A resilient organization is able to bounce-back from shock and disruption. We use a living systems approach to build capacity for resilience. Our collaborative approach to planning uses a participatory engagement practice that is place-based and emergent.
This is an overview of our core methods and awareness-based tools and approaches to design and development.
The foundation of our process is the action research approach. This frame allows us to design dynamic structures for engagement for shared learning and leadership, in the real-world . This is the foundation from where we approach and navigate in different, interrelated and complex topics.
The view from the balcony overlooking the dance floor is the same, no matter what path you took to get there. But when you start dancing, it's important to be familiar with which tools and methods to use. Especially as a group, to feel oriented as you go.
We have found this set of core methods to be useful in diverse situations and contexts. This is a grounding combination, yet we will continue to weave in other approaches and elements.
“The success of an intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervenor.” - Bill O'Brien.
The context of systemic change, societal renewal and its interconnected relationship to personal inner development is highly complex. In order to lead that change, we need robust articulation and depiction of the multilayered systemic challenges and possible pathways to solutions. Theory U provides frameworks, applicable theory and approaches as well as a lively and active global community through u.lab.
The principles of Theory U have proven helpful to systemic change agents such as political leaders, civil servants, and managers to break through unproductive patterns of behavior. Patterns that prevent them from empathizing with their clients' or stakeholders’ perspectives and often lock them into ineffective patterns of decision making.
The Theory U approach offers a process or journey to connect to and lead from the emerging future. Its states that before we can change things in the outer we need to go - individually and collectively through a journey of opening up and enter into a state of Presencing, referring to the bottom of the "U" where we are invited to sense and be present to what is. From there we go into prototyping and moving on into actualization and crystallization.
The journey includes five movements:
At 207permaculture, the Cooperative Design Lab and some community work are inspired by and designed according to Theory U approach and methods. Through the implementation of these methods and tools we ensure the participation of diverse and different voices, the support a culture of shared leadership and the conditions for co-creation.
Art of Hosting (AoH) is an approach that is highly effective for harnessing the collective wisdom and self-organising capacity of groups of any size, for a one-time event or long-term collaboration. It's a body of practice co-created and further evolved over the past 20 years by facilitators, consultants and a community of practice. Based on the assumption that people give their energy and lend their resources to what matters most to them – in work as in life. Art of Hosting blends a suite of powerful conversational processes to invite people to step in and take charge of the challenges facing them.
This blend supports the creation of open and meaningful conversations that lead to commitment and long-lasting results. Working with a range of collaborative methods – like Circle, World Café, Appreciative Inquiry, Open Space Technology, ProAction Café, storytelling and more – practitioners can tailor the approach to their context and purpose.
Groups and organizations using the Art of Hosting as a working practice to report better decision-making, more efficient and effective capacity building and greater ability to quickly respond to opportunity, challenge and change. People who experience the Art of Hosting typically say that they walk away feeling more empowered and able to help guide the meetings and conversations they are part of, in relation to moving towards more effective, participatory and regenerative outcomes.
At 207permaculture, L3C our activities and events, the Cooperative Design Lab and work with clients are inspired by the Art of Hosting approach. Through the implementation of these methods and tools, we ensure the participation of multiple stakeholder groups and support a culture of shared leadership and the conditions for co-creation.
Effective collaboration at any scale, Sociocracy is based on a set of principles, such as consent which means decisions are being taken in the absence of strong and reasoned objections - compared to majority decision-making or consensus - or the idea of organizing in circles.
Sociocracy 3.0 (S3) is a body of Creative Commons licensed learning resources, synthesizing ideas from Sociocracy, Agile and Lean. It offers a practical guide for evolving agile and resilient organizations of any size. Its aim is to make everyone feel engaged and accountable, be it within small start-ups and large international networks and nationwide, multi-agency collaboration.
S3 provides a coherent collection of principles based patterns for collaboration, to navigate complexity, adapt and evolve. It helps organizations to make the best use of the talent and collective intelligence present and to grow flexible organizational structures to align the flow of information and influence to the flow of value.
At 207pc, most of our structures and processes, such as organizational circles (we call them domains) and decision-making and proposal making processes are organized according to Sociocracy 3.0. Through these processes, we ensure fairness, engagement and accountability among the team members and the different domains.
A Social Innovation Lab is first and foremost a way to address complex challenges, which cannot be solved by linear strategic planning. It is anchored in a quest (challenge), a topic of systemic relevance as for example those contained in the Sustainable Development Goals. It brings together a diversity of people that are stakeholders from all sectors or in other ways have things to contribute, around the shared intention or guiding question contained in the endeavor. A Social Lab offers space and time to create an in-depth, holistic (body, mind, soul) understanding of the root causes and hold space for realignments. The room opens for individual (challenging beliefs, seeing beyond habits and assumptions, learn new ways of being) as well as collective transformation (becoming present together, surface collective knowledge). The process allows for experimentation, prototyping and fast learning cycles, opening space to fail and try again. Where we cultivate the ability of not knowing and hold the question, allowing things to emerge. It creates a space to train together how to become and be a conscious living system; a learning, sharing cycling organism. The outcome is prototype solutions that go through a continuous iteration of testing in the real world, collecting data for further refinement and testing again.
We understand and use Social Innovation Labs, as a process inspired by Zaid Hassan’s understanding of Social Laboratories by combining them with the U-journey after MIT’s Theory U, Art of Hosting as well as integrating diverse methods, tools, practices along the way. It is a format, a process, but also a type of strategic response to complex systemic challenges. Solutions coming out of this process are meant to tackle the root causes of a challenge and have a systemic impact, rather than fighting symptoms.
In short, Social Innovation Labs are:
Throughout our work, we added a fourth component which speaks to the interconnectedness of the inner and the outer dimension of doing this Work:
“In true dialogue, both sides are willing to change.” - Thich Nhat Hanh
By "Dialogue" we mean the kinds of conversations that change something in us when we take part in them, and that shift something between the people who are involved in the conversation. Dialogues invite us to take the “risk” of being authentic and to co-create a space where others can do the same. Dialogues are about challenging our habits of thought and conversation: listening with attention, speaking with intention and daring to turn the camera around to face ourselves and the roles we might have within the systems we are trying to change.
The Dialogue Space is a space where we try to learn and understand not through facts or intellectual knowledge, but through seeing another perspective through the eyes and story of someone else, and through getting a new sense of the broader ecosystem that the discussed issue is part of.
We understand Dialogue as a toolbox, a communication & relation technology as well as a lifestyle.
Every dialogue is a tailored flow of communication techniques which accompanies the individual and the group process.