Feedback from Launch and Planning Event

The Civil Society Forum

The Launch and Planning Event was held on Wednesday 20 April 2011. Feedback from the event included:

“Excellent start, very stimulating and thought provoking. I feel this is a very important vehicle for learning, influencing and hopefully action”, Nigel Newton Sawyerr, previous the Collaboration National Support Service; the BASSAC Collaborative Benefits Programme

“Good open discussion. It was interesting, informative and extremely thought provoking and maybe the start of some answers!” Karen Woolley, KLIC4 Training / Chair of Oxfordshire Rural Development Council

“Well done on a great event & really inspirational to be connected to other likeminded people who believe in collaborative leadership!” Jennifer Morgan, WWF / The finance Lab

“Felt like I was drinking from a fire hydrant,” Phyllis SantaMaria, Micro Finance Without Borders

“Good thought provoking afternoon… I believe it is the future” Simon Edwards, social entrepreneur

 

Fourth CSF Event Announced

We are pleased to invite you to the fourth event of the Civil Society Forum.


Date: Tuesday 19th July 2011

Time: 1.30pm – 5.30pm

Location: Innovations for Change

24 Greycoat St, London,

 

There will be two parts to the workshop:

The art of collaboration

Progress against many problems is entirely dependant on our ability to work collaboratively with others both within and across the boundaries of our organizations. The session will put legs on the art of collaboration. John will explain what makes collaboration productive – and what gets in the way – and will explore strategies for getting there. The will be plenty of opportunities for discussion.

Speaker: Professor John Carlisle.

 

John is a recognised authority on collaboration and organisational transformation. His work has been endorsed by the International Management journal and the Harvard Business Review. He was previously a trainer on the Government Top Management Programme and his book “Beyond Negotiation” is highly recommended reading.

 

Joint strategic thinking

 

Small group dialogue on issues identified as of mutual concern by participants.

Please see the Event Flyer for further details.

 

 

Report on Riots Forum, 1 Feb 2012

08/02/2012

National forum maps out creative ways forward after last year’s riots

by Michael Smith and Anjali Guptara

Dr Peter Selby delivers the keynoteDr Peter Selby delivers the keynoteA former bishop to HM Prisons told a forum held in London that custodial sentences and bail provisions for some of the rioters of last August have been too harsh. Dr Peter Selby, formerly Bishop of Worcester and Bishop to HM Prisons, criticised a ‘system of disregard’ for the wellbeing of disenfranchised young people, which had led to the riots.

‘I am seriously worried that you blight somebody’s whole life for one night of foolishness’ by handing down prison sentences for minor crimes, said Bishop Selby. With 1,400 people in the system still awaiting prosecution and sentencing, ‘there are real grounds for concern. The punitive response to individual rioters, resort to constraint and control and the use of prison disproportionately for the poorest add to up a system of disregard’ for their and society’s welfare, he said.

The busy registration desk, fronted by Saalik HaleemThe busy registration desk, fronted by Saalik HaleemHe was speaking at a conference on ‘After the riots: from blame to positive action’, held at the Initiatives of Change centre in London on 1 February. The forum was organised jointly by the Civil Society Forum, Initiatives of Change, the Cordoba Foundation, and Burning2Learn leadership training programme for young people. It brought together some 100 community and faith leaders and representatives of non-governmental organisations from London, Nottingham, Manchester, Wolverhampton, Glasgow, Ipswich and Norwich.

Welcoming participants on behalf of the organising committee, Don de Silva, Head of Programmes at IofC UK, said the event would be a listening forum. He continued: ‘Many of the individuals here have hands on experience in dealing with critical issues, such as social exclusion, family life, youth offending and community cohesion. The forum aims to bring the values dimension into the riots debate. It will provide a space for dialogue. We will avoid any points scoring. We hope that the forum will encourage everyone to start with themselves, look at their own responsibilities, not just that of the others. We need both personal and systemic change to make a lasting difference.’

Maria from Burning2LearnMaria from Burning2LearnThe event was kick-started with a short presentation by a group of young people from Croydon, Wolverhampton and Kent. Seventeen-year old Maria said: ‘It is fairly obvious that what has happened has had some really damaging and lasting effects on the persons involved; those who took upon themselves to vandalise and steal and shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it. Do we really have the time to be processing each and every case? Surely, our time would be more productively used ensuring that it doesn’t happen again.’

