Continuing Conversations

Often I have a conversation with someone, and afterwards there is follow-up to be done, sharing more ideas and links. I could write a personal email, but it makes more sense to write most of it here, for anyone to read. I can send a personal email that points to the “Continuing Conversation”

FASST lessons from Holacracy during 2016 – and looking ahead.

Early in 2016 I was faced with an odd situation, and “some dots that didn’t join up in the way I had expected”.

I’ll start the story at the point where I had enthusiastically accepted the offer of free facilitation to launch a Holacracy. I had been closely connected to a charity for some years previously. I understood that the charily was interested in adopting Holacracy ready for future growth. However the Holacracy offer came at an unsuitable time for the charity, and was not taken up. I was disappointed by this decision for several reasons, including all the practical learning I would have gained through the process, and so I started looking for another way forward. Now, at the turn of the year, looking backwards and forwards, I’m excited about what’s emerging.

With a little help from my friends….

At the start of my story things seemed to have fallen apart. From my perspective I had been offered the chance to co-create and use the “organisational  container” that Holacracy offers, but I no longer had  an existing organisation to provide the “content” around which the container would be constructed.  I didn’t want to let go of this practical learning opportunity about Holacracy so I took my confusion and disappointment to various friends and groups with the following results:

The start of FASST

Sally, who had generously offered the facilitation, knew that my involvement with the charity was part of various interconnected initiatives and activities. She offered to transfer the Holacracy launch opportunity to something else I was doing, if it was appropriate. The charity was the only formal organisation in the mix, but I was intrigued by the possibility of something else emerging.

Slowly, and sometimes painfully, a new entity has emerged during 2016 through many influences, connections and conversations. Its name came about thanks to Gavin Peacock. We called it “FASST” (Freedom Accountability and Structure for Systemic Transformation) – see Explaining “FASST = Freedom, Accountability and Structure for Systemic Transformation” (July 3rd). Earlier related posts were Pamela in #holacracy mode (May 31st) and Pam’s FASST Experiment! (also on May 31st)

The “Holacracy of One”, case clinics and the ten questions.

With hindsight it’s obvious that the idea of a person being a “Holacracy of One” has been a strong influence on the emergence of FASST.

My introduction to the idea of a “Holacracy of One” came through being part of a group which had done the 2015 u.lab course and then continued “u.labbing” together after the course ended – see A Collective Breakthrough! U.Lab Prototyping in London  By Andy Paice and Malek Jaber for Enlivening Edge (April 2016)

This photo shows the group after we had all shared our collections of “Holacracy of One” roles with each other. Each plate carried a role and its purpose.

Our “u.lab prototype” emerged from our shared appreciation of the u.lab practice of “case clinics”. In a case clinic one person is the “case giver”sharing an issue of current concern to them. The others are “in service to the case giver”, for 60-70 minutes, through a structured process of deep listening and generative discussion.  As a member of this group I had the benefit of taking my confusion about the Holacracy opportunity to a case clinic with people who were well versed in the case clinic process, people who I knew and valued, and with whom I had an established, high level of trust. The case clinic helped me see things more clearly and gave me confidence to persevere.

One of the group (front row, second from the right) spent an additional hour with me one-to-one. She is the “K” in my open letter titled 10 questions for FASST (a future-focussed experiment with holacracy and teal (June 21st)

Here, now, almost exactly 6 months to the day since I wrote the answers to her I’ve been re-reading them. I’m remembering  how I was struggling to recognise and describe those emerging ideas back then. Now the words that I wrote are increasingly related to things that are taking genuine shape and starting to happen. The main difference between my answers and reality is the relationship to Holacracy.

The “Teal people” and their emphasis on purpose

People in the Teal and Holacracy communities helped me to explore some of my uncertainties about the way forward. There is considerable overlap between the u.lab community and the Teal for Startups community, as well as overlap between the Teal community and the Holacracy community. Malek, for example, from the u.lab group is also one of the co-founders of the Teal for Startups  group. For more about Teal for Statups -T4S – see Teal for Startups on Medium. I was active in T4S during 2016, mainly in the wealth stream.

My “Teal for Practitioners” and T4S contacts asked me searching questions about the purpose of FASST. Sally asked me similar questions. I couldn’t find satisfactory answers, but my struggles to find answers helped me to get an internal clarity about something I couldn’t express. The Teal and Holacracy people helped me to see the mismatch between what I was doing and what Holacracy was designed for.

Was I just being stubborn and unrealistic in believing (or wanting to believe) that there was a connection? Was the whole FASST thing just some silly ego-trip to keep myself distracted during a period of uncertainty and personal transition? Perhaps. It was a question that I explored with Brian Griffin.

Brian and Holacracy for personal relationships

Brian and I have been friends since we were both members of Hub Westminster, in its early days. After he went back to New York we continued our friendship, and wide ranging conversations, via Skype and open letters. We had started to explore ideas about Holacracy as “a way of behaving” before FASST had its name – see House-shares, #holacracy, chickens and eggs (May 30th). In that post I shared with Brian my “somewhat silly simple introduction” to Holacracy writing:

I wondered the simplest way to make the offering of inclusion. I wanted a simple, easy-to-remember invitation to collaborate using holacracy, highlighting the main benefits. This is my first attempt – sung to the tune of Peggy Lee’s classic  “I don’t wanna play in your yard” but faster and with a more positive flavour:

I don’t wanna play without rules,
I want less uncertainty.
I’d prefer collaboration,
With accountability.
I seek clarity of purpose,
Clear procedures we agree,
Freedom, structure, transformation,
Through a shared holacracy.

