We’re Coming to the US for a Community Organising Workshop Tour

6Rich and Nati from Loomio are coming from New Zealand to join US-based team member MJ for a workshop tour across the States. We’re keen to meet with organisers who are interested in working non-hierarchically: whether they’re in cooperatives, startups, communities, collectives, NGOs or corporations.

We’ve been engaged in the craft of non-hierarchical organising for more than five years, starting with Occupy in 2011, co-founding Loomio (a worker coop building software for collective decision-making) and Enspiral (a network of dozens of social enterprise startups and tech-for-good projects). We’re woven into a global community of folks pioneering new ways of working, from ‘agile’, ‘holacratic’ and ‘teal’ organizations, to diffuse activist networks in Hungary, Spain, and Taiwan.

We’re working with local partners across the country to host workshops to share the challenges and delights of non-hierarchical, inclusive, intersectional, collaborative, horizontal organising. You can get an impression of the workshop content from this brief report from a session we hosted in Seoul late last year.

Schedule

The loose plan is to spend April in the East Coast and May in the West. We’ll update this post as we finalise the schedule. Currently:

Help wanted

If you want to support this mission, there are a couple ways to help:

  • Introduce us to organisers who would really benefit from spending a few hours exploring more sustainable ways of working inclusively. We’re keen to meet with anyone interested in working non-hierarchically: whether they’re in cooperatives, startups, communities, collectives, NGOs or corporations.
  • It would be amazing to have a few people contribute to cover the travel expenses. We’re looking for individuals and institutions that can sponsor a community workshop. We are currently looking at dates in DC, NY, MA, IN, CA and OR — for about US$1000 we can add another stop to the tour. Please get in touch with Rich ([email protected]) if you can help with sponsorship or you want to co-host an event with us.

Updates

We’ll be blogging on the road to share what we’re learning. Here’s the first story, from Indianapolis: American Grief — Activism, Trauma, Relationship and Healing. The second piece, 5 Reasons to Build a Network of Small Groups, Rather than a Mass Movement of Individuals has obviously struck a nerve: it’s been read thousands of times in last the few days!

A Women’s March to Co-Create the Future for All Humanity

The energy of so many people careening toward Washington D.C. was palpable on January 21st.

I’d felt this power once before, 8 years ago as I arrived on the national mall with my family to wait in the freezing cold with 1.8 million others to witness the historic inauguration of Barack Obama. We felt deep pride and hopefulness that we had elected the first African American U.S. President. We were inspired by Obama’s intelligence, humility and frankly his humanity. Eight years later we were awed by the integrity of the man, even though we accepted that he was unable to achieve even a small measure of our aspirations from that frigid day of celebration in 2009.

The contrast between Obama and Trump coudn’t be more severe. My emotions were anger and despair when I travelled to Washington for the Women’s March (still working through the stages of grief).

Before I left for D.C. I pulled out my protest paraphernalia from as far back as 1980. Reagan’s election prompted my early activism. We launched a women’s network to protest the escalation of nuclear power and arms. Our founder, Dr. Helen Caldicott, had successfully rallied physicians to protest the nuclear threat, leveraging her credibility as a physician to make a scientific argument. Women flocked to her talks with deep concern; however, most lacked a basic understanding of international defense policy or political organizing. So we formed WAND to educate and organize women to advocate for people-centered policies. We tapped the power dynamics of the first presidential gender gap — a distinctly partisan voting pattern between women and men that still persists. As I prepared for this Women’s March 35 years later, I was uncomfortable with gender as an organizing frame. Are we women going to save democracy from this kleptocrat? After all, 42% voting women chose Trump compared to just 54% for Clinton. And white women skewed support for Trump.

I believe that today’s movement requires us to think and act beyond identity politics. We must create a swell of humanity who will override tribal fears and entrenched ‘isms’ to restore love, respect and democracy.

Continue reading “A Women’s March to Co-Create the Future for All Humanity”

Hope-y New Year from Team Loomio 🙃

Warm greetings from the beautiful South Pacific summer! Before we wind down for the holidays I wanted to reach out with a final message for the year.

2016 has been an extraordinarily turbulent year. The earthquake that brought down office buildings in Wellington seems to be the perfect metaphor for the political shakes in Europe, the US, and Middle East that have gripped the world. Checking in with my friends and colleagues overseas, I hear a lot of grief, uncertainty, and fear: progressive people have the sense that something important is slipping away.

Big stories like Brexit, the US election, and the Syrian civil war take up so much space, they can drown out the sound of the many reasons to be hopeful in 2017. The people that are growing “the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible” tend to be quiet: they’d rather spend their time tending their local initiatives, rather than drawing attention to themselves.

One of the most energising things about working on Loomio is that I get to connect with inspirational people working on incredible projects nearly every day. So as we close out 2016, I wanted to share a couple of reasons to be hopeful in 2017:

Continue reading “Hope-y New Year from Team Loomio 🙃”

Shortening Meetings from Hours to 30 Minutes

Chris McClimans is part of a web design co-op based in Austin, Texas that uses Loomio to have shorter meetings and make better decisions. We interviewed him at the Open Source // Open Society Conference.


I met my friend Taylor in college and we’ve always enjoyed working together. We were looking for a way to collaborate, share our talents with each other, and take on projects we couldn’t do by ourselves. So, we started a collective called Vulk, a web design shop.

We have five core members. It’s a diverse group that come from different backgrounds. We’re not just technical people, but also creative people interested in designing experiences. We all have different opinions.

Continue reading “Shortening Meetings from Hours to 30 Minutes”

Consultants: Create a Safe Space for All Voices on Loomio

For Julie DiBari, inclusive decision-making is personal as well as professional. “In 21 years in the foster care system, I was never once asked what I thought works,” she says. Now, as a consultant, Julie supports diverse stakeholders to contribute to decisions that affect them, and to collaborate on solving complex problems.

Continue reading “Consultants: Create a Safe Space for All Voices on Loomio”

Rapid Prototyping for Community Impact

We caught up with Climate Karanga Marlborough member Leon Jay at the Open Source//Open Society Conference in Wellington. They are helping reduce climate change in Marlborough by rapidly prototyping ideas using online collaboration.


leonjay1We use Loomio to communicate between members and prototype different ideas to reduce climate change and lower our impact.

Sharing Ideas and Getting on the Same Page

If you’re trying to work together as a group of citizens, it’s great if you’re all heading in the same direction. But if one person’s doing one thing and one person’s doing another, you’re taking a scatter-gun approach. Continue reading “Rapid Prototyping for Community Impact”

Delight in Uncertainty…. Gulp.

Stories from the Road

Loomio Co-op Member and Director MJ Kaplan has been all over the US in recent months, at conferences exploring impact, collaboration, the economy, the future of work, and more.

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-3-25-14-pmI was invited to New York by Coburn Ventures, a unique investment firm that is passionate – maybe even obsessed – with understanding complex, deep transformation in the world.  They convened a diverse group of 100 people to explore, reflect and reimagine the dynamics that affect investment and, more broadly, are influencing how we live and work. Continue reading “Delight in Uncertainty…. Gulp.”