Posted by & filed under Open Letters.

Hi Olivia.

I’m doing some prep ready for your Before I Die Network (BIDN) follow-up session this evening. I’m interested to see what progress I have in fact made since the pre-Christmas event, so I’m checking the notes I made then and the good resolutions that I made.

I know that you often invite us to say what help we need before the end of the session, so I’m also thinking about that in advance, and I’m thinking these notes could prove useful if anyone wants more information easily to hand after (or during) this evening’s session.

I’m also thinking about setting the scene and differing perspectives. This RSAnimate by Ken Robinson lets you know some of my perspective about life in the 21st century, change and why BIDN is important for people leaving university.

The goal I set

I’m pleased to discover that the main goal I wrote before Christmas remains my current goal and I’m making progress on it.

What I was trying to explain in my goal was that I’ve had a thoroughly interesting time over the past fifteen years, and I’m trying to gather up the collection of things and people I’m connected with and turn it into a more formal organisation so that other people can easily get involved with it too. Much of it has to do with my UK-Africa collaborations – but not necessarily in ways you might expect. It is very much a person-to-person organisation made possible by the Internet.

The website about the UK-Africa collaborations is “creaking a bit” at present (and work is being done behind the scenes to improve things) but if you go there it will give you the idea – www.dadamac.org

This brief video of an event we organised last November gives a flavour of what we are doing and how it fits into a bigger picture (the soundtrack was created by the video editor, using comments made by people who attended.)

This video from January 2015 gives more context – our theme for the 2015 was Connect, Communicate, Collaborate.

This year (2016) its about setting up effective structures to enable expansion of what we’ve done in the past.

Some of the help we need has to do with sharing our message better online – so until that online message is clearer I need to fall back on good old fashioned person to person explanations on the details of what we are doing and what opportunities there are for involvement (which I’ll get some chance to do at the BIDN event this evening).

BIDN is about goal setting, and the way I wrote my goal to myself may not make much sense to other people (because of the jargon) so I’ll explain the reason for the jargon, then share what I wrote:

I’m doing my side of things in Dadamac in the context of an online course I did last year – hence a reference to U.Lab when I wrote my goal.  The course was run by MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology and (from my point of view) it gave us all permission to see ourselves as part of a much bigger picture and to see how we develop as people playing our role in that context:

  • This information about the course book sets the scene – Leading from the Emerging Future:  – From Ego-System to Eco-System Economics: applying theory U to transforming business, society and self by C. Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer, 2013

If Dadamac is going to expand in the context of such big systemic changes then we need to have the right structures in place so that people who choose to get involved can take personal responsibility for what they are doing. Hence my interest in Teal organisations:

Teal organisations don’t have traditional top-down, command and control, hierarchical structures, however they do need clear procedures and roles.  One of the ways to implement a Teal organisation is as a “Holacracy”.

Sally McCutchion of EvolvingOrganisation and I are working together exploring how the network/organisation/idea of Dadamac can become a Holacracy. I’ve recently submitted my “homework” to her – explaining what had been done by key people in the network over the last few weeks.

The explanation above covers the jargon I used in the hasty, goal-setting note I wrote to myself at BIDN before Christmas. It said that my goal was to:

Enable a “Teal-based”, U.Lab influenced organisation i.e. One where the goals of the individual people are aligned with the goals/actions/vision of the organisation. (Trying this out on the organisation I’m doing ref New Approach to International Development).

If the work we have been doing in our UK-Africa collaborations is expanded in the way I believe it could be then it would offer an alternative, and more effective approach than many of the traditional, top-down approaches to International Development (see – It’s time to end this development disconnect)

Thanks to Sally I’m currently in “count-down” mode ref enabling the Teal-based organisation of Dadamac to happen as part of our expansion strategy.

Help I need

I’ve still got the labels I wrote at the last BIDN event to say what help I needed – the emphasis may be shifting slightly due to help I’ve had recently and progress since Christmas but it’s all still very relevant, and may grow as I think things through more at the event this evening. This is what I was looking for then:

  • Someone to hold me accountable
  • Help to clarify my message
  • People who express things clearly in writing, pictures etc.

Thanks to you Olivia and to everyone connected with BIFN for the help you give us.