New PhD Graduate: TRANS4M Fellow Daud “Shumba” Taranhike, Zimbabwe, graduates with an Innovation Focus on the Integral Kumusha
Yusuf Adeojo’s successful integral PhD journey with Da Vinci and TRANS4M resulted in an innovative community-based finance model, in theory and practice, in and for Nigeria and Africa.
Yusuf Adeojo, a TRANS4M Fellow and member of CISER NIGERIA (Center for Integral Social and Economic Research) developed a model and practice for financial inclusion, based on Nigeria’s indigenous finance model of Esusu. Here he shares a summary of his PhD, in his own words:
“Through genetic tools like DNA sequencing, scientists and researchers can identify the cause of an infection, understand the origination of old and new viruses, diagnose the different sources, and develop cure/preventive vaccines to combat several viruses. What this tells us is that to find the solution to either a scientific or socio-economic problem/imbalance, one must journey back to the roots of its existence and piece together a story that explains the source of the problem to find a lasting solution.
Financial Inclusion in Nigeria today is a national problem that requires a lasting solution. The challenge of financial inclusion in Nigeria did not manifest overnight. Its root cause can be traced all the way back to the purpose of the first formal bank in Nigeria (African Banking Corporation) in 1982. The ABC and other financial institutions/banks that were incorporated pre and post amalgamation in Nigeria (between 1892 – 1912) were established to finance the trade export within West Africa and to issue a West African currency convertible to the British Pounds Sterling. This shows that cross border commerce and trade finance is the foundation that birthed what has become the Nigerian banking and finance sector today, which has resulted in the deep exclusion of retail and MSME customers within Nigeria, hence the evolution of the socio-economic issue of financial inclusion in Nigeria today. Suffice to mention here, that a lot has been done to address the issue of financial exclusion in Nigeria however, not much has been achieved. I root cause of this is due to the methodology that was implemented over the years to address this issue.
To address the issue of financial inclusion my innovative research, which traveled along the eastern research path of renewal of the unconventional Integral Research framework, decided to join the vibrant conversation of how best to integrate the financial activities in the informal economy with the formal financial space, with the aim to increase socio-economic development in Nigeria. To address this, the research to innovation journey asked the question, “Why does the informal sector or rural population not bank with the formal financial sectors (banks)?”
To find an answer to the question, this research to socio-economic innovation journeys back to pre-colonial Nigeria to understand the indigenous financial systems that were employed in that time. Here, it was deciphered that one of the reasons the informal sector or rural dwellers do not bank with the formal financial sector is the lack of in-depth understanding between both parties, power relations tussle and transcultural, trans-disciplinary, transpersonal and transformational imbalances.
To offset these imbalances, this innovative socio-economic research believes that the entire foundation of Nigeria’s banking and finance sector must be transformed to speak to the concrete experience of the retail/MSME/informal sector which it seeks to serve. For this unconventional research thesis, I applied the narrative method to clarify the origination of my research thereby leading to my research questions, research objectives and hypothesis.
Hermeneutics was my research methodology; which is the foundation of this thesis, and conventionally my prior literature review. This was preceded by Critical theory as my research critique method also termed methodology and methods for investigation and analysis. My research process culminated in the Cooperative Inquiry process as my research findings and contribution to the Owode-ota community in Ogun State, western Nigeria.
The outcome of this integral research journey was the co-creation of an integral Esusu-led finance (IEF) model which evolved from the origination of of CISER’s Integral 5C’s of Credit and “New Left School of Thoughts on the Informal Sector”. The IEF model was implemented via the Esusu-led finance cooperative – a traditional rotating savings and credit association for the traders and artisans of rural Owode-ota community. Financial inclusion is more than migrating the financial activities in the informal sector to the formal financial space, it is also to blend the strength and structures of the formal financial sector with the informal financial systems that conveniently speaks to the concrete experience of the informal sector by redefining familiar indigenous financial systems such as the Esusu Rotational Savings and Loan System in light of modern structures. This is both parties meeting at a middle ground.
For the Graduation Day, at Da Vinci Institute, Johannesburg, Professor Alexander Schieffer interviewed Rev Dr Tony Bradley, Centre Director, SEARCH and Lecturer in Sustainable Business at Liverpool Hope Business School, UK.
Alexander: Tony, congratulations to your remarkable thesis. We are proud of your achievement as a TRANS4M Fellow. Can you tell us what your thesis was about – in as accessible a way as possible?
