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Harvests AoH Practitioners Day 2 April '11 (+ Question: Creation Stories of Global Grassroots Organisations)

I'm not sure if each harvest is a separate conversation or should be added as comment. Since I couldn't figure out to which conversation I should reply, I started a new one. 

The Whole Day

Thanks so much to Anne, Jean-Christophe and Ria for organising and hosting the event! It was great to have this opportunity to learn more about and practice AoH. The day met all of my incoming expectations. The circle, world café and open space all had useful elements. However, I’m strangely most thankful that the final constellation went awry. More than anything else, that helped me clarify what within AoH is (and is not) valuable to my work. 

In addition to the issue of proper framing (i.e., what we're doing and why), the constellation illustrated the importance of not only creating but also maintaining safe spaces (containers), as well as the idea of invitation. Their absence in this situation illustrated clearly why they are so important.

The other issue this raised was the potential danger of working at the level of the subconscious. All that comes from the non-linear, non-rational parts of the mind is not necessarily good, helpful or even true. There are reasons that traditional processes that work at this level have strict internal regulations and controls. Taking these approaches out of their original context can be risky. This is not really an issue for the “core” AoH tools like circle, world café, etc. It seems to be something present on the edges of AoH practices and within parts of the culture though.

My Open Space

Since this is a public forum, I don’t want to share too much detail from my Open Space (“How to use AoH in an international direct/participatory democracy organisation”). I do though want to again say thanks to everyone who participated. I was delighted by the helpful questions and ideas.

On a personal level, what I took out is that it’s ok to ask for help…and that people might just surprise you and give it. I felt very supported and encouraged.

On a content level, I was reminded to focus on the people and make sure they both can regularly meet in person and that their needs are understood/met, consider a regional vs. global structure, question assumptions about why the organisation exists and what is needed at different levels of government and in different regions, and work not only for the adoption by governments of direct/participatory democracy tools but also support their use. The organisation’s next meeting will have a significant open space element.

In terms of immediate next steps, what would be really useful would be “creation stories” of global grassroots movements (like Friends of the Earth) – i.e., how they got started, how they grew, what helped and hindered, etc. Any ideas, links or other resources would be most welcome!


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Replies to This Conversation

Thanks Janice! You just did what I was intending of doing: creating a separate space for sharing some harvests of the day. (so I slightly changed the title so that it is obvious for others to post - I hope you don't mind. I'm an administrator of this site, that's why I am able to do it.)

Regarding your question, I'm wondering if you mean grassroots 'organisations' - with a formal structure - or 'movements'? You could even take a look at the history of the AoH network, how that came into being... (see Resources -> AoH articles).

Glad to have met!

Good catch Ria. I really mean "movements". However, the reason is to understand what kinds of formal organisations, central support and coordination are useful to growing global movements. Friends of the Earth was mentioned in the open space as one instructive example. I was wondering what others might be.



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