Clasford Stirling makes a point in the parenting and family workstreamClasford Stirling makes a point in the parenting and family workstreamClasford Stirling, a community leader from the Broadwater Farm estate in Tottenham, told the conference that ‘the system doesn’t provide for young people. We have four youth groups to deal with 100,000 people. It can’t happen. We need 20 youth clubs.’

The rioters had come together in protest against the police following the shooting of 29-year-old Mark Duggan in Tottenham on 4 August. At first the rioters found it ‘a sense of fun. The looting came afterwards. When you are having fun you don’t care.’ That fun had criminalised them. Politicians hadn’t always obeyed the law either and ‘the rich get richer because they steal’. Describing himself as a disciplinarian and ‘a serious dude’ loved by his children, Stirling admitted that some parents didn’t impose enough discipline.

Workstreams in sessionWorkstreams in sessionDr Selby criticised ‘a system of punitive attitudes’ that disregarded what effect this would have on the welfare of young people and the future of society. He contrasted this with ‘individual acts of over-indulgence at the top’ by some bankers and politicians who ‘bent the rules to their own interests’ and were resistant to regulation and control, and which ultimately led to ‘attacks on the lives of the poor’.

Emphasising that he was never in favour of rioting, Dr Selby said the riots were ‘the result of the economics of disregard that we have all created’. There was a need for systemic changes. ‘I don’t believe that the world will become a better place only by people becoming better people,’ even though this was essential from a Christian perspective. ‘I incline to a systemic view of things.’

Charlier Ryder: 'A sense of forgiveness and self-worth'Charlier Ryder: ‘A sense of forgiveness and self-worth’‘Individual acts of looting and robbery, resistance to authority and, ultimately, violence against persons add up to a system of disregard,’ which had marginalised too many young people, he said. It was important that we attune our consciences to ‘a moral universe’. ‘If you propagate a system of disregard you are acting outside the guarantees of a moral universe. Last August was a call to live for a system of regard.’

Charlie Ryder, a musician, actor and former prisoner, told how he had served eight months in jail for taking part in a violent demonstration outside a BNP bookshop in 1993. His father’s drinking had had a bad effect on his upbringing, he said. He told the forum that young people needed a sense of forgiveness and healing to retain their sense of self-worth. He now works with the chaplaincy at Wormwood Scrubs Community Chaplaincy, and has collaborated with the Forgiveness Project.

Maxine Cockette: ‘We can do something positively'Maxine Cockette: ‘We can do something positively’Maxine Cockett, a community leader from the St Ann’s district of inner-city Nottingham, told how she had been part of earlier riots in the 1980s. When the riots of last August reached Nottingham, she urged the rioters to go home before the police found them. ‘We can do something positively,’ said Cockett, one of the organisers of an annual ‘Holding Hands Around St Ann’s’ demonstration of community unity. Every generation needed opportunities. Too many young people leave school at 14 ‘with no stake in their communities’. Greg Davies: 'The problem with youth clubs is that they are "nice places" for "nice kids".'Greg Davies: ‘The problem with youth clubs is that they are “nice places” for “nice kids”.’She wanted to work together with others in the community to ‘find solutions’ so that young people are not marginalised and don’t riot. ‘I hope there won’t be any more riots. But I wouldn’t be surprised if we have riots again,’ she said.

Greg Davis, founder of the United Estates in Wythenshawe, Manchester, spoke about the inner-city cultural community centre, which helps to ‘foster a sense of belonging, education and training’. The problem with youth clubs is that they are ‘nice places’ for ‘nice kids’, he said. ‘The kids who most need the support of a youth club are the ones least likely to go. There are issues of class, ethnicity and gender. They need youth clubs for kids who don’t go to youth clubs.’ In the previous generation, traditional figures of respect were teachers, parents, police and faith leaders. Now they faced abuse from kids. ‘Those who can relate and garner respect are now more likely to be sports coaches and dance teachers.’

Ian Montague: 'Am I my brother’s keeper?'Ian Montague: ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’Ian Montague from the grassroots Glasgow charity FARE (Family Action in Rotherfield and Easterhouse) told how he had grown up in the Gorbals slum area of Glasgow. It had ‘the worst housing project with razor gangs’ and there was a lack of hope and vision, he said. As a teenager he had thought, ‘I can’t change them but I have to do something. Am I my brother’s keeper? Yes!’ Going into education, he launched a community newspaper ‘to irritate those who should be doing something’. Twenty years ago, the Council gave six flats to use for a youth project. The young people tookRepresentatives of youth groups present their research findings to the forumRepresentatives of youth groups present their research findings to the forumresponsibility for this space. Eighteen months ago the entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne, of the Dragon’s Den TV series, contributed. They now had assets of £2 million. ‘There is money and there is room!’ commented Montague. ‘We have to find who has got it!’

