Who We Are
Updated: Jun 3
The Planetmakers Core Team is a cooperative partnership, Planetmakers LLP. It is registered with Companies House in the UK Company No: OC428500, and is a member of Coops UK. Its function is to coordinate and shape the project overall.
It brings together a group of people who have been working in this area separately and together in different combinations for many years. It was set up for the purposes of this project, and builds on the formidable experience and background of its partners. That includes working with community and environment groups, software development, setting up online communities, effective bottom-up organisation at scale, raising funds and creating new visions of a sustainable future.
What drew these people together was the prospect that very recent developments in the decentralised and distributed internet could enable their visions to be realised. This project is the result.
The partner members of Planetmakers LLP are:
Dr Gary Alexander: Gary retired after 37 years at the UK’s Open University, where he was at times, the Director of the Energy Research Group, Director of the Electronic Media in Education Research Group, a pioneer in developing online courses using collaborative learning techniques, an author of many courses on environment and electronics. He has been involved in many community projects, including setting up the Diss Community Farm, was active in the Transition Network and was on its Board of Trustees for 4 years. In his books, papers and conference contributions over many years , he has developed detailed visions of a collaborative, sustainable future, especially in his book, eGaia, Growing a peaceful, sustainable Earth through communication. See his website for more details.
Sofia Bustamante: Sofia, MEng, FRSA is a social process designer with nearly 3 decades of work in conflict mediation, facilitation and community building. Her current focus is on applying the design patterns of nature to conflict resolution in distributed environments. She draws on diverse influences from biomimicry to The Art of Hosting practices to the martial art of Aikido. Sofia was given London Leader Status by the Mayor’s office in 2010 for her participative community design work, for which she also won the Ogunte Women’s Social Leadership Award People’s vote in 2013. Her social innovations seek to bridge divides, enable individuals and communities to better work together, increase their sense of agency and unleash their inner and collective creativity. She is a fellow of the RSA and an associate of St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace.
Mamading Ceesay: Mamading is a highly experienced information systems engineer and architect who has worked in a variety of industries, most notably Financial Services, Film Special Effects and Virtual Reality. He has experience in designing peer to peer cloud services and collaborative social software.
With Sofia, he was a co-founder of London Creative Labs which won multiple awards for its local economic development work and successfully raised funding from JP Morgan Chase for its Startup Brixton project, which help drive the transformation of Brixton.
He has also been actively engaged in researching and designing new forms of political and social economies that are fit for the 21st century, with an emphasis on sustainability and social justice. As a result, he has:
* Worked on community currency software.
* Analysed outcomes of UK Timebanks and LETS.
* Delivered a course on community currencies.
* Chaired a community currencies panel.
* Co-founded the Brixton Pound.
* Invited to be a panellist on an upcoming currency design workshop.
Dr Angela Espinosa: Angela started her professional life as a computer and systems engineer before doing a PhD on Organisational Cybernetics in the UK. After 10 years of working as an academic and consultant in Colombia, (including leading the Secretariat of Informatics in the Colombian President's Office), she moved to Hull University in the UK where she has spent the last few decades teaching and researching at the Centre of Systems Studies. Her research interests have been in studying organisational transformations for improved viability and sustainability, from an Organisational Cybernetics perspective. She has long and fruitful experience teaching, researching and consulting in this field, including large transformational processes in the Colombian public and private organisations; and in communities and businesses in the EU; and in leading funded research projects in both regions. All her consulting and research outputs have been published in leading academic journals and research monographs. She was awarded the Ashby Lecture in the International Federation of Systems Societies and Vienna University in 2002; the Norbert Wiener Award by Emerald Publishing; and she has been listed in Marquis Who is Who in the World, and Who is Who in Science and Engineering.
Dr Jon Walker: Jon has over thirty five years experience working in the co-operative business sector. He has established and co-managed a range of businesses including retail outlets, a small-scale manufacturing plant, a warehouse and a chain of supermarkets dealing mainly with wholefood, organic and fairly-traded products. Concurrently, Jon has lectured, published, consulted and provided training courses in both private and public sectors, on organisational structures. His recent book "A Complexity Approach to Sustainability”, co-written with Angela Espinosa is now on its second edition.
In particular Jon has pioneered the use of an innovative organisational approach known as the Viable Systems Model, in both large cooperatives and an eco-community. The resulting organisational changes have resulted in working practices which are both efficient whilst at the same time being based on principles of participation and individual creativity and autonomy. Jon is based in Yorkshire where he continues to have direct involvement with the co-operative food sector there, in particular in developing food networks that serve local communities.