The overall aim of the design is to move ourselves from an idea, through a number of processes and activities, to create a social enterprise which exists in the world as an expression of regenerative business.

Date: 30 September 2022 – 14 April 2023
Location: Penarth & Usk
Client: myself (and my business partners)
Status: ImpLemented

Land and nature stewardship, education and culture, health and spirtual wellbeing, finance and economics, land tenure and community governance

Observe and interact, be part of the natural world, live with purpose, plan for each need to be well supported, spheres of influence, find your niche, create conditions conducive to life, seek and offer support, tune into natural cycles, learn from what’s gone before

(NB: green text indicates direct quotes from Sarah Spencer’s book)


Also from the book ‘Think Like A Tree’ – Observation, Purpose, Surroundings, Connection, Resilience, Future


SPELLS goals, client interview, context mapping, sectors, 4 words, creative thinking/exploratory writing, Business Model Canvas, Spheres of Influence, stepping stones, exercise to generate ideas


Cwmpas start-up support, Regenerating Business as a Force for Good – Short course at Schumacher College with Jenny MacKewn and Simon Berkler, Daniel Christian Wahl ‘Designing Regenerative Cultures’ book, my own blogs and writings, Rebecca Beattie ‘Wheel of the Year’ book, Carla’s Design Forum, feedback from prototyping events, Rebecca Hoskings video, Simon Berkler’s resources on regenerative business.


In late September 2022 I began the process of formally setting up a social enterprise with my friend, and now business partner, Cam Elizabeth. 

The design articulates and demonstrates the processes we went through to reach our aim to germinate a social enterprise. It plots the design decisions we made along the journey and the emergence of a number of key activities that came together to form what has been an iterative design process. 

I’ve been carrying the seeds of a social enterprise with me for a long time, now we have planted them and we need to support them to germinate, unfurl, grow into seedlings, strong plants and then flower, set seed, go back into the Earth and begin the cycle again, and again. This design is about how we are creating the right conditions for that to happen. It’s about setting up a regenerative business. 


Looking | Learning | Being

“Nature is not something separate from us. So, when we say that we have lost our connection to nature, we have lost our connection to ourselves”

Between the Trees Festival, Wales

In the observation phase I am putting attention to reconnecting with myself, my hopes, dreams and aspirations, my attention, intentions and actions in the world and how they have got me to this moment, then making meaning from that process to inform the next phase of the design.

Image: Authors own. Holm Oak at The Kymin.


observe & interact

Sensing what needs to happen, take in information from surroundings and process it to benefit us.

Your actions will follow your attention, so be curious and make sure you are looking in the direction you want your mind, your body and your heart to follow.

Perceiving the outer world to get information about how to act, where we choose to direct our attention, and what we observe, informs our actions, so actively choose where you look.

be part of the natural world

Feeling connected is a fundamental human need that we actively or unconsciously seek.

Healing our separation from nature, disconnection from the living world. 

We tend to live inside our heads, rather than seeing what is all around us, and this influences the way we live.

Tune in to your Intuition. 

Goal Articulation – SPELLs 

I read a book about the Wheel of the Year by Rebecca Beattie, in which she talks about how SMART goals could also be imagined and envisioned as spells. So I thought I’d play around with the idea of creating SPELLS goals. 

Simple/ Sensible, P urposeful, Enriching, Limits, L iving/Lively (regenerative), Significant

By the end of the design (Limits) I aim to:

*Define the purpose of the social enterprise (Sensible)

*Define our elevator pitch/USP (Simple)

*Define my own purpose (Learning Pathway) (Enriching)

*Have incorporated a social enterprise (Purposeful)

*Created the documentation necessary to incorporate (Significant) through a collaborative process (Living)

*Have all the policy and regulatory requirements in place (Limits) [including opening a bank account , DBS, Public liability insurance and safeguarding policy] to be able to deliver a children’s workshop through the social enterprise (Purposeful)

*Define a model for regenerative business (Sensible)

*Experience the feeling that the business we have created is regenerative (Lively)

Looking & learning

Sensing what needs to happen through observation of and interaction with my collection of writing s. This is where I am taking in information from my surroundings and processing it to benefit us. The writing makes clear where my attention is at, and it is the source of the intentions that shape the actions that emerge through the design process.