Reporting back from workstreamsReporting back from workstreamsMason West, from Alabama, Tennessee, represented EYES (Engage Youth Empowerment Services) in Wolverhampton at the forum. Colour, caste and religion were used as reasons to divide, he said. ‘We need resources to pull together’ and invest in youth, ‘raising their expectations, empowering them, giving them confidence, helping them to find their voice and engage. Once they are plugged into the system they can change it. Then there’s no need to worry about them being radicalised or rebelling.’

Ann Edwards, from the Suffolk village of Wenhaston, said that Suffolk has many of the most deprived areas of the country. ‘Regardless of whether you live in the town or the Ann Edwards:  'Small, simple ideas can have a big impact on the community'Ann Edwards: ‘Small, simple ideas can have a big impact on the community’countryside, how can you engage to make a difference?’ she posed. The villagers had safety concerns about children skateboarding on the main road through the village. Residents located an unused area where they created a skateboard park for the children. This gradually developed to accommodate the needs of the community. £144,000 was raised for a new sports complex, which has tennis and skateboarding facilities integrated for all ages and backgrounds. They also revived a youth club. There has been almost no vandalism as it was very much a community generated project in which everyone took pride. ‘Small, simple ideas can have a big impact on the community,’ she said. Her personal inspiration had come from ‘taking time for quiet reflection every morning, listening for direction and seeking inner peace’.

Razia Aziz provided the inspirational songsRazia Aziz provided the inspirational songsClosing the forum, Anas Altikriti, Chief Executive of The Cordoba Foundation remarked: ‘What we have learnt today is that the greatest resource and asset we have is people.  Society leads us to believe that it is money – stuff – that matters but what really succeeds is a project that places its worth on people and their work. This is the message that we give to the young people today. All of us can make a change. All over the world, we see the resurgence of the youth as a force to transform society. In the Middle East, we were told that young people were lazy and indolent, yet they have been at the forefront of the Arab Spring. Likewise, we tell people here that it is the spirit, endeavours and courage of the youth, that can shift paradigms, and they need to be supported’.

A young rioter commented afterwards: ‘I did not know that there were many people who cared and listened to people like us. This event is a rebirth for me.’

Photography: John Leggat

Initiatives of Change are considering further action that could be taken to help address the issues and ideas raised during the day. To see more and some of the key reports analysing causes and what can be done to address them see their webpage.  click here

Event: Increasing collective impact & serving common interests sustainably – 15th May 2012

How can we adjust our organisational practice to increase our collective impact and better serve our common interests, wealth and well-being? The current economic crisis is but one of the reasons that this is a critical question of our time and the topic for exploration on the afternoon of the Tuesday 15th May in partnership with the School of Commoning, the Gaia Network and Working in Trust and as part of the Quilligan series of events launching at the House of Commons on the 8th May.

James Quilligan, advisor to governments around the world will open the forum with his insight into the subject followed by a cornucopia of short exposees on what can be done practically in any organisation; business, social or community enterprise. These will demonstrate and provide practical examples and provide information on how to find out more. There will then be an open space for dialogue and exploration developing ideas.

Contributors include:

George Por, Founder of The School of Commoning

Sally Gritten, President of Human Systems Dynamics Institute

Tony Brown, ex Quality Director, BAE Systems

Dr Susan Canney, Oxford University & co-founder of the Gaia Network

Patrick Andrews, ex corporate lawyer & co-founder of Working in Trust, a charity fostering the development of organisations balancing the needs of the environment, community and staff

Insights shared will include:

  • Drawing on ideas from complexity theory & observation of how the natural world works, to re-examine our inherited notions of leadership, power and control, the session will examine some of the implications for how we organize. In particular, adjustments needed to our governance systems.
  • Drawing from an understanding of how large numbers of people become mobilized towards a common concern – such as happened with ‘social movements’ like the ‘green movement’ – to explore options for making an impact on issues that concern us.
  • Drawing on insight from Human Systems Dynamics by introducing a method identifying and illustrating simple adjustments to help build generative work with teams or collaborations.
  • An exploration of what kind of ethic we need to instill in businesses and other organizations in order to encourage of the commons, and what kind of legal and governance structures will support this.
  • An introduction to the Model of Sustainable Organisation; a model and compilation of material to support organisations deliver sustainable results from the perspectives of all stakeholders (drawing on insight of Dr Deming and others on organisations as a system and within systems).
  • What if we treated health as a ‘commons’? What could a reformed healthcare system look like; a system where patients are no longer just consumers of services but help to design and deliver them?

