Man cannot live on Banana Bread alone #14 #cong20


We were not equipped with a set of instructions for how to cope in a Global Pandemic. So whatever you’re doing to keep yourself sane, do it.
Most importantly though, don’t be afraid to reach out to people for no good reason. We can get zoom fatigue and we need to make it OK, to say, I’m just calling because I need social interaction

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Key Takeaways:

  1. We’ve been here before (sort of)
  2. There is no manual
  3. Do whatever keeps you sane
  4. Reach out for nothing, sanity is key

About Ailish Irvine

Ailish has worked in the education and non-profit sector, community integration and enterprise projects.  She is passionate about helping people to solve their own problems through resilience and a positive attitude.  She has a huge interest in STEM and in promoting employment opportunities in technology, particularly in rural areas.  When not working she is a wife to one and mammy of 3 and is usually found huddled on the side of a GAA pitch, planning on buying a warmer jacket..

Contacting Ailsh Irvine:

You can connect with Ailish on Twitter, LinkedIn or via email..  

By Ailish Irvine.

Man cannot live on Banana Bread alone.

Sometimes I have terrible ideas and sometimes I have great ones. At the start of this year I said to my husband, “i’d like to do up a room as a home office for myself, not a dumping ground, a nice space where I’d like hanging out and working”

I also said, “Let’s not wait until Summer for a holiday, why don’t we go away in February this year?”

Prophetic I hear you ask, I’m beginning to think so. Those two simple things have helped me to stay relatively sane in 2020.
We have always worked remotely and our kids are well used to having to pretend they live in the basement and don’t exist in our lives. Heaven forbid that they be seen in the background of a call or that people at work find out that we have a life outside of the 9 to 5.

Remember this guy.

He made it OK for all of us to have children appear in the background. Now it’s something that lightens people’s mood. We need more of our home life/work life co-existing. It needs to work to give the people at home a chance too. They shouldn’t have to hide.

We need a culture where it’s ok to say, I can’t do that because, I have school runs, training, football games etc

These past few months have made me think carefully about how our ancestors coped during crises in the past. I often wondered how people coped with the fear in wartime. The impending sense of doom and the never knowing when it’s all going to end. I then remembered that during wartime, people were very clear on who the enemy actually was. Now we really aren’t quite sure. Is it the person in ALDI without a face mask? The person you met out walking who walked a little bit too close beside you? Is it perhaps a work colleague you met for coffee who had a dry cough? It’s very difficult to know and in order to stay sane, I think, we have to realise that we are facing an unprecedented set of challenges. We don’t know how to be prepared emotionally for all this.

One of my favourite comedy clips is Catherine Tate . Here she is singing one of my favourite songs, which will be stuck in your head for the rest of today. (You’re most welcome) It depicts an old fashioned view of , keep calm and carry on.

I think our modern day response has been to bake banana bread. I know I can hear you now.

Patient: Dr. What do you think I should do? There’s this fear I have everyday of getting sick, possibly dying, losing a family member, my house, my job.?

Dr. Well I’m glad you asked, I recommend that perhaps you reacquaint yourself with Tony Soprano or Breaking Bad. Invest in huge amounts of toilet paper because this thing can get nasty. Lastly however I’d buy shares in flour companies as I feel like there is a banana bread wave about to hit. You know what else you can do?

  • Don’t worship at the shrine of amazon (Buy from someone who can’t get PUP)
  • Don’t do ALL zoom calls, it’s exhausting.
  • Have crappy dinners on the days you can’t muster the enthusiasm.
  • If you’ve not had a good nights sleep , take it easy. Be kind to yourself.
  • Ring your friends for no reason, the art of chatting about nothing is lost in this pandemic.

And if all else fails. “Let’s all go down the strand and have a banana.”

Society 3.0 – A Radical Thought Experiment #13 #cong20


what kind of society might be formed by a collective of citizens evolving the capability to perceive the social organism, and the processes that shape it?

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Coming soon

About Jeffrey Gormly

i use my creativity to make space for yours.

Contacting Jeffrey Gormly:

You can connect with Jeffrey by email..  

By Jeffrey Gormly.

Not only is it possible to imagine a radically different society, it is possible to imagine society in a radically different way.

In fact, we seriously underestimate the role of imagination in understanding society now, or in any form it has held in the past or might hold in the future.

to perceive .. the social organism as a living being, to perceive its movements – to see what has been formed – in other words, to compare the contemporary shape and form of the social organism with its archetype. This is a sculptural concept… (J. Beuys)

Imagination has the power of creating a picture of things by organising, framing and shaping the data of our senses into patterns, procedures, and expectations. Imagination is a perceptual organ itself, and by reappraising our powers of imagination, we can give ourselves new power to invent, create, discover the future

Complexity, cybernetic and quantum theories centrally posit the idea of observer-entanglement, that the very act of observing creates change in what we are observing. This also implies that we can only have a limited understanding or perception of complex systems we are a part of, because we are ourselves inside those systems – there is no place of impartial objective observation.

Even the use of data to create objectivity is limited in that to precisely model reality would require computing resources and energy consumption greater than our finite world can actually provide.

But there are other kinds of technologies.

According to the principle of emergence, complex systems can and do arise from accumulated actions and interactions – in this model, mind is an emergent phenomenon based on the interactions between neurons and within and between nets of neurons; a hive is emergent on the interactions of thousands of bees, etc.

We can think of a future society as a social organism that is emergent on the perception and creativity of citizens.

