Title: Evolutionary Organisation
This proposal outlines an open adaptive system model (evolutionary organisation - EO) created in addition to the UN’s current structure. The power in the system is used to define what to do and how to do it and is held by self-organised local people solving local issues in a way that also addresses global goals and creates a better world for everyone. The processes, technology and training support combine to create a framework for action that is flexible, self-organising, responsive and taps into the collective genius via global mass collaboration.
Anyone who wants to become a participant of the UN-EO.
Responsible for: completing training and complying with agreements.
This circle would be an administration group, appointed by the UN, that set out EO the first draft of the principles, values, and initial instances of the system components. The outer circle members would be appointed by the UN. This group would be self-organised using processes built on the same principles and values as the other components.
Responsible for: keeping top level documentation updated in response to changes and assessing initial LAC, Incubators, KCs.
Local Action Circle (LAC)
Would be a group of UN citizens formed to address a local need or opportunity who undertake the circle training. Any UN citizens that see a need in their community can form an action circle with others. A LAC may be part of an existing charity or organisation. Once the circle is formed and the members have agreed and documented the processes, the circle is assessed by a non-local LAC or outer circle, if it is the first LAC. If all processes are inline with the values and principles of the EO, the circle is verified on the portal and can make a project proposal. Non-local refers to another group that is disinterested and from another area, which is close enough to allow them to effectively assess the processes, proposals and projects of the circle they are assessing.
Responsible for: Forming a diverse group, creating proposals and running projects. Also required to assess non-local LACS.
Knowledge Circle (KC)
Local groups with specific expertise who have participated in circle training, may be part of an existing school or university.
Responsible for: providing data and insights on request to LAC and other KCs. Also required to assess non-local KCs.
Provide citizen’s, LAC and KCs with training, set-up resources and support. Incubators would be setup in agreement with local governments and with a non-local existing incubator and funded by the UN.
Responsible for :providing training and assessing other incubators.
Digital currency used to part fund of projects.
Responsible for: providing medium of exchange and recognition.
Global Collaborative Portal
An internet portal to connect all parts of the system, manage processes, circles, funding rules and activities, including cryptocurrency distribution and exchange.
Responsible for: creating openness, transparency, efficiency and reducing bias.
Funding, either from the UN central funding, UN citizen’s, crowdfunding, charities or foundations is part of the “energy” that powers the system. To get funding, the project proposals are created in a framework and added to the portal. The decision to fund from UN resources is made in funding rounds, based on the criteria, assessed by other LACs, UN bodies and UN citizens. Proposal submission and voting is done anonymously so that bias is avoided, although the country/region where the proposal or vote comes from is recorded to avoid all UN resources going to countries that could fund their own projects. The system is open to funding from non-UN sources.
Decisions are made by the group using consent to come to agreements and prototyping and pilots to quickly confirm the decision was correct or needs adjustment. Each member of the circle is responsible for raising issues or potential issues with any decision or action. Members of the circle volunteer for roles and then are appointed on the agreement of rest of the circle. No member of the group can become the sole decision maker for a specific decision unless that power is given to him/her by the rest of the circle.
The systems processes and criteria are the main source of control. Assessments and evaluation of processes and projects are done by non-local circles so that bias and corruption are minimised. The portal also provides control mechanisms based on the funding and proposal rules built into the system. Each LAC must have representatives from specific age, gender and minority groups, in order to reduce domination by self-interested groups. Components or individuals that do not meet the criteria to engage do not gain resources or opportunities from the system and so eventually leave. Those who actively try to undermine the system are removed from the portal.
Develop the participants ability to build on their strengths and personal motivation to create a better life.Embed control mechanisms into the organisations processes and technology. Rules are enforced by all participants, not “policed” by leaders.Technology used to create openness, transparency, global connections, continuous learning and enliven values and vision for a better world for everyone.Action on global issues is taken by small self-organised circles that are funded by the UN, or other funders, to tackle local issues in ways that reduce global risks.Agile implementation techniques that reduce costs and maximise effectiveness.UN cryptocurrency that part-funds projects, keeping “energy” inside the system.Self-organisation used to maximise understanding, adaptability and flexibility, which reduces “management resistance” and frees up time and energy as a result.The design of LACs and principles upon which their processes are built, fosters inclusive decision making.