In this phase of the design, I spent much time gathering thoughts, ideas and writings from my explorations so far into emerging a social enterprise. This activity felt like looking back, as a way to define how the way we would move forward would be framed, supported by ideas that I’d been gathering on my story to now. As I have been thinking about it for a long time (since 2016) there was a lot of material, including the following documents:

After this activity I was more clear about where I was coming from. It led to the emergence of Purpose 2 (client interview) and EDITED Purpose 2, which I used to inform the Purpose phase of the design.


I used context mapping and sectors as processes to perceive information about where my attention is and to gain insight on how to move that attention to intention and action.

Context mapping – I wrote the Origin story, identifying the pathways towards and terrain of the thinking and doing in the world that led to the idea to set up a social enterprise.

Sectors – as a way to connect with the living world, the approach to sectors that I have used here translates the land-based approach to make it more suitable for this people-focused context. I have considered the forces and energies at play, which shape the work and the direction it takes. 


Doing | Growing

Image: Authors own. Mistletoe on the trees on the common, Usk.


live with purpose

Growth, vitality, resilience and cooperation.

Power as the ability to achieve purpose and affect change.

Defining your purpose in terms of growth, learning, support, nurturing, collaboration, creativity, abundance and progress – without being restricted by rigid goals.

When we have a vision and know our purpose, the ‘why’ of our business, we can set attainable goals that are aligned with our non-negotiable values to take our business forward, and grow our own confidence.


Choosing a name – In October, we met at Cam’s house and used the 4 words tool where you write down all the ideas you have on post-its and through dialogue whittle the ideas down to 4 words. The name we came upon was ‘Herbs on the Common’. At the time this worked well for us – the process helped us to begin to find our common ground. I wasn’t directly drawn from the quote below which Cam found, it came to us through the creative process. This letting come feels mysterious.

After our Schmacher experience, and Cam’s visit to the ‘ Earth Spells: Witches of the Anthropocene’ exhibition, it became clear that although good, the name wasn’t quite right. We went through a  creative thinking/exploratory writing process to define a new name. On 5th March, the name Wild Ceridwen CIC was decided. At this point I started to feel like things were becoming integrated. 

Defining Purpose – I used Purpose 2 (client interview) and EDITED Purpose 2, to inform the Purpose phase of the design.

The insights that emerged through this process helped me clearly identify the reasons for wanting to set up a social enterprise, and what the purpose of the endeavour is:


Our underpinning purpose emerged – Shifting mindsets, cultivating new narratives to awaken to the interconnectedness of all things. We observe this as the problem that we are seeking a solution for with the social enterprise.

To deepen into this we completed the  Business Model Canvas.

The insights also supported us to complete our  application to Cwmpas for support. 

I was also able to identify my own needs and wants from the Purpose 2 (client interview) doc: 


Needs | Wellbeing | Health | Place

“We can only do what we can in our own sphere of influence.” 

Simon Berkler, The Dive, at Schmacher

Image: Authors own. The common, Llanbadoc, Usk.


plan for each need to be well supported


Multiple functions.

Each function is supported by many elements.

Each element has many functions. 

spheres of influence

Think how much more empowered each of us would feel if we were supported and could support others in small communities, actively participating in decision-making.

Make an active decision where you choose to spend your energy. 

Although your influence declines as you work outwards, you can still make a difference.

find your niche

Discovering the unique opportunities in a competitive field.

Developing symbiotic relationships. 


Are you living and making decisions by considering how to care for yourself, care for others, care for other living things, and care for the health of our living planet as a whole?