In this radical thought experiment, our mode of perception is the technology and we are shifting the operating system for dealing with our environment from the level of the individual to the level of social organism or superorganism. Developing a sensitivity to how individual actions inflect complex systems will be one instance whereby humans will grow what Joseph Beuys refers to as “new organs of perception”.

In one aspect, this technology is ideological: how we frame our perceptions to recognise the processes and discern the dynamics of emergence, in order to be able to dance with those processes. This form of the technology has been called cybernetic epistemology.

This technology is also a kind of wisdom-knowledge practice for coping with uncertainty, emergence and creative process. It’s being in a state of dance, navigating the multiple choreographies of complex systems. Kirsi Monni calls this technology techne. I call it choreonautics.

Entering fully into this thought experiment will not only generate new thinking, it will cause the thinker to develop mental and perceptual flexibility; a new level of comfort with the unknown, uncertain, ambiguous; a deeper feeling of ease with creative processes; a new sense of optimism.

To sum up: what kind of society might be formed by a collective of citizens evolving the capability to perceive the social organism, and the processes that shape it?

Over the next few weeks imagine your self as an element of that social organism. How does your behaviour affect the larger organism, eg by reinforcing, confirming, conforming, inflecting.


Further Reading

Joseph Beuys – What is Art?

Jeffrey Gormly, Michael Klien, Steve Valk – Book of Recommendations

Kirsi Monni – Sense and Meaning in Dance

Peter Miller – Smart Swarms

Ernst Von Glasersfeld – Radical Constructivism

Global Population Decline: Good or Bad? #12 #cong20


It is generally accepted that the global population will begin an irreversible decline within the next 20 to 80 years, in fact it has started in many countries already. What are both the positive and negative implications?

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Many countries have already seen a decline in population.
  2. Replacement rates falling below 2.1 is an indicator.
  3. Economies may suffer, but individuals may not suffer economically.
  4. The environment may benefit as a result.

About Craig Brown

 Craig Brown works in the field of people and performance.  He obtained a undergraduate degree in literature from Acadia University in Canada, and his MBA from Kingston University in London.  He was honoured to receive a 2020 Galway People of the Year Award for his work with charity.

Craig lives in south Galway with his wife and three children.

Contacting Craig Brown:

You can connect with Craig on LinkedIn.  

By Craig Brown.

The UN predicts that the global population will level off toward the end of this century, while other credible sources put it much earlier at 2040, seeing an overall decline in the world’s population after that.

In fact, a number of countries have already begun the decline. For example, Italy hit a peak population of 60.8million in 2015. It now stands at 60.5 million and is projected to fall to 54.4million by 2050. Japan saw a peak population of 128.1million in 2008 which has fallen to 126.5 today. There are predicted to be 107million Japanese by 2040. There are many other examples including Russia, Germany and Venezuela.

While there can be simple explanations for short-term population decline, such as war, famine or seeking economic opportunities elsewhere, long-term population decline seems a more general and lasting trend.

Can we predict when a country’s population will begin to decline? Maybe. The population replacement rate is the average number of children each woman must have for the population of a country to remain stable. This number is generally accepted to be 2.1 (the additional 0.1 takes into account children who themselves do not survive to childbearing age).

Japan’s replacement rate fell below 2.1 in 1974. 41 years later the population began to fall. Italy’s replacement rate fell under 2.1 in the late 1940’s, with the population beginning to fall some 65 years later. It would seem that the population of a country declines once the generation with the sub 2.1 fertility rate begins to pass away. The United Kingdom’s fertility rate fell below the 2.1 threshold in 1973, while for the Republic of Ireland, it was in 1990.

Why does this happen? Families begin to have fewer children for a couple of main reasons; the urbanization of a nation means that there is less pressure from extended family on women to have more children. It also means that children are no longer a financial asset on the farm, but a financial liability in the towns and cities. Wide access to birth control also allows women to decide when and how many children to have.

But are falling populations a good or bad thing? Like many things in life, this is a complicated matter.


  1. An obvious negative would be a potentially failing economy with fewer potential ‘customers’. But a declining population would like also mean fewer competitors as well.
  2. As people are generally living longer, this will put pressure on a shrinking workforce to support the aged.
  3. We may also see a decline in innovation as innovation generally comes from younger adults.


  1. Fewer people may put less pressure on the environment for resources.
  2. GDP per capita (as opposed to national GDP) seems to actually rise once a population begins to decline, as experienced in Russia, Japan, Germany and many eastern European countries. While declining population may not be good for government coffers, it seems to work well for the individual.

Is there anything we can do to reverse global population decline? Is it even a good idea to try?

Working from Home. #11 #cong20


 The future of work will be driven, as it has always been, by a need for teams to be successful. Working from home has its place and there is no doubt that some or all teams will do some work from home – but there is no one-size-fits all answer. Just another fascinating facet of technology in our lives.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Coming soon.

About Joe Kearns

Joe Kearns is an Intercultural trainer who runs his own small training company. Joe originally qualified as an engineer and after time in France and Ethiopia began his IT career in the mid-80’s. Joe worked at a number of multinationals including Nixdorf Computer and Hewlett Packard in roles from programmer to IT Director. He also studied for his Computer Science degree at Trinity College during that period. In recent years Joe has focussed his energies on Intercultural matters particularly cultural issues in virtual teams and the influence technology is having on national cultures.

Contacting Joe Kearns:

You can follow Joe on Twitter, his website or contact him on Skype or by email.  

By Joe Kearns.

– why it is tough to get right, why it is not always good and why Big Tech wants you to buy in.

