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What would it look like if governance was done on a global scale?

Sensemaking / What would it look like if governance was done on a global scale?

Hear from 2017's top signal spotter, Louise Armstrong with her thoughts on governance, internet rabbit holes and the future.

By Louise Armstrong / 18 Dec 2017

Catch Louise Armstrong in our exclusive video interview with her!


1) Louise, please tell us a bit about who you are.

I'm Louise and I live in London. I’m currently leading a project called Civil Society Futures, a two year conversation, an enquiry into how civil society can be different. And I’m also part of a community project called the Peckham Coal Line, we want to create a new park in our neighbourhood, one that is led and created by the community.


2) What are you interested in and how do you scan for signals around them?

I’m just interested and nosey about lots of things. Definitely themes around governance and decision making as well as organizational forms and how people come together.

How do I spot signals? At the moment I use Twitter quite a lot and I curate lists around particular topics or areas of interest. I have a civil society channel of people that I know that are talking about these sorts of things, that I really respect. Every now and again I will curate new lists so that I can find new ideas. I think there is also something around not being afraid to go down internet rabbit holes. It is quite easy to just always go to the same places, but not being afraid to click on a link to a website that you’ve never been before, and carry on going down.

I kind of quite like getting lost on the internet. Like wandering round a city, I really love just walking and seeing where you go, and I’ve never really thought how my internet behaviour actually mirrors that but it does.


3) Why did you feel that ‘Democracy Earth pioneers blockchain for incorruptible post-nation governance’ was a signal of change?

Democracy Earth pioneers blockchain for incorruptible post-nation governance

Democracy Earth is using open source software and peer-to-peer networks to imagine and create a post nation-state world, where political intermediation is no longer necessary. Combining the internet with blockchain technology, the California-registered networked non-profit aims to replace the role of national governments in creating systems for identity, voting and representation.

The Democracy Earth signal is really interesting. So rather than things being governed at a nation-state level,

What would it look like if governance was done at a global earth scale?

So taking decisions, and not just about the country that you live in but actually decisions that would affect the whole world, and using blockchain to do that in an open and transparent way.

I think that’s really interesting because it starts to question some of the foundations of how we organise right now - the idea of countries and nation states and citizenship - and this is really flipping it on its head. I think this is a great counterpoint to some of the nationalistic behaviours that we are seeing today. Just the scale of the ambition of that idea made me think ah, that’s a really great signal.


4) What are your thoughts on signals and the future?

Signals are a really great way to talk to people about the future.


If someone is skeptical or cynical about it, having signals to bring it to life to say this is happening somewhere in the world, is really powerful and inspiring because it’s those stories that people remember.

My hopes for 2018 are about connection and purpose. That people can take the time to connect to things that really matter to them, to people that really matter to them, and that we remember we are living humans, part of a living planet. And once we shift towards that way of thinking and operating that will change the everyday decisions that we make.  



Thank you Louise for sharing your passion and enthusiasm on a positive vision for the future, from the everyday decisions that we make to how we can rethink the way we govern ourselves, for better lives for all. Here's to a great 2018!

// Become a signal spotter like Louise. Submit your first here.



Signals of change are new ideas or innovations that could change the game for sustainability in the future. Use the Futures Centre as your space to keep track of what's new to find opportunities for a sustainable future.

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