I am convinced that we need to change existing power structures in order to achieve organizational democracy. An example are the struggles we see with scaling agile software development to the whole organization. This is ultimately a question of changing the power distribution.
We are in the middle of December and the days are short up here in the northern part of Europe, but it’s not only a dark time of the year. I have recently encountered musings about the darkness in the world in the books I have read.
Margaret Wheatley writes for example in her new book So Far from Home that oppositional politics cannot deal intelligently with today’s complex problems and that the already powerful will remain in power. Her call is an invitation to a warriorship for the human spirit. She invites us to fight for more life-affirming values and practices.
Another example is Otto Scharmer who writes in his bok on Theory U that our global system will probably hit the wall within the next ten years if current trends and developments continue (the book was published in 2009). This is why he focuses his time and energy on creating living examples that embody new forms of cross-institutional collaboration and innovation. He continues by saying that the pressure on front-line practitioners right now is enormous and keeps increasing. People feel trapped and don’t know how to change it or how to get out. The situation is serious!
Personally, I think we really need to take emergence and self-organization seriously. The challenges are so big and complex that we need to act intelligently and wisely together. However, self-organization doesn’t self-organize. We consciously need to setup conditions such that self-organization can happen. Dynamic governance (aka sociocracy), which is about consenting to a deeper democracy, is one very interesting and practical approach. Large group methods provide other and complementary examples, all of which can be combined in new and creative ways.