A Strengths Based, Value Driven, Open Adaptive System Model
Hierarchical organisation has been a useful structure for government and business but the increasing complexity of the challenges we are facing means this structure is no longer as effective. Top down decision making and implementation practices are not agile or adaptive enough to cope with the current complexity and volatility. Moreover they do little to mitigate the human failings that lead to corruption, bias and ineffectiveness.
Now facing our global challenges will require profound levels of collaboration between experts, non-experts, experimenters, visionaries, collaborators, diggers, dreamers as well as a host of other skills. The idea that a hero leader or expert will appear and save the day is a dream we need to wake up from.
Along with diverse skills and perspectives, we require a wider “idea” base and more effective implementation practices. In short, we need all of us, working for a common goal. This proposal outlines how the UN can setup an evolutionary organisation along side its existing structure and reap the benefits of value based, self-organisation that enables effective action and global mass collaboration.
The model addresses issues inherent in hierarchical organisations and aspects of humanness that hamper change, because of:
Lack of understanding: having a few people at the top of the organisation who frame the problems, define the solutions and the implementation protocols, can lead to misunderstandings and missed opportunities.
Management resistance: most people don’t like to be managed, they don’t like to be told what to do and how to do it. It creates resistance, which with no positive outlet wastes energy or disengages people.
Influence: using ‘influence’ techniques to change other people’s minds or galvanise action is not very effective when it comes to creating massive change. Moreover influencing others, even when it is well meaning, is a subtle form of disrespect. Many respond with a subtle form of resistance, that saps energy from everyone involved and distracts from our goals.
Lack of resources: even though influence strategies such as “nudge” techniques are relatively effective in garnering support and resources, they pale in comparison to tapping into the collective genius and resources of all 7 billion of us.
Self-interest (at both personal and state level): concentrated power and lack of self-awareness can lead to skewed objectives and wasteful conflict.
The power of habits to keep us “stuck” in old ways: even though we may see a need to change, creating new habits and giving up old habits is more difficult than just wishing it was so.
Inability to step into beginners mind: living successfully in a dynamic volatile complex system requires us to “let go” of what we know at least for awhile so that new possibilities can emerge and we can see “what is” more clearly.
The burden of help: most people don’t like being told they need help, what help they should get and how they should receive that help. Also even when we need assistance, help can be a burden that diminishes our self-confidence and longterm effectiveness.
To address these barriers to progress this model proposes a very different style of organisation. One that has bottom-up leadership instead of top down, uses natural motivation, skills of collaboration and starts with action rather than policy.
This type of organisation is designed to work like a living entity. The individuals and systems that form its “body” provide input about what needs to be done and how, so that the system stays healthy and productive. Like a successful living being, each part must work well to ensure the health of the whole. Similarly, processes that convey resources and “energy” to the system must allow for free flow of resources to where they are needed.
Capable of using knowledge, skills and insights from the whole system.“Power” in the system is used to manage the life cycle of the system’s processes.Leadership is collaborative, consent and values based.The system and the people within it actively pursue deliberate practice and growth.Decisions are made as close to the area of need as possible.Decisions are based on consent, experiments and data.Decision making data is available to everyone within the system where possible.All members of the system are trained in practices that support self-awareness, self-mastery and wellbeing in themselves and the whole system.Growth of an EO is based on emergence, that is it starts small and develops based on success and need. Decisions are made as needed so they respond to “what is” rather than what might happen (“Evolutionary Organisation Emergence” section for full details).
Promoting Global Mass Collaboration
A key attribute of an EO is its self-sensing and organising nature and the way processes and structures emerge over time in response to local and global needs. The emergent quality of the system means that the current UN structure and processes can stay largely unchanged initially. To start with the EO might only be the outer circle and one or two other circles.
The only changes required of the UN early on would be to provide funding for the outer circle, incubators and Local Action Circles. Over time the processes and structures will transform based on need, success and opportunity.
In the following sections we will explore the components of the system and its processes.
As the starting point for the development of all the other components, this circle would be comprised of a small number of people appointed by the UN.
Location - Anywhere
Role - Uses input from UNs previous projects and self-organisation practices to set up the initial processes, prototypes and pilots of all circles, circle documentation and the global collaboration portal. Supports project, circle and process assessments where there is a short fall.
Interfaces - All components of the system.
Anyone who wishes to take part in any UN project and completes the participation training.
Location - Anywhere
Role - Participate in portal and circle projects on completing the UN citizen training.
Interfaces - Local action circles, Knowledge Circles, incubators via local circles and global collaboration portal.