We invite you to join the exploration. For more details and to register go to http://www.eventbrite.com/event/3140448165. Minimum donation of £25 invited to cover costs of convening the event.

For more details click here.

Potential topics / Insight helpful in considering "how can we adjust our business (organisational) models, systems and ways of working to help better serve the common interests and protect the well-being of all?"

Topics for Discussion / Short presentations sharing insight

Below are some of the topics / insight helpful is considering how to adjust out business (organisational) models, systems and ways of working to help better serve the common interests and protect the well-being of all. First I will outline suggested questions that they workshop will address. We are drawing together a convening team which will work on refining this in the run up to the workshop. We invite your suggestions and please make contact if you would be interested in being involved in the design / convening team.

Workshop Questions

The workshop will consider the following questions:

  • How do our approaches and ways of working hinder us from working together to address the needs of all stakeholders and what can be done to help?
  • How can insight from different disciplines eg one or more systems approaches help in addressing the challenge?
    • Eg Complexity science, whole scale change
    • What organizational models and frameworks eg performance measurement and management models, help us to understand and manage the wider and longer term impact of the organisation or organizational unit?
    • How can we adapt our organizational structures to help?
    • What can we do to overcome / work round the limitations of our existing structures?
    • Practical examples of work addressing the challenge.

We invite you to suggest others and, if you could share insight to let us know.

We are aware that there will be a lot of expertise in the room. To allow for fuller consideration of a range of relevant insight we invite proposals from interested participants of short (@5 minute) presentations.  If you feel you have insight on the subjects above or other perspectives that may be helpful we invite you to email a paragraph or two of outline.

We also welcome suggestions for others whom it would be valuable to invite.

 Presentations invited/offered to date:

  • A taxonomy of management practice to improve the collective impact of our organisations.
  • Overview of the Model of Sustainable Organisation (MoSO from CQI); a framework developed to assist enterprises understand and improve relationships, improve performance and create a sustainable future. (Malcolm Gall or Alan Hodges)
  • How to better serve consumer needs and the wider common interests. Exploring the contribution of / through autonomous leadership and management and improved understanding of the system.

Potential topics – offers to present invited

We seek speaker to address these or other perspectives addressing the convening question

What needs to be done to adjust our business (organizational) models, systems and ways of working to help better serve the needs of all stakeholders (including society and the environment)?”

  • A taxonomy of approaches that can help improve organizational responsiveness to common interests
  • An overview of individual systems approach/es (eg. complexity science) and how it/they can help improve organizational responsiveness to common interests
  • A whistle-stop tour of systems approaches and how they can help improve organisational sensitivity/responsiveness to common interests.
  • A strategy to engage people in increasing the effectiveness of the wider system – [for example, a quick overview of Kaizen/continuous improvement]
  • Adjustments to our strategic planning processes to become more agile and responsiveness to direct and indirect  & future needs of direct and indirect needs
  • How understanding outcomes and outcome-based management & delivery processes can increase sensitivity to needs of consumers and other stakeholders (drawing on Japanese approaches
  • An overview Level 2 Continuous Improvement; A process for improving management processes and continuously increasing the responsiveness to complex needs of all stakeholders.

These are some suggested topics that I believe would help provide insight into the challenge. I welcome other suggestions. I would also be interested in speaking with anyone interested in developing the thinking and finding opportunities to for wider exploration of the challenge.

Esther Ridsdale, event convener.

 

 

Event Reminder May 15th

Event: Increasing Collective Impact and Serving Common Interests Sustainably

Event Outline:  How can we adjust our organisational practice to increase our collective impact and better serve our common interests, wealth and well-being? The current economic crisis is but one of the reasons that this is a critical question of our time and the topic for exploration on the afternoon of the Tuesday 15th May in partnership with the School of Commoning, the Gaia Network and Working in Trust and as part of the Quilligan series of events launching at the House of Commons on the 8th May.

