Jin Kong (孔进) is a different kind of thinker. He's serial social entrepreneur, an attorney, Six Sigma Black Belt, LEED GA, writer and photographer. He was born in the Gobi, grew up in Beijing and came to the US at age twelve. He studied philosophy in college and served as a combat medic in Mosul in 2005. His professional career included advocacy work for a large non-profit, medical research for a university, open source work for a biotech startup, and he practiced law at a regional firm in Cincinnati. Jin's works have been published in Bloomberg BNA, legal journals and law reviews, trade publications, as well as local and national newspapers and magazines.
Jin and his wife Lauren lives in Cincinnati with their son Oscar. Lauren Campbell Kong occasionally contributes to this blog. Lauren is a LEED AP BD+C and has a BS in Psychology. She seeks opportunities to combine her passion for psychology and anthropology with a chance to change the way we think "green" absent our anthropomorphic cultural narcissism. She has been on various sustainability panels on college campuses and has been invited to speak with companies about sustainability and motivation. She is a full time mother and spends her spare time as an animal lover and advocate.
old folk tale:
Five blind travelers gathered at a lodge one night for shelter. They sat around, and to pass the time they shared stories of their adventures. One man mentioned something about an elephant and somehow they began to argue what an elephant looks like. Of course they were all blinded from birth and none of them has ever seen an elephant. They argued and argued and could not reach an agreement as to what an elephant looks like.
The next morning, they continued to argue. A by-passer heard their arguments and told them that there was an elephant at the nearby village, and that they should go check for themselves to 'see' who was right.
The blind men went to the village and were guided to where the elephant was.
The first blind man walked up to the elephant and felt along her leg. He shouted: “Elephants are like pillars, round and solid and supporting the sky above them. They must be the gods that keeps us safe from the falling sky.”
The second man walked up to the elephant and felt along her side and her ear. “You are wrong,” he said, “elephants are like a giant canvas carrying the stories of our lands. Feel along her presence and you will find a map to our rivers and valleys.”
The third man held the elephant’s tail and muttered quietly, “Elephants are like serpents, but with a lion’s mane. It must be descendants of great dragons.”
The fourth walked up to the elephant’s trunk and petted her gently. He felt the moist and soft nostrils and stated as-matter-of-fact, “Elephants are like a mother’s touch. She is a noble animal and a nurturer of our lands.”
The fifth man walked up to the elephant and felt the tusks and their pointy ends. He screamed, “Elephants are the gods of wars. Feel these fearsome lances.”
The Story of "(dot)Us"
- Originally posted 10/29/2015
The Green Elephant began as a blog project for Lauren and me to better understand sustainability. It was the R&D arm of our then start-up rethink(i3). Sounds impressive, but really it was just us doing the random R’s and very little D for a small business that eventually dissolved for lack of activity.
The Green Elephant continued. We’ve started other start-ups, and The Green Elephant remained a small part of our focus and still a tool where we post random research works. But recently, I started down a path to get a better understanding of open source culture. I wanted to see if the principles can be cross applied to other industries other than IT. Even more interesting of an inquiry is how “open” might fit our sustainability goals. My intuition was red hot on that trail and I was sure I’d find something there. What I’ve found was much more. What I found is a global happening. It was enough for Lauren and I to together take a closer look, so we put The Green Elephant on intermission and began our quest.
We are still very much on this journey, but the more we learn, the more we realize something very fundamental is shifting. The world around us is transforming. Scientific and industrial revolutions have enabled humankind to look beyond the functional appeals of our environment as we experience the information revolution. We are now looking for better ways together. Our common human experience in civil society has been elevated by the motions of defined, refined, and controlled social improvements. Globally, we have now put in place many process-centric evident-based global civil communities together via the Internet. (For example, Doing Development Differently is carrying on a core principal work doing exactly this with governance. Lauren and I became signatories to their efforts when they launched. Another example is the Open Knowledge Foundation's recent establishment of Open Sustainability - a network to open knowledge and source sustainable developments.)
Our collective consciousness is shifting from assets to knowledge, from scarcity to abundance, from hierarchy to network. We are connecting the dots and drawing up nodes on maps of our human capacity as a whole. This shift from the traditional functional, hierarchical orientation to a process-centric orientation is driven by a demand for efficiency and effectiveness. A primary target of opportunity is to increase information access and transparency. As our collective human experience transitions from hierarchies to networks and from disconnected functional decisions to process-centric development models, we are seeing a reinvention in institutional philanthropy and an emergence of distributed and disruptive social enterprises; both are measurable impact driven. A new generation of free society netizens began to see the world not for its scarcity of resources but for its abundance of knowledge and human capacity to make a difference. They are entering the shared information economy and the global community is beginning to understand the whole is in fact greater than the sum of its parts.
Under pressure, our old market competition model, based in the tragedy of the commons, is being transformed into a new way of strategic positioning to maximize our mutual advantage towards common goals. Put it simply, we are shifting from a labor-based economy to a knowledge-centric global free-marketplace. This has been fueled by the Internet and web 3.0 (collaborative) technologies. It will soon reach a tipping point where even censorship cannot prevent the cascading effects.
I’ve been feeling hopelessly lost with The Green Elephant for a while now, but the surest way to find a path is to create one. I recently realized that Lauren and I had been trying to create this path with our pathfinder company (BrainBox) that was founded just a year ago. Since then, we’ve applied the process based thinking, impact measuring methodologies, and open source methods, and executed a scaled research study into recycling habits and fostering sustainable behaviors with the City of Cincinnati.
So. the Story of (dot) Us is only beginning.