Transition Network’s Purpose – tell us what you think!
By Sam Allen 29th January 2018
Transition Network is developing a new Strategy. In fact, it will be a Strategic Framework, with a number of different aspects, rather than a fixed strategy. One part of this will be an organisational purpose – to help us check, prioritise and decide what actions to take and which projects to develop.
(Other parts of the Strategic Framework explained here)
Staff and trustees of Transition Network have been exploring what Transition Network’s organisational purpose should now be. We’re sharing the current stage of discussions with you here, because we welcome feedback, comments and responses to help us shape this.
In October and November 2017, we asked people involved in the Transition movement about their experiences, where they see potential, what is challenging for their group or Hub.
What you told us in that survey is here, in English, Español and Français.
We heard many aspects where support around the network could help Transition groups. For example, on community engagement, communications, inner Transition, healthy groups and practical projects.
Many Transitioners gave thoughtful feedback about the difficulty of creating a sustainable future while living in the current, highly consumerist, system. They gave ideas of ways Transition could step up to the challenges, for example by convening and bringing together different groups and partnerships, bringing more financial resources to Transition, working innovatively with municipalities, engaging with more diverse sectors of the population and using our international connectedness better.
Allied with the survey conclusions, these are some of the key areas of our current discussions about what Transition Network’s organisational purpose should be:
Supporting the Transition movement
We see an important and ongoing role for Transition Network is to help support the movement of Transition groups and Hubs. We’re interested in how we do this, working alongside the movement, as part of it, especially as we are not the only organisation providing support to Transition groups and Hubs. We’d like to see the international network become more connected in all directions. What are the particular pieces of our support role?
Cross-fertilisation and challenge
This is an area where we are less clear, yet. We see a role for Transition Network in working with other organisations, to experiment and support ways to scale up the impact of Transition. We’d like to collaborate with other organisations and connect to other movements, to explore innovative practices and look for exciting areas of potential, to support emerging approaches where Transition can make a difference. There’s an interesting question about how best to make priorities and choices about collaborations.
Particularly interesting would be partnerships where we can develop good collaborative culture, look at how to work with emergence, and co-design. We’d like to be part of experimenting with and nurturing healthy cultures of interdependence.
We’d like to challenge other organisations through what we say and how we design events, in particular encouraging people to create spaces to come together and imagine the future.
In all of this “cross-fertilisation and challenge” area, this is not a role that is unique to Transition Network; many Hubs and groups do this; we would not do this alone.
Telling the Transition story and making Transition more visible
We think Transition Network has a role to help make a movement of diverse groups and projects visible and understandable to different people. We’d like to draw out the stories and amplify them. This includes channels to communicate to people who are new to Transition, and to decision-makers. We’d like to find ways to attract more resources, including financial, into the movement, though not necessarily by channeling those resources through Transition Network.
Disruptive inclusion – a quality, or an approach, of our work
Transition groups are typically non-political and aim to be inclusive of the whole community, and can convene or bring together many very different organisations in an inclusive way. Working like this, in itself can be a form of positive “disruption” – helping to create alternatives to the unsustainable business-as-usual systems. We feel that Transition Network should focus on work where an inclusive way of working can help us be effective in shifting institutions or organisations to positive change.
We would like your feedback, before 22nd February, to help us develop these discussions towards a new organisational purpose.
Please let us know you feedback about any (or all) key areas of our current discussions (above) – and any additional comments you have.
You can feedback in two ways:
1.Please leave comments here at the bottom of this web page (note: you will need to login/register to leave a comment). One benefit of responding using this approach is that you will be able to see what others are saying – and be able to respond to their comments.
2.Alternatively you can reply directly to us using this online comment form.