Out of the Covid19 crisis there can be few topics that generate more discussion than that of remote or virtual working. The topic has moved from one of interest only to some in team management roles to one that is discussed in “popular media”. The consensus seems to be that most people will move to mostly virtual work and be happy to do so. I disagree with this consensus.

Those of you know me know I am not a fan of virtual work – in fact, I hate it. When I express that view, I get a variety of responses. Some immediately agree with me. Some seem to think I just don’t get it. And then some react like I had just insulted their religion or told them their baby was ugly!

Those who think I just do not understand it assume it’s due to my age – because I am an “old guy” I don’t understand this brave new technical world. Well, I have been in the tech industry since 1985 and I worked virtually from 1999 right up to today. I have presented on the topic at international conferences and led week-end workshops on the nature of virtual life. I get it.

Interestingly some of the cheerleaders for the new world of working-from-home act more like religious evangelists. I heard someone at a recent session make the following statement, about those who say they don’t like remote working “…they are not believers yet”.

It is hard to get it right if you do work virtually

For those of you who have tried to work virtually in recent probably know it is not always easy to get right.

Here are my top three things – in reverse order – that lead to success or failure:

The Work: I think it is probably self-evident that the kind of work involved will dictate how successful a remote-virtual environment will be. In my experience the more clearly defined the tasks and the less “human emotion” needed the more successful the team will be. To explain the extremes on the spectrum of: suitable to unsuitable, activities I ask people if they would like to be married to someone and only have a virtual existence? That’s one end of the spectrum and technical projects are probably at the other.

The Technology: It is my contention that in about 5 years we will look back and laugh at how primitive the current tools will seem. Rather like dial-up-internet to fibre internet. Tools like Zoom, Teams, Webex and others are in their infancy and Covid will drive huge improvements. But for today the most important factor to consider is how level the playing field is for the team. If one of your team has team has a specially built office of 50m2, overlooking a lake, with 1GB broadband, two or three large high resolutions screens, a comfortable chair and no “home” interruptions and another of your team is working in a cupboard with a laptop on their knees with the sounds of dogs and children in the background, they are not likely to perform the same. In an office environment all employees generally have the same technical level playing field. Imagine holding an office meeting where one of the attendees had to sit under the table with a paper bag on their head and talk though a towel – how much would they contribute to the meeting?

But I guess many companies are tackling the technical side to ensure their employees have good screens, cameras, and microphones. But there is not much they can do about the family setup or the physical environment.

There is another tech-inequality that can disrupt team performance – that is where some of the team are in an office face-to-face and others are calling in “virtually”. This is one I have had to deal with myself as a manager and we eventually had everyone call in with the same technology regardless of whether they could sit in the same room together.  A tech level playing field is vital.

The personality: This is the most important factor and one we can’t change. For some people, and it is not a function of age, working virtually is hell and for others it is heaven. Why is that? Some of us value the direct contact, interaction and insights that being with real people brings. For some of us being deprived from that is downright painful. For others, the less they have to interact with real humans the better! This is a huge topic, too big to go into here, and deserves further study.

Big Tech -why they want you to “believe”

Who benefits from a positive spin view of “working from home”? Well primarily the big tech companies and internet providers. Have you noticed any of the ads on TV for broadband? They always show cheery happy families all working away – the mother talking to her team in the office, the son playing a war game, the daughter doing online research and so on. Everyone is so happy. Don’t get me wrong, if I was trying to sell the product, I would create similar images. But the images are just that – an image. The real-life realities are probably not so much fun.


The future of work will be driven, as it has always been, by a need for teams to be successful. Working from home has its place and there is no doubt that some or all teams will do some work from home – but there is no one-size-fits all answer. Just another fascinating facet of technology in our lives.

Home Is Where The Heart (of Society 3.0) Is #10 #cong20


 In 2020, to be social is to potentially put yourself and others in your social circles in harm’s way, so how do we rethink and reconfigure our society for both the individual and the common good?

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Society 3.0 is most likely to be inspired by our individual and collective senses of Society 1.0
  2. This period of social distancing heightens our realisation of the importance of home
  3. Many of us are cruelly distanced from one another, even before the social distancing that’s become our norm for 2020.
  4. A society that’s fit for purpose is always founded in each of us having a place that we can call our home.

About Gerard Tannam

 Gerard Tannam leads Islandbridge Brand Development (, a team of specialists working to build great relationships in the marketplace that bridge the gap between buyers and sellers.

Contacting Gerard Tannam:

 You can contact Gerard by email., follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn or check out his work in Islandbridge.  

By Gerard Tannam.

My first memory of being part of a social group sees me sitting at the dining-room table which has been cleared to make way for the family’s record-player, and we’re listening to Oldies (but Goldies), a collection of Beatles’ singles released earlier in the decade. It’s the late ‘60s, I think, which makes me four or five, and I can see from the faces of my parents and brothers and sister that we’re sharing something really special, and it feels great to be part of it. Society 1.0 for me, I guess.

Fast forward to 2020, when social distancing rather than social togetherness is the norm, and it seems that my world has shrunk again to my dinner table, and I dare not socialise beyond the four walls of my home for fear of putting myself and others in harm’s way. The early days of lockdown, when we were inspired with the heroism of sticking together by remaining apart, seem even more of a distant pipedream than those ‘oldie but goldie’ days which are instantly evoked by something as beguiling as the opening bars of Yesterday.

From discussions with family and friends, I don’t think I’m alone in my time-travelling back to an era of homemade dinners and freshly baked scones, and it seems to me that many of us trace an idealised view of what society might be to our early days around the table. So perhaps that might be a good place too for us to begin the task of making tomorrow’s Society 3.0 everything it should be, even if tomorrow’s soundtrack is no longer to be the Beatles.