Group of UN citizens responding to a local need, who have completed the circle training and been verified on the portal by other LACs or the outer circle if no other LACs have been formed yet.
Location - Regions, counties, districts. Organised around needs and vision defined by the local group. These groups may be created from existing charities, existing UN departments, organisations, universities or schools.
Role - Generate proposals with costing, resource and value plans inline with proposal framework to submit to UN for funding or other funders via the global collaboration portal. Implement funded proposals.
Interfaces - Other local action circles, non-local circles, expertise circles and incubators via local circles and global collaboration portal
Specialist circle comprised of UN citizen’s who have expertise. KCs provide information, support and training to LAC groups they may seek funding for a research project or to support a specific LAC project. A KC may be part of an existing charity, school, university or organisation.
Location - Anywhere
Role - These circles do not make solution proposals directly to the UN although they may be funded by the UN to provide expertise to LACs and assist them to articulate their project proposals.
Interfaces - All other circles via local circles and global collaboration portal.
Specialist circle that supports individuals to become UN citizens and groups in communities to form Local Action Circles, Knowledge Circles or Incubators.
Location - Anywhere
Role - Support LAC, KC and other incubators and individuals to successfully complete personal and circle training and form circles.
Interfaces - LAC, KC global collaboration portal, training sessions and local meetings.
Internet based community platform
Location - On-line
Role - Supports collaboration of all parts of the system, contains membership, project, proposal and circle information rules and distributed ledger for cryptocurrency.
Interfaces - All components of the system.
Location - On-line
Role - Used as medium of exchange and recognition within the EO.
Interfaces - All components of the system.
What a Circle Looks Like and How it Works
LACs are self-organised groups that form for variable lengths of time to solve a local problem or take up a local opportunity. The problem may or may not be directly related to an existing UN SDG, but it will have to align with the UN vision statement in order to qualify for UN funding.
Each LAC will use self-organisation practices and processes loosely based on sociocracy.
LACs, like all the systems circles, do not have one “leader.” All members of the circle have leadership responsibility as defined by the processes agreed within the circle. Each member of the circle acts as a sensor, gathering data, exploring ideas, raising issues and providing input to the circle and its projects. The work of the circle is supported by agreed processes which adhere to the process principles described below.
A LAC would be considered fully formed once it has been through an incubation programme and then demonstrated that it has the knowledge and skills required to develop a successful proposal and pilot. Prior to being fully formed the circle will have access to support from their incubator. See later sections for details of the knowledge and skills required.
LACs and their projects would be assessed by other circles from different locations. If an evaluation indicates the need for changes, after implementation the changes would be re-assessed by another LAC. This process will continue until the assessing LAC and the circle being assessed agree on a course of action. This might be disbanding the LAC, terminating the project or taking remedial action. All assessment decisions are made using consent as the basis of the group decision.
Each LAC would have the following elements in place:
Core roles ie administrator, challenger, spokes person (see below for more details regarding roles). The circle would be listed and verified on the global collaboration portal.Defined and published set of values (published in the collaboration portal as a minimum).Defined and published mission statement.Circle level process documents for decision making, proposal making and recruitment etc. These documents may be inherited from the top level set used during the training events but circle members must agree to the processes being used or amend them in line with the principles.Circle agrees to assess documents, proposals and projects undertaken by LACs from other regions and possibly countries. Circles do not live longer than needed. If a new project or continuation of the current project is required the circle will continue, otherwise it will disband. The members of the circle may form other new circles. Members should be representative of a number of gender and age groups as listed below:Those identifying as women from each of the following age groups60 +30 – 5920 – 2916 – 1912 – 15 year old (with guardian) Those identifying as men from each of the following age groups60 +30 – 5920 – 2916 – 1912 – 15 year old (with guardian) Local minority group inclusion or consultation. In addition, the circle must include one member from local minority groups or at least consult with each minority group on proposals. This requirement includes groups that are socially unacceptable such as white supremacist for example. The process of how to find and engage with local minority groups relevant for the LAC’s project will be covered in the training provided by incubators.
All circle roles are rotating and also may be shared. Members volunteer for roles and will take on the role based on consent from the other members of the circle.
Administrator – holds circle processes together, notes when processes are not being adhered to and updates processes and relevant documentation if required.