I think your organizational purpose, as you described it above, is right on. Transition is unique in the social change field, in that it weaves so many diverse strands together – food, energy, economy, and community; environment and equity; inner and outer; head, heart, and hands – and blends them all together into a comprehensive, realistic, and compelling vision for the future that few other movements or organizations have. As a result, I believe Transition Network has a lot to offer the entire community resilience-building movement worldwide (not just those who call themselves “Transition Initiatives”) by facilitating peer-to-peer learning and collaboration, identifying and sharing best practices, and amplifying our collective voice through storytelling, metrics, and clear and inspiring messaging. Thanks for all that you do! I’m looking forward to continuing to work with you to realize this purpose in ever-more effective and impactful ways.
This is really useful, Don.
Peer to peer learning, support and collaboration feels really important. I’ve heard and seen evidence that this is effective in creating change. I feel there is more to find out about how to set this up really well.
I like the concept of “amplifying” our collective voice. That feels like a really useful way to frame a key part of Transition Network’s “mission” for communications.
My third attempt to comment here. Keep getting caught out by the anti-robot feature which needs to be renewed before hitting the submit button. Endorse Don’s comments completely, Would though emphasise Disruptive Inclusion. In awestern world where people are caught up in their own echo chambers, Transition Network, can potentially help bridge divides and minimise polarisation. Open-mindedness, even to people and views that might first seem abhorrent. Those positions may be hackable (what can we learn from them and why they think that?) and they are more likely to see our perspective if we don’t demonise them and back them into corners. They, like us are just stupid human beings, born with nothing, dying with nothing, destroying a lot of stuff in between.
Thanks for persisting with posting a comment Trugs. The “disruptive inclusion” discussion seems to have been popular with quite a few people. Certainly the idea of reducing polarisation is a great aspiration, needed in this time of increasing divides.
Here are my responses to the email request of January 30th:
* Supporting the Transition movement
Events – TN is the only body that can organise National and International events. Local Transition groups don’t normally have the resources to organise National and International events, which bring people together
Training – TN should aim to obtain the resources to design and initiate training courses, which few local Transition groups could acquire. Training materials could be “cascaded” to local groups. I would like to see something essential like Story of Stuff’s “Citizen Muscles” over a day, and a very basic “What is Transition?” over 2 hours.
* Cross-fertilisation and challenge
TN should be aware of and support organisations which most closely resonate with Transition, e.g. Permaculture, Incredible Edible
* Telling the Transition story and making Transition more visible
Publish New Books – such as the 21 stories. The original Transition Timeline etc. are lengthy and becoming dated
Write (or get others to write) articles for selected news outlets – Positive News, Guardian
* Disruptive inclusion – a quality, or an approach, of our work
TN should write about political movements e.g. En Comu in Spain, and about disruptive stories such as how migrants have been successfully resettled
I hope this helps!
Again, really useful, thank you John. Very interesting training ideas!
Your comment on events is a good reminder of the position of Transition Network in England & Wales. In 22 countries or regions there are Transition Hubs who can, and do, organise National events or even wider. Transition Mexico will be hosting a Latin American Transition gathering this year. There is a new London & South East England Hub but in the rest of England & Wales, Transition Network still has a national support role. As you know, as you’ve been at relevant meetings, we are encouraging regional Hubs or a national group, a big topic in its own right… including here: http://trnuk.org/
I celebrate the poll and the cogent report with useful graphs. I’m aware Transition has much the same problems and weaknesses as GEN.Ecovillage.org, run by a small group at Findhorn.
Below is a revision of their Vision, Mission and Product statements I submitted for consideration. Their original version as appended at the end.
I share this here in case useful to others. No restriction on your use of it.
Revision 4 of Jan 30, 2018
The original-existing GEN Vision-mission statement, “GEN’s Strategy to Change the World,” is at the end of this doc for comparison.
WHAT is Global Ecovillage Network (GEN)?
[“what it is” in 25 words or less]
GEN is online news, educational materials and live conferences, celebrating and sharing successful developments, methods and solidarity, worldwide.
GEN is pleased to be the main online source of international IC and ecovillage news.