All the above is still relevant to FASST, even though I now know that FASST is not a “true Holacracy”.

Later, when I shared my angst with Brian that  FASST was not sufficiently like a normal Holacracy to ever be launched as one, his response surprised and encouraged me. He said FASST was already launched. Whether or not it became a Holacracy wouldn’t alter that fact and I couldn’t “unlaunch” it if I tried.

According to Brian FASST is simply the latest embodiment of a recurring theme in our conversations, and something I’ve been working on for years i.e. exploring the future and the “Landscape of Change” – see What’s the Good of Landscape of Change? (reflections on a conversation with another friend in March 2013).

Now, as well as FASST, the “Holacracy of One” has become a recurring theme for us. Sometimes we look together at the roles we energise personally, each in our own “Holacracy of One”, and explore how those roles are playing out with each other.

What kind of an entity is FASST now?

FASST can hardly be described as an organisation, but it is emerging as an entity of some kind. Some people I connect with  are unconsciously helping me to recognise the boundary of FASST.  As I explore with them where our shared interests lie, and what our different perspectives are, so I get a clearer idea of what seems to be inside or outside of FASST. At the other extreme to “the boundary people” are a few people who, like me, are interested in the “operating system” of FASST. They are in the “core group” caring about its structures, procedures and “cultural DNA”. Between those extremes are people who are doing their own thing outside of FASST, and are also involved in some kind of light-touch collaboration with me. The “collaboration” may be as light-touch as simply holding each other accountable for something, or being “study buddies”, or some other shared-learning or support, but we have agreed to place it within the boundary of the FASST experiment. Any inter-actions that occur within that boundary provide content to unpick and consider in the context of the developing operating system of FASST.

In a recent post I explored the idea that FASST is currently an “inspiral”(December 11th FASST update). FASST doesn’t currently provide products or services to people who are not part of FASST. No money is involved. We collaborate loosely within FASST now and again because it suits us to do so. FASST can be seen as a tiny emerging prototype of a structured and accountable collaboration-culture for autonomous individuals involved in systemic transformation.

In some ways FASST is a vehicle for exploring the unevenly distributed future (especially some social and economic transformations) but all that is a flight of fancy beyond the limits of this post on FASST and Holacracy. .

Could FASST become a “proper Holacracy”?

FASST might launch as a “proper Holacracy” one day if it embraces a purpose of selling goods or services. I see that possibility as having some similarities to the Open Source Software (OSS) model, with its mixture of creating something that is freely available and also making money from it.

In such a future, with an income-generating FASST, what is freely created is a collaborative culture that generates information through its collaborations. Its “free offering” will consist of its transparent procedures for collaboration, and the information it generates during its collaborations, which automatically become available for public use, as an “Information Commons”.

The opportunities for generating revenue will come from two main sources:

  • Helping other people and organisations to adopt “FASST’s way of doing things”
  • Working with other people and organisations to accelerate their access to specific information and knowledge that is available from within FASST’s knowledge base and networks, but has not previously been collected, structured and presented in an accessible form.

FASST and Holacracy now

If FASST does become a financially sustainable organisation then it may be appropriate to launch it as a Holacracy. Meanwhile, it begins as an experiment in informal, unpaid collaborations, and will take lessons learned from Holacracy (and the idea of a “Holocracy of One”) to start creating its own structures and systems. The main lessons so far are that:

  • As a Holacracy of One an individual energises a number of roles.
  • Many things that we need to do to achieve our purpose we can do on our own, simply by energising one or more of our own “Holacracy of One” roles.
  • Some of the things we want to achieve, we are unable to do alone.
  • If we can’t proceed we need to recognise the blocks and see how they can be overcome.
  • Holacracy teaches us to recognise blocks and tensions, and see how they can be overcome by defining and energising additional roles.
  • Sometimes we are blocked in what we are doing because one or more additional roles need to be filled, and these are roles that our personal Holacracy of One cannot energise
  • When this happens we need to collaborate with others who will energise the additional roles.
  • Holacracy has strategies to do this in organisations where people are already connected in a formal way through their paid employment.
  • FASST will experiment with how the Holacracy approaches of defining and energising roles can be adapted to situations where people are collaborating in a much lighter and less formal way than through ties of paid employment within the same organisation.

FASST is at an early stage of developing these ideas and seeing how they will play out in practice. It involves people and organisations that have similar long term aspirations and values. Around a dozen people, from a mixture of cultural background and countries, are currently actively involved with  FASST to some degree. Two of them are involved in other early stage organisations, and we’re exploring possibilities for developing the “FASST culture” in their organisations as well.

We could find ourselves in a virtuous circle of working together to co-develop FASST culture, and using FASST culture to enable us to work effectively together, as we co-develop FASST culture.

Add to this mix the many people and organisations that FASST people are connected with. Imagine FASST culture getting more embedded, natural, and easy to copy so that effective collaboration can go viral.