When we make home the heart of our society, it gives us something of a blueprint for how we might design and build the other structures beyond our four walls. It’s only when we recognise that a sense of belonging and togetherness, even when apart, underpins both our individual and therefore our collective sense of wellbeing that we can begin to truly reimagine our society and deliver a world where all of us can feel very much at home.

So how does Society 2.0 stack up against our common and inbuilt need of a place to call our own? Even our current social distancing can’t disguise the fact that too many of us live in a society which hasn’t delivered us a real home of our own. Beyond those sleeping on our streets and in our doorways, there are many more housed in places and conditions where the four walls confine and close in on them, creating an even more damaging sense of social distance that will last long after the more public restrictions and constraints of our time are a faint memory.

As a result, many of us are cruelly distanced from one another, and those of us most in need of a good neighbour are unable to bridge the chasm that’s been created between us and them and must rely instead on the kindness of strangers. And nobody wishes to rely on that.

So, as we figure out the shape and the substance of the new worlds which we’re creating using the latest skills and tools at our disposal, we must make sure that home is where the heart of our Society 3.0 is. It’s only in providing for every one of us a place that we can call home that we can each begin to emerge confidently into the open spaces between us and forge the relationships that underpin our social life or society.

Whatever version of Society that we wish to build, whether it’s realised in a family discovering a shared taste in music or an outsider being made welcome to participate in all of the good things on offer, a society that’s fit for purpose is always founded in each of us having a place that we can call our home.

Society, in the Past, in the Present and in the Future. #9 #cong20


Society is complex and is made up of various personalities.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. We need to learn from the past.
  2. We need to be open to developing.
  3. We need to look forward to the future with positivity and hope.
  4. We have little control of what goes on around us. However, we have control of ourselves to take care of our society.

About Gerard Costello

I am a Community Alert Development Officer for Muintir na Tire, advising and supporting Community Alert Groups in the Western Region of Clare, Galway, Mayo, Roscommon and Longford. I went back to collage as a Mature Student and studied Community and Family Studies for four years.
I am involved in various community committees.

Contacting Gerard Costello:

 You can contact Gerard by email.

By Gerard Costello.

Society, in the past, in the present and in the future. What have we learned? what are we learning? what can we learn for society?

‘Society’ has a lot of interesting angles, definitions and examples with a wide varied implication to people. The word society prompted me to look up various sites for their definition of the word Society to see what the written thinking was before putting my thoughts and learning about it on paper. The following are some of the various answers.

‘A society is a group of individuals involved in persistent social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social territory, typically subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations. Societies are characterized by patterns of relationships (social relations) between individuals who share a distinctive culture and institutions;

‘Society, the aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community’.

‘It is said society is made up of the community of people living in a particular country or region and having shared customs, laws, and organizations’.

‘Society can be the totality of social relationships among organized groups of human beings or animals’.

‘Society is a system of human organizations generating distinctive cultural patterns and institutions and usually providing protection, security, continuity, and a national identity for its members’. However, the one I like best is.

‘Society: The totality of people regarded as forming a community of interdependent individuals working for the benefit of society’.

My analysis from the above definitions of Society relates to, a group of people, their interaction, subjected to the same governing authority and cultural expectations within a community working for the benefit of society. However, this year 2020 has created some change to Society showing us how vulnerable we all are and how quick we are to change. I think we need to look back to see where we have come from in society to appreciate what we have today and work safely on developing a more balanced healthy society into the future. Each day of our lives we enter an unknown arena which we have to move around in, to entertain and to be entertained within.

When I think of the word society and where we have come from reminds me of a life experience. This is a synopsis I have around society and changes which I remind myself of when having a bad day. On a fine summers morning in the year 2015, I stood in front of a replica of ancient Ireland. This replica, related to where people lived long ago in places called Crannogs. On my visit to the model site of ancient Ireland I stopped in the warmth of the early morning sunlight and gazed at the images developed in this village setting. As I rested I could hear the birds singing, the sun was shining on my back. I was after driving to this tourist attraction from the hotel I was staying in when on holidays with my family in the South of Ireland. I was after a full Irish breakfast. I had gone for a relaxing dip in the hotel pool, sat for a while in the steam room and relaxed in the Jacuzzi. It was early August and day four of a six-day break away from home and work in the West of Ireland. My life in society year 2015.

I watched the images and the surroundings and realised what I was looking at depicted what would have been the way of life for my Great – Grand Parents and what Society and the environment was for them and others at some stage. Their homes were Crannogs made of sticks, clay and vegetation. Heated with the flames of burning timber in an open fire. No windows. No solid door, just a flap. No running water. No electricity, Very little clothes.

I have told people about my experience of this model site and my family connection to that society and said to people, your family came from the same environment. Some people agreed with me and others have said no, their family had a two story house. They may be correct, who am I to judge. But, if we go far enough back in time I may be correct to say that our ancestors came from a life where they lived as part of a society in a Crannog.

These Crannog homes were simple and home to families. What I saw in that image before me was, simplicity with very little comforts. However, the questions I ask is, did everybody live in a Crannog during that age? and was life as simple as I could see? had these people no comfort. Was society like this for everybody back then? Was the simplicity of life a good or bad experience? Has society really changed and will society change in the future?

