This open letter is for people who need an introduction to FASST, and also for people considering how they will be involved. It addresses the questions of What? Why? When? Where? How? – and most importantly Who? (Links to further information are given at the end). If you want to get involved let me know via the contact page if we haven’t yet met, or via any channel we are already using.
What is it?
FASST is an experimental, newly forming organisation. It’s organisational structures and procedures are those of teal organisations and holacracy. The name FASST comes from “Freedom, Accountability and Structure for Systemic Transformation”.
Why is it?
FASST is a response to the fact that we are living in a time of disruption and systemic change. We need new ways of going about things, We need to learn how to go forward together effectively in our increasingly uncertain world. The FASST experiment is exploring a possible way to do this.
When is it?
FASST is launching in 2016. The exact date will be agreed once the initial core group has been finalised. There will be two days of “learning to be a holacracy”, including defining roles, purposes and accountabilities and putting them onto the glassfrog software. Then we adopt the holacracy constitution and FASST is officially launched.
Where is it?
FASST is a distributed organisation. “Where it is” at any time will depend on where the people are who are dong FASST things. For example I’m writing this post on my laptop in SE London. Given I live in London, the face-to-face meetings about FASST that I’ve had so far have been in London. I’ve had other meetings online, and expect that “online” will become the main “home” of FASST. One of the other members of the core group is in New Zealand. The place I’m currently making FASST visible is the DadamacConnect website – so that is probably the best current answer to the question “Where is FASST?”
How is it (coming into being)?
FASST is emerging from the combined interests, experiences and insights of many people concerned with aspects of systemic change. The way I imagine FASST coming into being draws firmly on reality and experience. I’m ready to replace elements of this vision with better ones as things develop. However if no alternative elements do emerge I have the security of knowing that all the elements needed have already been created and demonstrated in other practical projects.
We are starting with the organisational structure. That structure will start to emerge during the launch process, according to the inputs of the people in the core group, through the processes of a holacracy, and with an awareness of becoming a teal organisation. FASST ideas can be seen in a context of systemic change, personal agency and emerging futures as outlined in U.Lab, and experienced in various of the practical projects feeding into FASST.
The launch group will initially work as a collaborative community. Each person will be responsible for monitoring their own level of satisfaction regarding how much they contribute to FASST and what benefits they gain. By collaborating within FASST they will get mutual support, they will probably accelerate the progress of any projects they bring in to FASST, raise the visibility of their work, learn from each other, and gain new insights and knowledge.
They will co-create an information commons through the processes of working together.
The FASST community will expand. It will include some people who are attracted because they have no particular initiatives of their own and want to be involved in change through FASST. Other people will be attracted because they do have a particular initiative and want help with it.
FASST’s rate of growth will be carefully monitored to ensure that its “teal and holacracy culture” remains the “way we do things round here”. This is important to ensure that newcomers pick up FASST culture by immersion rather than by instruction.
As FASST matures, it will become able to generate an income because clients will be attracted by the combination of its community and the evidence of what they know (evidence provided in the information commons). FASST will provide a range of services related to knowledge creation and systemic change.
It has similarities with open source software development. If my understanding is correct regarding how open source software development works, then some of the bespoke services that FASST will provide can be compared to the way that open source software development works. The information commons, as it becomes very large, can be compared to the code in open source software – available to anyone in theory, but in fact best applied with the paid help of someone who knows it well. Other aspects of open source software development will also apply to FASST.
Collaboration: The purity and transparency of the culture will make it easy to collaborate with other teal organisations that operate as holacracies.
Who are the people?
I’m not going to put many names of people involved in FASST (except to be transparent about how it got started). Instead of naming people I’ll describe some of the main roles that people have started to energise, followed by roles that I expect to see emerging as time goes by (but the roles aren’t described as they would be within FASST once its a real holacracy). If you’re interested in what you’ve read so far you may like to consider what roles you might like to energise.
Roles – initiators (already filled)- accountable for getting this experiment started (one of my roles, also a role of Sally of EvolvingOrganisation who reached out to me after a Teal Practitioner meeting and suggested we could set this up together)
Role – this one is about learning-by-doing – (already filled, me again) – in this context I’m trying to learn how the theories of teal organisations and holacracy relate to my practical and theoretical involvement in systemic change.
Role – holacracy facilitator – (already filled, Sally again) – guiding me pre-launch, facilitating during the launch itself (and probably beyond).
Roles – pre-launch advisers, influencers and deep listeners – helping me to decide how best to take advantage of this opportunity, what personal interests and initiatives to include, where to draw the boundary, who else to invite etc. (a much appreciated diverse group, they have already enabled me to “name and frame” FASST but if anyone else wants the role additional perspectives may still be useful).
Roles – launch-group members – these roles will be energised by people who will form the initial core group in the FASST community and will be involved in the launch. Some names are already confirmed, other people are currently considering taking the role, others may not yet have come forward. The deadline will happen when the facilitator decides on the date of the launch.)
Roles – members of the FASST community (these roles are made up of a combination of other roles, but all are clustered together here for the sake of simplicity. The number of these roles will increase gradually, as described above in the section “How is it (coming into being)?”
Roles – clients of FASST
Roles – link people – enabling collaboration with other holacratic organisations
Roles – ongoing advisers, influencers and deep listeners – similar to pre-launch, but post launch. Probably mostly energised from within the FASST community as we will be as supportive group. Additional perspectives from outside can help us to avoid a silo mentality.
I hope this has answered any questions you had about FASST and has helped you decide if/how you’d like to get involved. I look forward to your response.
P.S. Some additional information and links
For more context around personal and systemic change see MIT’s MOOC – Massive Online Open Course –