The problem FASST is addressing

We need to be able to collaborate effectively, beyond our traditional silos and comfort zones.  People come together from different cultures, with various expectations of hierarchy, decision-making, information-sharing, openness, autonomy, reliability, etc, all of which effect “how work is done”. These variations make it challenging for us to quickly start working as a team. FASST could emerge as a widely applicable collaborative culture.

In summary….

What I had early in 2016 was confusion, disappointment, and the remnant of a lost opportunity that seemed too precious to waste. FASST didn’t exist.

Now FASST does exist. There are people to whom FASST is a real entity, with an increasingly clear purpose, character and way of doing things.

During the challenges, opportunities and uncertainties of 2017 we’ll discover what the next FASST steps are and where they take us. I’m grateful to all the people who have helped me to get this far with FASST, and to those who will be my companions on the next stage of our FASST journey into the future.

Dec 21, 2016 by pamela | Categories: Continuing Conversations | Tags: , , , , , ,

Nov 19th – Exponentially Human and “the story so far”

Hi Exponentially Human friends and contacts,

You’ve all got different fragments of the Exponentially Human “story so far” – so I’m pulling various parts of it together here for anyone who wants a fuller picture.

Introduction to the term Exponentially Human

I came across the term “Exponentially Human” in the book “Technology vs Humanity” – see

50:50 – Scenarios for the Next 50 Years

There was an invitation for chapter proposals for a book called 50:50 – Scenarios for the Next 50 Years – the invitation

My response

I responded with a scenario that starts on March 1st 2017 (the date the book is published) and then jumps forwards ten years to 2027.

The idea is that in 2017 someone sets up a new Meetup group called “Exponentially Human”. The group is for people who see that smart phones have altered our lives and behaviour, for better and for worse,. The organiser is hoping to find people who are interested in learning what other kinds of digital technology are around the corner. The bigger hope is that once they learn more then they may want to get involved with developers and policy makers to influence whatever new digital technology is on its way.

Ten years later, in March 2027, “Exponentially Human” (EP) has moved on from its small beginnings to become a well established, influential community, scattered around the globe. It usually has some kind of annual celebration of its foundation, and given this is celebrating ten years it is something rather special.

The chapter is written in the style of a newsletter advertising the celebratory event. The event will be wide ranging, spotlighting some of the special interest groups within the EP community. By its very nature the newsletter isn’t giving full details, but it does illustrate the variety and achievements of the community.

The 2027 programme and other newsworthy items

Originally I was going to make up all the information for the newsletter by myself: details of topics for workshops, speakers, recent achievements, future plans and so on. I started discussing ideas with other people, and of course they knew more about some things than I did. That led to the idea of inviting some of these other people to write their own 100 word contribution to ‘the newsletter”, instead of me writing it all.

Benefits and disadvantages

Like most of my ideas the idea of additional contributors has its benefits and disadvantages. The most obvious benefit is to widen the scope of the “newsletter”. The most obvious disadvantage is the problem of consistency. If I write everything myself then I can easily be consistent in my references to the “reality” of  2027.  I have a good idea of what my imaginary version of a 2027 world would be like, given a strong EH influence and exponentially developed technology. However the other people may have different ideas. We need to avoid referring to “life in 2027” in ways that belong to different versions of our possible future. This means I have to try and share my vision of 2027 with the newsletter contributors in considerably more detail than I will do in the chapter.

Exponentially Human on Facebook

We’ve got a closed group on facebook where the contributors and influencers can connect with me and each other. while I’m preparing the chapter

A very human future

The Exponentially Human group in 2027 will be contributing to the creation of “a very human future”. Some the issues and changes around such a future, especially in the world of work, are outlined in this video. The rapidly changing world and the skills we need to live in it are relevant way beyond our day jobs. In my mind “work” includes the work that we do for the love of it and/or because we see its value even if no-one else gives us money to motivate us or to help us along the way. Our education system needs to enable the development of the skills mentioned in this video.


Influences on my version of 2027

Other influences on the Exponentially Human version of 2027 include, in alphabetical order:
  • Dadamac’s UK-Africa online collaborations
  • Enspiral – for its organisational structures and culture
  • FASST and OneSPRINT – experimenting with the practicalities of collaboration
  • First Thursdays – an online community active since 2007
  • Frederick Laloux and his ideas of flat “Teal” organisational structures in “Reinvienting Organisations”
  • Holacracy
  • Mincius Sodas (Lithuanian for Orchard of Thoughts) – an “ahead of its time”, widely diverse, online community delivering active collaborative projects until it was bankrupted by its innovative and effective involvement in conflict resolution and peace keeping during the Kenyan post-election violence of 2007
  • Mindfulness groups
  • Pattern language
  • Peer to Peer Foundation
  • School of Commoning
  • Teal for Startups group (for content and as an example of 1200 people scattered across the globe involved in a collaborative project)
  • U.Lab – for structure and content – another massive online community with local study and action groups and a shared approach to “the emerging future”

The idea is that as Exponentially Human people in 2027 we will be thinking together, imagining together, and combining our varied perspectives in ways that people in 2016 would have found hard to imagine.

