Posted by & filed under Open Letters.

Hi G (second G)

Here’s the latest perspective on FASST and how it fits in the two conflicting realities of collaboration and competition. These notes may prove useful for our Skype call. Things have moved on since I shared the post about the 10 questions for FASST (a future-focussed experiment with holacracy and teal) and we agreed to follow-up with a 1-2-1 call to explore your interest in FASST.

I’ve had various conversations, which are influencing the current perspective on FASST that I want to share with you, and I’ve written a couple of additional posts:

Two parallel realities

An important idea to bear in mind is that we are living in two parallel cultural realities  – the collaborative and the competitive.

Collaborative digital

There is now a digital, connected world which is collaborative. In that world individual people connect and collaborate from many locations across the globe, with objectives of sharing information, learning from each other, and creating knowledge for its own sake – not to earn money.  They are able to do so thanks to the Internet. It is a new opportunity for people to relate to each other in ways where everyone benefits. They contribute their time and knowledge freely.

This may sound like some utopian dream to people who have yet to experience it. You and I and many others know it as part of our personal reality. In fact we met in one such community – the Teal for Startups (T4S) group. FASST will begin to develop as that kind of collaborative, information-sharing community.

There are many reasons to be part of such communities but this is not the place to go into the reasons in any detail. Maybe, like me, you have already considered and shared your reasons for being in T4S through the sensing journey questionnaire. I don’t need to persuade you about the actuality and benefits of such groups.

Physical and financial

The other reality is the physical world in which we live, where we need a roof over our heads, food on the table, and where bills need to be paid. For many of us that is the “world of our day jobs”. This world is also part of the digital and interconnected world, but the “reality” of that digital world is different if it is seen through the lens of competition rather than collaboration. From a competitive perspective information and knowledge are seen as commodities to be owned rather than shared. The mindset is one of competitive advantage, copyrights, Intellectual Property (IP) and so on. It is a world that existed before the Internet and it is experiencing the disruptive nature of the Internet in many different ways.

If the FASST community is to pay its way in that world, either people in FASST will need to continue doing other day jobs to pay their bills, or FASST will need to generate money for them by selling some its information and its knowledge creation services.

The vision is for FASST to be a bridge between both worlds, so we can collaborate freely and generously from the start, and can also see a way forward to generate income in the longer term.

FASST and Holacratic behaviour

Regarding holacracy, FASST will begin with a core group of people committed to using holacracy. Some of them will be already experienced in its use.  This means that from the start the predominant normal behaviour and culture within FASST will be holacracy.  Why is this important? It’s important because learning things is done most naturally through immersion. Immersion is  how we pick up our mother tongue, it’s how we absorb the norms of the culture (or cultures) where we grow up.  Immersion is the way that people who join FASST further down the line will pick up holacracy, not as a set of rules and procedures but simply as “the way we do things here”, something to be picked up in a natural way through doing it with everyone else.

A “holacracy of one”

I came across the idea of a “holacracy of one” through the U.Lab continuation group at Kings Cross. We used the idea in preparation for a day we spent together in April ( Andy Paice wrote it up as –  A Collective Breakthrough! U.Lab Prototyping in London).

A useful starting point for FASST is to think of every person in FASST as “a holacracy of one”. The people who are already gathering around the idea of FASST are pro-active people. They bring initiatives and ideas where they are already putting their energy. It is a fact that sometimes we can manage on our own, and sometimes we can’t. If we can manage alone, then we are filling all the roles that need to be filled at that point. If we can’t manage, and we hit some blockage, then this blockage can be thought of as a “tension” caused by a lack of resources. The resources may be material or may be a “missing role” that is waiting to be “energised”. As a peer-to-peer support group in FASST we can share these tensions. We may be able to help each other by energising some of the missing roles ourselves (from within the group) or by bringing in people we know to energise the roles (and sometimes we may know how some missing material resource could be found through our networks).

Expanding

We will be a small group to start with, busy getting to know each other, building trust and establishing our shared holacratic and teal organisational culture. We will take time to discover our individual and shared interests. Once we are sufficiently strongly established as FASST’s core group, we will open the group more. We will be able to invite people to join us who don’t bring any initiatives of their own but are simply looking for ways to be involved in interesting initiatives. We will be able to offer them opportunities to energise whatever roles are waiting to be filled. This will remove blockages on various projects dear to our hearts.

To put this idea another way – once our internal holacracy culture is strong enough we will be able to open the group to people who are simply interested in the projects that FASST people are doing, not in the procedures that enable us to work together. We won’t need to explain to them that FASST is a teal organisation operating as a holacracy. That will be embedded in our culture, for them to pick up through involvement in FASST.

These new people may lead to a situation where FASST has spare capacity available to energise roles that other organisations may need to have energised. If those organisations are also operating as holacracies, then it will be easy to collaborate.

FASST as a changemakers’ support group

One way to think of FASST is as a peer-to-peer support group for changemakers which operates as a holacracy. That is how FASST starts, and that is the point at which it fits firmly in the world of collaboration. It is through the peer-to-peer support group that we will start to harvest our ongoing stories and feed them into our “information commons”. We will benefit from that shared commons, and we will offer it freely to whoever wants to access it.

This is not an idea dreamt up from nowhere. It is based on my experiences of UK-Africa collaborations and the newly developing Dadamac changemakers group which is becoming visible at www.dadamac.org (and which is expecting to have a new improved website before the end of the year, telling of many exciting developments).

Generating income through FASST

FASST will generate income through selling what it knows. It won’t do this straight away for a number of reasons. For a start it will need to explore and agree the best way to share the income that it generates amongst those who have contributed to its generation.

It may generate income by:

  • Helping people to find what they need from the information commons more quickly than they could on their own
  • Prioritising new additions to the commons to satisfy information needs of clients
  • Acting as a knowledge broker
  • Providing consultancy
  • Doing research

Thinking and talking it through

I hope this helps. I’ll post this for you in our Skype chat so that it is to hand while we are talking. It will serve as a contribution to our informal agenda. When we touch on the points I’ve written here it will be much easier to cover them by talking through what is written.

Having written this in preparation for our Skype call I now have a much clearer version in my mind to share with you. This post will also serve to help others to catch up with the current vision.