Challenger – Challenges project plans, ideas, assumptions and the expression of values. This role is particularly important in project meetings and may be taken up by different people depending on the situation. The challenger asks “difficult” questions around feasibility, resources, alignment with circle mission and UN vision. Knowledge and skills to undertake this role are covered in the circle training provided by incubators.
In small circles there may be only one person (not always the same person) taking up this role however in larger groups there may be numerous challenger roles specific to key SDGs. For example, a Peace Challenger will ask questions around what impact the proposed circle action will have on peace for the region and globally.
The challenger role focuses the mind on asking critical questions, but it does not mean that other members of the circle do not take part in this important element of leadership.
Spokes person – Interfaces with other LACs and organisations as the representative of the circle.
Project roles – These roles will be defined and filled per project by the members of the circle.
All members – each member of the circle is required to commit time and effort on behalf of the circle and its project. Anyone in the circle can propose a change to the circle processes or project. Each proposal for change goes through a decision making process that is laid out in the circle's documentation.
Decisions are based on consent not consensus. Circles define their own decision making process, based on the following principles:
Each person has time to contribute if they wish. The action agreed on represents the best action or choice at the time. New information will promote a review of the action/choice if a member of the circle raises a concern.The decision to take a course of action is based on this question “ will this course of action take us forward or backwards?” All members do not need to agree that the course of action is the best but be willing to consent and commit to moving forward with the proposal until new data and a review from the circle members trigger a change of course. Adheres to the principle “everyone is needed, everyone is important.” Uses “why am I talking” decision tree to help each member assess what they can contribute to the discussion. Being needed and important does not mean that members should or need to weigh in on topics they do not understand or know anything about.All circle members have completed and adhere to UN-EO personal development training. All decisions, processes and proposals are open and transparent to the circle.
An example of a decision making process that supports these principles and self-organisation is Sociocracy 3.0 a link to which can be found in the reference material.
How to get Funded - the Framework
In order to apply for UN funding or resources from other funders LACs need to present their project within the project proposal framework and make it available via the global collaboration portal.
The project proposal framework is designed to ensure that all proposals include the following key details:
Statement of the purpose and measures of success for the proposed project. Clearly state the resources and funding required to complete the project, including proportion of local funding available, UN cryptocurrency etc.Describe how the project solves the local issue and contributes to the larger global goals.Describes the values being expressed through the project and how the project will be completed. Details projects use of commons and strategy for replenishing what is used or enhancing the state of the commons.Details re-use, recycle, conservation approach used for the circle and project.Break down all project details into discovery (pre-proposal phase), pilot, implementation, evaluation & share learnings stages. Documentation for each stage must include, risks, opportunities, cost break down, impact assessment, measures of success, resources, etc.References projects or approaches that the proposal is based on.
How to create a proposal and ideas for re-use, recycling, managing and replenishing the commons etc will be covered in the training provided by the incubators.
The project implementation process will also be covered in the training provided by the incubators. Running a project once funding has been given for the pilot (either from UN or other funding source) will follow a standard agile project approach. The project process will ensure value for money, provide assessment check-points and make it possible for better sharing as all elements can be understood by any LAC regardless of their location in the world (in some cases via translation).
Project process steps:
Run pilot – pilot or pilots should be the smallest viable and measurable form of the larger project. The purpose of the pilot is to gather information about how successful the larger project could be, gather more information about risks, refine project components i.e. actions, underlying principles, resources and resource levels etc.Pilot assessment – This stage is completed by another LAC from a different part of the world. Project assessment skills are covered in incubator training.Apply for project implementation funding – Once the assessment and pilot information is gathered and added to the proposal, an application for implementation funding can be sent via the collaboration portal. The next round of funding is provided based on a set of criteria around the success of the pilot. A project after the pilot stage could be fully-funded, partially funded, not funded by UN but eligible for other funding, sent back to pilot stage or recommended for redesign, which would take the project back to the beginning of the funding process and a new proposal would be submitted. (more details in the section on UN funding decision making)Implementation stage – run project iteratively, improve processes and measure outcomes along the way.Evaluation stage – a non-local LAC assesses outcomes and shares improvement ideas. All project details are shared on the collaboration portal and are available to everyone not just UN citizens.
Relationships and Technology that hold the system and its Purpose Together
The strengths of the system is primarily based on grass roots initiatives but also on the connections within the system. All LACs, incubators, UN agencies, councils and KCs are connected via the global collaboration portal. The sharing and transparency that is provided by the portal, supports accountability and discourages corruption of the system.