Three “power blocks”

Part of my mental landscape for 2027 relates to shifts in power. Two of the big sources of power in 2016 are Nation States and Corporations. These will have altered in various ways and the relationships between them will also be changing, but they will still be significant “power blocks”. A new kind of “power block” will have emerged, made up of globally scattered, locally active, online groups. Exponentially Human is one example of a group within this “power block”. Each of these groups will have its own shared interests and values. They will be separate just as Nation States are separate and Corporations are separate, A new noun will be needed to describe this “power block” of effective, distributed groups, with flat organisational structures. Just like people used to call all vacuum cleaners “hoovers”, and ball point pens of all makes were called “biros” so collaborative groups will take the name of an early example of excellence. I’d like to call them “enspirals”.


Nov 19, 2016 by pamela | Categories: Continuing Conversations

The Magical Six and U.Lab preparation

Hi Magical Six
This is my preparation for tomorow’s U.Lab session. For context I’ve copied and highlighted some of Otto’s post On the Making of Trump—The Blind Spot That Created Him .

We have entered a watershed moment not only here in America, but also globally. It’s a moment that could help us wake up to a deeper level of collective awareness and renewal—or a moment when we could spiral down into chaos, violence, and fascism-like conditions. Whether it’s one or the other depends on our capacity to become aware of our collective blind spot.

What We Are Called to Do Now

(Snip)As we begin responding to the disruption of this week, we have an opportunity to organize in new ways that go beyond the usual responses to disruption:


Figure 2: Four types of response to disruptive change

What is called for today is a massive response that reaches into the upper right quadrant (figure 2): focusing on evolving and transforming the collective. What’s missing most is an enabling infrastructure that supports initiatives to move into the top right quadrant of co-creating change.

The good news is, that the future is already here – many initiatives already exist in which cross-sector groups work from seeing the whole (eco-system awareness) rather than from a silo-view (ego-system awareness).

Summing up, the blind spot at issue here concerns the dominant paradigms of thought that have legitimized the economic, political, and spiritual divides which—in conjunction with the mindless use of social media and technology—gave rise to the Trump movement and presidency. To overcome or bridge these divides calls for nothing less than regenerating the foundations of our civilization by updating the key operating codes on which our societies operate:


To advance such an agenda of profound societal renewal will require

· New collaborative platforms, online-to-offline, that allow pioneering change makers from across sectors to directly engage with each other

· A constitution for the global digital space that makes the Facebooks and Googles accountable to citizens, communities and civil rights worldwide.

· Massive free capacity building mechanisms that build the deeper innovation capacities at scale (curiosity, compassion, courage)

· And new concepts like basic income grants for all that would replace our current system of organized irresponsibility through an ecology of entrepreneurship that is driven by passion and purpose rather than profit – in other words, enabling people to activate their greatest gifts, and pursue the work they are truly passionate about.

MITx u.lab is a small prototype and platform that we started last year with the intention to help change makers who want to move their work into the fourth quadrant. What started as a MOOC is now a platform for 75,000 change makers from 180 countries that collaborate across 600 hubs. In 2017 we intend to move this platform to its next stage of catalyzing change at the scale of the whole system.

It’s one of several initiatives that helps us remember what matters most: that as warriors of the third category, we need to fully engage the present moment whilst keeping our eye on the future that is seeking to emerge. Our old civilizational forms are much more fragile than anyone might have thought. But our capacity to regenerate them from the deepest source of our humanity is also more present and available than ever—now.

Our U.Lab session on Monday November 14th

When the session begins we’ll decide if it will be a whole group session, like last week’s social presencing theatre, or if we’ll spend most of our time in our small groups. If it’s small groups then we need to decide if it will be another “Magic Six” case clinic (in which case I would be the case giver). I’m happy to do that, but have already had the experience last year so if people want to do something more general and responsive to Otto’s post instead that is okay with me too.

Whichever we do it is relevant for me to share some preparatory notes

As case giver, my personal aspirations and leadership challenge would have to do with an organisation called FASST (Freedom, Accountability and Structure for Systemic Transformation) and other individuals and groups interested in collaboration.

If you want more information on FASST then go to the home page and scroll down until you find something. Alternatively go to the initiatives page to find the early posts.

When Bernie was case giver, he described his collaboration prototype called OneSPRINT, which he is developing with others, including Sebastian. Since then, Berine and I (and Sebastian during his trip to UK) have had several meetings together, exploring collaboration between OneSRPINT and FASST – see Nov 4th update on FASST and SHIFT. I have also introduced Bernie and Sebastian to a couple of my friends, with a view to increasing collaboration opportunities.

I have been wondering how we best bring our growing collaboration protopying to the attention of others in U.Lab – The Magic Six, Kings Cross study circle, and the whole U.Lab community.

I also bring connections with other collaborations and groups I’m involved with including the First Thursday Group, Dadamac Foundation, the Teal for Startups group, Escape School, GlobalNet21, and the Before I Die Network. In addition I’m working on the first draft of a chapter that I’m contributing to a futurist book to be published in March 2017. In my chapter I look just ten years ahead. The scenario is one of exponential technological development, with related power struggles between existing power structures and emerging ones. An emerging power force (to enable people and planet to thrive) is a group called “Exponentially Human” a global collaborative which is combining use of the rapidly developing technology with enhanced skills in collaborating. Exponentially Human includes many cultural perspectives in its approach to addressing complex global problems, and it has a wide collection of strategies and procedures for exploring them within the group. The imagined future  culture of the Exponentially Human group is partly influenced and inspired by what I am experiencing through U.Lab. I’m currently picking as many brains as I can on future hopes and visions, to widen my ideas of how this might play out In ten years time.

