In Agile, we want to support adaptive, responsive, self-organizing, and evolutionary methods. We aim for open communication with transparency and involvement among all stakeholders; and we want our artifacts to reflect our values at all levels.
The benefits are often astounding and transformative. Yet we also know that the road is difficult and sometimes quite frustrating. There is inertia and resistance in existing systems; there is difficulty translating what we do to those who don’t easily ‘get it.’ Sometimes we try too hard, or get too attached, and our well intentioned efforts backfire or overshoot. We may experience that those we are working with, or we ourselves, become stymied by the paradoxes that arise: does leadership come from individuals or groups? Is it more important to yield in caring acceptance, or commit passionately to our personal truths? When is the time for reflection vs. action? Is evolution supported through flexibility and openness or clear rigorous generative structures?
Feeling into these paradoxes, we may have an intuition that something beyond Agile is needed to inform how Agile should find its proper home and be in service and right relation to stakeholders—that something beyond Agile could inform how Agile itself should evolve responsively to the needs of a changing world (an agile Agile).
“Participatory Agility” represents our initial inquiry into these questions, and we are here to invite you into the inquiry. There is much that we don’t know about this territory, that we hope to discover with your help, but we do believe that it involves an increased capacity to question, not just conventional preconceptions, but all preconceptions; to enter into a more vulnerable space of generative deep listening. It points to a place where mutual regard and trust of the deep self are solid enough to allow differences of ideas, needs, and agendas to co-exist in an organic scuffle.
We envision contexts where paradoxes and polarities are natural and welcomed tensions that flow from a collective intention of coherence and optimism. We want to support teams into collective insights that surpass the assumptions brought into the room and transform practice through radical innovations or homeopathically subtle interventions.
We seek to create social technologies that embrace unknowing with a relational intimacy that is both personal and transpersonal. We believe in the cultivation of consciousness and presence, which we see as just as important, or more important, than the ideas, ideals, or history that we bring to the table. We think that it is possible, in our best moments, for the “ego” to be seen and allowed to step aside, without having to compromise the power and uniqueness of each individual.
We are envisioning and experimenting with forms of gathering, communication, decision making, and organizational structure within this vision. We have stories to share about meetings full to the brim with poignant silences, powerful insights, painful calamities, sudden healings, and hilarious outbursts of collective laughter. We want to know who is curious to join us in this experiment, and how you would shape the road we could build together toward the future of agile participatory organizations.