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Through a belief that community building facilitates knowledge sharing, encourages innovation and enables the development of sound strategies to achieve objectives, Z/Yen has founded several on- and off- line communities. These communities flourish through online activities, including community websites, blogs and surveys; and real world events, including conferences, colloquies, round table discussions and report launches.
The Long Finance Initiative began in 2007 with a question:
When would we know our financial system is working?
Long Finance aims to improve society’s understanding and use of finance over the long term, by posing awkward questions and encouraging innovative answers.
As a community Long Finance seeks to expand frontiers, change systems and deliver services. Long Finance activities include providing evidence based examples of how financing methods work and don’t work, and then developing the methodologies to solve these financial problems. Long Finance hosts roughly 30 events a year including the bi-annual conferences, and runs four programs including: the London Accord, the Financial Centre Futures, the Eternal Coin and Meta-Commerce.
Recognising that today's extra financial issues are tomorrow's key investment drivers, the London Accord acts as a nexus between the financial services industry and society to encourage long-term thinking on finance and environmental, social & governance (ESG) issues. This is achieved through sharing recent reports, writing wiki articles and promoting awards that acknowledge contributions to sustainability. The London Accord group on the Long Finance community offers opportunities to network with like-minded thought leaders, and get updates on future events.
The Financial Centre Futures program seeks to initiate discussion on the changing landscape of global finance and explore how it might work in the future. The programme includes the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI). This is a bi-annual publication, first produced by the Z/Yen Group in March 2007, which examines major financial centres across the world in terms of competitiveness.
The index draws on the experience of a community of nearly 2000 financial services professionals worldwide, who take the questionnaire. These contributions are combined with a selection of instrumental factors to form a factor assessment model, which is used calculate the ratings and rankings. People can engage further in the Financial Centre Futures program through joining the community group.
The Meta-Commerce programme aims to map the road to Long Finance by identifying a set of core questions that need solving in order to have a working financial system. The program links economics, finance and society. Inspired by David Hilbert's 23 questions project of 1900, the Meta-Commerce programme aims to use a road map of questions to help prioritise future research and direct action. So far, the community has developed over 70 questions and topics for discussion.
The Eternal Coin programme aims to initiate a global discussion on the nature of money and the concept of value. It takes a long-term and inter-generational approach and is an educative programme teaching the theory and mechanics of currencies.
ExtZy is a community created by Z/Yen that explores prediction markets through web-page popularity. Players can buy shares in those sites that they think will grow in popularity and then trade their dividends in for real prizes.
Founded in 1967, the Real Time Club is believed to be the world’s oldest IT dining Club. The Club is dedicated to participative events that provide “rapid responses to the challenges of the information society”.
Z/Yen has developed several tools for its communities. These include tools to calculate potential future CO2 prices and to estimate the potential impact of different policy scenarios on your business, such as a Price Impact Calculator, a Carbon Footprint Calculator and a Investment Return Calculator.