If I am case giver then issues emerging from the above are what I would be hoping to gain more insight on during the case clinic, i.e. how I best support the visibility and development of the emerging collaboration of collaborations, so that we  best respond to Otto’s call for · New collaborative platforms, online-to-offline, that allow pioneering change makers from across sectors to directly engage with each other and · Massive free capacity building mechanisms that build the deeper innovation capacities at scale (curiosity, compassion, courage)

If we do something with a different structure to case clinics then the information above is what will be informing my personal contribution to our explorations.


Nov 13, 2016 by pamela | Categories: Continuing Conversations

Continuing Conversations November 1st – 10th

Hi Folks

These are some recent meetings and conversations (Nov 1st – 10th)  gathered together to offer the wider picture.

I’m tying some of this collection together with reference to a chapter I’m planning. However that connecting thread only emerged incidentally as I got into conversations. It wasn’t the main reason for any meetings. Given how many conversations there are I’m doing a contents list so you can easily find the ones relevant to your interests.

  1. Bernardo and Sebastian, OneSHIFT collaboration and alternative value
  2. 50:50 – Scenarios: Planning openly for the Exponentially Human chapter
  3. First Thursday and Dadamac Day (online)
  4. Escape Social Open Mic and Exponentially Human
  5. OneSPRINT and FASST at Tuttle and afterwards
  6. Brian Griffin and progress on becoming Exponentially Human 2027
  7. Dil, Dadamac Foundation, and Exponentially Human on Facebook
  8. Big Crowd and OneSHIFT
  9. U.Lab Democracy in UK and Social Presencing Theatre / 4D mapping
  10. Ana – My U.Lab study-buddy in Brazil
  11. Delia – Holacracy and more (ref her PhD) plus 2027 idea
  12. South London Tech Meetup and LeanUX – it’s about the people
  13. Introduction to Effective Altruism and Choosing a Cause plus ref 2027
  14. John Dada and UK-Africa weekly meeting
  15. Esther Ridsdale and Civil Society Forum

1 – Bernardo and Sebastian, OneSHIFT collaboration and alternative value

Tuesday Nov 1st – I met with Bernardo and Sebastian (who I know through my U.Lab course) to learn more about their collaboration prototype OneSHIFT see Nov 4th update on FASST and SHIFT. It was exciting to discover how much overlap we have regarding ideas of collaboration and real non-financial added value.

2 – 50:50 – Scenarios: Planning openly for the Exponentially Human chapter

Nov 3rd – I checked with the publishers of “50:50 – Scenarios for the Next 50 Years” if it’s okay to discuss my chapter publicly at this early stage. I was told:

Go right ahead. The entire book project is already on our site where anyone can read about it:

We only ask that you not publish your submission / draft anywhere. We can’t accept works that have been previously published. Full details are on the webpage link above.

My chapter is about the need for us to become “Exponentially Human” – based on the challenges presented in the book Technology vs Humanity  (see video for 2min 21sec introduction). By becoming “Exponentially Human” I mean becoming able to work, imagine and create together in more effective ways. i.e. more effective connections and collaborations but exponentially so, with support from exponentially developed digital technologies.

3 – First Thursday and Dadamac Day (online)

Thursday Nov 3rd -see Introducing the First Thursday group.

The First Thursday group is a warm, friendly Internet-enabled community, with a long,shared history. It provides me with plenty to draw from for the narrative of the chapter, and the emotional flavour of celebration for an “Exponentially Human” collaborative community ten years after it begins.

4 – Escape Social Open Mic and Exponentially Human

Thursday Nov 3rd – I belong in one of the Escape Tribes (though I’m not a typical member). People at Escape are typically restless with the status quo regarding how they earn their living, and are looking at alternative, more meaningful, ways to earn their livings and spend their time. I was originally drawn there in the hope of finding some new volunteers and trustees for Dadamac Foundation (That quest is currently on hold, waiting until I can direct people to the new website).

At the monthly social I took the opportunity of the Open Mic slot to mention the Exponentially Human idea and find who’d be interested in exploring the ideas of 2027 further with me afterwards – some useful conversations followed. More on Escape at Escape the City and The Escape School Events | Eventbrite

5 – OneSPRINT and FASST at Tuttle and afterwards

Friday Nov 4th. I invited Sebastian along to the Tuttle club, to meet interesting people and to follow up on our on our previous conversation  (see – Nov 4th update on FASST and SHIFT).. Tuttle also provided an opportunity to explore some ideas about change (ten years into the past and future) with other Tuttleites who are far more immersed in the tech than I will ever be. Sebastian and I stayed on afterwards to get into more details about our overlapping interests and strategies for starting practical collaboration.

6 – Brian Griffin and progress on planning Exponentially Human

Saturday Nov 5th. Brian and I had our usual London-New York fortnightly Skype catch up. He pointed out that a fortnight ago we were discussing the possibility of proposing a chapter and wondering what kind of voice to use to share the ideas of becoming Exponentially Human.

Now we’re talking about the Exponentially Human group and plans for its 2027 celebrations like it’s all a reality, not a fiction. The tenth anniversary is in 2027 because the launch of the fictional group is March 2017 (the same date as the publication of the book). The programme for the 2027 celebration will name “speakers and topics”, which is a quick way to set the scene on how things have progressed and “current thinking” ten years ahead.

