Cologne Workshop Series: Power & Governance with Carin Ism

Edit: We had to resched­ule this event to early 2020 due to var­i­ous is­sues.

We are ex­cited to an­nounce our next ma­jor work­shop: The fun­da­men­tals of power & gov­er­nance. To­gether with Carin Ism we are host­ing this event in Cologne early Novem­ber 2019. The goal is to sig­nifi­cantly im­prove the par­ti­ci­pants knowl­edge about var­i­ous as­pects around gov­er­nance and to ap­ply these skills to the Effec­tive Altru­ism move­ment.


Date: to be an­nounced
Ap­pli­ca­tion-form: https://​​​​qnKr­rd­jiJ642qSnK7
Ap­pli­ca­tion-pro­cess: On­line ap­pli­ca­tion fol­lowed by a self-sched­uled 10min video call.
Lo­ca­tion: Cologne, Ger­many
Costs: 100 − 250€, dis­counts available.
Topic: Up­skil­ling peo­ple who can im­pact gov­er­nance struc­ture both in- and out­side of the EA com­mu­ni­ty
Limited to: 20 at­ten­dees
Tar­get Group:
• EA’s with ex­traor­di­nary lead­er­ship skills and/​or high re­search/​writ­ing/​so­cial abil­ities
• Peo­ple with em­pha­sis in en­g­ineer­ing rather than so­cial en­g­ineer­ing
• EA’s able to in­fluence gov­er­nance of EA or­gani­sa­tions
• Selec­tion based on ge­o­graphic di­ver­sity, en­abling knowl­edge spread through­out the move­ment

Overview /​ Sched­ule (with po­ten­tial changes over the next two months)

Day 1:
• What is Power and Gover­nance? In­tro­duc­tion
• Dis­cus­sion: What does power look like, and who has power in your con­texts?
• Lunch
• Estab­lished Tools – the 101 to how de­ci­sions are made and en­forced
• Emerg­ing tools – an ex­pose of the new mechanisms pos­si­ble to lev­rage to ex­ert con­trol
• Dis­cus­sion: Tools in power and gov­er­nance and how to im­ple­ment them

Day 2:
• Team­work: Pick one gov­er­nance struc­ture and use the tools we‘ve dis­cussed to sug­gest im­prove­ments
Pre­sen­ta­tion + dis­cus­sion round
• Lunch
• Con­crete roadmaps to im­ple­men­ta­tion—in­put ses­sion
• Team­work: em­bel­lish /​ im­prove your pro­pos­als
• Pre­sent the im­prove­ments
• Con­crete next ac­tion re­gard­ing power and gov­er­nance

This two-day work­shop starts with an in­tro­duc­tion to what power and gov­er­nance is. An ex­pose of the so­cial in­no­va­tions that con­structed so­ciety as we know it is fol­lowed by a re­flec­tive dis­cus­sion on how these tools are im­ple­mented in the par­ti­ci­pants’ own con­texts be it in their fam­i­lies, EA-chap­ters/​or­gani­sa­tions, schools, jobs, mu­ni­ci­pal­ities, na­tion states, or be­yond. We start here in or­der to make the struc­tures that many times are so fa­mil­iar they can ap­pear in­evitable and un­re­mark­able, whereas they are in fact prod­ucts of hu­man de­sign. The point of this morn­ing ses­sion is to make the ex­ist­ing struc­tures visi­ble, in or­der to move on to look at im­prove­ments and al­ter­na­tive struc­tures.

After lunch the fo­cus is on emerg­ing tools. This starts with an out­line of the cur­rent geopoli­ti­cal land­scape, em­pha­sis­ing where the es­tab­lished tools fall short. Then, a similar ex­pose is given of the in­no­va­tions that are be­ing dis­cussed, but are yet to be in­te­grated into most gov­er­nance struc­tures. Th­ese top­ics usu­ally gar­ner much de­bate and as such, this af­ter­noon ses­sion will be highly in­ter­ac­tive. The day will end with the in­tro­duc­tion to day two, wherein the par­ti­ci­pants will look at one gov­er­nance struc­ture each or in pairs or groups of three, de­pend­ing on the num­ber of par­ti­ci­pants and their in­di­vi­d­ual prefer­ences. Us­ing the tools pre­sented they will ac­count for how it is cur­rently con­structed and which im­prove­ments they see would be pos­si­ble through the emerg­ing in­no­va­tions and/​or other ap­pli­ca­tions of the es­tab­lished tools. The groups will be asked to pre­sent their cases and com­ment and build on each oth­ers’ pro­pos­als. This ses­sion will wrap at 1 pm.

