Athens Governance Summit, May 6-8, 2016



The Thousand Network is composed of a fascinating group of people from around the world. This presents challenges and opportunities in the search for the kind of governance that is reflective of our diversity, feasible, responsive to our needs, aspirations and initiatives, respectful of our values, and able to stimulate and maintain engagement while evolving with us — all that without burdening us with undue bureaucracy or unwittingly hindering our financial sustainability!
Though the task is hard, our unique perspectives and talents coupled with the unprecedented advances in technology and knowledge provide us with a unique opportunity to embody innovative approaches to governance that can become an example for states and organizations around the world.


Let us meet at the birthplace of democracy to discuss, debate and create innovative approaches to governance worth trying, and present a summary of the results of our deliberations to the global Thousand Network for a live Q & A at the end of our summit!



Friday May 6th

Interview with Fabian Pfortmüller, co-founder of Sandbox Network (which became Thousand), at the Athens Airport at 16:00. We’ll be addressing what went right and wrong with respect to Sandbox and Governance (chances are many of us will not make the free guided tour below, but it will still occur for people who want to go).
Free guided tour of the Acropolis Museum: 5.00 p.m. (meeting point at the entrance, map here)
Alexandros’s Athens Guided Walk & Talk: ~7.00 p.m. (starting point at the Acropolis Metro Station, map here)
Dinner: 9 p.m.

Saturday May 7th

Free guided tour of the Museum at Plato’s Academy: 10.30 a.m. (map here)
1st Session at the site of Plato’s Academy (map here)
2nd Session at Pnyx: 5 p.m. (map here)
Dinner: After the end of the 2nd Session

Sunday May 8th

Synthesize Insights & Prepare Presentation: starting at 11 a.m.
Late Lunch
Live Presentation and Q&A to Thousand Network: 7 p.m. (9 a.m. in San Francisco, 12 p.m. in New York, 5 p.m. in London)
Celebratory Dinner at restaurant with epic gourmet Greek food: 9.30 p.m.
Night Life Exploration

Monday May 9th

Checkout from common house
Post-Summit Retreat(s)?

Pricing & Signup

There is no price for attendance, everybody is responsible for their own expenses.
Just sign this form so I know who is coming and show up!
The experience at the Global Summit did highlight the multiple benefits of a common lodging. We’ve already found a common house (this one) for the first six overseas attendees. For those coming from abroad who didn’t get a spot to the first common house, I suggest we get a second! I found this big and affordable place in an excellent location in Athens.
It’s right on the hill of the Acropolis, the old Athens, with all the little crooked streets and corners that give it its flair. In a quiet location where the streets are too narrow for most, if any vehicles. Two minute walking distance from what I consider to be the most picturesque cafe in Athens, with a view of the Ancient Agora, walking distance from the Parthenon, the Ancient Agora, Pnyx, the place where St. Paul delivered his lecture to the Athenians, Monastiraki Square/Metro station and more. Next to hundreds of great places to eat, chill and relax. All within walking distance.
It can fit up to 7 Thousanders if you don’t mind getting cozy. Here’s the bed/sofa arrangement as detailed by the owner:
2 double beds
1 single
1 couch that opens into a full bed (a smaller double)
1 Sofa
So if you’re coming from abroad, book this, and just inform the owner more people may be coming later. The more people come, the cheaper the price would be for everyone! The first person that books this, please let me know so I can direct other Thousanders to get in touch with you in case you still have beds left.
For those who didn’t manage to get a spot in one of the common houses or don’t want to, just make sure you get a place somewhere near Thiseio.

Agenda, Reading List & Exemplars


What are the top problems/issues you believe ought to be addressed at the Governance Summit?

Participative policy-making, community structures
Practical Application. How can we start to turn the theory into practice.
Financial/Long-Term Plan and Flexibility, Members Currently in 2-5 years and Beyond
How to achieve a better global governance. And how to engage the global public in believing it is possible.
How to give local hubs and their individuals the autonomy, authority and responsibilities to run a community that is locally active while being globally active to further the goal of making the world a better place for everyone. The key importance is to operate with a governance model that allows to have a global community while also giving local (and cross-geographic) groups the power to innovate, move fast, pursue new ways of operating and interacting. And I really mean that some things should be locally improved that might completely be off the radar for the global community – but then being able to share these things back. Embrace this as an opportunity to allow for local grass-roots change that flows back into the overall community as appropriate. Maybe there is no ‘one leader’ who ties it all together. Maybe there are very independent hubs that come together and share with each other but are not relying on a central “authority” to make decisions for them. Maybe the centralized governance model works well and there are ways to still allow for radical change on the local and sub-group level. The key piece IMO is to have a governance body that defines the big MUST HAVES and the big NO-NOs. Then get out of the way to let the community evolve from there. Big must haves: – money -> how much do we care about it? how do we run a community with the least ongoing cost? What do we expect for people to contribute in terms of $$$s – contributions -> what is the expectation towards members for contributions in general. Time, effort, materials, $$$s,…. The only way to have a thriving community is if the members are somehow (whichever way suits best) are contributing to the whole. – who is in/out -> we are still a bit blurry on who is ‘out’ let’s formalize that. – is there a greater cause? -> is there a greater cause that the community should rally up behind? How could there be a united cause while still have diversity inside the hubs? – diversity in members -> should we make diversity a ground-rule? are there numbers that we should measure oursleves against on a global level? (less a governance thing in general but maybe there is a way to bake diversity in as a fundamental goal)
Engagement of all members in our online communication -How to make Thousand gatherings affordable and relevant to all
1. How to maintain the best features of a 500 people group in a 5000 people group. (Growth.) 2. How to maximize the chances that individual initiatives that make shit happen are aligned with the greater good of the community, and not with the will of a leading elite or individual initiative-takers. (Alignment.)
More formalized governance processes


What books or articles would make great pre-summit reading for the Governance Summit?

Rudolf Steiner, Social and Political Science
Reinventing Organisations (Teal). Drive (Dan Pink). Conscious Capitalism.
The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations


Name some organizations we ought to draw inspiration from

Omikron Project (their grassroots map)
Automattic, Buffer, Whole Foods, Zappos, etc
EG Conference, TED Conference
Global Challenges Foundation
Avoid becoming, what it looks to an outside eye, as elitist and un-soulful as the Global Shapers. Without knowing them too well, I feel like the Wikipedia and Burning Man organizations hold useful lessons for us.


Results from this form.