Our values and how we work
At Rhizome, we endeavour to live and breathe our values – we treat them like a compass that guides us on our journey, and we try to share our learning and growth both internally and with you. With this in mind, instead of policies we have chosen some words, concepts and themes that we find meaningful and which guide our relationships within the co-operative and our work in the wider world. Call it an emergent strategy if you will. The list below feels like a good place to start, but we will not rest there!
Check out our blog for updates on our thinking, evaluations of our work in practice, and sharing on the issues and dilemmas we encounter along the way. We invite you to interact with us to help shape the values, ethics and practice that best suit our evolving organisation.
- Common ownership. Rhizome is a co-operative, and our guides and resources are available freely under a Creative Commons license
- Collaborative decision-making. We use consensus decision-making and co-facilitate wherever possible, for example. We develop session plans with you.
- Advocates and agitators for change. Rhizome exists to support those who want to make change. We share that desire. We’re also constantly agitating for better processes to deliver that change.
- Continuing improvement and learning. We regularly co-facilitate to ensure that we learn from each other. We evaluate every session, with the group and with our co-facilitator. We’re learning geeks. Standing still doesn’t interest us. We also share thoughts on our blog and in our resources, through our regular internal co-op calls, and at our team meetings 2 to 3 times a year.
- Diversity. As we once heard the leader of a peasant and landless movement of millions of people in the global South say, “what unites us is our diversity, and our diversity is our strength”.We try to embrace both diversity and difference, rather than marginalising it within our groups and ourselves.
- Empowering. We have a vision of a world in which communities, groups, organisations and individuals can step into their power and bring about change. We humbly try to give further life to her – “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” (Arundhati Roy)
- Fairness. Like liberation struggles have taken things further than equality, real fairness runs deep in a world riven with injustice. We strive to put fairness into practice – in how we work and who we work with, for ourselves and others in the world.
- Friendliness. Approachability and inclusivity are key skills for facilitators and the other roles we offer. If you’re motivated by some of the values here and interested to discuss and develop ideas for making change happen, join us on our journey through commenting on the blog, social media or getting in touch with us.
- Mutual support. Our co-operative structure provides freelance trainers, facilitators and mediators with a way of giving and receiving mutual support. We also adhere to the co-operative principles which include mutual support and co-operation between co-ops. We hope we can develop these same kinds of relationships with the people we work with, like your good self.
- Open source development. From the very start we’ve adopted an attitude that your input makes us stronger. We see ourselves as a resource for building communities and one to be shaped by those communities – we welcome contributions via comments on the blog, or whatever other method takes your fancy. The ideas we share and the resources we develop add to our contribution to community development and the building of future worlds.
- Participation. We have chosen a participatory structure for Rhizome. We try to ensure we work in participatory ways – involving groups in the planning and delivery of our work, and involving all participants in exercises and learning. We work with participation – developing new ways for groups to support the full active involvement of all individuals and their sometimes hidden depths. Sometimes we’ll even invite the elephants in the room to get stuck in!
- Radical. We try to be radical in all that we do; however, be warned, what’s radical for a group that considers itself radical could elsewhere be seen as mainstream!
- Supporting effective change. In all our work we aim to make ‘catalytic interventions’ – that is to leave individuals, groups and organisations changed for the better, and more able to make change for the better
- Transparency. We use our blog and social media to report back on our work (both when it’s going well and when it’s not), to let you know who we’re working with, and the issues we’re wrestling with.
- Trust. The rest of this list becomes meaningless without trust. Join us in building it.