Christoffer Rudquist for WIRED, 2017

The future of work – and some would argue the future of the world – depends on the myriad ways we use and implement technology. The machines humans have created – in a lot of ways an image of themselves – are eager creatures, as some would fear, to surpass and replace us. It is the stuff of blockbuster movies and for blockbuster companies. Steve Bezos presented this walking giant of a robot in 2017 at the company’s MARS conference, which stands for Machine-learning, Automation, Robotics and Space exploration. It is four meters tall, made of aluminium and translates the movements of the person standing in the cockpit into movements of his own. When the human lifts an arm, the machine lifts an arm. The use for this could be nuclear waste or other cleanup efforts. A machine to undo what machines and technology have done.

Shaping Regenerative Economies

How might a different economy work?

Our programme “Shaping Regenerative Economies” combines thinking about human wellbeing, planetary boundaries and diverse modes of value creation as constitutive elements of an economic system that turns unsustainable growth patterns into solutions for future-proof prosperity.

  • How do we swiftly and effectively reverse the dangerous overexploitation of our natural support systems - and can the approach of regenerative economies bridge environmental goals more adequately with social ones?
  • Which changes in key concepts of economic performance - beyond GDP - seem particularly helpful in order to avoid unsustainable side effects?
  • Where do prime barriers of the implementation of long-standing ideas for sustainable economies lie and how could they be overcome?
  • Which scales and actor coalitions seem most promising for a systemic rethinking and implementation of innovative economic models?
  • How could the Covid19 crisis ignite of deeper structural change for sustainable prosperity?

The programme “Shaping Regenerative Economies” pursues a theory of change currently dubbed “radical incrementalism”: starting from science-based targets regarding the carrying capacity of our planet (ultimate means) and cutting-edge research on conditions of high human wellbeing (ultimate ends) it seeks to identify the most promising interventions to align both.

Given the analyses that current economic trajectories drive the global community towards ecological tipping points, social segregation, financial speculation and monopolies, these interventions will often seek to unlock such existing path dependencies. They can address the macro-level of policy regulation and governance frameworks as well as regional or sectoral transition approaches. Starting point is the vision of regeneration, which highlights the need to make principles of social and natural systems the outset of a quest to update human-made ideas, practices and institutions into 21st century solutions.

The aim of THE NEW INSTITUTE is thus to facilitate fruitful exchanges between various schools of thought and approaches from Green (New) Deal to Donut Economics, from Circular Economies to Green Growth, from Wellbeing Economies to De- and Postgrowth in order to map commonalities and differences, build bridges and engage with specific implementation agendas

Connecting with programmes on ”The Future of Democracy” and “The Foundations of Value and Values” one key aspect in this work will be to combine the what with the how of systemic change: desired outcomes, promising interventions and contextually sensitive process proposals are all part and parcel of radical incrementalism.

We will host a series of experimental and exploratory workshops with relevant actors from the field starting in the fall of 2020 to shape and design a fellowship programme on “Shaping Regenerative Economies” in 2021.

Additional information regarding the programme “Shaping Regenerative Economies“

If you are interested in the programme “Shaping Regenerative Economies“, please contact us at



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