Earth CAre

Reconnecting to the living world as the primary aim of the social enterprise, secondary aims to increase biodiversity, create healthy ecosystems and regenerative communities

People care

Defining our ways of working collaboratively, with efforts to ensure self-care and nurturing, supporting others through the work, values based creation of Objects and CIC36

future care

Focus on seven generational thinking, commitment to forming circular, sharing and solidarity economies


Spheres of influence

“With regard to your own self and your own life, you have a great deal that you can control, but as you move outwards, your ability to affect other people, your environment and beyond reduces considerably…Spend your energy within areas that you can influence.”

Sarah Spencer, Think Like a Tree 

My own needs – The Recipe for Happiness below shows how when we have our needs met, in combination with developing our unique talents, we are able to contribute to something bigger than ourselves – to be in service to greater needs. 

Cam and I spent much time identifying our own unique talents and the contribution they would make to the work we will do in the Business Model Canvas activity. The tool came from social permaculture designer, Adam Brock in his book ‘ Change Here Now‘.

At this point I identified the need for self-care and personal growth for all involved is fundamental to the work we wish to do in the world. I also recognised that I can expand my sphere of influence using social media as a tool. 

Community Needs – We delivered a range of workshops through which to identify community needs. See the details here

The information gathered from these activities about community needs informs the development of our Business Plan.


Values that support wellbeing – In the process of creating our Company Objects (aims) a set of values that drive our work emerged. 

The values we identified are underpinned by four models:

These values and models go on to inform our ways of working that will be defined as we develop our policies and procedures. 


The long-term health of our business is ensured through a set of aims, activities and community benefits. 

We can think of the Objects (aims) as being the functions of the business, those aims/functions are supported by many activities. 

We can think of the activities as being the elements which have many functions. We can also think of the functions as being the community benefit we deliver. 

The final version of our Objects, activities and community benefits, which was submitted to Companies House on 15 March 2023, feels like it offers us a strong foundation on which to build. In the Resilience phase of the design an implementation process will identify how these intentions turn into actions, along with the community needs we identified previously, which help us see the opportunities for generating income streams. 


In order to explore our place in the world we are going through a process of finding our niche by evolving a  DRAFT Business Plan. We have pulled together all the learning about our own needs and community needs in order to identify income streams which meet those needs. In other words, we have identified gaps in the market which we can fill with our projects, products and services.


Belonging | Connecting | Communicating | Sharing

Image credit: Capucine Petre. Us gathered around the fire during a story telling activity on the regen business short course, in the redwoods at Schumacher College. 


create conditions conducive to life (1)

Individuals’ responsibilities to contribute to growth of the whole. 

Contribute to the larger ecosystem to create a healthy, safe environment which offers protection and opportunities for resilience. 

Creating ideal conditions for others to thrive is a co- operative endeavour. 

Create cultures where people feel safe to express their views and innovate. 

Act as facilitators, creating potential bonds from which creative solutions emerge. 

Creating fertile environments for change. 

Psychological shift from consumption to creation. 

Creating is making more and more from what you have.

Creating is a regenerative process. 


As we started to feel where we belong in the world, having found our niche, we began to articulate our USP (unique selling point) as:

‘The regenerative nature of our work and that we prioritise joy and connection.’


Throughout the design process we have been connecting with what needs to happen. The decisions we made along the way have been plotted as we have gone along as Stepping Stones.

Each decision was supported by activities, shared in each previous phase of the design, which offered insights to move us forward. 


In a collaborative process, where we spent much time together online going through each part of the draft documents we had created, we were able to define our objects, activities and benefits. 

We then met with Rhys from Cwmpas to go through them once more to make sure they would pass the regulator test. This involved re-writing the objects. We finalised our incorporation documents and we were ready to go. 

Our application to incorporate a community interest company was submitted on 15 March 2022. We waited. On Monday 20 March, which also happened to be the spring equinox (feels timely given our desire to connect with nature’s cycles), we had notification that we had passed the regulator test, our social enterprise was alive!

We let the world know we are alive with a post on Instagram. We plan to get together in the near future to create a celebratory ritual in the forest. 


