We are grounded in the 11 Kiez Burn principles. Every community interprets and adds a particular kind of flavor to these principles. Especially in co-creating community events, we, the Kiez Burn community, notice there are certain ways we like working together. Clarifying this common Kiez Burn philosophical base will enable a more open and sustainable community.
Main identified aspects:
- consensual do-ocracy: a philosophy enabling the decentralization move
- transparency: quite an important way Kiez Burn works (differently)
- Meeting in real-life: we like being Berlin-based, and connecting with the people we met at the festival in daily life, is something we cherish.
- Let fail what the community does not carry? From "making sure everything is right" to "either somebody volunteers for this or no power/no event/no welfare/..."?
Using consensual do-ocracy as a guide, I propose to explicitly adopt the advice process and the conflict escalation process as a philosophical basis for Kiez Burn
- Anyone should be able to make any decision regarding Kiez Burn.
- However, before you make a decision, you must ask advice from those who will be impacted by that decision, and those who are experts on that subject.
- Assuming that you follow this process, and honestly try to listen to the advice of others, that advice is yours to evaluate and the decision yours to make.
We have had our fair share of polls and issues with people either rushing too hard to make decisions that were not supported by the community, or stuck in indecisiveness and reliance on “democracy” and “polls”
Kiez Burn is not a democracy. Voting isn’t the purpose of all these processes, collective intelligence is.
Indeed, Kiez Burn runs on an even more radical notion than democracy. In a radical democracy, no single person can decide anything without a majority vote.Any single person can decide anything as long as that person asks the advice of stakeholders. Democratically run events have procedures based on voting to decide, do-ocatically run organizations run differently. Kiez Burn seeks to run more on advice processes as well (and not voting).
The term Consensual Do-ocracy means that the power to decide on activities should rest with those who are going to execute them. In order to do this skillfully and without stepping on other's toes however, the do-ocrat needs to gather perspectives, advice and consent from those who will be affected by their decisions. By doing this they become the best qualified in the community to take on or take over a responsibility, in part by gaining the knowledge and competence necessary, and in part simply because the act of connecting with those who are dependent upon their decisions places them in the right position in our social network to act. Thus Kiez Burn is managed not through commands and control of a central authority, but rather by a network of temporary hierarchies based on the principle that power should flow to those who need it to take leadership. The Advice Process one of the two primary processes in Consensual Do-ocracy that we use to decide things(the other being conflict escalation).
The formal advice process
If you can reasonably claim that your decision doesn’t need system-wide process or advice, use the Short Version. If not, use the formal process that ensures transparency and has checks and balances.
- Identify a tension or opportunity and launch an investigation that gathers advice you need to make the decision. You should gather advice from stakeholders and experts proportional to the reach of the decision. Note that it is your responsibility to actively seek out the advice. That might mean picking up the phone or write a private message to those you identify as important.
- When you feel confident about the extent of advice you've considered, formulate and publish (preferably on Talk) a proposal or story that includes at least the following: 2.1. What purpose the proposal serves, and/or what tension it addresses, 2.2. A discussion on the scope of the decision, including stakeholder impact analysis 2.3. How you invited people to take part in it, and what important input you got (include links if necessary). 2.4. A discussion on the collective principles or purposes you identified as relevant to the decision, and 2.5. Your proposal based on your investigation.
- Answer any clarifying questions there might be.
- Receive and resolve principled objections, and modify the proposal as appropriate.
- Make the story and decision public and transparent on this wiki, and link to it in relevant discussions on Kiez Burn Talk, Facebook, email etc.
conflict escalation process
We had our share of conflicts this year, what to do in these kind of situations is still unclear. Given that we are an active community, conflicts will happen again. The challenge is to handle these in a productive way and have processes available for both coming to decisions and nurturing relationships.
- Start with yourself. What do you need to take care of yourself in such a way that you can handle this situation in the most productive way? How can you better listen and try to understand the opinions and arguments of the other side?
- Find an impartial mediator, a space holder who can facilitate the conversation. The role of this individual is not to have an opinion on the matter or try to make judgements, but to make sure that both sides listen to one another.
- The third step is to bring in an arbitration panel to make the call. Arbitration is a form of ad-hoc community created court system, where each party in the conflict chooses one arbitrator to be on the panel. The two chosen arbitrators then chose a third member together, without the influence of the conflicting parties. These three parties will then interview the affected parties, as well as any experts that might have relevant information on the matter. The panel will make a vote and their decision is to be considered an authoritative, final decision.
- If one of the conflicting parties at this stage refuses to participate in the arbitration process, or ignores the decision of the arbitration panel, the board of the non-profit organisation responsible for the event will make the decision. To escalate a conflict to this level is to be considered a complete breakdown of self-organization and something we hope to never happen.
The above is based on a modified Borderland version of the advice process taken from the book Reinventing Organizations.