“As I’ve learned by studying and supporting the efforts of Enspiral, a group of New Zealand collective enterprises, solidarity is not the result of world-changingly good ideas; rather, it is the cause. There’s no paucity of solutions to our collective woes: from permaculture and the commons to consensus building and platform cooperatives. What we too often lack are the communities of people to organize and apply these solutions in the real world, from the bottom up. It doesn’t have to be this way.”
1. “From the edges in” over “top-down”
2. Humanity over technology
3. Small experiments over big change initiatives
For the past few months I’ve been thinking a lot about purpose.
Like many people I’ve been inspired by Frederic Laloux’s work on next-stage organisations. ‘Evolutionary purpose’, along with self-management and ‘wholeness’, is one of the three big elements of next-stage organisations. Purpose is:
a powerful drive to do work that has meaning and purpose. The concept of ‘being the best’ becomes a hollow aim unless the organization is doing something worthy of the energy, talents and creativity of the people who work there.
I help run a meetup called Reinventing Work: Bristol. We agreed early on that we didn’t want this meetup to become a talking shop. But we did feel we needed to start by defining what we were meeting up for. So we decided to spend our first couple of sessions defining our group’s purpose. These are my thoughts on that process.
In The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben writes about how trees communicate with each other — sharing nutrients and even warning each other of impending dangers. So at our Network Convergence, we had many conversations about how we could learn from each other’s networks, observe patterns, share what has worked and hasn’t worked. Christine Lai, who is a collaboration catalyst and connector for networks like Village Global, The Ready, and Delivering Happiness, likes to call this “mycelium.” Mycelium are fungal threads that form networks underground in order to pass on water and nutrients in a symbiotic relationship with trees and other green plants. How can we be mycelium, then, and distinguish the lifeblood of thriving networks and the practices that make a difference, in order to share them with and nourish our wider ecosystem?