The Three Layers of Manifestos

The Three Layers of Manifestos

Previously, we’ve defined nine principles of manifestos in the Manifesto Manifesto.

And, now we want to add another layer to this framework. Well, three layers to be precise.

You see, the nine principles are not random. They’re connected, entwined and related to each other.

The three layers are: Declaration, Belonging and Results. And to get the best results you need to put down the layers in the right order.

1 Declaration

All manifestos start with a declaration.
Like God, in the book of John 1.1, it’s stated: “In the beginning was the Word”.
And so it is with a manifesto.
They all start with your word and your announcement of what you want to create.
This is what we mean by principle #1 and this leads us to principles #2 and #3:

1    Manifestos are primal
2    Manifestos terminate the past
3    Manifestos create new worlds

In other words, what you are stopping and what are you starting?

2 Belonging

The second level of a manifesto is the sense of belonging that you are creating.
When you make your declaration you’ll instantly be in a group of one.
You’ll be the only one making your declaration to end something and start something new.
To make change happen we need others to help us.
And, this is what belonging is about.
It’s about creating a world where others say ‘Yep, I’m in! I want to be part of that!’
And this leads us to principles #4, #5 and #6:

4    Manifestos trigger communities
5    Manifestos define us
6    Manifestos antagonise others

In other words, we deliberately want to create ‘us’ and ‘them’.
Part of declaring a manifesto is to have people choose sides.
This creates the edge that moves us forward.
For example, if I said who wants to go to the football this week? Instantly, some will, some won’t.

3 Results

The whole point of a manifesto is to create new results.
If we were already happy with the world, we don’t need to take on any new way of being, any new actions or presence an alternative.
And this leads us to principles #7, #8 and #9.

7    Manifestos inspire being
8    Manifestos provoke action
9    Manifestos crave presence

Most manifestos focus here. They focus on the results, the attitudes and the things they are going to build.

How to Write Your Manifesto

When writing your manifesto consider these three questions:

  1. What are stopping and starting?
  2. Who do you want to be part of your community?
  3. What kind of results do you want to create?


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