A global Internet Based Network that Embeds the Principles of the EO
The key technological element of the system is the collaboration portal. The portal provides openness, transparency, sharing of proposal and project information and a ledger for distributing and recording funds.
The core features of the portal are:
Open to everyone world wide. Non-UN citizens can access the portal information, however, only UN citizens can vote on proposals or access UN cryptocurrency.UN citizens must be a verified member of the portal to access proposal voting and UN cryptocurrency.Becoming a verified member requires national documentation i.e. birth certificate or driving license (these would be defined per region) or incubator verification for people from areas where no formal documentation is common.Contains the low level decision making rules that facilitate speedy decision making for projects moving from pilot to implementation funding stages.Provides a voting platform.Provides a means of distributing and exchanging cryptocurrency.Facilitates and logs evaluations of LACs, incubators and KCs.Provides transparency to all decisions, projects outcomes, assessments etc.Provides an accessible means of sharing project information between LAC members and other UN circles and groups.Facilitates shared learning.Supports collaboration processes.Manages project cycle through proposal, funding, implementation and evaluation.Accesses funding in line with rules built into the portal. ie only a certain percentage of funds can come from specific funders.
What an Incubator Looks Like and how it Works
Incubators are local based organisations responsible for nurturing a healthy network of local action and knowledge circles through training and support activities. They ensure that all UN citizens, LACS and KCs have the skills and knowledge to be active and productive members of the system. The services provided by an incubator cover three core areas:
Personal development training.LAC/KC group training.Provision of resources, excluding funding.
Personal Development Training for UN citizens
Developing the Personal Attributes that Allow Each Person to Rise to Global Challenges
These programmes would include but not be limited to the following topics:
Developing system thinking skills.Understanding and build habits to address cognitive bias, personal wellbeing, collaboration skills as well as skills for working in a self-organised group.Proposal writing and project implementation skills. How to use the collaboration portal. Understanding SDGs, risks, opportunities both globally and locally, as well as how the local and global challenges interact.Non-violent communication (Rosenberg 1992). Understanding diverse view points.Thinking about thinking skills.
LAC and KC Training
Supporting not only “What” is Done but “How” it is Done to Tackle Global Challenges
The purpose of this training would be to ensure that each LAC has the skills and understanding to create and run a self-organised group. The modules included in this training would build on personal development training which would be a pre-requisite. Topic areas would include but not be limited to:
Collaboration skills and processes.Self-organisation principles and practices.Decision making process for LACs and KCs.Recruitment for LACs and KCs.Communication, interfaces and changing the world.How to get funded.Measures of success for projects both local and global.Assessing and evaluating other LAC’s projects and processes.Establishing common ground in diverse environments.
Provide Facilities and Resources
Drawing in the Disenfranchised to Boost Resources and Tackle the BIG Challenges
In some countries the opportunities to create a LAC or KC are hampered by infrastructure issues, resources and skills. Incubators in these areas would enable UN citizenship and LAC/KC creation by providing additional resources and support.
Creating Nurturing, Supportive, Learning Environments
Incubators are formed in response to local and global needs with collaboration from UN, non-local LACs and KCS and local people. The processes incubators use to make decisions and get funding are the same as the LAC/KCs but the projects they do are only ever around their three core support functions as defined above.
As with all self-organisation and project processes the work of the incubators is open and transparent, includes regular review and revision, as well as evaluation by other non-local incubators. As with LAC/KC incubators may be reviewed and evaluated by any other component of the system worldwide. Part of an incubators responsibilities is to undertake reviews and evaluations of other incubators throughout the world.
Adding “Energy” to the System via a Cryptocurrency
The purpose of setting up a UN cryptocurrency is to:
Reduce the financial cost of getting things done. LAC projects would be funded with a combination of UN cryptocurrency and local currency.Keep the “energy” in the form of money in a system that is focused on solving big global problems as well as grass root challenges.Provide a means by which LAC/KCs can exchange services and goods. In this way the currency encourages UN circles to work together and use goods and services from each other.Provide a means of “voting” with funds to UN citizen, so that each citizen can use their allotted annual currency to fund specific projects. - Provides a means of recognising successful projects.