As the nation has aged, the elements that bind society together have multiplied and grown strong.’ Well, when I gaze around today we have come a long way in this society from the Crannogs. We have access to everything, to houses with everything in them, from windows, doors, electricity, heating etc. Or have we everything in society? Can we change much more? However, have we grown strong with age to much when you stop and think what Covid 19 is doing to society? Can we do anything to improve. Personally what I have in society today is in abundance compared to my ancestors. However, I fear losing what I have due to, viruses, crime and lack of development leadership.

We have become a society of blamers, demanders and whingers living a franticly stressful life. The way society is managing life is causing it to move at a rapid and stressful pace. Technology for one is advancing at such a fast rate that the mind can’t keep up with it and the body is breaking down under the pressures of modernisation. Society is leaving technology to do the think, resulting in a loss of neighbourliness and the loss of community spirit. Society needs to balance the use of technology and the personal connection in order to have a better one. We have no one else to blame, but ourselves.

Sometimes we lose sight of our purpose in life and our road map. Having a good society with balanced leadership, a purpose, aims and solutions can help people achieve goals. Goals only come about with aims and actions. As a society are we stopping and thinking or thinking and stopping. Sometimes achievement not the person, defines what we are and who we are in Society. I say this on the old fashioned statement of society, she is a Doctor, he is a Solicitor verses she is only or he is only. We are all members of society and we are all needed to help keep the wheel of progress turning.

What others want from society in the future I have no control over. However, being a member of society I do not expect perfection in products and services, but I expect that leaders, corporations and people will always act responsibly. It is said, there are three ways of doing something. 1. Your way. 2. My way. 3. The right way and more recently there is a fourth way which is, don’t do anything. Society can’t stand still and just do nothing. Society hinges on and has hinged on the first three and without a balanced measure of mutual respect there can be no ordered lawful society.’

For me, learning in the future is a must for society to progress in unity: From experience of becoming a mature student in my late forties and having never gone to collage until them I have to say instructed learning is required at all levels of society to be able to progress for the good of all. However, time, support and encouragement needs to be given to those who find it difficult to learn as not everyone can achieve straight A’s. We need to question ourselves? ‘Where do we draw the line between individual freedom and good order in society?’ We need to learn from the past. We need to be open to developing. We need to look forward to the future with positivity and hope. In relation to the crises Ireland as a nation is going through with Covid 19 the primary focus of learning and aid must be to rebuild the elements that hold society together.

A quote I came across, ‘If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are ‘the father, the mother and the teacher’. This is very apt when it comes to learning within society. We need the three teachers to play a part in our development. When it comes to the actions of society towards development as another quote refers. ‘The great danger for family life, in the midst of any society whose idols are pleasure, comfort and independence, lies in the fact that people close their hearts and become selfish’. This has become a problem in some communities mainly because of the lack of proper leadership.

Fear, life commitments and financial demands are some factors which drains the availability of volunteers to help develop society and this is a concern which needs to be addressed especially in rural Ireland. Interestingly the next quote worries me, ‘A person who cannot live in society, or does not need to because he is self-sufficient, is either a beast or a god’. Humans must have laws and must enforce those laws in order to maintain order in society.’ We make compromises with individual integrity in order to allow society to function. However, the problem is some people have little or no respect for themselves or others.

To conclude, after reading some of the definitions of society it was very thought-provoking. It is said that to go forward sometimes one must look back. In order for society to advance, people need to look back to some of the golden ages in the past and learn from the actions which took society to where we are today. Highlighting problems is necessary in order to encourage change. Society is in danger of sleep walking into a new arena without looking back at where we have come from, creating targets for the future and taking on aims so as to achieve goals for the good of society. Learning is needed by all and basics relevant to each stage of our lives needs to be thought to us as Children as Adults and as Older People. However, to much information is a problem to society, causing confusion and frustration.

Societies judgement of a person by wealth – image puts great pressure on those who struggle to make ends meet. Society is complex and is made up of various personalities. As a member of today’s society I have to embrace the environment which we are given and live as safely as possible. My wish is to work to achieve what I need, without offending or harming others in the process while also helping others on my life journey in today’s Irish society. We have little control of what goes on around us. However, we have control of ourselves to take care of our society.

When a business becomes everybody’s business it soon becomes nobody’s business. This too me is the evolving structure of society and without the support of formal leadership and governance, society is going to become wild and out of control. The onus is on government, institutions and society to work together for a just and equitable social order. We are not given many opportunities to discuss or give inputs into the way society is and could develop. However, thanks to CongRegation for the insight to provide the opportunity for members of society to discuss, engage and learn. I look forward to CongRegation 2020, the findings and feelings others have about society.

Technology Furthering Social Transformation #8 #cong20


Technology in a year of pandemic foment has been a forcing function driving closer connectiveness and problem solving. The power of COTS solutions coupled to human wherewithal can help quickly create social transformation..

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Technology can enable social transformation.
  2. People are intrinsic to finding solutions
  3. Common, off-the-shelf technology can be leveraged quickly to solve social problems
  4. New technologies can allow us to rapidly iterate solutions

About David Graham

Dave Graham is the Director of Emerging Technology Messaging at Dell Technologies, a Ph.D. candidate at University College of Dublin SMARTLab, and the host of the Elemental Collision podcast and video series highlighting startups, diverse and inclusive technologies and companies, as well as technological innovation..

Contacting David Graham:

 You can contact David by email  or follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

By David Graham.

