Participation is an old-new solution to human organization. It goes back to the
tribal campfire but also moves forward to the burst of technology of the
knowledge revolution. Participation is like a big explosion of energy released
as we withdraw from the old patterns of hierarchies. Participation is
another evolutionary stage in the development of organizational models.
Although previous models have been hierarchical, if we observe the great
achievements of humanity, they rely on the ability to collaborate and on the
transfer of knowledge. Over the years, as collaborative mechanisms and the
flow of knowledge increasingly improved, so have the quantity and rate of
achievements grown. This requires—even allows for—multiple organizational
models founded upon different principles and forms, and that are based on a
Participation refers to three main processes that require cooperation
1. Collaboration – cooperation for the sake of joint action
2. Co-learning – learning that occurs within a network; based on the
ability of many people to create knowledge in parallel, accessibility to
knowledge, and shared platforms.
3. Co-Creation – In these domains, many joint decisions take place, all in
service of the supporting organizational models which are based on
the participatory approach.
This kind of participation is connected to real-life needs. It arises when
someone identifies a deep need in reality concerning the individuals within it,
society, and the environment, and creates a call. The call is a mandate
around which participants gather.
The participants who gather around the call have a mandate of participatory
leadership. They are all leaders in the domain of the call and can direct the
collaborative process. There are no complaints, no objections. Everything
becomes different forms of knowledge and perspectives, which assist the
group in setting the shared process into motion. A shared dream arises from
the call. If the participatory process is done properly, the group connects to
collective wisdom. The different opinions will become not different sides of the
barricade but highly valuable knowledge that shapes a diverse dream, which
accounts for the different perspectives of all members, both inside and outside
the room, including the mute and disadvantaged members, as well as social
and environmental considerations.
When members connect to the collective wisdom, they disengage from the
rule of rationality. They listen deeply into their souls, to the group that is with
them, to the world around them, to past generations, ancient wisdom, and to
the stories that live in their surroundings. They use their senses to feel, and
they use emotional indicators to find difficult and painful, yet wonderful,
places. They turn to intuition and trust the brain’s ability to integrate and
process information. They observe the world, seeking patterns in the facts
before them, exploring the spaces where positive processes occurred. They
allow themselves to be vulnerable and exposed, and to learn. They dissolve the ego.
Discussions take a turn—rather than the domain of zero-sum games,
of who is right and who is wrong, or of blame, they become spaces of shared
exploration that contain diverse perspectives, and they seek the best, safest
solutions that can be undertaken at low cost and reasonable risk.
Out of the shared dream, a shared plan is born, and from there, we take
shared action. The participants divide responsibility over the various actions
they have shaped together. They create a platform of coordination and
communication. They plan points of inspection, oversight, and monitoring of
the process. In fact, they create the mechanisms of the group’s self-