Shine Unconference

Fundamental Human Needs at SHINE Unconference

We are working with some leading think-tanks and artists to launch a dialogue around the role of social entrepreneurs meeting fundamental human needs over coming decades. This will all take place on May 9-11th in London at Shine – the ‘unconference’ for social entrepreneurs.

The concept of Fundamental Human Needs will be used in three ways during Shine:

  1. As one of the key themes in the opening session
  2. As the basis for hosted, small group dialogues during the event
  3. As the theme for an interactive installation that allows participants to explore their own needs, and how their actions affect other people’s (individuals and communities) to meet their needs.

You can now find details of all the sessions here: installation and sessions

To participate, you must register to attend SHINE, which you can do here: register

If you are interested in getting involved e.g. through participating in the dialogues, please contact us

Here is the background:

Despite the fact we use Facebook, when others used to wander through the village square, the fundamental need to belong and participate remains the same. Across time, across nations and cultures, the same fundamental forces have driven our actions and consumption. What varies is how we satisfy those same fundamental needs.

Every successful social entrepreneur has a business that provides a more sustainable, healthy and satisfying way for individuals and communities to meet their basic needs. Some are very conscious of how they create their social innovation, while others stumbled upon their solution. We are inviting all aspiring and current social entrepreneurs to explore the TEN fundamental needs so they can be even smarter about creating sustainable businesses that satisfy needs, and more effective in their marketing of their products and services…

So, what are these ten needs?

They are:

  • Subsistence (survive)
  • Affection (love and care)
  • Idleness (relax!)
  • Participation
  • Protection
  • Understanding
  • Identity (belong)
  • Freedom (choose)
  • Transcendence (dream!)
  • Creation (create)

Social innovation and entrepreneurship depends on creatively thinking of more effective and sustainable ways to meet the needs of current and future generations. A framework such as Human Needs can help individuals or organisations to organise information, diagnose challenges, and predict dynamics in unfamiliar situations, and develop integrated solutions. The Needs concept provides a structured way to analyse social contexts, such that entrepeneurs creative energy is not stuck in analysis, rather released into developing new solutions.

We believe that concepts such as Needs can, in themselves, catalyse social change as people are able to reframe their own situation or context in a way that enables more positive social action. The same dynamics can be seen in the power of concepts such as ‘footprint’, ‘wellbeing’ or ‘triple bottom line’. ‘Needs’ also develops a sublter understanding of social dynamics and more empathy for others – as we ALL share the same fundamental needs!

Human are wonderfully inventive about new ways to meet needs, and as a society we need to do this in a sustainable way. So, this concept of needs is closely linked to high-level principles to guide how we do this more sustainably e.g. Brundtland definition, The Natural Step, Ecological Footprint.

We hope that needs will serve as a jump-off point for inquiry and action about the future of our communities and planet: Which are our fundamental needs? How can we satisfy them without endangering neither the health of the ecosystems we depend on, nor the rights of other beings? What role can I play in creating this future? A fantastic example of how this has been done elsewhere is here:

Our intention is that through Shine, we may catalyse passion individual inquiry, collective action, and wider dialogue in the UK about how enterprise can truly be sustainable in the way it satisfies the needs of citizens.

The ‘Needs’ concept was developed by Manfred Max-Neef, winner of the Right Livelihood Award, and author of Human Scale Development and Experiences in Barefoot Economics. It is widely applied as part of The Natural Step’s strategic approach to sustainability.

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