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Holacracy-Powered Social Business RPG

Project-Based Learning with Holacracy-Powered tabletop roleplaying is the vehicle to move from real-world learning to organic organization.

Photo of Dathane Turner
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Imagine contemplative social business education done in phases. First, we will focus on external development.

1. Proto-Gamma Phase

The Proto-Gamma Phase is much like OpenIDEO where ideas, resources, and people come together to explore societal issues and solutions for these issues. 

2. Gamma Phase

Gamma phase takes a group of individuals centered on an idea and have them organize within a Holacracy-powered organization practice. Stated it succinctly, it is an organizational practice which distributes authority throughout the organization where tensions sense anywhere in the organization has a place to go to get rapidly and reliably processed towards meaningful change. Holacracy is a project-centric practice that empowers individuals to energize roles and spark projects towards their completion on behalf of the organization's purpose rather than by a charismatic leader or CEO.

Gamma Phase is the time that the group learns how to organize their circle-team employing Holacracy as well as using tabletop role-playing as the simulation vehicle. To become adept at Holacracy well requires weeks of  practice which is why table-top role-playing is a low-cost way to simulate real-world operations while learning the Holacracy-powered practice. Once adept, Holacracy can be life-transforming as the practice not only fosters more empowerment and engagement in the organization, but enables one to tap into the organization's will and what it wants to do in the world. There is a definite transpersonal space that one feels when practicing Holacracy.

3. Beta Phase

During the Beta Phase, circle-team moves from a table-top role-playing simulation to live-action role-playing simulation where project-based learning takes more of a center stage and Holacracy becomes more of an automatic practice. During this phase, the goal is to create a result (i.e. business plan, design for a device, a product etc) learning the elements of social business during the program to becoming a social business circle with the needed roles (from the sales role to product development role) to be filled by partners of the circle. While Live-Action education sounds unpredecented, it is being done at the Osterskov School in Denmark

3. Alpha Phase

This moves us to an embryonic startup which begins the Alpha Phase. In the Alpha Phase, Social Business circles are supported by like-minded visionaries with alumni support to assist in moving their embryonic startup to a stable company.  External development should be complimented by internal development where the needed contemplative practices of qi-gong, meditation, yoga, as well as other internal practices from both from the east as well as the west. Together, this kind of external and internal practice gives the budding organization a powerful advantage towards providing collaborated solutions to these challenging problems in a way that is scalable and interconnecting with potential partners the organization as well as holding the potential of inter-organization connection harnessing the collective intelligence in a dynamic requisite way. It is the kind of education, I feel, that is needed for the coming challenges of the future. 

Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine higher education to support the needs of tomorrow?

My idea is for the business community (and in particular the social business community) and it moves education out of the merely conceptual framework of learning to an experiential framework having students collaborate and organize with each other as well as with experts towards an applicable foundation spring-boarding them towards their own future circle-company.

This idea emerged from:

  • An individual

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

I would need individuals with experience (not necessarily as a combination) with educational role-playing, Holacracy practice, project-based learning and social business expertise. I would need guidance in the best way to move forward with this idea.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

I am working on creating a GURPS business RPG scenario on the Evernote workspace program which will simulate a company (DharmaWorks) which assists groups of people to become companies. So, I could share various rpg notebooks from my EverNote app with individuals with Evernote and we could role-play a scenario of a circle which moves from the embryonic stage to company stage. But, I am still in the early stage of development but I am willing to work with people to get this project up and running.

Tell us about your work experience:

I am a minister from a Buddhist tradition. I have never worked in design or entrepreneurship. I have studied the contemplative practices and hold a Masters in Won Buddhism and Psychology.
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Team (2)

Shalini's profile

Role added on team:

"Her role as an e-commerce innovator is a wonderful compliment for the Holacracy-Powered Social Business RPG Model which, together, helps budding entrepreneurs use these innovative practices to create a company that provides innovative products and solutions in the world."

Dathane's profile
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Attachments (4)

Randy OJacks (DharmaWorks Circle).pdf

Here is an example of Social Business Circle member. They would create a character based on their own Character Strengths, Personality Type, Interaction Style and Enneagrams Getting to know their conditioned minds or "horse minds" as a method to bring clarity between "mind" & "being" One trains one's mind like one trains a horse. One's Beingness is the container of the mind, the reality fabric itself beyond concepts of good or bad, pure or impure. This is one method of practicing inner work.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Dathane,

Thank you for sharing your idea.

I just want to be 100% sure I understand it. Groups of equals (there is no hierarchy of the people in the group) get together to work towards a purpose where everyone has a unique ‘property’ but they can be flexible on the use of that e.g. the web designer’s property is the website and he can do anything he likes to the website. You want to use the holacracy method with students working in groups to develop a business that fulfils a purpose and combines both eastern and western ideology,

Do I have the right idea?

Will it utilise some of the principles in Indigenize the Institution ?

Photo of Dathane Turner

Hello Kate,

Indeed, while there is no hierarchy in the group, this model is very structured (some critics say too structured and too rigorous), but for a reason. And yes, people can hold domains or property such as the web design role has web design as property, but 1. all actions must be in accordance with the Holacracy constitution. So, while she is given the authority to go do something to energize her role, it must be on behalf of the organization as he/she interprets how . Conflicts will naturally arise which is where Integrative Decision Making process assists in turning tensions into proposals that become projects, next actions or accountability.

You are correct in your overall understanding, but let me say that Holacracy provides a clean platform (Four Spaces which brings clarity to how we combine western and eastern ideology within this educational model clearly. For example, while business development occurs in Organization Space as roles interact with each other in role space, in tribe space (I prefer to call spiritual community space or Sangha Space), culture, meaning, spiritual practice, unfettered imagination and exploration can occur. Critics have stated that Holacracy practice turns people into machines. ( I am curious if they effectively employed tribe space measures to balance efficient work with human connections that is clear and un-muddled. So the eastern ideology of Buddhism's Impermanence to Daoism's Natural Way perspectives compliments nicely to present scientific pursuits that shifts the paradigm from the Newtonian framework of predict-and-control to Chaos Science & Emergent Systems framework of sense and respond. In this light, Holacracy is a perfect vehicle to explore and surf the present-moment-reality as it arises and teaches. To state it succinctly, the eastern ideologies of Buddhism and Daoism to accept warmly the present emergent moment as it arises so one may respond wisely creating results in the world that beneficial for yourself and others is internal development practice. Using this internal development practice, circle-teams choose purposes and create projects (that evolve into organic organizations) which serves humanity is external development practice. The two are like yin and yang and together, they collaborate towards alleviating suffering in the world.

As for your last question, indeed. I read Indigenize the Institution post and I can see this as a practice within tribe space for this is where learning and development takes place. Learning become an individual as well as a community can be a theme of the spiritual community space which is where projects are imagined and in organization space, projects are executed to make this a reality. All perspectives have a way to become integrated under this Holacracy operating system in way that is natural. It would be interesting to see how both idea would assist each other.

Photo of Max Noble

this is a really interesting area, "combine western and eastern ideology within this educational model clearly."

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