Changemaker Currencies


from Contemporary  to  Changemaker Currencies

I began this year by giving more of my attention (#1 contemporary currency), energy and time to what really mattered to me – my values. I started exploring how to activate collaborations to turn my Contemporary Currencies framework into a set of resources and tools to help more people become everyday changemakers. Here’s the why, what and how of it. Where I am now, and where I’m heading with Changemaker Currencies. How you could come along on the journey. And an invitation to explore what that journey could be by joining me at the on-line LoveBusk festival on 20 March.

3 insights into the potential of changemaker currencies

  1. You can be an everyday changemaker when you consciously use your contemporary currencies – attention, values, energy and time

  2. You can make your money go further whether or not you’re spending it just then

  3. You can connect and collaborate – near and far – to become a OneWorld changemaker

= 3 pivots

  1. From Contemporary Currencies to Changemaker Currencies

  2. From being agnostic about values to being committed to a set of values

  3. From a focus on life generally to a focus on 3 BIG ISSUES


Inspiring people to create positive change in human and environmental well-being

When I was asked to be one of the ‘Inspiring Speakers’ at the LoveBusk low-fi net-based music and ideas festival, which is launching on 20 March from Sydney, Australia I said “yes”. I thought, “what a great opportunity to ‘go public’ about why I’m turning my Contemporary Currencies framework into a Changemaker Currencies framework.”

LoveBusk, is a social enterprise, 100% for purpose festival, which wants to inspire people to create positive changes for people and the planet. This is a fabulous fit with the mission of changemaker currencies.

The festival will raise funds through performers and speakers sharing the LoveBusk dollars that festival-goers purchase to tip the performers and speakers they tune into. For this first festival, LoveBusk’s project is OrphFund, which is building a Children’s Village with / for homeless & orphaned kids in Uganda.



I’ll share the love-tips I raise 50:50 between OrphFund and my ‘for-purpose’ project, which is ActionStation, a New Zealand digital-democracy platform. ActionStation enables people to organise on- and off-line collective action in support of a fair society, thriving environment and transparent accountable politics.  Goals I have for Changemaker Currencies.


Take advantage of rising exchange rates

I value my association with LoveBusk and ActionStation because they illustrate so well the rising exchange rates we can get when we consciously invest or spend our attention, values, energy and time. And how this also makes our money go further.


3 pivots to changemaker currencies 

I’m making three pivots in re-imagining and re-purposing contemporary currencies to Changemaker Currencies.

Pivot #1 recognises that by being conscious calculators and budgeters of these currencies we can accelerate purpose-driven change. We can get a higher return, regardless of whether we’re also spending money.

Pivot #2 recognises the significance of particular values as currencies, such as respect, empathy, trust, integrity, collaboration, and sustainability. And our capacity to get more value from our values.

Pivot #3 recognises a particular context – human-created (anthropogenic) climate change, rising inequality, and the negative impacts of artificial intelligence. All three makes leveraging those values critical for ensuring a sustainable future.


Give your attention to your values

Underpinning Pivot #1, the shift from contemporary to changemaker currencies, was a key realisation. While I always wanted to help people make better decisions, more easily, I didn’t want to focus the design of the resources on efficiency, or buying stuff more cheaply. This led to pivot #2, changing the ordering and ranking of the currencies. Attention was always my #1 currency, followed by energy, time and values, which had been clustered together. Now the order is: #1 Attention; #2 Values; #3 Energy; #4 Time.


Spend your energy and time wisely

Why is Attention still #1? Because whatever we give our attention to, either willingly or without much thought, or allow our attention to be spent or wasted on, determines how we use our energy and time. It determines the return we get from them.

A recent interview in the Sydney Morning Herald with George Clooney is a great example of power of the currency of attention.

“I feel a real responsibility to the refugees,” he says. “I haven’t been very out there on the Syrian refugees, but I’m working with the IRC now, so I think I have to spend more time.
“I haven’t been paying enough attention. I need to pay more attention.”

