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A pattern for emergent self-organization

Motivation for this pattern: When faced with a complex situation, teams need to identify important issues that require consideration and prioritize and distribute work to get started.

Inspired by Gojko Adzic’s Impact Mapping, Driver Mapping is a workshop format to identify an effective response to a complex situation: organize start-ups, kick-off projects, tackle major impediments or opportunities and align organizational structure to the flow of value.

The details

The Driver Mapping Process

These are the steps to follow:

1. Why are we here?

Present and consent to the Primary Driver Consent to the Driver – is this a clear enough description of the Driver? Is it relevant for us to respond? Ask further questions that help deepen understanding about what's happening and what's needed.

2. Who are the actors that will be impacted when we start responding to this driver?

Consider who can help / stand in the way / benefit / lose or be harmed • List actors on sticky notes and display them on a board

3. What is needed?

Considering the various actors, describe what is needed? • Write each suggestion on a separate sticky note using the prefix: “We need… / “They need… A Sociocracy 3.0 Learning Resource, created by L. David, J. Priest & B. Bockelbrink. www.sociocracy30.org Note: Ensure “authors” of needs statements write their name on each sticky note, along with the name of the actor the need relates to (in case they will get separated later). Formulate the text in a way so that both context and need can be clearly understood by others too.

4. How can we respond to these needs?

What kind of deliverables (including actions, practices and values) could (help) address the various needs? • People take time to familiarize themselves with the various need statements, adding their name (maybe on a smaller sticky note) to those they have experience with or ideas how to address. This is so that later, when people are responded to a specific need, they have knowledge of who in the organization might have valuable input to make.

5. Identify Domains

Cluster actors and/or needs according to relevance, into coherent domains as a starting point to sorting and prioritizing drivers. Consider how to optimize end-to-end delivery of value to the various actors. Ways to identify domains:

  • Cluster groups of similar actors (actor-centric)

  • Cluster groups of similar needs (needs-centric)

  • A combination of both of the above is common.

6. Populate & define Domains

People organize into smaller groups around the different domains according to experience and interest:

  • Check all domains are sufficiently accounted for

  • Agree on a name for the domain

  • Define the primary driver for the domain (and draft the domain description if helpful)

  • Hear brief reports from each group and look out for dependencies and overlap of domains.

7. Sort, prioritize, (pass), drivers and identify any others missing

Sort drivers according to those that can be acted on (operations) and those that would benefit from or necessitate a decision (governance). Prioritize them.

  • Archive any “needs” cards that appear superfluous

  • Pass drivers on that appear to be the accountability of another domain to address

  • Add drivers concerning multiple domains to a dedicated backlog to address later (e.g. by a delegate circle)

  • Consider the domain and describe and prioritize other drivers that may not have been identified

Regularly pause to share reports between the various domains. Note: Some domains might dissolve, change or merge with others.

8. Connect Domains

Deal with matters that extend beyond the scope of one domain and concern the wider organization: * For a new organization, e.g. Delegate Circle(s), Service Circle(s), (double) linking between domains, etc * For an existing organization: Delegate accountability for the identified domains and overall governance and alignment of the project, throughout the organization.

9. What else do we need to consider…

  • …to run safely?

  • ...to address the driver?

While together, consider the Review the “needs” cards and check if there’s something missing.

10. Remember to celebrate your achievements in getting your organization started!

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