The idea of writing a “2027 souvenir, special edition, 2017-style online newsletter” has similar benefits. Newsletter go into more details. We can have titles and teasers from a variety of perspectives, giving more idea of the issues and areas of concern of the group in 2027.

7 – Dil, Dadamac Foundation, and Exponentially Human on Facebook

Sunday Nov 6th: In my role of “ambassador” for Dadamac Foundation I phoned Dil for a progress report on the new website now that the developers have handed it over to Nikki and Dil to start adding the content. They are both volunteers and I knew they planned to work on it over the weekend. They are hopeful that its launch will tie in well with the November 19th Dadamac Day meeting, (face-to-face in London).

Dil and I share interests in patterns, the future, and suchlike so the topic of the Exponentially Human chapter came up. I joked about the way Brian and some others were beginning to discuss the “Exponentially Human” group as if it was real. Dil suggested I should set up an “Exponentially Human” group on face book, to house the discussions I’m having with people about the chapter and related ideas. So I did.

8 – Big Crowd and OneSPRINT

Monday Nov 7th. I met with Steve Podmore (Big Crowd) and Sebastian Noyola (OneSPRINT). This was so they could be introduced and explore overlapping interests in supporting eco-development projects, the practicalities of implementing systems for crowd involvement (voting projects up and down etc), and much more besides. I’m hopeful that they will see ways to collaborate. I left them in deep discussion after about an hour, so I could get to U.Lab

9 – U.Lab, Democracy in UK and Social Presencing Theatre / 4D mapping

Monday Nov 7th. We did  an exercise at U.Lab Kings Cross called social presencing theatre, or 4D mapping. We were using the exercise to explore democracy in the UK.

The process is extremely powerful, generating unexpected insights and deep shared experience to draw on. Expect me to reference it future conversations. A post with photos will probably go up in the U.Lab Facebook group, and something publicly via twitter with #ulab. Already Martha Cuffey (the facilitator) has published her impressions on LinkedIn

The U.Lab international community is huge. The fact that its members can call on shared concepts and practical strategies for deeper understanding and collaboration makes it an exciting element of the move towards becoming Exponentially Human”. OneSPRINT is a U.Lab prototype.

10 – Ana – My U.Lab study-buddy in Brazil

Tuesday Nov 8th – Ana Abdulkader and I now try to link up every week on Skype. We were first paired up a month or so ago. It was for a 1-2-1 discussion after a live online ULab session. The following week we got together again on Skype for a piece of practical work, and continued meeting. On Tuesday I was telling here about our presencing theatre and she was telling me about the prototype her group is planning with women from vulnerable communities. It is a co-operative and a special kind of agency for women who do “domestic work”. The examples of work that Ana gave me were cleaning, child-care, manicures, cooking and small repairs (hanging pictures, fixing shelves etc).  The workers will be empowered. They will be trained, will know their rights, have maternity leave etc. They will work with employers who have been vetted/”trained” and so will not exploit and abuse them.

11 – Delia – Holacracy and more (ref her PhD) plus the 2027 programme

Tuesday Nov 8th. A skype call with Delia MacNamara. Our connection is through her research relating to Holacracy. During our call we indulged in some practical flights of fancy about the chapter and its 2027 tenth anniversary celebration. We discussed the honoured guests who will help us to frame the event by saying a few words. We played with the idea that I was inviting her to “give to keynote”. We looked at where she would like to be in her work in ten years time (given an optimistic scenario of positive collaboration between exponential humans and exponential tech). She also told me about a new, eco-friendly, co-operative living group setting up in Australia. She’s going to check out it’s positive future for 2027, with one of the founders. We’re planning a virtual reality/holagraphic trip there as part of the 2027 celebrations.

12 – South London Tech Meetup and LeanUX – it’s about the people

Tuesday Nov 8th. The South London Tech Meetup was at Brixton Hub and was about LeanUX – meetup announcement. I liked the emphasis on designing what people really want. This ties in well with my personal obsession that the tech should fit the people’s reality, rather then the other way around (where people have to adapt to fit the “tech’s reality” because of unhelpful design features).

In discussion with one of the speakers afterwards I asked about his ideal 2027 and got a possible keynote speech title from him – It was encouragingly upbeat  “How we got to an equal and fair society – by harnessing technology for the greater good.”

13 – Introduction to Effective Altruism and Choosing a Cause plus ref 2027

Wednesday Nov 9th. Introduction to Effective Altruism and Choosing a Cause – meetup details

I was expecting that my most appropriate role at that meetup would be as the eyes, and ears of Dadamac Foundation. Instead I found myself processing what I was seeing and hearing through the lens of 2027. I was asking myself what Effective Altruism might look like in 2027 as part of an effective “Exponentially Human” collaboration, linking with other initiatives and with access to massive, accurate, real-time, information to help inform people’s choices.  I can see it more tightly linked with its present collaborators, and new ones like Dadamac.

14 – John Dada and UK-Africa weekly meeting

Thursday Nov 10th.  Back to the reality of John’s work at Fantsuam in North Central Nigeria.  These weekly Skype meeting keep reminding me how hard things are on the ground for people in rural Africa, and why Dadamac Foundation is needed, and needs to grow. John often sends tweets and photos during our meeting. He’s @Fantsuam and uses #dadamac so you can get flavour of our meetings via twitter.  This post gives some explanation of the challenge that Dadamac Foundation is working to address  – It’s time to , end this development disconnect This can’t wait until 2027.