James Quilligan, advisor to governments around the world will open the forum with his insight into the subject followed by a cornucopia of short exposees on what can be done practically in any organisation; business, social or community enterprise. These will demonstrate and provide practical examples and provide information on how to find out more. There will then be an open space for dialogue and exploration developing ideas.

Contributors include:
George Por, Founder of The School of Commoning
Sally Gritten, President of Human Systems Dynamics Institute
Tony Brown, ex Quality Director, BAE Systems
Dr Susan Canney, Oxford University & co-founder of the Gaia Network
Patrick Andrews, ex corporate lawyer & co-founder of Working in Trust, a charity fostering the development of organisations balancing the needs of the environment, community and staff

Insights shared will include:

  • Drawing on ideas from complexity theory & observation of how the natural world works, to re-examine our inherited notions of leadership, power and control, the session will examine some of the implications for how we organize. In particular, adjustments needed to our governance systems.
  • Drawing from an understanding of how large numbers of people become mobilized towards a common concern – such as happened with ‘social movements’ like the ‘green movement’ – to explore options for making an impact on issues that concern us.
  • Drawing on insight from Human Systems Dynamics by introducing a method identifying and illustrating simple adjustments to help build generative work with teams or collaborations.
  • An exploration of what kind of ethic we need to instill in businesses and other organizations in order to encourage of the commons, and what kind of legal and governance structures will support this.
  • An introduction to the Model of Sustainable Organisation; a model and compilation of material to support organisations deliver sustainable results from the perspectives of all stakeholders (drawing on insight of Dr Deming and others on organisations as a system and within systems).
  • What if we treated health as a ‘commons’? What could a reformed healthcare system look like; a system where patients are no longer just consumers of services but help to design and deliver them?

We invite you to join the exploration. For more details and to register go here 

Esther Ridsdale Interview

Here is the text of a recent interview of Esther Ridsdale the convenor of the upcoming conference “How can we adjust organisational practice to increase collective impact and better serve common interests, wealth and well-being”

Interview by Yva Alexandrova

On 8 May the seminar series on The Emergence of a Commons-based Economy by James Quilligan, launched in the House of Commons. Convened by Michael Meacher, MP, the seminar gathered over 60 participants and generated inspiring discussion. Building up on the momentum, I spoke with Esther Ridsdale of the Civil Society Forum, who was working to put together the the eagerly anticipated seminar on ‘How can we adjust organisational practice to increase collective impact and better serve common interests, wealth and well-being?’ – the first in a series on this theme convened by the Civil Society Forum. I spoke to her about her inspirations, motivation and the way forward for a commons-based approach in civil society.

What is your inspiration in working with civil society and popularising the ideas of the commons?

15 years ago my remit was to lead the work in car parts suppliers to improve effectiveness from the perspectives of customers, suppliers, staff, society and the environment. Continuous improvement for effectiveness from all perspectives has been my passion ever since. The crisis we are in with the economy and the environment now is largely due to the fact that we have evolved ways of working where we try to be effective and use resources efficiently only from one perspective. We do this in a way that ends up being detrimental to the broader value that the business can add. One way we define civil society is the pursuit of collective interests and this requires a multi sector approach; every organisation in every sector has an impact and can make an invaluable contribution.

What will the seminar deal with in more detail?

The seminar is built around a set of short insight pieces on a range of topics related to the theme question. On the 15th the first two of the insight talks will be by James Quilligan, who will put forward underlying principles and approaches that need to be pursued to provide safeguards for our commons assets while releasing the latent creative potential in human beings. He will consider how this can be done both at a local and global level.

This will be followed by five more short interventions by a range of speakers with expertise in addressing the challenge in different contexts. Open dialogue will follow, allowing participants to organise into groups to explore aspects of the theme most interesting for them.

Update: Because of the popularity of this format, the relevance of the topic to everyone working anywhere and the importance of the topic we have agree to continue the theme; running more events of the same or similar format and more on the theme starting with an event on the 12th July.

Who are you aiming to reach with the present seminar?

The seminars are open for participation to anyone who is interested. They are directed at people from all sectors concerned with contributing to society through the organisations they work in and with. Particularly people with influence over how organisational responses are structured and ways of organising e.g. senior and middle managers, people in public sector and other infrastructure and support organisations, consultancies, think tanks, etc. The seminar – and Civil Society Forum as a whole – is an open forum about strategic thinking, learning and individual and collaborative action.