A little over a decade ago, I was a social worker.   Working with those who needed social supports, whether financial or otherwise, shone a light on the struggle with ensuring that those who required aide, received it.  Frustration with process, with technology, with the tools that could be used to expedite decision making processes or help were commonplace. What was ostensibly a “people problem” was hampered by the intersection with technology, usually to the negative.  Driven by antiquated terminals and technology, it was difficult to ensure timely access and application for services through the various agencies and court systems I worked within.  Thankfully, as the years have passed, technology has moved beyond what it once was, bringing with it a plethora of benefits that can be realized more rapidly than ever before.  As I’ll discuss below, in the intervening 6 months, I’ve been privileged to see and be a part of how this technological progress has changed how communities interact with social supports in new and exciting ways.

When Covid-19 roared onto the international stage in early of 2020, it became apparent that some level of social support would be needed.  People who were stuck at home, had no access to services, personal protective equipment or groceries were going to need help beyond what the normal infrastructure could provide.  In the weeks that followed, we all witnessed the wide-scale rampage that Covid-19 caused, particularly amongst those who could not fend for themselves. Nursing homes experienced high transmission rates, marginalized and indigenous communities were forced to make accommodations for government short-sightedness, workforces across all industries and verticals were sent home and schools were forced to restrict physical access to facilities.  In the midst of this, people began to unite to solve these problems with technology and willpower, leveraging the collective power of community to change the narrative. Two stories were particularly powerful to me, and

The Republic of Ireland has roughly five million citizens with a population density, in 2020, of 72 persons per square kilometer. As such, it faces unique challenges when it comes to connecting people to resources under the auspices of a global pandemic.   The ideal behind (CCR) was to stand up a rapid response communications hub using open and closed source componentry as quickly as possible.  By tapping into the ideals of a connected community, CCR was able to quickly leverage technologies like Discord, Zendesk and Twilio to establish a rapid text and message driven infrastructure to get people connected to each other.  Establishing this nationwide “helpdesk”, connected through common language and engagement, those in need were able to be connected to those who could provide, safely and securely.  By using common, off-the-shelf software with a limited amount of re-tooling, CCR was able to be brought to bear with rapid efficiency and work within the bounds of government agencies to provide relief.

The second project I was able to witness was  TeamOSV, as it was colloquially called, embarked on rapid prototyping of Ambu-bag systems, designed to shore up what was then a lack of appropriate emergency ventilation systems.  By drawing on a global community of hardware and software engineers, project managers, doctors and nurses, TeamOSV was able to rapidly develop workable ventilator prototypes within weeks.  Using tools like Slack, Github and Gitlab, Solidworks, OnShape, Altium and others, allowed designs to be iterated quickly and changes to be incorporated in near real-time.  Coupled to the widespread availability of 3D printers using medical-grade PLA and other high-grade polymers and metals, these prototypes were open sourced and available to be iterated upon by anyone in the community, regardless of geographic location.  The sheer volume of participants and designs was overwhelming and, as the medical community started to recognize the value in emergency ventilation designs, it brought along interest from government agencies around the world.  The value of community, united in purpose, was powerfully shown.

Technology was a foundational element to both approaches.  For CCR, the availability to rapidly deploy helpdesk software in the cloud to solve problems happening in real-time in rural, suburban and urban environments enabled marginalized communities of people to receive aide.  TeamOSV was able to use common messaging tools, standardized software and repositories and, rapid prototyping hardware to quickly iterate, test, and build ventilator designs based on the ever-changing presentation of Covid-19 around the world.  In both cases, technology enabled, rather than detracted from, communication, service and ultimately, social transformation.

In the weeks, months and years ahead, the world will undoubtably face new challenges and opportunities to apply technology to social change.  The challenges will always be present to ensure that what is done is to the benefit of society at large and not just a momentary cause.  The lessons learned from enabling rapid response in CCR and TeamOSV cannot be overstated: when called to solve problems, people, leveraging technology, are unstoppable.  The caution remains, however, that the misuse of technology is of equal notability.  Without appropriate checks and balances, technology is easily capable of turning good intentions into chaos, purpose into aimlessness.  We need to ensure that balance is achieved by listening to the agencies and social currents that carry the voices of those that need to us.  As we continue to fight the ravages of Covid-19, I’m honoured to have spent time working with the people and technologies that have enabled a small island of hope to appear in an ocean of agitation.

Regenerative farming: Food 3.0 #7 #cong20


Our industrial/financial based society does not provide us with food that is healthy, fresh, grown in healthy soil by a fairly rewarded producer. It’s methods damage the soil and the climate.
Regenerative farming can change this and also strengthen our communities and societies.
I am searching for a person who would develop a regenerative horticultural enterprise on my farm.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Have a diverse diet.
  2. Support research on regenerative farming.
  3. Develop local resilience by supporting local enterprises.
  4. Your society provides your food. If it’s not good enough, change it.

About Conor O'Brien

I come from a tradition of cooperative and local involvement and have always been involved in community and farming organisations. I am a member of the Board oversight on Mitchelstown Credit Union. Chairperson of Knockmealdown Active that develops outdoor activities there. Also involved with a local group using walks on the Knockmealdowns and the Galtees to build the community. I help to organise a storytelling workshop on Cape Clear island in October every year. Learning more about the soil every day. Reading. Local history.

Contacting Conor O'Brien:

 You can contact Conor by email  or follow him on Twitter.

By Conor O’Brien.