Vision, Mission Product statements
Ecovillages and intentional communities are a worldwide movement, towards diverse forms of sustainable living, for the 99%.
Ecovillages and intentional communities embody locally-sourced, demonstration projects, models and pathways to diverse, sustainable futures.
ICs and ecovillages embody containers of hope for children now–and seven generations after us.
Transformation from existing social forms to new, sustainable social forms–that’s us.
Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) supports, empowers and celebrates Cultural Creative Progressives, who initiate, build, develop and replicate sustainable communities and ecovillages.
GEN is a solution-focussed, multi-stakeholder alliance, supporting all three stages of ecovillage development:
– Initiatives calling for like-minded members (“Find the others”),
– Demonstration projects with at least one completed building,
– Multi-unit communities incorporating specific methods of healthy group process for sustainable social harmony and tolerant ecumenical spirituality.
Outer Game of Social Transformation
GEN acknowledges the Game of Social Transformation now, is not one Game, but two.
The Outer Game of Ecovillages is: who?, where?, when? how? zoning? and how much money?
Between 1968 – 1985, IC-ecovillage activists attended to and worked for Outer Game end results: physical co-ops, new building techniques, new electrical sources, grow your own food, et al. The Inner Game of ICs-Ecovillages was less attended to. Complicating matters, methods of healthy, heartfelt, group process were unknown or yet-to-be invented.
The Inner Game of Ecovillages is:
– How will we make decisions?
– What practical methods of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) will we adopt, train into and practice daily, supporting each other to improve at?
– How will we identify, clarify and manifest truly human values, across spiritual practices, at the individual and levels?
– What is our public statement of inclusive, ecumenical spirituality?
The Inner Game of Social Transformation, including Best Practices in EQ, are essential for building, sustaining and replicating healthy community.
The rising tide of interest in:
– Team Human especially TeamHuman.FM
– healthy group process; and,
– workplace cooperation-collaboration,
all accelerate forming new ICs, ecovillages and worker-owned businesses.
GEN acknowledges the roughly equal significance of Outer and Inner Games of Community.
GEN celebrates and offers conferences on accepted Best Practices in Emotional Intelligence, for individuals and ICs, who are asking these Inner Game questions:
– Which method of EQ do we prefer and wish to train each other into using more?
– What specific methods and language do we prefer for resolving interpersonal conflicts?
– Is our operation complex enuf such that Sociocracy training is worth investing in (https://dianaleafechristian.org/search/node/sociocracy)?
– How do we plan to evolve, grow and replicate? How to employ long range planning and SWOT Analysis to benefit ICs (https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMC_05.htm)
Finally, GEN celebrates and offers conferences on how to frame, talk about and practice ecumenical spirituality. We call this Green Spirituality 2.0.
“Ecumenical spirituality” is the values of accepting, tolerating and celebrating the diversity of spiritual paths-practices of all members of the Tribe. Every version of ecumenical spirituality has some explicit version of truly human values at its core; hopefully, in writing also.
Ecumenical values need not be traditional Christian values. Rumi and other sources may be equally workable for your group. You decide.
For ICs unaffiliated with a specific spiritual framework-tradition-religion, embracing tolerant, healthy, ecumenical spirituality seems essential for all ICs, going forward. A written consensus statement of policy does most of this work. Consensus can always be modified as the Tribe evolves.
Except, for communities already practicing a specific spiritual framework-tradition-religion, embracing tolerant, healthy, ecumenical spirituality is essential for all ICs now going forward. A written consensus statement of policy does most of this work. The consensus can always be modified as the Tribe evolves.
To share news of IC successes around the world. To empower local communities worldwide to learn about each other, network, interact and form solidarity.
To put on live event conferences on topics related to starting, developing and refining the Inner and Outer Games of ICs;
To advance personal, neighborhood, regional and world education and transformation by sharing experiences and best practices, reported from networks of ecovillages and sustainable communities worldwide.