To be able to begin sharing our work with the world, we must have regulatory and policy requirements in place. Our ambition is to be ready to deliver a children’s workshop. For this we need:

DBS check – ongoing (enhanced needed as working with children)

Public Liability Insurance – ongoing (a-n, Zurich 10% off as Project & LAND member)

A bank account – ongoing (lots more info to provide)

Safeguarding Policy & Procedures


Surviving | Healing | Adapting | Rejuvenation

Image credit: Piotr Skoczylas. Sunflowers gifted to me at a community event.


seek and offer support

Only feed what you want to grow.

Having a variety of supportive relationships, where each individual can communicate their needs, is a long-term predictor of health and recovery.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Work from yourself outwards, form strong roots so you are strong enough to support others.

tune into natural cycles

Take life at the pace it was designed for – slow rhythmic work interspersed with periods of intense activity.

Plan to pause each day – with relaxation, mindfulness, outdoor activity.

Work when your energy and creativity are at their highest.

Pause can be a time to harness the power of cycles to create momentum, waiting patiently for the right conditions.

Get outside each and every day, garden, walk in the woods or park.


In late March, we finalised our Business Plan. This phase enabled us to identify a business summary, Strapline/elevator pitch and to finally settle on our USP:

Business Summary 

Wild Ceridwen CIC is a regenerative business. We are working to cultivate individual potential, grow communities, co-create commons and seed change. We offer consultancy, learning opportunities and socially-engaged art and growing projects which reconnect people to themselves, each other and the living world. We deliver projects, products and services to meet community needs.

Strapline/elevator pitch – We are artists unfolding opportunities for creative play and connections to each other and the living world. We do placed-based projects, events and gatherings which bring people together.

Unique Selling Point – We prioritise joy and connection, creating conditions for all participants in the living world to thrive.

We plotted community needs we had identified and weaved them with the community benefits and activities we intend to offer throughout work to begin to create an Implementation Plan. This takes us beyond business planning into strategic aim setting for the future.


Our work in the world is about healing the broken relationships between people and planet, more specifically to work on the disconnection that creates social issues. To begin to approach this, we must focus attention on how we heal our own separation from nature, and from each other. 

I have been hugely influenced by the work of Rebecca Hosking and have taken her advice to stop using the word ‘nature’ where I can, because it has an ‘othering’ quality to it. Instead I try to use ‘living world’, but it’s hard as people may not know what I am talking about.

As we progress, we will define our approach to relationship building. Here’s a question to hold on to as we go forth: 

“How do we form mutually beneficial relationships that are supportive and also help us be productive?”

The underpinning aim of our business is to be regenerative. We have begun to articulate what that means, beginning to develop a Model of Regenerative Business. In time we will be able to identify practical ways to make this a reality. Our focus is on:

*Qualitative growth – looking at the way living systems grow in a sustainable way, including expansion, decline and recycling

*Seven generational thinking – create a set of principles to use as a filter for decision making, to keep us ontrack with creating more abundance

*Values based – defining our ethical responsibilities and living them


As we grow, we will seek other modalities to learn from and guide our work, including:

*Circular, sharing and solidarity economy frameworks, Theory U Case Clinic, doughnut economics, regenerative cultures, cultural emergence

*Commons – commoning

*Patterns in the living world – networks, branching etc – to embed resilience in our thinking and doing

*Being open to change – transforming (mindsets, practices, through learning and sharing processes)

*Open hearted connection – mind, heart, body, spirit, expereincing ourselves as part of the living world

*Designing for emergence – iterative, unfolding processes to support innovation, playful experimentation, test and learn


I did an exercise to generate ideas for ways to rest using the 7 types of rest framework Ben Meer on Twitter @SystemSunday. From this I was able to identify ways I can pause well – an individual approach to my own self-care:

*Nap when you need to

*No decaf tea/coffee after 11am

*Walk everyday

*Pay attention to streamlining your notes/to do lists

*Create a shutdown ritual to separate work and life

*Define your approach to relationship building – then grow your network, find a way to document

*Connect with loved ones weekly

*Define and perform rituals based on the cycles of nature, deepening your relationship with your inner shaman, through creative practice and ritual

*Limit your interactions with social media

*Use the four ways of knowing

*Go on artist dates

*See the beauty in the everyday, document with your camera

(TWEAK – Let’s think about what a collaborative approach to self-care might be)


Regeneration | Creating | Celebrating

Image: Authors own. Tree guardian made at by me at forest school event at The Kymin.


create conditions conducive to life (2)

Develop strengths such as independence, self-confidence, finding purpose in life, and the ability to create our own happiness.

