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FASST has a vision, and a practical plan, to overcome the barriers that prevent us working in collaborative ways. I won’t describe the plan in detail here. Like many innovations FASST will be easier to share once the protoype is working. It is starting in a small way (which is another way of saying we are currently working on the prototype, or demonstrator stage). The plan behind FASST is fairly simple, but is based on some assumptions that are not yet mainstream. If you are interested in getting involved in the early stages please contact me.

Through effective collaboration we can all play our parts better in order to tackle the complex problems of our time. We can more effectively develop solutions on a hyper-local scale or a global scale or anything in between. If we also share what we learn as we go along, we can help others to learn more quickly, to the benefit of all of us.

I’m the initiator of FASST. Three others are already committed to developing the prototype, with others exploring their preferred roles.

Collaborating across cultures and across distance

Experience during the past fifteen years or so, has taught me that people can connect, communicate and collaborate in wonderful ways despite being scattered across the globe. It has also taught me lessons about the need to “hold assumptions lightly” especially if people have different perspectives and various cultural backgrounds. Over the years I’ve been involved in many collaborative projects through online communities of interest – some that I’ve initiated, some initiated by others. There have been notable successes, which have excited and inspired the people involved. There have also been problems and confusions where some painful lessons have been learned.

Meanwhile the technology that enables us to collaborate at a distance has been getting increasingly powerful, cheaper for many users, and more widely available. But technology alone isn’t sufficient. Collaboration at a distance is a mixture of technical and human aspects of communication. It isn’t just the technical side that needs robust operating systems. People need effective inter-personal “operating systems” too – and that is where FASST is working.

Rapid change, complex problems and the need to escape from silos

I won’t start naming all the complex, inter-related problems that currently face humankind. I’m simply pointing to the fact that we all know about them to a greater or lesser degree. We can hide from them and hope “someone else” is taking responsibility and will sort them out, or we can each explore how to play our part. Playing our part effectively often involves working with others.

If there is one thing that many people do agree on, regarding solving complex problems, it is the need for more joined up thinking and less activity in separate silos, be they organisational departments, academic disciplines, or even social ghettos demarcated by age, sex, ethnicity, faith or anything else. However, simply wanting to collaborate is seldom enough. There are challenges when people from different silos or cultures try to collaborate. Good will is seldom sufficient for complex collaboration. We need to know how to work together effectively – and that’s where it’s useful if we’re all easily able to use the same interpersonal operating system, which is where FASST comes in.

Creating a shared culture

From my side the vision for FASST has emerged from years of practical collaboration on other initiatives, and from reflection, discussion and related theoretical work (described in The long version of : “My Why” and FASST )

FASST has been taking shape this year, with input from various friends and contacts who have been challenging me in different ways, asking useful questions and making suggestions (which I have sometimes responded to through open letters which are linked to on the initiatives page in the FASST section).

FASST isn’t based only on my own ideas and experience, Below are some links to theory which relates to key ideas in FASST :

FASST is starting small, but we’ll grow. In time we may even “go viral”.

We are committed to a more collaborative future.

Within FASST we are consciously doing two things in parallel. We are collaborating in order to progress various future-focussed initiatives, and we are also creating a shared culture for collaboration – a culture which we can actively spread.

The stages

We anticipate various stages, which may well alter as we learn more about how things are emerging:

  • Core group formation and early collaborative work
  • Launch as a Holacracy
  • Continuation of early collaborative work, enabling learning-by-doing of Holacracy, and sharing of lessons learned (the start of an information commons, which continually grows)
  • Expansion of collaborative projects, by offering “outsiders and newbies” opportunities for involvement with the core group.
  • These new people get involved through energising roles the core group need filled to progress their projects
  • Newbies who become acclimatised to “FASST culture” through energising these roles can then express a willingness to energise additional roles currently “outside FASST”
  • This is the point at which FASST starts to offer collaborative support to innovators and project leaders operating outside of FASST, thus “infecting them” with FASST culture.
  • Regarding the “interpersonal operating system”, organisations that have been “infested with FASST culture” are attracted to collaborate with other organisations who share that culture, because they already share the ability to “go about things” in the same way.
  • Regarding the FASST information commons, it grows with every stage of FASST projects, thus showcasing the innovative projects FASST people are delivering.
  • The information commons serves two purposes :
    • It will be a freely available, information resource for anyone who wants to use it.
    • It will be an attractor for potential clients who will prefer  FASST to provide them with “bespoke knowledge services”.

There is no fixed timetable for these stages. That kind of detail will emerge gradually, depending on the energy, interest and initial collaborations that FASST attracts.