Sociocracy UK

How-to, community & developing Collaborative Governance in the UK

Though it may not be obvious here on the Sociocracy UK  Ning site, there is a lot of activity going on behind the scenes.  One of the projects being worked on is "Marketing Sociocracy to Business", which is an attempt to introduce collaborative governance to forward thinking businesses, such as SMEs, social entrepreneurships, cooperatives, organisations with democratic mindsets and workplaces seeking new models of leadership to meet the future.  We're doing this by developing a series of learning modules which each cover a skill or system component of sociocracy, but which are of themselves self-contained and thus create value to businesses irrespective of whether they go fully sociocratic or not.

The modules, or learning lego-blocks, are structured in 2-hour workshops which can be delivered face to face in-house or in public courses, or can be run online in webinars.  The webinar format will allow us to reach a larger geographic area as well as enable individuals within organisations to learn specific skills, even if their organisations as a whole are not involved at this stage. The modules are grouped in sets of 3 thematically connected modules, so that the 3 modules can also be run together to form a full day workshop (face to face only), including lots of simulations, role-play and peer practice.  Some of the modules are more or less complete, though there is still some work to be done on the wording and titles. 

The first 3 modules represent the core skills or system of sociocracy.  They are (note the titles are yet undecided):
  • DYNAMIC DECISIONS  (consent-based decision-making)
  • DYNAMIC APPOINTMENTS  (consent-based electing)
  • DYNAMIC MEETINGS  (effective collaborative meetings)

 

The second set are centred around the secondary skills or system of sociocracy.  They are (titles VERY tentative):

  • DESIGNING CLARITY OF PURPOSE  (vision-mission-aims)
  • DESIGNING SOLUTIONS  (lead-do-measure, prototyping)
  • DESIGNING ORGANISATION  (9-/27-block operation standards)

 

The third set planned is around 'FACILITATING ...' and the fourth around 'FEEDBACK, systems and logs'.  A fifth set is also planned for the longer term future. Then there are a few modules we already have but which are not as yet part of any set (e.g. 'SELLING WITH INTEGRITY'). Overall I believe we'll have an interesting set of learning modules for sociocracy over the next year or so.

However, learning is about those wanting to learn, not those teaching, so I'd like to invite you to express your views and ideas about learning sociocracy.  How should we structure our learning experience and what should be made more easily accessible?  Your views on your learning needs please!

 

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Comment by Linda Winn on November 18, 2011 at 17:19

Many thanks for your prompt response.  I look forward to the webinars and will continue to follow up the suggested links.

Comment by Francois Knuchel on November 18, 2011 at 15:31

Hi Linda, thank you for your great question. Yes, the online training webinar modules (which are still under development) will be open to everyone.  Decision Lab already run workshops in the South East, including to the community/voluntary organisations, but the purpose of the webinars is to make these available to a wider geographic audience, and that's what I'm working on - as it's a bit different doing workshops over the phone/online from face to face.  The other purpose of the modules is to attract businesses - there's plenty of interest in sociocracy in the community/voluntary sector but very few funds, whereas in the business section there are funds, but very little interest, and that's the imbalance I'm also trying to address.  When it comes to Permaculture I suggest you talk to Martin who is working with local branches and has lots of experience.  Also just in case you haven't already seen it (Ning is not the easiest site to navigate in) have a look at How to find out more about Sociocracy , which has lot of links to further reading, videos, etc..  I'll contact you directly when I'm in a position to run the online webinars.

Comment by Linda Winn on November 17, 2011 at 15:29

I appreciate how important it is to introduce sociocratic principles as an alternative to current corporate/business/public sector models.  Is there an opportunity for community/voluntary organisations too?  I am very keen to learn more and explore how to introduce the ideas into projects I am involved with - all run by volunteers.  Linda

Comment by Francois Knuchel on September 10, 2011 at 14:39

Hi Louis.  Yes, thank you. I am hoping that the modules will not just generate workshops which can be delivered in different combinations, formats or contexts as above, but also through different real-life case studies (e.g. using simulations and experiental activities) and through different media, to accommodate the different input needs of learners (auditory, visual, tactile, etc, not just reading).  Accordingly I also hope the modules will generate material for the Sociocracy Resource Library (another Sociocracy UK behind-the-scenes activity going on), so both feed into as well as feed from those resource tools.