Communities, and societies, developed so that people could manage their food, shelter, and health by coordinating how they used their resources. Various power structures evolved to do this. Some structures were benign, others oppressive; but all depended for their survival on satisfying their peoples material needs.
In simple terms Society 1.0 was pre-industrial, based on what a specific place and people could produce; Society 2.0 is the present industrial cum financial society based on maximising the growth of capital, with no ties to place or people. In Society 3.0 people will use the ICT developed in Society 2.0 to build their own virtual communities with no need for a common sense of place

During Society 2.0, our present industrial/financial age, the connection between people’s between their material needs and the means of providing them was gradually broken. One contributed to society by engaging in the market; by selling one’s labour for a specialised task, while buying one’s food and material goods from others who also did specialised tasks. Growing the return on capital became more important than any other need of society. This alienation from the sources of our well-being is not a minor matter of harmless ignorance.

Our health is directly related to the nature of our diet. Diversity and freshness in our diet is essential to the proper functioning of our bodies. Our present system of food production and distribution drastically reduces the opportunity for food diversity and freshness. We need a system that produces healthy food near us, grown on healthy soil, with a decent income for the producer. Regenerative farming is the new Food 3.0 that can do this

The core principle of regenerative farming is that the fungi in the soil can mobilise any elements that are in the soil which are needed by the plant. These are exchanged through the root system for the sugar produced through photosynthesis in the leaves. It depends on diversity of plants and the biome; protecting the soil with plants; integrate livestock and reduce ploughing.
In the conventional system of using artificial fertilisers the plant does not need to exchange any sugars with the fungi and the die off. Without the fungi the rest of the biome that are essential to the natural cycle will lack essential nutrients.
Applying herbicides and fungicides to correct the resulting crop ailments further destroys the fungi and the soil biome. Without these the soils water absorption potential is reduced. This is a soil catastrophe because the weaker molecular and physical ties within the soil leads to erosion and carbon loss from the soil. About 40% of the worlds agricultural land is seriously degraded.

The photosynthetic sugars are the currency of all living things. Our industrial Society 2.0 depends on the photosynthetic hydrocarbons trapped in the fossil fuels from millions of years ago. Burning these fossil fuels is driving a climate catastrophe. We are burning the currency that enables us to access the resources to maintain our society.
On the other hand, regenerative farming stabilises the carbon cycle, and sequesters carbon in the soil. The improvement in the soil’s water holding capacity reduces the effect of both droughts and floods.
There is another, social, effect. Regenerative farming is human capital intensive rather than financial capital intensive This makes it much more difficult to scale up and enables more people to make a living directly from farming. Being local and people intensive it provides both energy and resilience to communities, and consequently to the broader society.

At Christmas 2018 my brothers and I found that we had independently begun looking at regenerative agriculture and realising how little we know about plants and the soil. It has been one of the most productive learning periods of our careers.
I am now actively looking for someone who would be interested in developing a one to three acre regenerative horticultural operation on my farm at a reasonable rent.
So if you know someone who might be interested in starting a horticultural regenerative farming enterprise, let them contact me at:

Walking 1500km with Bill Burr #6 #cong20


 Global Business Traveller who’s plans were badly impacted by Pandemic.
Walked a lot.
Wandered towards purpose.
Remembered a story from Serbia.
Lived happily ever after.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Purpose is waiting for you to find it.
  2. Community is easy to connect to.
  3. There is always something to do.

About Frank Hannigan

I work with SMEs planning to Scale.
I am a business coach and advisor.
I live in Carrigtwohill, Cork.
Husband and Dad.

Contacting Frank Hannigan:

 You can contact Frank by email 

By Frank Hannigan.

“I have a total irreverence for anything connected with society except that which makes the roads safer, the beer stronger, the food cheaper and the old men and old women warmer in the winter and happier in the summer.”

Brendan Behan

My 2020 was planned a long time ago. I was committed to projects at home and abroad that would keep me flat out for the full year.

The deceleration in March was enough to give you whiplash.

What happened next?

Just before the lock down I had started walking 8kms a day, listening to podcasts, music and Bill Burr.

Bill is incorrigible; a great antidote to the doom and gloom in media.

His philosophy is, “Life sucks, get on with it and stop whining”

Like all of us he finds it hard to keep momentum with the world falling asunder.

I remembered a story about President Zoran Đinđić of Serbia.

He visited a factory shortly after the Yugoslav wars.

The factory CEO told him how everything was screwed – no committed workers; no cash to invest in better machines; no routes to market.

Đinđić said

“I get it, but I noticed the Factory Clock at your entrance is broken, you could fix that. When you fix that, find the next thing you can fix.”

Each day I walked past this magnificent 19th Century stone wall that had been completely hidden by briars and hedge and ivy for at least a generation. It felt like a Đinđić moment.

I talked to neighbours and long story short, we uncovered that wall.

It didn’t make the beer cheaper, but it brought a lot of smiles and joy.

Society has one thing in common with Business – Leadership is a team sport.

Not everyone puts in the effort – but who cares.

The fascinating things is how many will put in the effort if you show example; if you ask them to; if you give them the encouragement to try and the permission to fail.

Every great society came about from small groups of organised, informed and motivated people (Society comes from the Latin word that means friends or allies).

There was a sense of us all being in it together back in March.

By September that sense of solidarity seems to have corroded badly.

30 years ago Balkan society was ripped apart.

Covid-19 is now testing society globally.

The ingredient to survive this punctuation mark is the same as any other disaster.

You need the will to remain.

Society is a man-made construct.

If you imagine a society built on fear and hatred, you will get that.

If you imagine a society that makes each life better you need to:

  • Keep fixing things big and small
  • Keep talking and building consensus
  • Keep dreaming about a better state

You need the will to remain.

Irish society was destroyed by the end of the 1600’s, its leaders were gone, its laws and even its land was ripped away from its people. A real possibility was that the Irish and their society would be extinguished like the Native Americans.

