The New Citizenship Project - a social innovation lab, established in 2014 to help catalyse the shift to a more participatory society. Founded by brand purpose experts Jon Alexander and Irene Ekkeshis, they use creative strategy to promote the role of the citizen and encourage better participation in society.
This guide offers a new way of understanding the current period of intense societal change, conceptualising it as the Citizen Shift: the shift from Consumer to Citizen as the dominant idea of the role of the individual in society.
This understanding frames a radically different question which we can all work with: rather than thinking of people as Consumers, which leads us to ask only what we can sell to “them” (whoever “they” are), this approach prompts us to think of ourselves instead as Citizens, and to ask what it is we can all participate in and contribute to. The core proposition is that this shift in thinking provides a far more generative platform for ideas, innovation, social and environmental justice, and indeed economic prosperity.
As such, the report has two functions, and is split into two sections in order to address them: the first establishes the concept of the Citizen Shift; the second helps you figure out what it means for you.
“The shift from Consumer to Citizen is a truly big idea. If you're in a position of strategic influence, I strongly recommend you engage with this and consciously explore what it might mean for your organisation."
Dame Fiona Reynolds, Former Director General, National Trust
"The world is in a mess. This mess originates from a distorted view of markets, of finance, of profits, of shareholder value and of the purpose of business. We need all of these to serve human purposes and the lucid and profound Citizen Shift agenda points the way ahead."
Mark Goyder, Founder and CEO, Tomorrow's Company
"It was Victor Hugo who said that no army can stop an idea whose time has come. He was talking about the Citizen Shift. Over the next 25 years, the levers of power in our society will pass to people who have made this shift. Those who currently hold those levers may want to tune in to this paper, to get a glimpse of what will follow them."
James Perry, Chairman, COOK and B Lab UK
"At the heart of Citizen Shift lies a vital, simple idea: that as a society we have a fundamental identity and this changes over time. The paper makes the compelling case that we are at the cusp of the next change - from being Consumers to becoming Citizens. By definition, it is in our hands as to whether we choose to participate as citizens and actively create a different, more positive society. I'm in, are you?"