A call echoed by the Christchurch Press recently. On the anniversary of the earthquake, they asked New Zealanders to give their attention to how best the government can support the people of Christchurch to heal from the trauma of the earthquakes. And reminded us of the potential value to everyone of the lessons learned when we face unexpected disasters, as we will, wherever we live.

Like them, I figure that the first thing to do to become an everyday changemaker is to invest attention consciously to work out your values. This way all kinds of decisions become clearer and easier to make, now, and in the future. Saves you energy and time, and money, to invest where you get a higher exchange rate.


Make time count for more

I used to get challenged about attention being more valuable and scarce than time, which people kept telling me they never had enough of.

Well, actually, you can save time – in many ways. You can stop doing something. You can do something less often, or more efficiently, or mindfully. You can automate or outsource a task.

But we can only spend or save, or get the best return from investing our attention when we’re truly present, when we consciously give our attention. And you know how often we spend time with someone and they’re not really present. Or, let’s be honest, we’re not. And how that feels.


Get more change where it counts

Moving values up to being the second currency set the scene for Pivot #3. I no longer wanted to be agnostic or neutral about the value of values. I wanted to focus on those values that would enhance our capacity to consciously create more sustainable living. By sustainable I mean in relation to both the environment and fellow humans. Again, this is why it’s so good to be part of the first LoveBusk festival, and support the democratic activism that ActionStation is an enabler of.

I want Changemaker Currencies’ values to support us to more effectively address three big issues, which I think threaten a sustainable future:

  1. Human-caused (anthropogenic) climate change

  2. Rising inequality of opportunities

  3. Increasing numbers of people feeling lonely

  4. Negative consequences of Artificial and Augmented Intelligence (AI)


Make it easier for your money to go further

Interestingly, as I’ve explained these pivots to people, some of who haven’t been aware of the concept of contemporary currencies, they’ve told me that the term changemaker currencies makes perfect sense. They recognise that every day we have opportunities to become changemakers by what we buy, or don’t buy. How we spend, or don’t spend, our money. The impact might be personal and local but when more of us take the same action, we accelerate global change.

Every day more enterprises, whether small like Offcut and Etiko or larger like B Corp or Ethisphere companies, are partnering with their customers, employees and suppliers to do just that: help us get more change from our money. And use our attention, values, energy and time to better effect.

Organisations like Provenance, Shop Ethical, Good On You, and QuestionMark, have developed resources to help accelerate conscious consumption.


Opportunities for changemaker currencies conversations and collaborations 

My goal is to use the changemaker currencies framework to support this because Research tells us there’s a gap to fill. A gap between what people say they’d like to do, and what they do. A gap, of course, that applies to being more than a consumer. It’s about how we can more effectively give our attention, energy and time more consciously to what matters most to us as families, friends, communities, and as national and global citizens.

So, on 20 March, the focus of the conversation at LoveBusk will be on how the changemaker currencies framework can support the development of resources to help us bridge these gaps.  To begin a conversation about what sorts of collaborations are possible.

Together we can can start exploring what sorts of tools and resources would be useful and flexible enough to really help people on a daily basis, and for one-off or big decisions and choices.  For when they don’t have a lot of choice, and for when there’s a lot of choice, or too much!


If your values line up with changemaker currencies, you’ll get a great return from giving them your attention, energy and time on Sunday 20 March. And you can get more change for your money by buying LoveTip dollars to give to OrphFund and ActionStation.

Info on the conversation time will be uploaded on after 24 February.

If you want to know more now about changemaker currencies, just email me at or tweet me @futureNOW_Knowhow



  1. brett 02/24/2016, 10:25 am Reply

    Marianne – We are very grateful to be collaborating on the inaugural LoveBusk with you and give our audiences the chance to interact on your talk / discussion around changemaker currencies. you certainly have our attention, energy & time!

    • marianne 02/26/2016, 12:28 pm Reply

      HI Brett, I like the partnership as there’s such a good fit between the Values currency :) I hope we can encourage lots of people to give their attention, energy and time to my talk. Working on it being inspiring and informative. xx