Remove barriers in way of progress by stepping back, let mistakes happen, discover things the ‘hard way’ to develop the resources to overcome future difficulties.

Emotional security, compassion, affection, self- esteem, trust and gratitude.

Respecting others, valuing their wisdom and the practical contribution they can make.

Shifts us from passive consumers into conscious and active participants in our own lives, those of our fellow beings, and those of future generations.

Creating a sense of empowerment and confidence, bringing everyone’s unique talents to the fore.

Everyone has a role to play. 

learn from what’s gone before

Active healing.

Enjoy the view and to learn from the past to inform the future.

Celebrate your achievements.

What went well? What did you achieve?

Were there other things that didn’t quite go to plan?

What would you do next time to turn these ‘not quite successes’ into successes?


Reflection on ways our business is regenerative and how we experience that.

We have given attention to centering the living world in the design of our business. And of course it’s nature as a permaculture design contributes. Naming ourselves specifically as a regenerative business gives a message to the world about our intentions. It also gives opportunities for future work to support others to begin to work in ways that go beyond sustainability.

The way I know what ‘regenerative’ feels like is from our experience at Schumacher College on the regenerative business short course. There were a few things that happened there that helped me feel like what I was involved with were regenerative, including: 

Attention to the four ways of knowing

Thoroughly integrated in our approach I feel.

Feelings of belonging to the group, trusting in the process 

I feel deeply involved in the relationships that have brought Wild Ceridwen into the world. I also feel a great deal of gratitude, and excitement about the future. 

People’s openness to being playful 

Embedded in the work we aim to do, what we need to do now is make it more clear what the practices and processes we will use to be playful are. For me, this is a lot about creative play with materials in my creative practice. It’s also about feeling whole and integrated. I  wrote a blog which expresses this. This process of birthing the social enterprise has enabled me to integrate my interests in Creativity, Art and Permaculture.

Interdependent relationships

Our relationships feel healthy. As we work together more, we will find ways of working that feel more collaborative. I think what I have learnt is that this is about good communication and involving other people in decision making. We will also define our approach to peace building and work out what we will do if things do fall apart, or if we have disagreements. Cam uses tools from reevaluation counselling, which will support this as it unfolds.


Evaluation: Were the project aims met through the design solution we created? Was the design solution effective? 

The iterative nature of the design, where we made decisions along the way, worked well for generating new ideas in the process of creating the social enterprise. The new learnings and knowledge we gathered along the way that informed our design decisions were an effective means for achieving our ambitions. The aims identified at the beginning of the process in September were met in the following ways:

By the end of the design (Limits) I aimed to – 

*Define the purpose of the social enterprise (Sensible) ✅

Through the Purpose phase of the design, and through writing our objects, activities and benefits and business plan, we were able to clearly articulate the purpose of the social enterprise, which includes our reasons for setting it up, we identified the way we want it to work for us. 

Wild Ceridwen CIC is a regenerative business. We are working to cultivate individual potential, grow communities, co-create commons and seed change. We offer consultancy, learning opportunities and socially-engaged art and growing projects which reconnect people to themselves, each other and the living world. We deliver projects, products and services to meet community needs.”

*Define our elevator pitch/USP (Simple) ✅

We are now able to clearly articulate our work with Wild Ceridwen in the following ways:

Strapline/elevator pitch – We are artists unfolding opportunities for creative play and connections to each other and the living world. We do placed-based projects, events and gatherings which bring people together.

Unique Selling Point – We prioritise joy and connection, creating conditions for all participants in the living world to thrive.

