Welcome to the Self-Organisation Beyond Hierarchy Animation Series


This series of 7 short films look beyond hierarchy at two approaches to self-organisation. Traditionally, many of us are used to being in hierarchies, with the boss at the top, but times are changing and we are seeing a paradigm shift in how people organise. There are now needs and desires to work in different ways together, and people are starting to self-organise beyond hierarchy; but many of us don’t know how to do this. Some people are working with a more collaborative approach, set of values and flatter structures, while others have a more dynamic, agile and evolutionary approach, while others just create a fuzzy mess! This introduces the three approaches which are then described in more detail in the 6 episodes of this series (1 hour 15 mins in total).


1. Introduction: to three patterns of organisation and a way to understand self-organisation (3 mins)
2. Creating Culture: Each organisation has its own particular culture; its like a unique personality. Organisational culture is influenced by many things: values, power structures, personalities, assumptions, unspoken norms... And it has a massive influence on how effective an organisation can be (12 mins).
3. Working with Power: The way that power is structured and used has a massive impact on how an organisation works and how effective it can be. Who has authority for making certain decisions? Are decisions made by a leader, through a democratic vote, using consensus…? Is power concentrated, shared or distributed? (12 mins).
4. Finding Fit: Like a tropical fish fits perfectly into a coral reef, an organisation needs to fit into its environment to succeed. Many organisations fail because they are like a fish out of water and not in tune with what is being demanded from them by the world (10 mins).

5. Getting Things Done Together: This episode describes six areas of organisational life which need to be attended to for it to be healthy and successful, which are also the titles of the 6 episodes in this series: Creating Culture; Finding Fit; Working with Power; Discovering Direction; Getting Things Done Together; and Learning and Lasting. It explains how attending to all 6 areas create the conditions for collaboration to actually get the work done, both inside and outside of meetings (15 mins).

5. Discovering Direction: 

Deciding the purpose and direction of an organisation is crucial and is done in different ways in different types of organisations. Is purpose decided by the few at the top? Or is there widespread consultation which feeds into a democratic decision? Or does it emerge in response to tensions which are sensed from the environment and then rapidly and reliably processed into meaningful change?
(11 mins).

6. Learning & Lasting: 

How we keep motivation alive and keep going when things get tough? And how we learn: from differences, diversity and a changing world; and adapt if needed? This needs to happen both at individual, and collective levels. Its hard enough to learn on your own, but how do we do it together?
(11 mins).

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