Welcome to the renaissance of humanity
Oi Polloi, from the Greek for ‘the many’, is a development agency that engages leading edge thinkers, practitioners, and big hearts into reimagining how society operates in terms of emerging systems and technologies. Using Greece as a sandbox, we’re out to create a legacy that resonates through the ages: a renaissance of humanity.
We believe that humanity’s endeavours have become too far removed from values that are in harmony with the personal and greater good. We also believe that it’s down to us to rewrite the rules of life. After all, humans are unique in that ‘we are able to create physical instantiations of the objects we imagine. Whereas other species are stuck with nature’s inventory.’ (César Hidalgo). You can also think of us as change by the masses, for the masses.
A time for heroic action
We also believe that in this Age of Crisis, only big ideas can tackle big challenges. That’s why everything we do is designed for global, but conceived for local – and personal. Critical in our endeavour are a fascination with life, generosity of spirit, and love of honour (‘filotimo’). Qualities that created the ancient Greek legacy the world reveres today. Join us as we kindle a flame in the darkness. And reignite Greece as a beacon of civilisation.
Some of our key aims?
Drawing on the evolutionary power of the imagination to redefine how society operates, offering humanity realistic hope for the future, and celebrating the positive things to come. But to achieve all this, it will take the many acting as one. Read on to explore our main change initiatives.
"The single largest pool of untapped resources in this world is human good intentions that are never translated into action."
Cindy Gallop, Entrepreneur
Initiative no. 1
The Homeric Games
A sharing economy-based Olympics for innovation
Can hope change the world? Can Greece redefine itself for the 21st century? You bet.
Globalisation has one unexpected upside: Greece's problems are emblematic of the world's. And so, in this land where capitalism is dying, where social structures are crumbling, we have an opportunity to start from scratch – and turn crisis into opportunity. Seeing Greece as a sandbox for developing solutions to global challenges, we can create the building blocks for the society of the future.
The Homeric Games is an initiative that shifts the spirit of the times from competition, to collaboration. From capitalism, to the sharing economy. In these Games, teams compete alongside one another – not against – to a) bring out the best in each other, and b) solve pressing global problems, at the local, human scale. Solutions developed must invoke our capacity for togetherness and belonging, be crowdsourced or open sourced (or both), and be held in commons. In this way, we can share learnings for the benefit of all humanity. And turn Greece into a marketplace of ideas, just as John Danner explains in his Ted talk, above.
Assemble a community and crowd with the capacity and knowledge to change the way the world works.
Design and deliver a simple and scalable proof of concept. Built in to all solutions must be the ability to adapt to different locations.
Share all technology, strategy and trainings with a global audience of early adopters. And create a start-up ecosystem in Greece.
Meet the Homeric Games ambassadors
Benita is a global leader in the Sharing Economy, an award-winning social innovator, recipient of the Nesta Innovation Fund, and TedX speaker. As a Sharing Economy consultant she has advised the private, public and voluntary sectors, and is dedicated to mainstreaming the sharing economy worldwide as the new socioeconomic paradigm. Where access to resources, not ownership, is the order of the day. Her work has been featured in media across the world, including the BBC, the Economist, CNN, and The Times, among others. She's also the pioneer behind Global Sharing Week, the global celebration of the Sharing Economy, which in 2017 saw over 354 events take place in 113 cities, across 34 countries on every continent.
The creator of the 'Greek Bailout Fund' crowdfunding campaign, Thom Feeney, knows a thing or two about what direct action by the people, for the people, can achieve. Especially when driven by a compelling cause. After dinner one night, he did some simple maths and worked out that if the entire population of Europe donated €3.19 (£2.26), it would be enough to rescue the Greek economy. In just 8 days his crowdfunder managed to raise €2 million, and he went onto news show after news show explaining why he bothered in the first place. Although he didn't rescue the Greek economy, he has remained true to his Hellenophile motivations and gone on to raise money for Greek charities that are tackling youth unemployment.
INITIATIVE No. 2
The Coalition of Fun
Let's be frank. Shit is getting real. Climate change predictions indicate humanity is toast unless we change our ways. At the same time, solutions for many of the world's problems already exist – we just have to get behind them. One reality is terrifying. The other is overwhelming. How do we help each other face facts? How do we unlearn bad habits? How do we reclaim our personal power? We believe fun can save the day.
Meet our 'change for the masses' initiative – harnessing the power of mindful hedonism to make individual behaviour change contagious, carefree, and cool. Science shows that if a learning experience is fun, learners will stay curious and keep coming back for more. So, the Coalition of Fun is a collective of festivals and parties handpicked for their ability to combine joyful abandon with learning about important issues.
Oi Polloi is also Global Party Partner for Global Sharing Week, the annual celebration of the sharing economy. From worker co-ops, to Sharing Cities, the world is being transformed by sharing. With over £3.5 trillion worth of idle human and physical resources in the world – unlocking access to these could solve major global challenges. As Global Party Partner, we want to share a vision of a better world and unlock the power of the individual in bringing this world about. If you're interested in joining the Coalition, get in touch. Full details to be unveiled soon.
Initiative No. 3
Bring Philosophy Home
In a world where technology, overpopulation and climate change are some of the most powerful forces shaping human endeavours, what does it mean to live 'the good life'? This is the question driving our Bring Philosophy Home initiative. Together with our resident philosophers, Justin Whitaker and Alexandros Pagidas, we want to reclaim philosophy – and bring it out of the ivory tower of academia, to where it began. Geographically — as a symbolic gesture. And thematically — to make personal and collective enquiry central to society once more.
THE KINDFULNESS MOVEMENT
Oi Polloi is a social enterprise and independent development agency that regenerates undermined areas by applying a new socioeconomic blueprint. We help communities rediscover and rebuild their own purpose, identity, and financial backbone by spreading the sharing economy / commons. We call it ‘cascading civilisation’.
Instead of using shopping malls and office blocks, we use the arts, culture, and technology to breathe life into neighbourhoods. Instead of waiting for permission from up top, we go ahead and provide the stage for leading edge thinkers, practitioners, and big hearts to guide us as we reimagine how society operates. And with open sourcing being a central rule to everything we do, we enable the creation of the physical, digital, and cultural commons.
We believe that humanity’s endeavours have become too far removed from values that are in harmony with the personal and greater good. We also believe it’s down to us to rewrite the rules of life.
After all, humans are unique in that ‘we are able to create physical instantiations of the objects we imagine. Whereas other species are stuck with nature’s inventory.’ (César Hidalgo). Why not dare to imagine a legacy that resonates through the ages? A renaissance of humanity? Consider yourself invited.