Astonishingly, individuals across Ireland kept fixing things, after Kinsale, after Cromwell, after Perfidious Albion broke promises made in the Treaty of Limerick.

They had the will to remain.

All those fixes; all that consensus building; all those dreams created a continuity of sorts and sublimated into a definite vision of a future society.

Irish society was not invented in 1921.

It builds on a solid foundation of those generations of Irishmen and women.

Let’s keep fixing things.

In Who Do We Trust #5 #cong20


A personal perspective on what I see as access to thriving in Society 3.0.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. We are social creatures.
  2. Society is where we socialise – and generate purpose in our lives.
  3. Society evolves as we do.
  4. What will be desirable Society 3.0 – and who’s responsibility is it to create that?

About Eileen Forrestal

Retired from a 32 yr Medical Career – with 20 years as an Anaesthetist ‘putting people to sleep’ – I am now refired as a publishing entrepreneur – ‘waking people up’ – with ‘words of wisdom for times of transformation’ in the form of the Get Up and Go Diaries, Journals and Planners. !
Author, speaker, Mentor, Coach I am fully immersed in the world of words – and using words to change the world.

Contacting Eileen Forrestal:

 You can contact Eileen by email or connect with her on LinkedIn, follow her on Twitter, and Facebook

By Eileen Forrestal.

Society 3.0

Here’s my take on it

In Society is where we get to play as earthlings.
We form societies so we don’t have to be on our own. We are social creatures and we recognise the existential need to belong in society.
We have little societies called families, and we cluster in larger societies making up communities. We get to socialise within these societies – we play golf, we watch birds, study the bible, save the whale, prevent cruelty to animals; we provide care for the sick, and food for the homeless. Where ever there is a need – we form a society to address it and deliver. We need these societies to function, as a society, so we make rules and regulations. We may have entry criteria – to make sure YOU belong in OUR society. You might have to apply to join and pay money to belong. Google ‘weirdest societies’, or ‘most bizarre societies ever’ and you will find that whatever your peculiarity, there is a society to which you can belong. Happy days.

Which brings me to Three things I believe are necessary for any society to flourish, and if we want our ‘global’ society to flourish in the future these are 3 T’s to pay attention to.

  • Truth
  • Trust
  • Trappings

The Truth has practically disappeared in a tsunami of Fake News. What is true? Who says it’s true? How do we know it’s true? What if it is true? What if it isn’t true?
We’re ‘meithered’ by needing to know the truth – it’s as if our life depends on it. We are terrified we might be lied to , or be caught out believing something that isn’t true. What a calamity that would be!! That would be like believing in Santa Clause!!

Which brings me to Trust ..
Who do you trust to tell you the truth? Who can you trust? How do you know who to trust? What if they are not trustworthy? What if they betray your trust? Can you trust yourself to know who to trust? Maybe you can’t trust anybody? Where is the evidence that you can trust them? Show me that I can trust you. What can I trust you for? Can I trust you to do that? Remember, your parents lied about Santa Clause. And everyone colluded… Can you trust anyone …?

Yes, we’re trapped in the trappings of society – the messages we get from society telling us we have succeeded – we have arrived. We have been accepted into the ‘upper echelons’. We are driving the right car, we are living in the right neighbourhood, we are mingling with the right society .. no riff raff here! We have been to the best schools and colleges, we are eligible – and then there’s the Royal Society …. now we’ve surely made it when they let us in there!! Society endorsed by Royalty …
Yes, we are trapped in the trappings of our humanity.
We are trapped in our biology , in our identities – carefully crafted to help us navigate the trial and tribulations of our existence in society.
We are trapped in the chronology of birth to death
We are trapped in the eternal moment of now …

And yet we resist the trap – we want to get off. We don’t trust it. Space looks good. The scientists are telling us the truth. I wonder could we live there … Could we join the Society for International Space Exploration … or is that just for Astronauts?

Where can we go to find peace.
We want to ‘get out of our heads’ – we try alcohol, drugs …
We want to get out of our town , our country, where we feel trapped!! We want to escape.
Would another society be better? What about Australia ..

What if we were simply happy to be home?

My point is ..
As a society we seem to have lost our bearings – our North Star was the truth – what God or the Bible said, or Daddy .. or the Teacher, the Priest, the Scientist .. the Policeman, the Doctor, the Judge .. .. Now it’s the Twitterati with the blue tick or is it Dr Google …. or perhaps your best friend who knows someone who knows someone who said … Who can you trust? Who’s telling the truth?
Trapped in needing to know!
Trapped in the need for certainty.

Without trust in the truth of ourselves … our societal and hierarchical structures, and institutions … our fellow man .. what guides our thinking, what gathers our thoughts, what focuses our intentions, what stops us from going mad?


  • Nothing
  • Nothing stops us.
  • We stop ourselves.
  • We can choose to trust.
  • We can choose our truth.
  • We can accept what others say as truth – for them.
  • We can decide what’s true – for us.
  • We can be ok with finding out there is no Santa Clause or heaven up there or hell down there.
  • We can play, in the eternal moment of now, creating our heaven on earth

Society 3.0 is here
Right now
Maybe there is nothing to trust, really.
Maybe, there is no truth, really.
There is only now, and what we say about now.
Now is all there is.
And we’re here.
I say be here now.
For me .. I’m truthful, trusting and happy to be trapped in my trappings – alive in my particular corner of heaven on earth.
Society 3.0 is fine.
It’s true.
Trust me.
Come on in.