To advance human rights for people from all walks of life and all economic levels.
To disseminate best practices in conflict resolution, reconciliation and Emotional Intelligence, by training and conferences. To seed trained graduates who can return to their local communities and sow seeds of interpersonal peace.
To promote cultures of International cooperation and cross-cultural outreach; underpinned by, consistent practice of Emotional Intelligence methods; including, mutual respect, listening, compassion, and self-empathy.
To advance environmental protection and healthy Nature stewardship globally,
To vote in local elections, participate in forming and upgrading local, county, city and national agendas. Advance constructive, non-violent, community participation in local-regional decision-making. To influence policy-makers,
To further ICs and ecovillages as touchstones for Progressive local, regional and national policy. To further the public visibility of ICs and ecovillages as new forms for more sustainable living and city planning.
Original doc above was modified from:
GEN’s Strategy to Change the World
The Global Ecovillage Network envisions a world of empowered citizens and communities, designing and implementing their own pathways to a sustainable future, and building bridges of hope and international solidarity.
As a solution-based, multi-stakeholder alliance, GEN provides information, tools, examples and global representation to the expanding network of those dedicated to developing and demonstrating sustainability principles and practices in their lifestyles and communities around the world.
To advance the education of individuals from all walks of life by sharing the experience and best practices gained from the networks of ecovillages and sustainable communities worldwide.
To advance human rights, conflict resolution, and reconciliation by empowering local communities to interact globally, while promoting a culture of mutual acceptance and respect, effective communications, and cross-cultural outreach.
To advance environmental protection globally by serving as a think tank, incubator, international partner organization, and catalyst for projects that expedite the shift to sustainable and resilient lifestyles.
To advance citizen and community participation in local decision-making, influencing policy-makers, and educating the public, to accelerate the transition to sustainable living.
Above revision submitted for consideration to GEN by
Author, Health Intuitive, Bruce Dickson in Pasadena-area outside Los Angeles.
Before we look at the daunting task of actually drafting an organisational purpose, it it useful to see how other organisations have structured it! Thank you.
Interesting to see the emphasis on the inner and outer “games”, this is also reflected in the Transition movement with the important we see of Inner Transition. https://transitionnetwork.org/about-the-movement/what-is-transition/inner/ And, at Transition Network we are increasingly seeing and experiencing the importance of finding good ways to make decisions, to collaborate well.
In order to “support the transition movement” I think you need clarity about what ITS purpose is. Since becoming involved in transition I’ve come to appreciate that the movement’s purpose is to help its members (1) KNOW ourselves (capacities, needs, values etc) better, (2) HEAL ourselves and our world from the damages of industrial culture, (3) LIBERATE ourselves from dependence on collapsing centralized systems (self-sufficiency), (4) LEARN (re-learn) and experiment to discover how community-based societies work(ed), and (5) PREPARE collectively for the massive changes we will soon face.
The OBJECTIVE of TN should primarily, then, be to help network members do these 5 things. The STRATEGY should address how it can do that.
Thank you Dave, the five aspects you’ve defined here are really interesting – it’s good to see the range laid out.
We have deliberately not tried to work on a purpose statement for the Transition movement, because that isn’t for the Transition Network organisation alone to define. We know the purpose(s) of the Transition movement are broad, complex, systemic, cultural – as you describe and Don Hall in his comment above also describes. Hopefully this is an indication that the conversation isn’t over once we define an organisational purpose for Transition Network – the conversation about what to do, why, and how, can continue to evolve.