*Define my own purpose (Learning Pathway) (Enriching) ✅

At the end of the design process I feel thoroughly in tune with my own sense of purpose. I have identified my own personal growth goals as well: 

Learn coaching skills

Practice taking better photos

Create online spaces for sharing writing – Wild Woman Dreaming on Substack for creativity and poems, journals for intellectual inquiry on Medium

Learn how to make videos of your spoken word

*Have incorporated a social enterprise (Purposeful) ✅

Incorporated on spring equinox, 20 March 2023. In the autumn when we were writing our Cwmpas application, we identified that we were aiming to incorporate by March. It feels good to have achieved that goal.

*Created the documentation necessary to incorporate (Significant) through a collaborative process (Living)  ✅

Our objects, activities and benefits offer us a springboard for all future work. It feels rooting to have those in place. It also enables us to be clear about what we are aiming to achieve. The fact that these are public documents that define our work in the world feels helpful – we can motivate ourselves and hold ourselves to account to our intentions as we evolve. 

I feel like we are still working on finding collaborative ways of working together. We have tried a couple of different approaches to writing together. I have a different way with words to Cam, I create a huge amount of words, then refine, whereas Cam has a more deliberate process where she thinks through her words first. We have learnt that Cam is good at editing my words – but that doesn’t leave enough space for her own contributions. We will tease it out as we go. It does feel like we are breaking new ground, so it’s expected that it will take a while.

We decided that next time we are writing we will start together from a blank piece of paper, so that our ideas can be generated collaboratively from the outset. Then delegate, deciding who will work on which aspect of the text, shaping the ideas into purposeful writing. 

*Have all the policy and regulatory requirements in place (Limits) [including opening a bank account, DBS, Public liability insurance and safeguarding policy] to be able to deliver a children’s workshop through the social enterprise (Purposeful)

We are nearly there (28 March 2023), it takes a long time and a huge amount of gathering of information to bring these into place……update coming soon 

*Define a model for regenerative business (Sensible) ✅

We have begun to put together our model for regenerative business. It will shape and form in the coming weeks and months.

*Experience the feeling that the business we have created is regenerative (Lively) 

As above.


Reflection: Successes, challenges and blossomings. How was the process of using the framework, tools, ethics, principles?


My experiment in using the group headings from Sarah Spencer’s Think Like A Tree book worked well. They seem to align well with the assessment criteria, although initially, this challenged me to think differently – it took much time to unpick, define and clarify in the initial stages of write-up. I can see how the titles from Sarah’s book fit well with the most common phases involved in creating a design:

Observation – looking, learning and being (Survey)

Purpose – doing and growing (Goals)

Surroundings – needs, wellbeing, health, place (Analysis)

Connection – belonging, connecting, communicating, sharing (designing/decisions)

Resilience – surviving, healing, adapting, rejuvenation (Maintenance, implementation)

Future – regeneration, creating, celebrating (evaluation and reflection)

I also feel that some of the learning that arose goes beyond what I perceive to be the limits of SADIMET. This framework gave rise to insights that were rich and deepening for us, for example in the healing and adapting phases, where we were able to identify further learning that we need to undertake as our approach unfolds. This also feels pertinent for the way the write-up of the design was undertaken, it was not a linear process, it was iterative and generative, it feels like the design was an expanding whole. Given our interest in creating regeneratively, this feels very satisfying. 

The emergence of the need for tending to my own self-care was an unexpected addition to the design, one that will be useful in future working. If I was doing this again, I would ask Cam to participate in this reflection on her own self-care priorities. 


The tools chosen were effective for uncovering the insights we needed to move us forward. I was particularly fond of the SPELLS Goals tool I devised, using SMART goals as a springboard. I found it interestingly challenging to translate some of the more land-based tools into forms that were more suitable for this people-based design, but I feel I managed it well. Especially with the sectors tool I used, where I translated wind into ideas, and sun into opportunities, for example. The context mapping, where I wrote the origin story instead of making a base map, feels successful and creatively satisfying for me too.


