- Stuart Patton
Flip your thinking from ME to WE
The philosophy of the ME2WE movement is simple: flip your thinking from ME to WE. Ultimately, the idea behind ME2WE is to use distinctive, high quality, sustainable fashion as a channel to create a culture of togetherness that can bring about positive change.
Human perspective is nurtured by unique experiences, values, and knowledge, but this can give us an isolated view of the world unless we listen to, understand, and respect other people’s opinions. ME2WE wants to raise awareness that we can find new and innovative solutions to so many of the problems we currently face if we address them from a context of
diversity. Indeed, we can go so far as to say, the chances of successfully improving the future of our planet are much higher if we all move away from the ME perspective and come together to the WE perspective.
Effectively ME2WE aims to utilise the human traits we all have, but perhaps only a few demonstrate. One such trait is empathy which, at its basic level, is the ability to share the feelings of others as though they were your own. Without this, we face a tough challenge to make progress, especially in parts of the world where there seems to be none. We have one planet that we all have responsibility for, regardless of colour and race or whether a nation is developed or developing. Of course, it’s very easy to make bold statements and talk, but change only happens when people take action. So, when the ME within us all recognises that acting for the benefit of the WE involves synergising the virtues and energy of others, we have a powerful tool to give a voice to the voiceless and begin an active transformation. ME2WE is the best of being human.
If you only look inside yourself, you only see ME; however, if you look from within to see and feel the outside through the perspective of others, you can take on the WE view. To solve the major problems of the future, we don’t need a divided world; we need the combined talents of a diverse world. We can see every day where and how emotions play a critical role in the way we live our lives, from engaging with and influencing others to the decisions we take ourselves that affect our own lives. This is why we term the ME2WE brand as a movement, to attempt to change mindsets and behaviours for the more significant benefit of the many and not just the needs of
ME2WE - HOW DID IT COME ABOUT? THE THOUGHT PROCESS
In recent years, there has been a growing trend for people to live in silos that have become narrower, so their perspective of all things is only relevant to the silo in which they exist, their ME. With the world changing faster than ever before across every aspect, we need to reduce the depth of the silos, open up our perspectives and see that it’s the WE who can build the best version of the future.
If two people take 100 steps, forward the result is not as powerful or as effective as 100 people taking only 5 steps forward. So, to be effective, we need to make a movement; to create this movement, we need to create inertia to move. This needs to come from something people can relate to and already exists in their lives; this is why we chose fashion, but fashion comes from understanding the environment—promoting the ME2WE in this context, Humans (ME) and the Planet (WE). When I first had the idea of ME2WE, I reached out to M (Michael Herrera), a fashion designer I knew through entrepreneurial education for kids, and asked M if this could be a fashion brand. My then phrase was “Flip your thinking ME to WE” M came back with “Flip your thinking ME to WE, show some love”, which at its core is the fundamental human message of ME2WE, open your perspective to understand what others see, feel and experience.
THE MW2WE ENVIRONMENT
If we take the perspective of ME the human, WE the planet, the planet can undoubtedly survive without humans. It could be argued that it would thrive without humans. In fact, in most cases when humans move out, the natural world returns. As for humans, we need the planet to survive, and we need a clean, healthy planet to continue to thrive, and yet given we all fully understand this at some level, it’s still appears to be challenging to take any form of action at a personal level to make any positive action towards this goal.
We are now at a crucial time for the whole of mankind where more than ever, we all need to come together to find solutions and ways to move from the ME mentality regarding the planet and move to a WE mentality. This is because the Diversity of People working together is a very powerful energy. This combined energy will undoubtedly solve the problems with new and creative ideas that can positively impact the planet. If, on the other hand, we work in isolation or if only a few ventures try to solve the problems, then the potential of success will be much lower, so we need to move from ME to WE.
The choice of fashion as an initial channel to raise the needed change in mindset was identified because fashion is popular with everyone; it can allow you to embrace the ME2WE brand in a fun way. You don’t need any special skills or knowledge to engage with fashion, and it’s all around us every day. People have always used fashion as a way to define them on some level visibly. In addition to this, the fashion industry is also very wasteful, especially the fast throwaway fashion brands. The positive trend is that today’s youth are more conscious and concerned about the environment than previous generations, so we provide the brand that asks the questions. Ultimately change only happens on a large scale when the needs of the many are also included in the change.