UN citizens are provided with a small amount of the currency per year for example 10 units.UN citizens use the portal to distribute their currency anonymously across proposals or current projects. Projects may receive funds from UN citizens, local funders and UN central funding. LAC/KC list how much cryptocurrency they need (based on the goods and services they can access from other circles) and how much local currency they need for each specific project. Projects that use significant amounts of UN cryptocurrency to achieve their project goals gain additional evaluation points during central funding decision making.No UN cryptocurrency is converted in to another currency except by the UN who decide on conversion rates. The UN may choose to convert some cryptocurrency to local currency for circles that have completed successful projects. The currency would always have the greatest value inside the collaboration portal as a means of exchange between LAC/KCs and incubators.
Sources of Funding and Automating Funding Rules
Funding will be needed to set up incubators, create LAC/KCs and run LAC projects. The funding may come from a variety of sources, such as the UN, foundations, crowdfunding or governments etc.
Each funder will have specific stipulations and limitations designed to ensure funding does not skew the work of the project or the running of the circle. The funding rules will be embedded in the portal so that funding rules do not need to be “policed” by a person or group within the UN. Although UN officials and incubators will be required to evaluate the information provided by non-UN funders is correct so that any vested interest in the project is declared.
Fair, Open and Transparent Funding with Some Automation for Speed
The guiding principles of this model is to create a system where the “how” of a project is as important as the “what.” The funding processes are designed to bring those principles to life. The process outlined below supports openness, transparency, fairness and successful project methodologies.
Project Funding Steps
Proposal is added to portal with details of project and criteria for pilot funding. No circle name or members names would be associated with the project proposal to avoid bias.UN citizens can “vote” on projects anonymously by giving as many projects as they like the thumbs up. Only the home nation is recorded in the voting system, so that voters who are only voting for their own nations projects are visible.UN citizens can also anonymously distribute some or all of their UN cryptocurrency to projects they would like to support. The home nation of distributed funds are recorded but no other details. Where votes come from wealthy nations the system may recommend crowdfunding routes for the funding instead of UN central funding. In this case UN citizen’s might be offered the opportunity to match their cryptocurrency with local funds.The UN would allot central funding for pilots based on the project documentation, the number of votes received by the projects and the UN citizen funding given to the project, both crypto and local currency.Votes, project framework scores and citizen distributed currency would be tallied and an overall score for the projects would be added to the collaboration portal within the specific funding cycle.Projects with the highest scores and little crowdfunding potential would have their pilot phase funded by UN central funding. Proposals not UN funded may be selected by other funders such as foundations.At the end of each UN funding cycle proposals not funded go back to the proposal phase ready for a new round of funding.If a proposal is not fully funded in the round the proposal's scores and funds are removed ready for a new funding round. Any funds pledged by citizens would be returned to their cryptocurrency accounts.Fully funded (either by UN or other funders) projects will move on to the pilot phase.After the pilot, the outcomes will be assessed by another LAC in a different location. Pilot evaluation will be based on a set of standard criteria, around the success of the pilot in terms of its local, global goals, re-use/recycle data, use of local skills and goods, use of UN cryptocurrency, local indirect impact on other SDGs etc.The pilot assessment data will be added to the portal. If the pilot is successful across all its direct and at least some of the indirect goals the funding decision for the implementation phase will be automatic with no meetings or council review being required. Allowing the clearly successful projects to move to implementation phase quickly.Where pilot outcomes are less obvious the UN decision making body (may be the council or one of the current agencies) will review the data. After the review, the implementation stage may be funded, the project may be cancelled or a new project proposal may be submitted.
Steps to Creating a Evolutionary Organisation along side a Hierarchical Organisation
Step 1: Creating the Outer Circle
The outer circle would be created by the UN and would form the first circle of the system. The outer circle manages the initial set of process documentation, training material and vision etc. This body makes no decisions for circles outside its own. The decisions it makes are only to design how work can get done effectively not what work to do. As the EO grows the outer circle's work diminishes.
Step 2 : Positive Vision
The outer circle would define an initial simple positive vision for the EO – this should be inspiring but straight forward enough so that no one could disagree with the objective but the objective could be manifested in many different ways. In short it should be designed to avoid any cultural bias i.e. creating democracies all over the world is a western ideal. Something like “to build a thriving environment for everyone,” might be more useful and neutral.
By stating a simple but inclusive vision disagreements about the vision can be avoided and the resulting waste in time and energy. The positive vision would not directly refer to the global challenges but any projects that align with this vision would address those challenges. For example, any definition of “thriving” would obviously include food, shelter, education and security. In turn security encompasses, personal freedom, safety etc.
