Posted by & filed under Open Letters.

Dear K,

Thank you for listening and then sending me these ten questions to help me structure my thinking. I’m posting the answers here (all within your 120 words limit) so I can share them with other people.

1 – What is your project about?

It’s about:

  • An experiment in using holacracy.
  • Collaborative, practical, knowledge creation.
  • A way of learning and sharing what we learn.
  • Learning how to collaborate with ourselves and each other, both inside organisations and between organisations.
  • Ideas around “socio-tech systems”: how people and digital technologies work together.
  • Ideas regarding social relationships in open-source software development, and the similarities and differences with other kinds of collaborative development.
  • A kind of peer-to-peer collaboration operating system.
  • Creating a “zone of confluence” where we can harvest knowledge from people who are making a difference.
  • Ways of developing this as an information commons.
  • Ways of turning this information commons into a source of knowledge and wisdom.
  • The relationship between present competitive systems and future collaborative ones.

2 – What excites you most about it? Why is it important for you?

It excites me because:

  • It’s a new, practical, learning-by-doing opportunity to experiment and innovate.

It is important for me because:

  • It will bring together things I’ve done in the past.
  • It will extract what is useful
  • It will combine this “extract” with what I and others have, or need, related to our complementary present and future endeavours.
  • It will provide a vehicle for me to continue working, within a supportive environment, with values that mirror my own, and doing work I care about.
  • It will be able to continue to function and develop in its own way beyond my personal involvement.

3 – What is your vision for this project? Long term and short term?

The long term vision is in the name of the project – FASST – Freedom, Accountability and Structure for Systemic Transformation.

It will be a vehicle to accelerate aspects of Systemic Transformation that are close to my heart, and to the hearts of my mentors, role models and other thought-influencers (especially in education and International development systems).

Ideas and practicalities in U.Lab theory, Teal organisations, Holacracy, Minciu Sodas, Dadamac.org, Teachers Talking, PeoplesUni.org, P2P Foundation, Fantsuam Foundation Civil Society Forum, Pattern Language, and other influencers, feed into the vision.

Short term vision is that FASST will start small. Alone, or with up to nine other people, I will attend a two-day holacracy training and implementation session culminating in the launch.

4 – What are the different stakeholders you would like to impact with this project?

There are many different stakeholders:

  1. Policy makers, funders, researchers, developers and others in positions of power regarding education, or educational systems, or International Development.
  2. People involved in, or impacted by, the delivery of related services.
  3. People trying to bridge the gap between archaic present practices and the emerging future.
  4. Changemakers who are exploring and pioneering the “Landscape of Change”.
  5. People aware of “cracks in the current systems” but with no idea of alternatives.
  6. People wanting to make changes in their lives to move towards the emerging future.
  7. People wanting things to stay the same but, like displaced people, forced to move into an unfamiliar future, leaving the life they have known because it no longer exists as an option.

5 – Why would they care about it (the project)?

I’ll only look in detail at stakeholders who will care in the short and medium term (i.e.stakeholders in groups 3,4,5 and 6 above). Many of the other stakeholders will only care about it in the long term when its benefits become easy to see and understand.

FASST will serve immediate needs.

FASST will offer people in groups 3 and 4 a vehicle for collaborative learning, peer-to-peer (P2P) support, and knowledge creation, plus additional visibility and opportunities to earn.

FASST will offer services to people in groups 5 and 6, helping them to clarify their uncertainties, put them in the context of deep systemic change, and explore ideas in the context of emerging futures.

6 – What barriers have you encountered to make this vision a reality?

The barriers relate to finding others to initiate the experiment. There is no funding for it, so either people will need to join in because they want to, or funding will need to be found.

I wrongly assumed the other people would come from an existing project where holacracy has “been on the agenda” for a couple of years. In fact the opportunity to join the holacracy experiment was rejected, as being an additional complication in the short term, although a shift to holacracy was seen to have potential long term benefits.

This means I have to refocus and seek other potential “fellow experimenters”, so the opportunity for the holacracy experiment will not be lost.

7 – What have you done so far that has worked to make this dream come true?

I have ”unintentionally” laid firm foundations through the work I’ve been doing for the past fifteen years and more. This means that this dream, though futuristic and ambitious, is firmly based in reality. It is practical enough to come true on a small demonstrator level in a short to medium time frame. Ideally that will give it the momentum to grow into the ambitious long-term dream project.

I have a track record of innovative work (to use as illustrative prototypes).

I have a varied network of people to call on as I try to work out the details. Discussions with them are helping me to refocus by exploring the dream from many perspectives and thus clarify it.

8 – What could you do differently? Any ideas?

I could initiate FASST as an “empty” holacracy and Teal organisation, with the objective of enabling a “collaborative learning” community to develop using its structures and processes.

FASST would be home to practical collaborative projects, with peer-to-peer support, accelerating new insights and knowledge creation. Unlike normal accelerators it would emphasise “ongoing information harvesting”. This would capture the progress, problems, and ongoing learning of the projects.

The harvested information would feed into an “information commons”.

The contents of the information commons would be freely available to all comers (like the code of open source programs).  As with open source code, FASST information could most easily be applied and further developed by people already steeped in it through involvement in its creation.

9 – If you could organise these different actions in steps, which steps would they be?

I can look for people who would share my interest both in the structures and in the purpose of the FASST experiment. Ideally my co-initiators of FASST will be interested in all these aspects:

  • Holacracy
  • Teal organisations
  • Collaborative learning and knowledge creation
  • Patterns of change
  • Emerging futures
  • The transition from a pre-internet world to a radically interconnected one
  • Practical ways to collaborate and co-create so that people and planet can thrive

I can start by approaching people in my network who are interested in one or more of the above, explaining FASST to them and inviting participation, including:

  • Teal for Startups (T4S)
  • Teal Practitioners
  • Holacracy contacts
  • U.Lab continuation group
  • Various meetups and groups I know well
  • Individual friends

10 – Finally, if you think those steps are feasible, can you start working on them now?

The steps are feasible and I’m working on them.

This is my fourth attempt at answering these questions since you kindly put them together for me just over four weeks ago. Meanwhile I’m flowing in and out of various parts of my usual networks, having conversations, writing, and continually adapting my thinking.

Looking at my first attempt to answer I’m encouraged by how much clearer things have become. The process is like kneading dough, except I’m working on an idea not physical ingredients. I pummel it around, then leave it to rise, then need to pummel it around again, and leave it again.

This structure that you offered me after our conversation has been very helpful. Thank you.