Module 23 – Sociocracy

 

27th-29th January 2019 (3 days) in Bangkok

(Deborah Benham and Root Cuthbertson)

 

Module Description:

Sociocracy is a potential infrastructure for navigating future uncertainty with resilience and courage.  With roots in the Quaker tradition and cybernetic engineering, developed in the late 20th century by Dutch pacifists, educators, and business owners, Sociocracy is a model for both decision-making and governance.  It provides a framework for organisations of any size to evolve as self-reflective, agile and innovating organisms.  Using conscious collaboration and the ‘wisdom of the whole’, sociocracy empowers collective intelligence to achieve shared agreements, values, aims, and objectives, with clearly defined roles and efficient operations.  An inclusive, creative decision-making process, it honours all voices and views objections as gifts. It energises groups by optimizing productivity, security, commitment, effectiveness, equivalence, transparency, and fun.

This module can be taken as an individual module, or together with Module 22: Cultural Repair and Redesigning Harmonious Organisation.

Facilitators

Deborah Benham is currently Director of 8 Shields UK, an incubator of tools for culture repair and nature connection, and the former Managing Director of The Newbold Trust (newboldtrust.org), a sustainable living and educational centre in Forres, Scotland. She is a certified trainer with Gaia Education, 8 Shields and for interpretive and wildlife guides, and holds advanced degrees (PhD, MSc) in wildlife eco-tourism and marine conservation.

Root Cuthbertson, from Canada and the US, has been a curriculum designer for Lost Valley Education Center and the Global Ecovillage Network, training and membership coordinator for JourneyDance, and Education Coordinator at The Newbold Trust.

 

Sociocracy

We propose Sociocracy as a potential infrastructure for navigating future uncertainty with resilience and courage. With roots in the Quaker tradition and cybernetic engineering, developed in the late 20thcentury by Dutch pacifists, educators, and business owners, Sociocracy is a model for both decision-making and governance.  It provides a framework for organisations of any size to evolve as self-reflective, agile and innovating organisms.  Using conscious collaboration and the ‘wisdom of the whole’, sociocracy empowers collective intelligence to achieve shared agreements, values, aims, and objectives, with clearly defined roles and efficient operations.  An inclusive, creative decision-making process, it honours all voices and views objections as gifts.  It energises groups by optimizing productivity, security, commitment, effectiveness, equivalence, transparency, and fun.

 

For organisations of any kind:

– businesses of any size

– co-housing projects

– schools

– families

– voluntary & community groups

– grass-roots initiatives

 

We ask:

How can we mimic nature’s feedback loops, so groups can communicate vital information to effect timely changes?

How do we become learning and evolving organisations that can easily navigate change?

How does rapid prototyping affect our approach to decision-making?

Why is an accessible record of decisions essential for sustaining a group’s culture?

How does the effectiveness of hierarchy combine with the equivalence of consensus?

How can transparent elections empower all members of a group?

How do “jobs” differ from “roles?”

How can groups support individual professional development and cultivate emerging leaders?

 

Sociocracy can transform organisations and groups struggling with power issues, with responses to changes, or with interpersonal dynamics.  Participants will receive practical skills, effective tools, and access to an ongoing support network for shared skills and resources.  We’ll use interactive small group activities, and role-play examples to gain practical experience.

 

Our Approach

 

As facilitators of discussions, we do not claim to have all the answers.  We prefer to work collaboratively with groups, exploring issues and introducing design tools. We create a container for informed debate, ask questions, and allow solutions to emerge from the group.  We can offer illuminating examples of practical applications and successful case studies, aiming to support participants in an environment where they can acquire new skills and ideas.

We welcome all ages on our programmes and young people in particular. We recognize that our youth are the decision-makers of the future. We are committed to supporting the next generation of global leaders as best we can.  Many young people are increasingly disaffected by “business as usual” as they witness the disheartening effects of the dominant system. They struggle with the enormous environmental, social and economic crises of our time and how to address them. They often face stagnant options in workplaces, are underprepared for meaningful human interactions, and over-reliant on a virtual “community.” Since they place a premium on disrupting the status quo, we are learning to think “outside the box” with them to co-create innovative pathways forward. These courses are designed with future-proofing in mind, and we welcome youth leaders and change agents to join us in these explorations.