.

But how was it born?

NOW is an initiative created by Jonas Bergvall, a marketing, branding and market research expert who has spent the last few years studying the role culture plays in our world.

Jonas Bergvall explains that, for him, as for many others, the world seems to be stumbling or stuck. “It is obvious that the environment it suffering and an increasing number of people, myself included, seem to feel disillusioned and find it difficult to find meaning in the direction we seem to be heading although we at the same time find it hard to see what this direction is." Quoting Michel Foucault, Jonas tells us that "In civilizations without boats, dreams dry up, espionage takes the place of adventure, and the police take the place of pirates." 

"If boats are our hope, we need them desperately. Culture theory suggest that change seldom happens at the center of things, but rather at the periphery, on the outskirts or in between centers. By centers I mean almost any kind of organization or institution. After some time centers form up an inner logic which starts to dictate what can be said and done. So as we are truly looking for new ideas to resolve our challenges, one way to go would be to create in-betweens where new dreams can be made. And this is where the idea of NOW was born” says Jonas.

Jonas, Ray, Paul and Irene

And in order to make it come true, he selected Ray Podder, Paul MacFarlane and myself, because he would like to believe that we have a certain kind of quality in common. “These guys are some of the friendliest and brightest people I know and I am proud and grateful to have such friends. Perhaps it is about a certain kind of responsibility, no doubt a big heart and just a little healthy strike of madness. There is also the fact that we all have been into business and marketing, we know the inner workings of capitalism and what we have seen and experienced is not all good”.

For Paul MacFarlane, "NOW is a much-needed energy to help this human world become more sustainable, peaceful and prosperous for all by changing old paradigms, ideologies, agendas and rules to something more organic, relaxed peaceful, happy and thoughtful. I am here because I want this to happen. And because Jonas, who is one of the smartest, nicest human beings I know invited me”

For Ray Podder, author  of "ONE: The New Abundant Energy Revolution and the Power of You", "the scientific and engineering communities unanimously accept that if we don't do something right now to change our way of life, our species and other supporting life systems will be extinct within a century. This has no precedents. We are at an inflexion point right now and the only thing stopping us are the old ideas of progress we think with. We need to co-create a new narrative for humanity. This is what NOW has begun."

I myself am also here because Jonas asked me tosmiley and because I'm worried about the lack of sense in our world. From my own profession I see how brands have too often forgotten the importance of being ethical, socially responsible, transparent and legitimate in their discourse. I feel that branding consultancies have been (are) accomplices in this situation.

I also liked the fact that it was a project to explore new realities, in which we could question everything, act with independent criteria and put the common interest before our own. And defend, from different worlds, the role of theatre, music, poetry, art... their enormous power to change our mood.

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