It provides an opportunity to engage in constructive dialogue with people in related parts of the organisational ‘system’ in a safe and neutral space.

The focus of this particular seminar is how to adjust organisational practice to increase collective impact to protect common interest, wealth and wellbeing.

What do you think are some ways of increasing overall collective impact?

The Civil Society Forum is a space where we aim to enable people to become more resourceful in tackling the challenges and engaging with the big issues around building civil society. Learning together and sharing of learning are key principles in our work. Through carrying out workshops and know-how on how to set up, for example, a meeting that enables people to go away feeling they are more resourceful in addressing issues of concern to them. Also seeing events in the broader context of working together and developing ways to engage individuals and organisations and create continuity.

As part of the seminar we are working on developing an action learning set, drawing on principles of the commons, as well as collaborative planning and improvement on the subject of stimulating and supporting different groups of people and increase their collective impact.

With the aim of maximising the effect of each seminar, we ask partners to reflect on the impact of the particular seminar for the individual, the convening organsation and the larger system as a whole. What are your thoughts on this?

Similar to life coaching, the aim of the seminar is that participants come away feeling both inspired and more resourceful, but also with clear next steps to make progress in areas close to their heart. Some of those next steps will be in partnership with others at the event; buddying up to achieve a greater impact.

Can you give an inspiring example and elaborate on a common in the civil society area which you feel has greater importance for the future?

I think social enterprises and similar forms of organisations present a real alternative business model for the future. They aim at both being efficient as a business enterprise while at the same time recognising their role and responsibility to the society they operate in. The number and variety of these entities is continuously growing.

The seminar on the 15th May was jointly convened by the Civil Society Forum, The Gaia Network, Working in Trust and the School of Commoning. The Civil Society Forum aims to promote collaborative approaches for the benefit of all and is pleased to work collaboratively with other organisations in service of civil society.

More practical information on events can be found on the events page.


Keynote Sessions May 15th

Here is an overview of the main conference speakers together with their Biographies:

Adjusting our organisational practice to increase our collective impact & better serve our common interests, wealth & well-being

Speaker/ Author

Focus

James Quilligan Local and Global Commons: Increasing our collective impact to protect common wealth and well-beingJames will explain the notion of The Commons and what can we do at a local and business level to preserve the common interests, wealth and wellbeing.     Overview – see below
George Por,School of Commoning An exploration of how to make an impact on issues that concern us: lessons from the mobilization of large numbers of people towards a common concern (as with social movements such as the ‘green movement)Context: We all have concerns and things we would like to see happen, either through personal interest and/or as a part of our job role. How can we have the greatest impact on these? With awareness, there are a great number of choices in how we focus our efforts, particularly choices between what we do ourselves and the initiatives we start ourselves and enhancing initiative/inspiration and initiatives of or with others. The session will give some simple and practical ideas. It will also point to ways in which anyone interested can learn more about the subject.More: Natural ‘default’ response when addressing an issue is to focus on what we can do; what we can make happen. We are programmed to ‘do it ourselves’. We may however be able to have a greater and sustainable impact; return on the investment of energy may be achieved by joining with others who share a concern (either already or after inspiration), rallying others, and supporting places where there is existing initiative. Study of how wide-reaching shifts have happened and the science of systems and complexity can be tapped to provide insight that can be applied to help contribute to wide and deeper change. The session will give some simple and practical ideas. It will also point to ways in which anyone interested can learn more about the subject.
Tim Harle Adjusting our governance systems. From Ant Hills to the Arab Spring. Drawing on ideas from complexity theory & observation of how the natural world works, to re-examine our inherited notions of leadership, power and control, the session/article will examine some of the implications for how we organize. In particular, adjustments needed to our governance systems. Affiliations:

 

