Creating What People Want in Dayton, Ohio,  But Don’t Think They Can Have

Creating What People Want in Dayton, Ohio, But Don’t Think They Can Have

In Re-Imagining America, we are following certain principles:

Systems with the Most Available Energy Will Prevail.  Lotka’s Principle[1] states that during self-organization, system-designs develop and prevail that maximize power intake, energy transformation, and those uses that reinforce production and efficiency.

Specifically related to self-organizing communities, we define Energy as Mutuality times the Speed of Curiosity2 (squared) or E = MC2 following Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity.

In this, a community’s ability to thrive is directly related to its ability to unleash the potential (energy) of all its residents.

What You Measure Defines Your Model.  In other words, you have to start by changing what you measure. In America today, we mostly define success in economic terms—stock market, Gross Domestic Product, average household income, unemployment rate, poverty rate, home prices, etc. In Dayton, what if Well-Being were the measure of success? The Gallup Organization, the international research company, makes this possible with their Well-Being Index, made up of five domains:

1.Purpose: liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals.

2.Social: having supportive relationships and love in your life.

3.Financial: managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security.

4.Community: liking where you live, feeling safe, and having pride in your community.

5.Physical: having good health and enough energy to get things done daily.

This community self-assessment provides a much better picture of the reality on the ground. Further, the Well-Being Index can get down to the census tract level, providing deep insight into where the gaps and opportunities are. These insights, coupled with qualitative data gathering through deep community conversations, provide the framework for co-creating a new model that will allow a co-imagined future to be realized.


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About the Author

Peter BenkendorfPeter is founder of The Collaboratory, a non-profit civic innovation lab in Dayton, Ohio, and the initiator of Re-Imagining America: Dayton, Ohio. His 35 -year career as a brand, product development and social-change catalyst spans the corporate and community sectors, the advertising industry, and consulting. He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati.

View all posts by Peter Benkendorf

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