Who we are

Anna Cowen

Anna is a social change practitioner, architect, urbanist and facilitator with more than twenty five years of experience in regenerative and participatory design, strategy and development. She advocates an abundance-based bio-regional, whole systems design approach that focuses on crafting symbiotic relationships between the built environment, eco-systems and local cultures. She seeks to fundamentally “change the way we make things”, supporting a shift towards globally connected yet localised, circular economies, with a strong focus on growing the commons. Her approach to fostering localisation includes participatory mapping and storytelling processes that are informed by developmental psychology, integral, resilience and complexity theory. Anna graduated from the University of Cape Town (UCT) with a BArch in 1994 and founded her own architectural practice in 1995, at times working either in partnership or association. Her work has been commended with a number of national and international awards and prizes. She taught architectural design at UCT for an eight-year period and completed an MPhil in Sustainable Settlement in 2003, focusing on public participation processes and the production of public space. She is a trained Holacracy facilitator and is currently training as a facilitator of Family and Systems Constellations.

John Ziniades

John is a social change and tech entrepreneur focusing on the redesign of money systems, both globally and locally as a key leverage point for planetary thriving. He is currently exploring the intersection between cryptocurrencies, the commons and distributed infrastructure. He is curious about the underpinning agreements that shape the many ways humans exchange value and advocates a shift from scarcity to abundance-based thinking. He is an experienced Holacracy facilitator, exploring and developing emergent, agile and distributed organizational forms and practices that are better suited to meet the growing complexity of a globalised, networked world pushing up against environmental limits. He also brings his twenty five years of experience as a successful Internet entrepreneur and innovator, having co-founded 5 companies in the high-tech, Internet and mobile telecommunications space, to the social and green enterprise development space, where he focuses on Peer to Peer (P2P) production, growing the knowledge commons and lean start-up methodologies. John graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, South Africa) with a BSc (ElecEng) in 1991, worked for a few years at the CSIR, South Africa’s leading research institute where he discovered the Internet, and then went on to co-found 5 tech companies, the first of which listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 1998. He resigned as CEO of Consology (his most recent tech start-up) in 2009, to focus his full attention on fostering social change for planetary well-being.