Discover The Polis: When ideas turn into reality

Posted by / 17th November 2014 / Categories: Polis, ReSeT News / -

The world is full of amazing ideas. It is also full of tools and resources to make those happen. The problem is bringing these two sets together: the world is not always very good at doing that yet. This is especially true in economically developing societies where access to global services and opportunities can be hard to find. In fact, it is also harder than it seems even in European or North American countries. Despite technological miracles and globalisation, there remains a lot of human potential to strengthen lives and livelihoods that goes unseen by those who can provide the services to turn people’s ideas into successful reality.

This is where our work comes in: The Polis connects the ideas with the tools.

Since this summer we have a full time team- with further support from other ReSeT researchers and our wider network- working to bring the project to life. The model is very simple in both its basic idea as well as its execution: it connects ideas from people to the resources needed to turn those ideas into reality. Specifically, it connects local ambitions in developing communities to global expertise and funding. There is no complicated framework, and no political agenda. The Polis connects demand and supply, and that’s about it.

We call such connections LLCs (“Local-led Connections”), reflecting the fact that it is always about local people who demand services. This happens through human infrastructure: a representative (“Local Connector”, or LC) listens to local communities and people, and takes the received information back into The Polis. There, people with access to global resources and networks (rather unoriginally called “Global Connectors”, or GC) offer the resources needed to make the ambition work. Once they have come back with sufficient alternatives, the initial local actor chooses their preferred solution. After that moment, the Polis’ work ends and all that is left is a relationship between local client and global supplier(s). Naturally we will continue to keep an eye out, ensuring that we will learn and grow through practical application.

There are of course a number of details that we are skipping here: where do Local and Global Connectors come from? How do they interact? How do you select connected communities? Where do you get the money from? How did you come up with such utter genius? You will just have to trust us that we have the details covered. Right now we only want to give you a general idea of where we are going with this.

Simple and effective, The Polis is an outcome focused method that brings together actors that complement and need each other, one type local and the other global. It does this through simple communication flows with basic online connectivity to support communications and information exchange.

The strength of The Polis lies in its dogged focus on being local-led. Unlike many developmental projects, the agenda is at no point set by global actors or large organisations. The Polis mechanism ensures that resulting projects always respond to local ideas, and never to global ideology or interests. Moreover, overheads and organisational pressures are minimal, and the model exhibits no external imposition of any kind: ideas are local, decisions are local, evaluations are local. Benefits are global.

(Editor’s note: Our marketing department worked very hard on this local/global slogan, so be prepared to find it scattered across all our publications from now on.)

Impact is global not just because the model is so simple and easy to implement, and therefore can be replicated in any potential community worldwide. It also benefits everyone involved. This is not just the group of local people who are in charge of their projects, but also the global actors who compete to supply their services and expertise, as well as observers of Polis dynamics interested in understanding underlying dynamics.

The group of interested observers would of course also include us, the ReSeT team that is so enthusiastically developing the Polis at the moment. By seeing what kind of activities and relationships grow out of the resulting dynamics, we get invaluable insights into local-global dynamics. This is one of the fundamental questions facing human society worldwide, and we, the Polis team, will have first rank seats. It allows us to better understand the nature of our work- international relations and cooperation- as well as further strengthen the method of the Polis itself.

If you would like to know more about The Polis, or if you would like to contribute ideas or connections, please contact us at

Looking forward to hearing from you,

The Polis Team


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About the author
The Polis Team's publications focus on local-global realationships, problems and solutions. All Polis Team publications are related to The Polis, ReSeT's flagship project.

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