Tony: Essentially, what I was seeking to investigate was an action research process for developing a Communiversity in the arts and cultural industry sphere. My theoretical basis was to use the Integral Four Worlds model as a way into creating a 16 steps process, towards developing a Communiversity. This is a newly-minted word (although there are many Communiversities around the world, with one of the first in my home city of Liverpool, UK) to describe the way in which the research academy of a University can be fused with the needs, values and enterprise of a local community, and vice versa.
At the same time, I wanted to see if it was possible to connect the Integral Worlds model to the 4 New Testament Gospels, in the Judaeo-Christian scriptures. They appear to parallel the sequence of the Integral Worlds-GENE model, as a way of generating the 16 steps process. As such, the Gospels were the basis for my technology.
The technological innovation – in line with the local community – was to produce a piece of creative art in collaboration with 70 other local creative people. My methodology was unusual, as an action research project. I wrote and Produced a new professional musical, based on the experience of Liverpool during the 2WW Blitz, which was performed in one of Liverpool’s main theatres in Nov-Dec 2016.
For the action research, I analysed this process and the reception of the show and its impact, which sent ripples into the community over many months. Action research is rather like dropping a pebble into a pond. Using the twin lenses of the integral model – and what I refer to as the Biblical Quaternity Archetype – we saw how an arts communiversity could be innovated and developed across a city-region. It was a complex process, but it pointed to some interesting steps for Communiversity development.
Alexander: So, what were the main findings to emerge from your action research?
Tony: Firstly, that there IS a homologous process between the BQA and the Integral model. This is reflected in the ripples that proceed from using each of the four New Testament Gospels as pebbles to drop into a community pond. The Lukan Gospel model parallels the process of grounding a journey with local People, to take them towards a crisis and then into a new world.
The Markan Gospel model parallels the process of emerging that journey’s Purpose, to enable the community to identify its core values, purposive beliefs and reasons for decision-making. The Johannine Gospel model parallels the process of using signs to help the community navigate its way towards a new future, building on its past, which is what emerged in the musical. Finally, the Matthean Gospel model indicates ways of effecting the realities of an artistic enterprise, with all the financial challenges that entails.
Alexander: That is interesting, but how has the Communiversity developed?
Tony: We had hoped to progress the arts communiversity through an organisation that I was Chair of Trustees for – one of the most innovative Arts Centres in the North of England. Then, along came the pandemic. So, the Communiversity took on a new shape – actually three shaped projects:
(1) involving my students and colleagues in The Good Business Festival International, based in Liverpool. This has led to a process of student consultation with local businesses in terms of sustainable development, for decarbonising production processes.
(2) Shortly after completing my doctorate in early 2020, I was appointed Centre Director of SEARCH (Social and Economic Action Research Centre at Hope). One of my first tasks was to change the meaning of SEARCH from ‘applied’ to ‘action research’. We, then, began a communiversity project, with a wide range of stakeholders, across the city-region, to work on the ‘greening of markets’ in Liverpool, particularly connected to developing a Circular Food Economy, working to close the loop between food waste and new ways of producing, marketing, distributing and consuming food products. This is an ongoing project, involving my University in a Knowledge Exchange Framework with regional stakeholders, through SEARCH.
(3) Most recently, SEARCH has managed to attract members of an Advisory Board, composed of leaders in the wealth management and political spheres across NW England. They have just begun an exciting new action research process for SEARCH, working between financial institutions and some of the most deprived communities in the UK, in inner city Liverpool. The aim is to frame an action research project for addressing inequality and multiple deprivation in the British equivalent of many shanty- townships in Africa, Asia and Latin America. People might be surprised to know that Britain continues to have a major problem with endemic poverty, which is worsening in the 21st century.
We are right at the start of this journey. It will involve co-operative inquiry and participative action research (PAR) with local people, so that they lead the research, alongside ourselves. But, with the team of 20-30 social scientists – in SEARCH – who will work on this project, we believe it will have an impact that ripples out far beyond the Liverpool city-region.
Alexander: How did the Da Vinci experience shape your doctorate?
Tony: Having to go through the TIPS process – in which I was not, always, a completely willing participant – opened my eyes to a completely different way of considering technologies, which is in line with the navigational aspects of the Integral Model. A technology is a way of getting you from your Purpose to your Profit, through Planetary systems. This helped me to create the Business Sustainability Cycle, on which I’m writing 3 books for Edward Elgar Publishing, on Business Sustainability. That has been a transformative process for which I will always be indebted to Da Vinci, and my brilliant Supervisors, Professors Ronnie Lessem and Alexander Schieffer, the original co-founders of TRANS4M – the partner-organisation of Da Vinci in this research program.
The entire communiversity of TRANS4M Academy for Integral Transformation congratulates Tony to this outstanding achievement!