Explained: The TransCap Initiative as a Meso Space

I recently published two articles as part of the “In Defense of Theory” series that explore the concept of the Space as a mental model for organizing innovation work and of the meso layer as a critical stratum in the systems innovation sphere. This article illuminates the concept of a Meso Space through the lens of the TransCap Initiative.

The most pressing and tangible sustainability challenges of the 21st century — such as climate change, social inequality, environmental pollution, and biodiversity loss — are complex systemic problems. They call for systemic intervention strategies designed for complex contexts. …


Credit: CIVIC SQUARE — construction of a neighbourhood grow room

This is the departure blog for the TransCap Initiative’s collaboration with EIT Climate-KIC and Dark Matter, CIVIC SQUARE, ThirtyPercy Foundation, and Lankelly Chase for civic-led systemic investing in the UK. It was written collectively by the team behind this collaboration.

Finance at the Climate Crossroads

Since the signing of the UNFCCC’s Paris Agreement in 2015, $3.8 trillion has been invested in fossil fuels, and much of the money set aside to “build back better” will not address climate change. …


Does the connective tissue between micro and macro hold the key to systems change?

Connective tissue — boring, but vital.

This is the fourth article in a multi-part series that argues for greater appreciation of conceptual work in addressing climate change and other wicked societal problems. You can read Part I here, Part II here, and Part III here. The other parts are forthcoming.

Over the past five years, while working for Climate-KIC, I’ve had the privilege to engage with hundreds of fascinating climate innovations. Many of them convert human ingenuity, technological prowess, and entrepreneurial talent into a promise to bend the world’s greenhouse gas emissions curve or strengthen its resilience to global warming.

Concurrently, I’ve also observed or contributed…


Es ist Zeit, den öffentlichen Raum neu zu denken.

London möchte die erste National Park City der Welt werden. Wieso hat Zürich eigentlich keine ähnlich ambitionierte Vision? (Animation von WATG)

Auf öffentlichem Grund in der Stadt Zürich stehen rund 62’000 Bäume, etwa ein Drittel davon an Strassen, der Rest in Grünanlagen. Gleichzeitig gibt es ungefähr 70’000 öffentlich zugängliche Parkplätze.

Diese Zahlen stehen symbolisch für eine veraltete Vorstellung von Raumnutzung. Wie die meisten Städte ist auch Zürich um die Bedürfnisse des Autoverkehrs geplant. Wollen wir das noch, in einer Zukunft von Klimawandel, autonomem Fahren und Home Office?

Seit Oktober 2014 wohne ich an der Eidmattstrasse. Eine klassische Zürcher Quartierstrasse — Wohnzone, einbahnig, langweilig. Entlang der rund 500 Meter ihrer West-Ost-Achse gibt es 83 Parkplätze, vier Kreisel, drei Hydranten, und sonst nichts.


Why we need to move beyond projects and platforms and add a new model for organising work to our systems change toolbox

This is the third article in a multi-part series that argues for greater appreciation of conceptual work in addressing climate change and other wicked societal problems. You can read Part I here and Part II here. The other parts are forthcoming.

Project /ˈprɒdʒ.ekt/
an endeavour that is carefully planned and proceeds in a linear, sequential fashion (from the Latin
proicere, meaning “to throw forward”)

Platform /ˈplæt.fɔːm/
a two-dimensional place of convention aimed at facilitating transactions, often with rigid architecture (from the French
plateforme, meaning “flat shape”)

Space /speɪs/
a multi-dimensional place of collaboration, with multiple purposes, porous boundaries, and evolving shapes…


If your innovation appeals to the mainstream, you’re not pushing hard enough

Running a stand in a covered market is a real-time experiment in achieving product/market fit, with instantaneous customer feedback on quality, price, and service.

This is the second article in a multi-part series that argues for greater appreciation of conceptual work in addressing climate change and other wicked societal problems. You can read Part I here and Part III here. The other parts are forthcoming.

In 2007, two flatmates named Brian and Joe hosted guests at their San Francisco home. They would go on to disrupt the market for privately-owned vacation rentals with a company today known as Airbnb. A couple of years later, a similar story started to unfold in the market for ride-hailing. …


Cartoon by Wiley Miller

This is the first article in a multi-part series that argues for greater appreciation of conceptual work in addressing climate change and other wicked societal problems. You can read Part II here and Part III here. The other parts are forthcoming.

The 2020s are the decisive decade of humankind. A climate crisis is raging, and world leaders must act now if they are to stave off civilizational collapse. Time is of the essence. We must stop the debate, the theorizing, the philosophizing. The only thing that counts is real-world action.

We can all agree with that, right?

Well, hold on…


What does it mean to stand in the messy middle?

Photo by Samuel Austin on Unsplash

When I recently presented my work on systemic investing to one of the world’s largest multilateral financial institutions, they didn’t get it. It was frustrating.

Then I was told by a colleague that my work was too abstract and that the value proposition was unclear. This was frustrating, too.

A few days later we received an email from the team at a public sector organization involved in one of Climate-KIC’s Deep Demonstrations. They misunderstood what we had put forward in a proposal and wanted us to adopt a much more traditional approach. This felt like going back to square one.


transformation (phenomenon)
deep, structural, and irreversible change

Transformation Capital (logic)
a systemic investment approach for catalysing mission-driven sustainability transitions in the real economy

Transformation Capital Initiative (space)
1:
a multi-year open innovation initiative to develop,demonstrate, and scale systemic investing
2: a do-tank for the sustainable finance movement

The science is clear, and the world’s top economic authorities agree: To safeguard human civilisation as we know it, we must fundamentally change the way our societies and economies operate.


Der Klimaschutz macht Zwangspause. Doch der Kampf um die besten politischen Narrative beginnt bereits heute.

Ein Sonnenblumenfeld in der Schweiz während des Hitzesommers 2018.

Am 27. Februar 2020 kam mein Sohn Hanno zur Welt. Es war die Woche, in der die Hamsterkäufe begannen. Am Tag des Spitalaustritts waren Desinfektionsmittel vergriffen. Die kurzzeitig aufflammende Panik trieb mich dazu, ein angebrochenes Fläschchen aus der Maternité zu stehlen.

Hanno ist ein Corona-Kind — direkt in die Quarantäne hineingeboren. Die Familie und Freunde seiner Eltern kennt er bislang nur aus der sozialen Distanz. Er macht dennoch einen glücklichen Eindruck, auch wenn er oft das macht, was alle Kinder tun: er quengelt, wenn ihm etwas nicht passt.

Beim Versuch, meinen Sohn durch gutes Zureden und praktische Handlungen zu beruhigen…

Dominic Hofstetter

I write to inform, inspire, and trigger new strategies for tackling climate change.

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