Susan Canney An example of how a living systems approach delivered greater impact for a fraction of the cost than parallel work using conventional approaches. Using a case study from Mali, West Africa, where the problems were deemed intractable, this presentation will show how the key ideas from complexity theory have been used to deliver greater impact, for less money, than a much bigger project using a conventional mechanistic, ‘command-and-control’ approach.  Establishing a shared goal and systems to govern the commons were central to success.The presentation will briefly describe the project to be able to draw out the key differences between the two approaches, and thus to demonstrate why the systems approach works. Key to success was an adaptive methodology that did not work from pre conceived ideas but focused on the local situation as embedded within a wider socio-ecological living system. Establishing a shared goal and systems to govern the commons were central to success, while the eco-literacy of the local communities and of individuals within government was a key asset. The whole process continues to generate new ideas and surprises!
Anna Betz & Alex Laird Living Medicine:This session will describe how Living Medicine has been working with parks and communities in East London to revive our use of the precious commons of plants and healing food and plant knowledge. Our challenge is to shape Living Medicine’s organisation so that it demonstrates co-operation, connection and health from the inside out as an inspirational model.  We are developing a programme to Involving local people in co-creating and running community healing gardens and teaching each other.
Eileen Conn Relations between the organised world and the community: community engagement in the social eco-systems dance. This presentation will introduce the theory and model of the Social Eco-System Dance (SESD). It offers some explanations of why life can be so tough at the place where community action (the horizontal peer system) interacts with the organised work world (the vertical hierarchical system: including public agencies, and the voluntary sector – charities with staff). The two systems dance to very different tunes. Generally the horizontal world, as a separate system with its own distinct organisational dynamics, is invisible to the verticalworld. Lack of awareness of this makes it painful for both and often seriously interferes in the effectiveness of their interactions.Using a complex systems perspective, the SESD model gives a new additional way of seeing this. It provides more ways of understanding how the dance might be adjusted gradually through ‘adjacent possible’ steps to enable people in each system to work together, and allow effective collaborative ways of working to emerge, serving the common good more effectively.  Nurturing relationships, and systems leading to trust, are a key to this. For more information see papers at http://goo.gl/17ObH and (http://goo.gl/jVXKT).


Biographies

 

Name

Bio & affiliations of relevance and possible interest to others

Contact Details

James Quilligan James Bernard Quilligan has been an analyst and administrator in the field of international development since 1975. He has served as policy advisor and writer for many international politicians and leaders, including Pierre Trudeau, François Mitterand, Edward Heath, Julius Nyerere, Olof Palme, Willy Brandt, Jimmy Carter and His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan. Quilligan was a policy advisor and press secretary for the Brandt Commission (1978-1984). He  has also been an economic consultant for government agencies in more than 30 countries. Quilligan is a co-founder of Global Commons Trust, (www.globalcommonstrust.org), where he is working with colleagues to develop a Secretariat to provide research, support and publicity for a new international commission on the global commons. He has also launched a lobbying effort, Commons Action for the United Nations (CAUN), which has been successful in introducing the concepts of the commons into UN discussions and documents. Over the past several years, Quilligan has published a series of unique articles on the global commons in Kosmos Journal.
Tim Harle Tim Harle is a Visiting Fellow at Bristol Business School and a Lay Canon of Bristol Cathedral. He is a member of the international In Claritas community exploring new approaches to governance and Vice-Chair of MODEM, a network promoting mutual learning between churches and the business community.Relevant/recommended affiliations:

 

Web www.timharle.netEmail tim@timharle.netTwitter @TimHarlePhone +44 (0) 1249 721707

 

George Por George Por is an evolutionary thinker/activist, social architect, and strategic learning partner  to changemakers and visionary leaders in business, government and civil society.He is a Fellow of Future Considerations and the founder of CommunityIntelligence. At the School,of Commoning he pursues his passion to make waves for increasing Commons literacy, everywhere, fast. Web: http://www.indiegogo.com/CommonsEconomyRisingEmail: george.por@gmail.com
Susan Canney Susan Canney’s work involves using systems perspectives and collaborative approaches to understand and find sustainable solutions to problems concerning the human-nature relationship. Having worked on a variety of projects around the world and as a research officer for the then UK Government’s independent adviser on sustainable development, Susan’s affiliations are:

  • Co-founder of the Gaia Network
  • Research Associate, Oxford University,
  • Leader of the WILD Foundation’s Mali Elephant Project
  • Forum for the Future’s ‘Reconnections’ team for business leaders

 

