Complexity is Not Stable. New Power, Old Power and Balance
Disruptive Networks of People Root Change in the Power of Humanity not Violence.

Expect the punch in the face as part of your strategy development.


 In many context, it is always a struggle to find partners that want to invest in creating adaptive process and infrastructure.  In times of uncertainty, we are often attracted to the "silver bullet" rather than the negotiated settlement.

I love clear work plans but I work in so many context that make them unrealistic like campaign planning, culture change, leader organizing and foundation fundraising to name a few. Or at least, these chaotic environments require a very different kind of work plan.

There’s a boxing adage that says "everyone has a great strategy until the moment they get punched in the face". This probably military saying along the same lines ... Everyone has a great plan until someone starts shooting at you.  The only true strategy is to make sure you can take the kind of punch you Are going to get and yet still stay in the ring. Only then can you shake it off, and develop an adjusted plan to victory.

Capacity building is the resilience strategies.   1. Building capacity of people to lead and withstand the punches and the opposition that they will face.  2. Building the organization capacity to shield the people. 3. Building the network capacity to connect people to each other and facilitate the flow of information and new alignments of power because strategies one and two are guaranteed to fail.

As organizers, there are some pretty big trends out there that are going to rattle some cages in the next few years. We need to be ready for them because they will transform the base of people, culture and political context that we operate in.  If you are looking at creating social and policy change on a 3-5 year horizon and building steps toward great change, here are some of the combinations punches coming at us.   I don't know exactly how these emerging models will hook into the campaign world but my instinct is that they will.  Assumptions about the potential impacts of these trends are shaping the ways many of us in the sector think about organizing strategies.  

I have loose notes on most of these concepts but I thought it would be worth pouring them out online to start some more thinking and feedback on the trends.  I leave it to all of us to  to leverage these trends in a way that fuels uplifting social change.

  • Unrest + increased connections = the age of revolutionary politics.
  • The rise of the multinational organizing to counterbalance multinational corporations.
  • The rise of the effective partisans and the collapse of middle political ground.
  • Monetization of followers on facebook.
  • LinkedIn as a co-working engine and a personal career platform for the gig economy.
  • The proliferation of cyberwar tools from nationstates to corporations, individuals and small organizations.
  • The use of reputation and bitcoin like currency outside of hacker circles.  
  • Internet of things reaching into new edges of the marginalized and disconnected creating access, story and data that circumvents efforts to hide abuse.
  • Mobile phones with more spacial awareness.  Spatial awareness of the phones and people. The rise of alternative experiences in the same space.  
  • Drones and autonomous vehicles in advocacy and documenting situations without fear.
  • Syndication of civic engagement opportunities.
  • Artificial intelligent agents like Siri, Alexa and Cortana lowering clictivism to AI proxy work.
  • The multiplayer online game generation meets community organizing.
  • Real time synchronization of organizing during broadcast events
  • The Slow Movement meets advocacy efforts.
  • Expanded and targeted delivery of physical things at lower cost.