The benefits of starting with a single positive vision are:
Nations and regions can define what vision means for them rather than being provided with an “absolute” definition of what it means defined by a remote council.Focusing solely on the challenges creates fear and a sense of powerlessness and futility, which can result in inaction rather than galvanising people to take action.Working to avoid what we don’t want does not make clear what we do want.A vision of what we want is more motivating particularly when the threats full effect has yet to manifest.
Step 2 : Create Learning Material and set up Portal
Once the vision is defined the next step is to create the prototypes and pilots of all the documentation, training, circles and global portal.
Step 3: Create one of everything
The agile practices used in project proposals, pilots and implementations are used to create the conditions for emergence. By starting small, creating one incubator, one KC and one LAC, the system finds its feet before expanding. Every element of the system including, the collaboration portal, training, base level process documentation, circle principles etc are tried, tested, and updated on a small scale first.
Step 4: Scale and iterate
By step 4 the EO would have developed a life of its own, expanding and changing based on needs and success. The outer circles work would become to maintain documentation and the technology. The LAC, incubators and KCs would take on the work of assessing and supporting the creation of new LACs. Funding for LAC, KC, and incubator creation would be funded in the same way as normal project proposals and so may be funded by UN, Un citizens, crowdfunding or other sources as per the funding rules built into the portal.
Step 5: Retiring a Circle
In all living systems, death is part of the natural process of renewal, an EO is no different. The health of the system is ensured by the "death" of some of its components. Circles for example only live as long as they are needed to run their project. The process of "retiring" a circle includes recognising its achievements, archiving the details of its project and incorporating any learnings from the circle into the system. Once a circle is retired its members may form a new circle with others to tackle a new project. Retiring circles ensures that they do not continue passed their useful life and become skewed in their approach. For example, no consideration of any project decision should include keeping the circle alive as this would detract from more project.
An evolutionary organisation has systems level values which are clearly articulated and built into processes and assessment criteria for projects and processes. Each circle in turn has its own set of clearly stated values. Assessments and the funding criteria mean that the ability to get things done and gain funding for local projects run by local people is dependant on the circles ability to “live” their stated values and the values embedded in the principles of EO and the UN.
The decision making approach at all levels of the system is simplified and so made more efficient by the following features:
Local decisions are made locally where those impacted get the greatest say in the decision.Circle decisions avoid the difficulties and inefficiencies of consensus built decisions and the compromise of voting systems by using consent and commitment approaches.Consent and commitment decision making practices are facilitated by taking small steps following a decision. This approach means that more data on the viability of the decision is gathered early so a change of course can be made. In effect, any decision is made on a “good enough for now” basis which reduces the tensions which can arise from a “once and for all” approach to decisions. Each circle member knows that if the decision turns out to be wrong it can be changed. What is more, agile methods means fewer resources are used to discover if a decision needs to be changed.
The EO model creates bottom up action within a framework designed to align with values and tackle global challenges through local initiatives. By widening the opportunities for action the model increases the number of people engaged in work focused on a better world for everyone. Through the training, incubator processes and frameworks local circles will become more aware of risks and challenges and how their local issues impact the global risks, which will result in better outcomes for all local projects not just UN sponsored ones.
Some action no matter how small is proven to promote learning, skills development and attitude change. If just knowing the data was enough to change people's behaviour and solve problems, we would have made more progress by now. Research has shown us that changing attitudes in the hope of changing behaviour is not effective. Changing behaviour leads to changes in attitude. By encouraging more people to engage in actions at local levels where they can see the benefit of their efforts the UN would be able to create “learning by doing” opportunities in member countries and beyond. They would also be able to access more effective resources, that is local people solving local issues.
The framework and training provided in the EO promotes better decision making, inclusivity, understanding diversity issues, collaboration skills, reduction in cognitive bias etc. In this way effectiveness is enhanced through clarity of purpose and reduction of conflict.
The EO model essentially flips the power hierarchy from a few people with power to many people with power. By doing this the system gains more engaged resources.
Engagement research confirms that people are much more likely to be engaged when they are working on purposeful activities. By tapping into the desired of people to improve their own lives and their communities well-being the EO model has the potential to unleash a vast array of untapped resources.
In addition, this model enables effective work to be done by a wide variety of people across the world because it includes project and process training. It does not require a huge number of multi-skilled resources, rather it will enable many small groups of non-experts to leverage their desire for a better life coupled with requested input from knowledge circles/experts.