15 – Esther Ridsdale and Civil Society Forum

Thursday Nov 10th. We had a Skype catchup and found increased overlap, so we want to see how best we can help each other. We’re Skyping next week to get a clearer definition of what that means in practice. It was through Esther and Civil Society Forum that I first got familiar with the idea of “holding a space” and much more besides. Esther also introduced me to Christopher Wray – who is now a core collaborator at the heart of FASST – FASST – Organising for Collaborative Development ) We could be moving towards an additional way to explore FASST and its collaborative procedures, which all feeds into the practicalities of the vision for 2027 and being “Exponentially Human”.

Conclusion: Things seem to be coming together at present in a natural, emerging way.

Nov 10, 2016 by pamela | Categories: Continuing Conversations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Introducing the First Thursday group

Hi Folks

This post relates to conversations of the “First Thursday” group, These online conversations began some time in 2006 or 2007. They continued once a month until part way through 2015, when we needed to relocate. A few months ago Folabi Sunday encouraged me to restart the group, this time on Facebook. We have needed to relocate several times in our history, and each time there have been advantages and disadvantages. We recognise that Facebook is a good solution for some people, but excludes some others.

This update is partly for the people who used to join us, but won’t do so on Facebook, and partly for people who simply have some curiosity about the group. I’m not sure how many people it had at its peak, but in restarting it I decided to simply invite a few people who I thought would be most likely to turn up, and then gradually build up the numbers again.

The invitation

This is only the third time we have met on Facebook so I sent out a reminder (and added a PS later):

Hi Everyone – This is a reminder that Thursday 3rd is the First Thursday of November, so please drop into the group and share your updates and greetings.

By The Way – I think of November as a special month because November 2004 was the first time that I visited John DDada and his team at Fantsuam Foundation. It was the start of a project called “Teachers Talking” (TT). TT led to more collaborative initiatives. These initiatives involved John Dada and me (Pamela “Mac” McLean) and others in our networks – including many of you. We began to use the name “Dadamac” for linking the various initiatives and the people involved.

Each year in November we recognise that another year has passed. We try to connect in some way to celebrate the continuation of Dadamac. It is also a celebration of all kinds of connections between people made possible by the Internet. I encourage us all to think and write about ways the Internet has affected our lives. If you have memories of TT or other Dadamac initiatives please share those too. I look forward to reconnecting on Thursday 3rd November.

PS (written on Nov 5th)
> To readers of this page: There are many hidden gems here this month. Please click on the links to comments and replies to discover them.
> To everyone who contributed: Thank you all for your updates, memories and all the lively conversations.

The people

The best way to give you a flavour of the present group is to introduce the people who joined in and explain how we connect, plus some bits of our conversation. We were: Folarin Folabi Sunday, Nzainga Mutua David, Julliet Makhapila, John DDada, Gbade Adejumo, Kennedy Owino, Dan Andrew Otedo, Mercy Isaac, Florence Bale and me, Pamela McLean. We are originally from Nigeria, Kenya and UK, now currently living in Nigeria, Kenya, USA, Denmark and UK.

It’s a while since we’ve all been in contact, so the conversation had the flavour of a family reunion, and given the “anniversary flavour” we were revisiting some shared memories. You may be able to imagine it better if I explain how we all connect with each other. I’ll work through the list in an order that reflects how we met.

Chief Gbade Adejumo

I have known Chief Gbade Adejumo the longest. He was a founder member of the “Oke-Ogun Community Development Agenda 2000 Plus” committee (OOCD 2000+) which later became Oke-Ogun Community Development Network (OCDN). I first met Gbade face to face in 2001 at the funeral of Peter Adetunji Oyawale. Peter was the visionary behind Oke-Ogun Community Development Agenda 2000 Plus.  If I’m with Chief then I’m part of his formal and informal networks. He knows who I should meet, and how and when. My “cultural blunders” and ignorance are absorbed by the fact that I’m with him.

Thanks to the work of Gbade (who is called “Chief” in NIgeria) and other OOCD 2000+ members we were able to attract a VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) volunteer to manage Peter’s project for two years, based in Ago-Are.

Nzainga Mutua David

Nzainga Mutua David was the VSO volunteer for OOCD 2000+, so he and Chief worked closely together. David came from Kenya. I met him face-to-face in Ibadan, in August 2002, soon after he completed his VSO induction in Abuja. Subsequently Chief would take responsibility for me when I first arrived in Nigeria, and then hand me over to the care of David Mutua and Peter’s uncle, Mr Timothy,  when I got to Ago-Are.

John Dada

I first came across the work of John DDada and Kazanka Comfort at Fantsuam Foundation (FF) when I was doing research online. The only way I could help David and the OCDN 2000+ committee when I was home in the UK was to go on the Internet, and try to be useful on their behalf. Most of my efforts to find relevant information, advice and support were fruitless, but finding FF was completely different. FF was Nigerian and in rural Nigeria. John Dada understood us, and he understood the importance of the Internet. Despite FF’s overstretched resources John was ready to help us in whatever way he could.

