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July 7, 2019

Making Massive Small Change Happen: Kelven Campbell 2

By Rob Kall

Kelven Campbell has written a book, Massive Small Change, that is destined to become a classic, in same class as the book Small is Beautiful. We had such a good first article that we went on and did a second hour. This is the second hour.


Kelvin Campbell is a collaborative urbanist and writer. He is the chair of Smart Urbanism and the Massive Small Collective. A Former visiting professor in urban design at the University of Westminster and chairman of the Urban Design Group, Campbell is now honorary professor at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London,

Notes from the Interview

Starter conditions for changeorganic, bottom-up

Growth is a natural process. You just need to irrigate it, make sure it gets sunlight

Peter Senge, from MIT, says urban planners need to think more like biologists than mechanics..

Rob: Talk about structured organic

There are two ways of looking at it. We tend to go to the end state. A command and control system that focuses on an end state"

Rob: What's the alternative to an end-state focus?

Complexity is highly dependent upon its starter conditions, he uses example of the butterfly effect. It moves its wings and downstream a hurricane forms.

Complexity and emergence are so dependent upon starter conditions and the medium in which it starts.

The top down way is the command and control approach which focuses on end state. The Bottom-up way is to create initial conditions that allow emergence of whatever possibilities may occur. Hence, organic. You plant the seed, not the tree.

Technology gives us ability to monitor and give rapid and continuous feedback.

Rob: This open ended approach could drive top-down leadersmost leaderscrazy. How do you help leaders to trust this emergent conditions approach?

Robert Kaplan did a report at Harvard Business school saying that 80% of all plans fail. So, the majority of top-down plans fail dismally. Peter Senge has another one, Most strategic initiatives driven from the top fail at the outset. So there's a recognition that this kind of top down approach is not delivering the kind outcomes that a politician wants anyway.

Rob: You refer to grids a lot

Most cities are composed of many grids.

The grid is the starting point of order. And if you can create regular order, it's the first pre-condition for emergence. It's like the honey comb, the six sided hexagonal structure into which the bee can put its honey. It's creating an order within which it can start doing things.

The same thing applies to developing cities. You create the order within which richness and variety can happen.

Your preconditions are constantly evolving. The more regularity

Rob: So, what you are saying is that bottom-up can work great with some minimal rigid restrictions.

KC: And you manage those restrictions

And if someone does something unpredictable, then you embrace that unpredictability. If someone's created a better solution let's learn from that and incorporate that. It's a bit like the beta version of a computer version. There's always improvements.

Rob: I often use the quote by R. Buckminster Fuller, "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

KC: I used it to. You don't try to buck against the system. You show that there's a better way to replace your older way.

KC cites Picasso: Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.

Understand the contraints in which you can be creative. Simple rules give you a springboard for innovation.

Rob: talk about simple vs complex rules

Simple rules must be understandable and they are, generally, negotiated.

Use scenario stories

What about a collective hero vs a single top down herp

KC: council of elders or the senate governing

On politics. I want to create the massive small partythe idea that you can collectively get people to come together with a common vision.

We need a bottom-up swell of people saying that we need a different way of doing it. We need to liberate ourselves.

Government is a negative force in most parts of the world now.

The "precariat" it's the precarious economy.

The demographics are working against the idea of top down anyway.

Giantism is the first sin of failure

The role of government is to make sure that nothing gets to bigwe want a thousand bakers. At the bottom level it creates stability in the system.

Submitters Bio:

Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect,
connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. 

He is the author of The Bottom-up Revolution; Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity scheduled for release May 22, 2019

He's given talks and workshops to Fortune
500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered
first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and
Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful
people on his Bottom Up Radio Show,
and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and
opinion sites,

more detailed bio: 

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

Rob Kall Wikipedia Page

Rob Kall's Bottom Up Radio Show: Over 400 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Or check out my Youtube Channel

Rob Kall/OpEdNews Bottom Up YouTube video channel

Rob is also published regularly on the

Rob is, with the first media winner of the Pillar Award for supporting Whistleblowers and the first amendment.

To learn more about Rob and, check out A Voice For Truth - ROB KALL | OM Times Magazine and this article. 

For Rob's work in non-political realms mostly before 2000, see his C.V..  and here's an article on the Storycon Summit Meeting he founded and organized for eight years. 

Press coverage in the Wall Street Journal: Party's Left Pushes for a Seat at the Table

Talk Nation Radio interview by David Swanson:  Rob   Kall  on Bottom-Up Governance June, 2017

Here is a one hour radio interview where Rob was a guest- on Envision This, and here is the transcript. 

To watch Rob having a lively conversation with John Conyers, then Chair of the House Judiciary committee, click hereWatch Rob speaking on Bottom up economics at the Occupy G8 Economic Summit, here.

Follow Rob on Twitter & Facebook

His quotes are here

Rob's articles express his personal opinion, not the opinion of this website.

Join the conversation:

On facebook at Rob Kall's Bottom-up The Connection Revolution

and at Google Groups listserve Bottom-up Top-down conversation