When the opportunity to have Hunter in New Zealand arose, we had very little time to plan and arrange it using conventional processes. We needed to organise ourselves using a "living systems" approach using the ways of nature (Biomimicry). This meant connecting, and growing networks that tapped into many existing people and organisations in a way that allowed them to see this as an opportunity that was aligned with their personal or organisational goals.
As a network we have no funds or budget of our own. We have had to get enthusiasm, energy and commitment flowing around the programme first; growing the strong roots necessary to support the visible growth above the ground that would then attract the supporters and funding we need to get Hunter here. We are on a steep learning curve!
For every location we have had to identify and grow local or task teams interconnecting with other teams and networks in: government departments, local authorities, universities, business groupings, industry players promoting enterprise and sustainable development, environmental groups, educational groups, students, schools, communities and with passionate individuals.
When we find a organisation, agency or person, that could contribute we ask them.to firstly to look at their own vision, mission objectives and reason for being and to compare these with the outcomes we are seeking to move towards with this program and ask themselves two questions:
If many hundreds of people from around our region attended this event (particularly many young people and others who would ordinarily never have the opportunity to be challenged by a person like Hunter), what value would that be worth to us/me? In most cases the spin off value will be considerable, so that leads to the second question:
What then do I have to offer that would be equally valuable to the team growing this programme, as my reasonable contribution in return? This may be time, networks, resources or funds.
This approach leads to cross funtional and inter-agency collaboration, where everyone shares the rewards and the risks. It allows us to see beyond "boxed in" thinking.
Some Living System Observations (thanks to Capra, Wheatley and others)
When living systems want to get stronger they connect with more living things (e.g. to different living species that bring diversity and resources)
Nature makes its most important connections underground at the root level, these are very hard to see (let alone to make) from above.
You can't change a living system, all you can do is disturb it, (then it in itself adapts in response to opportunities seen in that disturbance)
The disturbances that have the most immediate effect are those that change the equilibrium and supposed order of the system.
Living systems focus on finding opportunities for growth in chaos. They are self organising and are not preoccupied with time or risks
Living things never do what they are told (participants always add in their own local ideas, knowledge and perspectives)
If we think we can externally change, re-structure or re-engineer a living system ..... then it is probably already dead!
Using "Noses Out" teams - compared with conventional "Noses In"
Source: The Tipu Ake ki te Ora lifecycle- An Organic Leadership Model www.tipuake.org.nz
Some team ground rules to help us operate as a living system:
Focus our thoughts and decisions on long term outcomes. See today from a future perspective.
Question all our assumptions. Interconnect - with others who have different experience and perceptions. Involve youth, who do not share and will question what we have been conditioned to assume.
Don’t let our own egos or personal / organisational agenda’s get in the way of team growth.
Leave our organisational hats and perceived power / responsibilities outside the meeting room / program door
Keep processes local, flexible, simple and effective – concentrate on interdependency win-win gains.
Turn our noses outwards, observe what is going on around us, make network connections.
Grow and share our learnings and knowledge to develop some collective wisdom we can apply.
Find the courage to together have a go at what everyone else thinks is impossible.
Don't be disillusioned by what looks like chaos - that is the natural process by which participants adapt to new conditions.
Making Hunter Lovins visit a catalyst for more growth from within?
Do not think of Hunter as an overseas expert who will bring all the answers, but rather someone who will challenge us to appreciate the inherent strength (and Natural Capital) we have within Aotearoa. That we can continue to grow after she leaves. See http://www.natcapsolutions.org/LASER.htm
The links that have formed across the many organisations focusing on sustainability to arrange this visit made up a network, not yet another organisation. When Hunter leaves it will go into "sleeper mode" but always ready to be reactivated evolving in a new shape to perform another new task when an opportunity presents itself..
Note: Our word “programme” often implies a time slotted schedule… In this Living Organisation context, the word “program” is used to imply a whole roadmap of parallel interrelated projects that could take us towards a well future.
My name is Hatata and we need you to help us with NZ's biggest roundup.
Herd your parents, family, grandparents, teachers, friends, businessmen, farmers, developers, doctors, builders, engineers, lawyers, architects, researchers, judges, professors, bankers, mayors, councilors, politicians and all. We need them all working alongside us to help grow the kind of world that we would like to leave for all our future grandchildrens.
Our partner Hunter told us stories from around the planet to get us thinking about what we are doing to it. We can all share ideas to help us do things right now to make a difference.
Click on the menus in the left panel to get information, about this event and the middle panel to find the video and other resources we now share with the rest of the world. Sustainability:
your future or ours? Theme - ChCh RegionYouth Forum