I suspect that my opinion will be dismissed; but here goes. All the UK establishment is controlled by the globalist elite. Confirmation of this can be read in UN Charter 21 and 30. Why this matters is because many of the idealistic proposals above, whilst being essential, will not be happen unless the method of control by the Globalist elite is understood. All of our public services are being run down. The banks and the bank of England are private companies. They create money out of thin air and loan it to the government at rates of interest whose cumulative effect is to make every worker poorer as time goes on. Then we have the situation where our common law and our constitution is being ignored, so that each UK treaty with the EU takes us further into the evil state of unlawfulness. So many powers have been given to the EU bureaucrats that our parliament is losing control . Effectively by the government operating outside the law, the globalist elite can blackmail our politicians into doing their bidding. Going back to money. Before the 1914 war the country was nearly bankrupt. The government needed huge sums to finance the war. They created what became known as the Bradbury pound. Note I wrote the government, not the banks. They issued bonds using the future labour of the British workforce as collateral. Factories and materials were financed so the British people could work and pay taxes which wrote off the debt. This worked well for a few years until the bankers used blackmail to get parliament to go back to borrowing money from the banks and having to pay them interest,
You dear reader will probably not know this. It is also unlikely that you know that we have a constitution because all governments deny that we have one. This is just a half truth because our constitution is not in one document because it developed over the centuries and can be traced right back to King Arthur, through the Magna Carta time to the Bill of Rights 1689 which placed into statute what was and still is current law. The Americans and other common law countries thought our constitution so good that they copied it . So your politicians of all persuasions lie to you.
What I am stating to you transition members is that you place before the public these facts. The media is being controlled because the same globalist elite control the media. So Transitioners, are you truly independent or are you controlled by outside forces working to the globalist agenda as written in UN Agenda 21 and 30 . Your actions or inactions will demonstrate whether you will continue to support operating outside the rule of law. All transitions aims will come to nothing unless we return to the rule of law.
John, you are right on so many fronts. I am not convinced however that we can somehow encourage the powers that be to return to the constitutional law to which you refer.
Perhaps the Transition approach is to create robust, equitable societies that are somewhat insulated from the state-level machinations and can implement their own law in a fair and democratic way.
Thanks very much for the summary of the survey.
Mention of “backcasting” seems conspicuous by its absence. I’ve always felt that this was something that set the Transition movement apart from other world-changing groups. Having visions is important but defining the crucial stages between now and achievement of the vision is also essential. But it’s hard work. Training and advice in this area is definitely something that is needed from Transition Network.
Quite justifiably, there is quite a lot of talk about difficulty in recruitment and member burn out. Group dynamics and Inner Transition are both very important but so are the basic concepts of practical administration and management of people. Maybe the dream of recruiting more Core Group members is actually unachievable and the only way to grow the impact of Transition organisations is for existing Core people to be prepared to manage others who are keen but (for the minute at least) have a lower level of commitment. I suspect that many of have a built-in reluctance to do this but identification of the issues and codification of techniques by TN might be useful.
Then there is the whole issue of branding. For many people “out there” a Transition group is just another kind of club or voluntary sector organisation. But in reality its aspirations are on a completely different kind of level from, say, a tennis club! We need to run Transition organisations in ways that are more ambitious than if they were just a club for a particular kind of enthusiast. But at the same time we want them to be approachable and not have the appearance of being some kind of cult. Marketing advice and support from TN would be useful.
Three really good points here Jonathan! Its helpful to hear what’s missing (eg concept of backcasting). I hope indeed that there could be an opportunity to collect and analyse what does work well for administration, management, recruitment to a Transition core group; the survey certainly shows this is a common issue.
Agree – collaboration with other environmental groups would be a good learning experience e.g. FoE. Find out about their strategy. E.g have they already done the same research you are doing?
Conversely, more open communication with people opposed to Transition Network ideas would also be a good learning experience. Our echo chambers are very powerful nowadays. Rational dispute sharpens our arguments. Hope this is of use. Best wishes to all at Transition Network.
I feel there is an appetite for collaborations – and it could indeed lead to some interesting new conversations and communication! During this strategy review we have not done as much consultation with partners/ allies/ critical friends as we would have aimed; but I feel we have identified the need to increase this in the future.