For a short video of John talking about FF and its Internet history see –

In my work on the Internet I was also making the work of OOCD 2000+ visible in various ways. So it was that Gbade AdejumoNzainga Mutua David and I were invited to a pan-African conference in Abuja in 2003 to give a presentation about our project, sharing a platform with FF. We were all there to add some “rural reality” to the proceedings, as a balance to the urban hype about access to the Internet.  It was the first time that I met John DDada and Kazanka Comfort Face to Face.  That conference was the start of deep friendships, and close collaboration between OODC 2000+ and FF. It also led to David working at FF for a while after his time with VSO ended, and to John asking me to design and present “Teachers Talking” (TT) – an introduction to Information and Communication Technologies which was needed at FF.

It was the start of all the things mentioned in the invitation above regarding the focus of  November’s First Thursday.

Florence Bale and Mercy Isaac

I met Florence Bale when she was working at FF and I was presenting TT.  She repeatedly amazed me by anticipating what I would need and having it ready in advance. After Florence left FF Mercy Isaac came to fill a similar position and she also helped me in wonderful ways. If you join our Facebook group you’ll be able to see the detailed descriptions that Mercy posted about those times in this month’s conversation.

Folarin Folabi Sunday

I met Fola (Folarin Folabi Sunday) down at the OOCD 2000+ Information Centre at Ago-Are (so of course Fola and David know each other well). It is thanks to Fola’s influence that First Thursdays has restarted, using Facebook. After Fola and I met we kept in touch through the LearningTogether yahoo group. It was one of a cluster of yahoo groups set up by Andrius Kulikauskas as part of Minciu Sodas (which is Lithuanian for Orchard of Thoughts). In 2006 Fola came up to FF to participate in one of the TT courses, Gbade and others from OCDN 2000+ have also visited FF, and the FF team have visited Ago-Are, so there are close personal ties.

Kennedy Owino

Kennedy (Ken) Owino and I met online through Minciu Sodas. Later, thanks to Andrius Kulikasukas we met face to face at a MInciu Sodas event in Lithuania. Later still in 2007, we met in Nairobi, while I was there to present a TT course that David had arranged.

A few months later Kenyan post-election violence erupted with Ken, David, Andrius and other friends playing active roles in conflict resolution on the ground and online through the Pyramid of Peace initiative.

You can see Ken in this Kenyan Acrobats for Peace video in his role as leader of the Nafsi Acrobats. They were, demonstrating for peace with physical “pyramids of peace”, created by acrobats of the different tribes. Ken is the acrobat waving the peace flag, and is the first adult speaker in the video. Ken included a reference to this on Thursday.

Dan Andrew Otedo

Dan Andrew Otedo and I met through Minciu Sodas. He is also a friend of David and they have a shared interest in ICT (Information and Communication Technology) in Education, which is the interest that originally got me involved in Peter’s work.

Dan has recently moved back to his home village to support his recently widowed mother,. He was writing about adjusting to rural life and the work he is starting to do with local teachers and pupils related to brining ICT to the area. This strikes a chord with many of us, given the work in Ago-Are and at Fantsuam.

Julliet Makhapila

Julliet Makhapila and I met in London a couple of years ago. She has lived in the UK since she was about 13, and (as a UK tax payer and Kenyan) is intrigued by the International Aid and Development budgets, and what they actually achieve. She is working on initiatives in Kenya, in the Rift Valley. Julliet has been to previous First Thursdays and is getting to know the people there. She has met John face to face in London through Dadamac events.

Building the First Thursday group on Facebook

I’m optimistic about the future of First Thursday in its new Facebook home.  At the moment I am simply inviting people who I know well and who are used to meeting each other online through the previous First Thursday conversations. The fact that people have long shared histories helps to give the First Thursday group its special quality. Once a few of us re-build the habit of meeting once a month, and establish the way we like the conversations to happen in our new “online home” on Facebook, then we can gradually include new people.

With our Facebook group we can post messages at any time. This is a bit different from our old “chatroom” approach.

With the old First Thursday group it was a “chat” that happened during a real-time burst of messaging. It was always on the First Thursday, although there was sometimes confusion about what time it was starting. This confusion was because people were joining in from different time zones, mostly in East Africa, West Africa, Eastern Europe, and UK. When we attracted some people from North America it got more difficult to find a time to suit everyone.

On Facebook the monthly conversations are tending to spill over into the days before and after Thursday, but with Thursday as the highest possibility for a real time conversation happening. This means we are “talking” (text messaging) to each other on several days – not just the First Thursday – so we may adopt a new name.

Whatever we call the group it remains what it has always been. It is a group where people who connect in some way come together to chat, catch up with each other, and discover new shared interests. Then having discovered those interests we share information, explore our different experiences, and thus help and encourage each other.

The only thing everyone had in common in the original group was that everyone had some connection with me. I used to describe the time that we met as the online equivalent of me being officially “at home” for a couple of hours and inviting people to drop in for a chat, have a catchup, and maybe meet someone they hadn’t met before. Given the rural location of many in the group we often discussed details of agricultural work, appropriate technology, and the challenges of getting online.

It is because we know each other that topics can emerge naturally. The topic of what we call ourselves will come up at some point and then I will explain why I have suggested the name “FASST Talking” and how it could connects the First Thursday group to other conversations.


Nov 07, 2016 by pamela | Categories: Continuing Conversations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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