Helping Teams Thrive with Loomio – My Journey with Collaboration Consulting

Since Loomio first launched, the team has been fielding requests from clients to help make the tool and collaborative processes work for them. In response, Loomio has offered consulting Services that discover needs, identify changes to work processes, and coach key team members to understand the magic and the practicality of Loomio’s mission: “Enabling everyone to have a say in decisions that affect them”.

Now Loomio is starting to work with independent consultants, like me, to offer these services to a wider range of clients.

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 11.48.15 AM

Continue reading “Helping Teams Thrive with Loomio – My Journey with Collaboration Consulting”

Feelings, magic & gendered work: processes & structures of a collaborative workplace

A Facebook friend asked this question on Friday:

“What do you think are the most critical things (I’m talking specific processes, policies, and structures rather than values) that make up non-competitive and more collaborative and caring workplaces? Spaces where people are encouraged to really praise and acknowledge someone else’s work rather than hide someone else’s contribution, where people want to spend time on the collective good rather than next personal gain, and where the often invisible and gendered work of caring and ‘organisation culture’ is prioritised and publicly valued as critically important? What are some practical things you can implement, aside from the destruction of capitalism? Ideas, you wise group of souls?”

I’ve spent the last couple of years working with an incredible bunch of people to build an organisation that is exactly like that: caring, collaborative, and non-competitive, a space where we praise and acknowledge each other, where the work of caring is shared equally, regardless of gender.

Continue reading…

More efficient in-person meetings with Loomio

Working efficiently as a group is complex. Part of the puzzle is to find a balance between in-person meetings  and online collaboration. Meetings are costly, but they allow for rich information transfer. Online collaboration allows everyone to contribute in their own time, but there are plenty of conversations you don’t want to have online. With the right balance, you can get the best of both worlds.

During an in person meeting, discussing an Agenda Item ideally goes something like:
discussion turns into action

  1. Someone presents the Agenda Item
  2. Others weave in additional detail
  3. Discussion converges to a clear Action Point

We record Action Points with: name of the agreed action; person responsible; and maybe a due date

It’s not uncommon for discussion to raise points outside of the scope of a meeting, or to lead to complexity that can’t be resolved within the allocated time. If you can notice this happening, then you can respect this complexity and peoples time, by clearly recording the details and pushing discussion and decision making out to Loomio.

discussion in person discussion moves online

  1. Someone presents the Agenda Item
  2. Others weave in additional detail
  3. A Facilitator notices burgeoning complexity, and asks “Does this sound like a Loomio?”
  4. The group agrees to move the topic to Loomio, where it can be discussed asynchronously

It’s a good idea for the Loomio to be held by one or more people interested in the problem. This group can also facilitate great decision-making by resolving a clearer context. This might involve gathering data, seeking expert advice, or preparing a range of recommendations.

Once you’ve got a clear outcome, you can take that to the next team meeting. Online offline flow might look like this:
In person discussion goes to loomio and then back to meeting

  1. The team gathers for a meeting, and works through some Agenda Items. The second item can’t be resolved in the meeting so it’s decided to push it out to Loomio. The meeting ends.
  2. Relevant members engage with the discussion on Loomio, and come to a decision or recommendation
  3. The team meets again in person. The results of the discussion are fed back to the team.

Priority-setting in a human-centred organisation

This is the first article in our Cultural Technology series, where we share practices for working in a networked organisation. This is very much a work in progress but we hope it’s valuable to share what we’re learning.

Yesterday we had our first Away Day of the year.

We have an Away Day every 3 months, where we get out of the office for a day to review the past quarter and plan the next one.

brainstorm Continue reading “Priority-setting in a human-centred organisation”

Cultural technology

abstract drawing showing complex conversations weaving together through Loomio

We’re building this organisation on the principle that anyone affected by a decision should be involved in making it.

We’re building software to make that feasible, but there’s a lot more to it than that. In addition to the digital technology, we also use a lot of ‘cultural technology’ – processes, habits and frameworks that we’ve borrowed or invented to make it possible to coordinate a group of people without resorting to coercive practices.

We’re going to share some of the cultural technology that’s working for us. It’s very much a work in progress, so your feedback will really help to shape it.

We’ve got some useful essays on our “Loomio Org” wiki, and we’re going to keep writing blog posts on the topic. For now, here are the first two:

  1. Priority-setting in a human-centred organisation
  2. More efficient in person meetings with Loomio

We’ll update this post as articles come out :)

How to Engage Your Team with New Technology

Ever failed at getting your team engaged with new technology? We have.

Like many other people, we started off naively thinking that just exposing the team to new technology was enough – that once they saw it, they’d get excited to use it. Since then, we’ve worked with hundreds of groups and learned a lot about how to effectively introduce new online tools.Team At Work

We have encountered a series of key questions that arise when introducing new online collaboration tools. Many people focus only on the outputs of technology. But the process of addressing these critical questions is deeply valuable in and of itself. If you engage with these questions and discover you don’t need new technology after all, you will still experience some profound benefits and learnings. Continue reading “How to Engage Your Team with New Technology”