The rest of the fi­nal day is spent on the topic of “how to fork a sys­tem”, where we ex­plore roadmaps to im­ple­men­ta­tion. This starts with a walk­through of differ­ent “rules to change the rules” that are at play in differ­ent en­vi­ron­ments, along with cases for how mak­ing small and large scale changes has pre­vi­ously been achieved. The par­ti­ci­pants are then free to ex­plore the ter­ri­tory ap­pli­ca­ble to the case they’ve been work­ing on. The fi­nal part of the work­shop is an­other round of pre­sen­ta­tions, with fo­cus on their hy­poth­e­sis re­gard­ing im­ple­men­ta­tion and/​or how they would go about col­lect­ing the com­ple­men­tary data needed to form that hy­poth­e­sis.

The work­shop is wrapped by each par­ti­ci­pant hav­ing a clear next ac­tion. As power and gov­er­nance is at play for ev­ery in­di­vi­d­ual, at each level of ones life, this can be as minor as in re­la­tion to up­dat­ing the gov­er­nance of ones own be­havi­ours, or as am­bi­tious as at­tempt­ing to in­tro­duce pen­du­lum jus­tice in an en­tire ju­ris­dic­tion. The pur­pose of this fi­nal ex­er­cise is to keep the eye for power and gov­er­nance vigilant and ac­tive well be­yond the work­shop.


• Sig­nifi­cantly im­prove the un­der­stand­ing of gov­er­nance
• Con­crete ac­tions for par­ti­ci­pants to ap­ply to their lo­cal groups /​ or­ga­ni­za­tions
• Con­tinue our very well re­ceived workhsop-se­ries
• Have fun and socialize


We are thrilled that Carin Ism, chair of Effec­tive Altru­ism Swe­den, thank­fully agreed to be our speaker for this week­end-work­shop. Carin is the founder of the Fu­ture of Gover­nance Agency (FOGA) which works to bring gov­er­nance in­no­va­tions and power liter­acy to the pub­lic and its in­sti­tu­tions. Carin is the co-au­thor of “How to Rule a World – a guide to the es­tab­lished an emerg­ing tools for power and gov­er­nance in the 21st cen­tury” to be re­leased in 2020. Carin is also the fac­ulty of Sin­gu­lar­ity Univer­sity’s Nordic Branch and teaches in two sub­jects: Distributed Ledger Tech­nol­ogy and Gover­nance.
Carin is the prin­ci­pal in­ves­ti­ga­tor of the first gov­er­nance study in a Mars simu­la­tion. She will spend Septem­ber of 2019 in the Hi­malayas, liv­ing at 4 500 me­ters above sea-level, in an iso­lated en­vi­ron­ment with a crew to de­velop a gov­ern­ing pro­to­col for space so­cieties – in ac­cor­dance with no­bel lau­re­ate Elinor Ostrom’s de­sign prin­ci­ples. Carin is also the pro­ject lead of a com­pre­hen­sive liter­a­ture re­view of all that has ever been writ­ten on the topic of Mars gov­er­nance.
She is the chair of Effec­tive Altru­ism‘s Swedish branch.
Pre­vi­ous to this she was the Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor of the Global Challenges Foun­da­tion and led the in­cep­tion and de­vel­op­ment of the New Shape Prize – the largest prize com­pe­ti­tion in the so­cial sci­ences to date. More than 14,000 teams from more than 180 coun­tries worked on ideas for how to im­prove gov­er­nance of global risks.
Carin is the re­cip­i­ent of the 2019 Joseph Ja­worski Next Gen­er­a­tion Fore­sight Prac­ti­tion­ers Award in In­ter­na­tional Policy.

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