The New Extraordinary

The New Extraordinary

There’s a lot of chat about the ‘new normal’.

That’s good news for two reasons. First, pointing at once-radical ideas and saying ‘huh, that’s normal now’ helps us see and believe in change. Not only does that help us get over our lack of agency and/or apathy, it helps us tackle the problem of declining baselines.

Second – and the subject of this blog post –  when something moves from radical to normal it creates an interesting new space: from where power lies to what we do with it, come with us on a tour of the new extraordinary.

Disclaimer: this is a relentlessly positive look at the new extraordinary. We can’t help it, we are optimists.


New normal- The Greens are well and truly on the political scene. You actually have to squint quite hard not to see them.

New extraordinary- Recognising and valuing political consensus for what it is: our route to solving problems and building great big brilliant things together.

New normal- Developed countries in the grips of austerity are getting organised about their discontent.

New extraordinary- Money and its handlers no longer rule the world. Other stuff comes first – like happiness and wellbeing; you know, what real people want.

New normal- The phrase ‘digital democracy’ is on everyone’s lips – from the BBC to the Commons.

New extraordinary- We’re all happily using digital tools to run the country.

New normal- Widespread political commitment to improve the NHS – with a focus on wellbeing.

New extraordinary- Tax cuts are no longer a catch-all voting incentive. The health of society is a joint responsibility, the NHS needs the tax of the rich not just the rest. Beveridge is back.

New normal- It is widely accepted that people are disillusioned with Westminster politics. Trust in politicians is at an all time low and everyone’s calling everyone else apathetic.

New extraordinary- Citizens are organising themselves to achieve the change they want – locally, nationally and globally.

New normal- All big decisions are global in consideration and consequence.

New extraordinary- People define themselves by their planet, not their country.

New normal- There’s a sudden abundance of alternative tools for democracy, and a willingness to try something new.

New extraordinary- Collaboration rules! There are strong partnerships between groups who have different specific aims but the same big vision.

Hurray for humanity! We only gone and started something!

Ed Dowding

Technologist and entrepreneur, Ed specialises in social collaboration systems. His work has included building risk analysis services for the insurance industry, and from 2005 to 2010 he developed an SMS alert system which quickly grew into a full emergency management service for London local authorities and blue-lights.

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