Many fashion brands are now becoming more focused and conscious about the issues of fast fashion in the environment, which is a positive move. Certainly, the objective behind ME2WE is to drive this focus on environmentally friendly materials and the sustainability of the processes we use. This goes from everything from the materials we use for the garments to the labelling we have attached to them
Although the principle of ME2WE can apply to many areas, a key aspect is that of the environment. If we take only the ME position and ignore the consequences of what is happening, the WE will ultimately suffer.
THE ME2WE EDUCATION
Because there is a general complacency for the most part about the environment by adults, we also need to go back to the education system and now start building in the awareness
and the understanding of the needs of the Planet. The next generations are the ones who will face the most significant challenges, more challenging than anything seen so far. We cannot speculate what these new challenges will be; all we can be sure of is that we now live in a world of constant change and uncertainty. Therefore, education needs to bring students to a collective WE mindset rather than a narrow ME mindset. This is not to say the development of the individual is not important, it’s more important than ever, but in a complex world, no one person can possibly know everything. Therefore, the ability to collaborate to solve problems becomes a key driver for successful innovation. But it also needs to be built against a backdrop of transformational thinking within education. We can no longer just measure the success of education in relation to the individual’s academic achievements.
The narrow focus to achieve academic success was relevant in the past, where professions changed little and long-term employment within the same profession or company was a norm. This has now effectively all gone; the rate of technology change and the convergence of technologies means change is the only constant.
A quote in a talk made by Jack Ma, the famous founder of Alibaba, says, Humans have hearts, Robots have chips” if we take this to the next level, what Jack Ma is saying is humans can empathise, to see and feel the world through other perspectives. When we watch a movie, we can feel the same emotions as thoughts being portrayed by the actors; this is a uniquely human trait. When you can connect the power of positive emotions to a cause that affects everyone, you can generate the energy to move people to change.
A key focus to us in terms of the values of the ME2WE brand is the ability to give back; we will look at this from a product development perspective in terms of our creativity around the
garments and their use and conversion. Having said that, we believe that education is the way to create long-term change.
So, we will be looking at sustainable fashion design courses and educational programs linked to the environment and sustainability, also provided through scholarships. If you want to change the world, give people the ability to change their world first, education is a great tool in this context.
Dealing with these new challenges from only the ME perspective will no longer be enough; the way forward is to have the diverse and collective WE synergise together to create transformational innovations that protect the planet and support human lifestyles. Logical solutions, which will be driven further and deeper by the world of AI, are only one part of our needed future solutions. This logical approach is a tool to be linked to human-based, emotion-driven solutions. Ultimately a combination of both will be required to be able to achieve the outcomes that benefit everyone at some level, another ME(a.i)2WE(human).
THE ME2WE PEOPLE
The diverse team of partners is an example of the ME coming together to create the WE. The founders of ME2WE come from diverse backgrounds: Stuart Patton is a big picture thinker and strategist; originally from the UK, he has lived and worked in both Europe and many Asia countries. He has experienced many cultures and understands the benefits of diversity based on his experience. His passion is to make all aspects of education relevant to the future and maximise human potential for the use of the WE.
He is the Global CEO of ACE EdVenture Group, CEO Founder of AdaptiveSQ, Founding partner in WWBI Octopus Entrepreneurial education program, and Director of Education Alliance Finland.
Michael Herrera, known as ‘M”, is a famous fashion streetwear designer based out of the US but a Modern-day Renaissance nomad utilising the arts to spread messages of change. With over 25 years of experience in all aspects of design and branding, M has lived all over the world managing projects for celebrities and clientele, including but not limited to Snoop Dogg, Red Bull, Britney Spears, and Ferrari. Today, “M” entered the jewellery business, selling in Singapore and New York.
ME2WE wants to remind individuals to stop, look and see and remember, it’s not about ME, it’s about WE!
It’s WE who all live on one planet, and it’s WE together who can find solutions to all our problems now and in the future. The wonderful Diversity of WE generates more energy, momentum, and positive change than the limited silos of ME.
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