The model ensures equitable distribution via the collaboration portal and the anonymous project voting and scoring system. Only projects with high scores will be funded by UN central funding but other funders can use the same portal to fund projects if the wish.
Projects would be evaluated anonymously at the pilot stage so that scoring could not be influenced based on knowledge of the circle or its members.
In the EO model trust and insight is delivered via the global collaboration portal which ensures that anyone can review the circles, their members, their processes and project details at any time. Similarly, the portal will report non-local LAC assessment notes and scores for a LAC and their project(s).
The Evolutionary Organisation model is designed to adapt to change as it emerges and grows. Unlike traditional organisational models that mainly define power and reporting structures, the EO model defines the processes by which collaboration and decisions are made so that leadership can be spread wider. The EO model increases and maintains a high level of flexibility because of the following features:
Each member of the circle has the responsibility to raise process and project issues to the rest of the circle. If a process is no longer delivering the desired outcome in an EO there would be a larger number of people who are monitoring and ready to suggest improvements to the process.Decisions made via consent and commitment rather than by one leader can be revisited without causing interpersonal issues within the group. Everyone “owns” the decision and is responsible for changing it if need be.Training in “how” to run successful projects that meet the UN criteria means review and revisions phases are built into the system.Starting small with a pilot means changes in direction can be made relatively easily and inexpensively.Each circle has its own set of processes, defined and agreed by them. The processes must align with the principles but the strategy for achieving the principles is locally and culturally defined. This means all processes are flexible enough to meet local needs. In addition, because circles are relatively small and there are defined roles set up for making process changes, the processes can be efficiently updated as needs change.Alignment of the processes to a set of principles and the assessment of principles by non-local LAC mean flexibility can be achieved without risking quality. Retirement of circles means that resources are used where they are needed most rather than to keep organisations funded regardless of the work they are doing.
Traditional hierarchical organisations can suffer from conscious and unconscious abuse of power. When there is one or a small number of leaders it can lead to skewed decision making because those with less power feel they cannot challenge those with more power. Also common human cognitive biases mean the “leader” may not even be aware of his or her “over stepping” or favouring a particular interest group.
Much of the bias that leads to such abuses is tackled in the training provided by incubators. The motivation for undertaking the training is to receive assistance to solve a local issue that the circle members care about. The training is designed to support individuals and circles to “find their way” within the framework of “a better world for everyone.” It is designed this way to ensure that it is not teaching a set of rules defined by the UN that everyone must follow, which could be seen as “interfering” or promoting western values.
Groups are not obliged to seek UN help which means they have a choice to make. The basis upon which the support could be obtained through the EO, would need to be well articulated so that nation states and individuals can make the right choice for them.
Ultimately the EO would create a network for people interested in creating a “better world for everyone,” with this as a focus national, ethnic and regional concerns can be placed in an effective context.
The Evolutionary model reduces the risk of such power abuses by:
Training all participants in the principles of self-organisation which requires respect, compassion and collaboration skills.Training in how to express the underlying ethos of EO model, that “everyone is needed and everyone is important.”Evaluation by non-local LAC of processes to ensure the “how” of the project and circle processes are inline with EO principles. Cognitive bias training and collaborating with diverse groups training.LACs are made up of members of regions who have come together to solve an issue they are facing. They define the problem and the solution and are offered funding based on the proposal meeting the framework criteria, which means “interference” by non-nationals in terms of setting the agenda for problems and solutions is eliminated.A circle will only be funded if it meets the diversity of age, gender and minority inclusion requirements laid down in the circle principles.
Accountability and results orientation are built into the EO model by virtue of the following features:
- Assessment of what is done and how it is done by non-local circles. As the assessing circle has no stake in the outcome or relationship with the LAC being assessed, they can be objective and fair.
Openness and transparency that is built into the model via the portal and cross LAC assessment process encourages circles to follow through with commitments.Self-interest is minimised by the processes of self-organisation and good project management practices.As projects are designed to solve locally defined issues clarity of purpose and objectives are enhanced. For example, a local group forming a circle to tackle adult literacy shortfall in an area of high unemployment and poverty, understand the issues, can access the right audience and the people who can help. Funding is provided initially only for pilots and then the pilot outcomes are assessed by disinterested non-local LAC. This means that only circles that have proven that they have a good idea and the ability to execute it effectively will be funded.