The only ethical decision is to take responsibility for own existence and that of our children.
– Bill Mollison

The way I approached the ethics is probably the most clear and succinct thing about this design. I am happy with this, and look forward to emerging our own set of values, which are underpinned by the ethics, as we move towards defining and refining our model of regenerative business and developing our implementation plan. I continue to learn about the ways in which our ethical responsibilities unfold in our actions, particularly in relation to the prime directive, through which we are urged to take our individual responsibilities seriously.

A learning edge for me is supporting others to be active in this too. I am also interested to note that for me, sometimes I feel I can be somewhat dogmatic around my urge to want others to be as keenly interested in this as I am. I need to remember that people come to the journey in their own way, in there own time. Sarah Spencer’s writing has helped me with this appreciation. I also feel the prime directive links with the notion of ‘spheres of influence’, and Ghandi’s oracular ‘if you want to change the world, start with yourself’. 


I am still to work out how to embed the principles in the design from the very beginning, so that they inform the design entirely, but I think this is more about how I feel, than what I do… I am certainly more clear about how to use principles effectively after this design. I found Sarah Spencer’s principles useful, detailed and they supported me to learn more about how to apply them.

In the design forum, Carla put a Greek quote forward for us to respond to:

‘under pressure you don’t rise to your expectations, you fall to your level of training’.

I would like to find myself so fluent in the principles, that they become the level of training that I fall to. At this point, I surmise that the only way I am going to be able to do this is if I write my own set of principles. As I go on designing now, I will identify a model of regenerative business (design 8). Part of that will be an exploration of how ecosystems operate. I feel confident that after this I will be able to articulate my own principles. It would also be possible for Cam and I to do design 8 together, if that was something she would like to do, let’s see how things shape up.

*Final reflections

One of our hopes for the social enterprise is that it integrates our interests into a whole. Now that the objects, activities and benefits are identified, I’m surprised at how well this has been achieved, and delighted, especially to have a good reason to call myself an artist!

I did find the principles quite clunky to use at times. I’m not sure that they fit perfectly in all the phases, but I’m always unsure about principles, so I’ll just sit with it. I seem to have been particularly interested in the ‘create conditions conducive to life’ principle. This reflects another learning edge for me – I’d like to be able to talk fluently about what this means when I talk to people about what a regenerative business is. 

It has become clear, through the process of taking part in Carla’s design forum and the feedback from sharing this design, that what I have done here is been involved in a co-produced process. However the write-up, as an outcome of all that collaborative work, has been an individual pursuit. I would be interested in thinking more about how the write-up could also be a co-produced endeavour as I feel it would enrich the design as a whole, and it would resolve the tricky skipping back and forth between ‘I’ and ‘We’ in the design. I also intend to ask Cam for her response to the design-write-up, and any learnings she feels have emerged for her from the process we have shared, which I will share here at a later date (TWEAK).

During the later phases of the design, it became clear that we needed a third Director. Just before we sent our incorporation documents off to the regulator, we were joined by Elen Robert. Elen had not been a part of the process – she joins us in an advisory capacity, so in many ways this is appropriate. However, I do feel it would be enriching to ask her for her response to the design as it stands today (14 April). 

One more reflection that feels important to consider is the extent to which I feel I have been living the design. At Carla’s design forum, I mentioned that Liz Postlethwaite had said to me, in a moment when I was struggling with the demands of designing in the midst of having lots of paid work to do, that the best approach is to ‘design what you are doing’.

I wholeheartedly accepted that challenge in this design. Subsequently, I reflect that not only was I able to get a good design from the work, the inverse is true too, the work was permaculture – and that’s what it is all about isn’t it? So I have learnt that if you design what you are ‘doing’, then what you are ‘doing’ is permaculture – it seems an obvious and simple statement to make.

However, this feels like a breakthrough for me in how I think about and do ‘permaculture’. Designing what you are doing, or ‘living the design’, means that what I am creating in the world is permaculture! That feels very regenerative, and very nourishing and gratifying. It feels like a somewhat breathtaking insight on my learning pathway. In fact, I have plotted a route for the rest of my diploma that involves designing all the work I have for the year ahead. That feels like a wonderful way to end this process. 

Sally Hughes, April 2023