Web: http://www.wild.org/field-projects/the-desert-elephants-of-mali/;Email: susan.canney@zoo.ox.ac.uk
Anna Betz Anna Betz has 30 years of experience working in the public and private sector in health and social care. She works as a medical herbalist and workshop leader of Living Medicineand also works as lead practitioner in dementia care in the NHS. She brings a passion for creating a better world and is one of the founders of School of Commoning. The commons movement is to her where individual, communal, organisational, and social evolution meet. Her expertise together with her passion for building sustainable communities, inspire her to discover and co-create with other commoners the ‘commons of health and  wellbeing’
Alex Laird Alex Laird is founding director of Living Medicine and a medical herbalist who runs clinics in hospital dermatology clinic and a breast cancer support. Living Medicine is a charit, that reskills people in using foods and herbs for self care, sharing knowledge between all cultures. Our work aims to inspire people to reconnect to healing plants and teach each other to take responsibility for their health. We wish to create community medicinal gardens and a gorgeous World Kitchen Garden as a national visitor centre grown by and with the public.
Eileen Conn Eileen Conn has been an active local resident of Peckham in SE London for many years, and in parallel a senior civil servant in Whitehall focusing on the management & development of the Government system.  Her experience has led her to develop a new theory on how organisations (vertical hierarchical system) interact with community activity (horizontal peer system).Affiliations:

 

Patrick Andrews Patrick heads up the research and learning work at Working in Trust, a project that aims to foster the development of trust-based businesses balancing the needs of the environment, of the community and the staff. Patrick was formerly a corporate lawyer, employed by large corporations including Pratt & Whitney and Kingfisher to handle mergers and acquisitions.  He is on the board of eco-car company Riversimple.Relevant/recommended affiliations:

  • Working in Trust

 

Email: patrickandr@gmail.comMobile: +44 (0) 7717 226667
Ray Charlton Ray Charlton, OD consultant, tutor, coach, and action learning facilitator, is a visiting contributor in executive development at Said Business School, Oxford, Henley Business School and WMG, Warwick. He is a member of the Deming Alliance and of the Deming Special Interest Group of the Chartered Quality Institute. Email: rayc@transitionpartnerships.comWeb: www.transitionpartnerships.comTel: + 44 (0)1564 794665
Esther Ridsdale

 

Handouts on the day will include the following information:

How can participants learn more about the subject? Recommended books, organisations, web-sites, articles, next steps.

 

Here is more information about James Quilligans presentation:

Increasing Collective Impact and Serving Common Interest, Wealth and Well-Being

James Quilligan, 19th April 2012 – Overview for event on 15th May 2012

 Our commons are the shared wealth (material, natural, genetic, social, cultural and intellectual wealth) which we have inherited or created and must be passed on to future generations. What segment of society can best organize and manage these common goods apart from private (market-based) goods and public (government-produced) goods? In recent decades, civil society has been defining the interests and advocating for the rights of the unrepresented, global networks, nongovernmental organizations, citizens associations and social movements. Indeed, many of the concerns that civil society organizations are pursuing – greater neighborhood organisation, healthy food, clean water, clean air, environmental protection, green energy, free flow of information, social technologies, human rights and indigenous peoples’ rights – may be managed as commons.

This seminar focuses on how civil society can reach a new level of impact by adjusting its organisational practices to better serve the needs of all stakeholders by increasing their power and protecting the common wealth and well-being.

Besides maximising the power of networks to create greater synergy through cross-sectoral cooperation among existing institutions, many new forms of commons collaboration are emerging, leading to new ways of interacting and coordinating social and economic life. For example, social charters, co-governance, co-production, commons trusts, autonomous civil society initiatives, partnership governments and peer-to-peer job creation are rapidly generating new forms of value and political management, teaching civil society organizations how to adopt new values and structures.

Through these innovative forms of peer-to-peer management and open source business models – including free software, open hardware groups, open media and educational models, open collaborative research in commerce and science, horizontalist decision-making by social activists, couch-surfing and peer-funding – resource users are becoming directly involved in the process of production. A new production and governance logic of learning-by-doing now becomes possible.

By operating both as resource users and as producers, enabling local stakeholders to develop their own political power, civil society groups can thus expand the scope of collective rights and civic power to develop a more dynamic basis for collective action, social solidarity and direct democracy than currently exists. As catalysts for the integration of producers and consumers, many civil society organizations may evolve into local/regional councils and commons trusts, or perhaps form partnerships with them.

The increased participation and political choices offered to citizens through these new accountability structures can transform economic, social and political decision-making at the local level and increase the effectiveness and impact of their collaborative activities for stakeholders. In a way, none of this is really new: it’s the ancient but much-neglected foundation of self-organizing communities.