 

I say hope, because none of this is fait accomplit - this is all a WIP, Work In Progress.  And in sociocratic fashion the modules are being developed through a lead-do-measure process. So the ones I have described so far are purely the current prototypes, the current status, and they have to be tried and tested, and the results measured, in order to refine or modify them according to experience.  So what comes out in the end may turn out to be different from what we thought we were developing.  But that's the way it should be, fluid, dynamic.

Comment by Francois Knuchel on September 9, 2011 at 18:58

Hi Sue.  The modules are self-contained but also form part of a bigger whole - like lego-pieces they can be configured in any combination, they can also be run in a variety of formats (face to face, online webinar, CD/DVD, ...), and they can be offered in a variety of contexts (open public, in-house {within business}, on demand, ...).  How they are run is totally up to the provider/workshop facilitator, and it is assumed that different providers may specialise in different formats, contexts etc..  So the short answer to your questions are: Yes, they can be run within businesses; Yes, they can be run publicly so individuals can join; Yes, they can be run face to face; and Yes they can be run on the internet.  All depending on the providers or workshop facilitators.

 

At the moment there are two providers, Decision Lab and Open2Flow (my business), developing the modules under the Sociocracy UK umbrella, but there may be others in the future, and we might concentrate in different areas.  Decision Lab so far has concentrated mainly on local face to face public workshops, whereas I plan to start more with open webinars promoted through business-oriented social media, hopefully attracting individuals from businesses who might then be able to give me an entry into the business for in-house workshops.  The idea of the modules is that it offers a great deal of flexibility in terms of how they are delivered.

 

So I am happy to be able to answer your questions with Yes Yes Yes!

Comment by Louis Loizou on September 6, 2011 at 16:11

Hi François. Thanks for starting this. I have not contributed suggestions of names for the modules, but I will try to find the link to that document and do so. I do have a moment to accept your invitation to express my views about learning sociocracy.

 

I gave up ‘book learning’ in my forties when I was teaching adults experientially and I notice in workshops that other people also respond better to the experiential approach rather than theory. Yet one day I sat down with We The People to 'read the whole book and get it'. For me, that was a daft move. However, as a result of practice and seeing a result, trial and much error, what has stuck has been that which I can use, and that which shines out in stark contrast to what I see going on all around me. Observing practices that do not work is of inestimable value. I tend to form a before and after image in my mind then look to see which bits I would improve first. This way bath-water can be changed without loss of baby.

 

At some point I crossed a threshold of understanding and embodiment, when I could tell the difference between a process with some integrity and one with gaps that are not bridged or filled, sometimes sense it instinctively and then examine why the mechanics were just not going to work. My experience of working with public services has strangely paralleled my learning about sociocracy in the last 3 years, and opportunities for improvement in dealings between people and organisations seem to be presenting themselves more frequently. Now I can sit down and read large chunks of We The People with enough mental and experiential reference points for the learning to be usable.

 

So while I cannot yet call myself a sociocratic consultant, if I need tools I have greater confidence that I can find them, adapt them or make them and I now use them professionally. I just don’t call them sociocracy. I believe this modular approach offers great opportunities to play with new tools and learn to use them, one at a time, and a practical inroad to new territory.

Comment by Martin Grimshaw on September 6, 2011 at 10:18

Many thanks Francois, look forward to talking to you some more about this :)

 

Comment by Sue Bell on September 6, 2011 at 8:20

Francois. Thanks for that clear explanation of what could happen.  I am interested if this would be organised within businesses OR could individuals join a module? Is this happening face-to-face OR could it be done on the internet?

Thanks Sue

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